Current legal stance on emulators, emulation and the games.

Discussion in 'iOS Emulators' started by RadR0cket, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. RadR0cket

    RadR0cket New Member

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    Before I start, I would like to say that I have read the rules and no way shape or form do I purposely mean to break the the rules, If a Moderator see a problem with this thread, please close immediately, I will not make another thread regarding the situation... and I truly apologize.

    What I would like someone to do is explain the legal stance of emulators, emulation and the games, from what I have researched I understand that emulators themselves are legal, but the actual ROMs aren't... Now I've found all my old GameBoy, Colour and Advance games(cartridges, legally owned) and I was wondering if there is any legal way of me putting them on-to my computer then running them on my iPod? or is legal for me to 'download' a copy of the legally owned game(s) and then run emulate them on my iPod?

    From reading the Nintendo-Corporation legal information, I understand that (quoted) "you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy" and that you are legally able to download games that are now available in the public domain as free games, like The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (does anyone know of these titles?) Could explain all for me in a-bit of detail..

    Many Thanks

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  2. Joe Rossignol

    Joe Rossignol Community Manager Staff Member

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    Hi there,

    Good questions. This thread is not breaking any rules, do not worry.

    I believe you have it backwards: the emulators themselves are legal, but the actual ROM files are not. This is because ROMs are protected under copyright by Nintendo, Sony, etc. However, if you own a physical copy of a game - then it does become legal.

    Also, "orphan games", games produced by companies that are now no longer in business, are allowed to be emulated and played regardless of whether you own a physical copy of the game. Since no company longer owns any copyright rights to these games, there is nothing illegal about emulating them.

    Another thing that I wanted to point out was that in order for most emulators to work, they require a BIOS code (for example, NES.app emulator on the iPod touch). The distribution of this code is illegal. But, as long as this code is not distributed with the actual emulator, the emulator is 100% legal. And, smartly, the developer of NES.app does not include the NES BIOS code with his emulator. However, it's very easy to get it through another 3rd party.
  3. RadR0cket

    RadR0cket New Member

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    Hey Kiks, Thanks for the reply, and clearing that up

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    I understand about the BIOS and so forth, Before posted here I downloaded the 'gb4iphone' application which, you are aware of, allows the emulation of GameBoy and GameBoy Advanced games, does this application incudle the BIOS or does this come without? I would of tried but I was unsure about the laws and the stance on piracy of emulating games.
  4. Nburnes

    Nburnes Well-Known Member

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    Any emulator in Cydia should come without the BIOS if its from a trusted source. gb4iphone does not come with any, and it plays only Gameboy games. Gpsphone I think its called, plays Gameboy Advanced.
  5. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    No emulators should come with BIOS or ROMS.
  6. RadR0cket

    RadR0cket New Member

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    okay, Thanks, are you able to give the name of the BIOS? or is that against the rules too?
  7. Hauk

    Hauk New Member

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    I did some research a while back on this and as posted somewhere else around here:

    According to US copyright law, roms from systems that have been discontinued are exempt from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures:

    "Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace."
    -http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2003/index.html

    Therefore, circumventing the cartrige, or dumping a rom, is theoreticaly legal, as long as you own the cartrige.
  8. dvtran93

    dvtran93 Member

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    "the current availability of a game in stores is irrelevant as to its copyright status. Copyrights do not enter the public domain just because they are no longer commercially exploited or widely available. Therefore, the copyrights of games are valid even if the games are not found on store shelves, and using, copying and/or distributing those games is a copyright infringement. " From nintendo site above.

    I think this pretty much states that its illegal.
  9. Teslanaut

    Teslanaut Well-Known Member

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    If you own the Actual Game, you are allowed to make your own copy, assuming you have the necessary software and/or hardware.

    BUT YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A COPY OF THE GAME YOU DOWNLOAD FROM THE INTERNET.
  10. TooGoodAtCOD4

    TooGoodAtCOD4 New Member

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    ok - now that that is cleared up... Anyone have an answer for RadR0cket's question here???

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