vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

EFF fights for right of users to revive abandoned video games

by Mark Tyson on 5 November 2014, 13:08

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qack3f

Add to My Vault: x

Earlier this week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a number of requests for exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It explains that it has to do this every three years "to right the wrongs put in place," by the US copyright act.

Included in the latest EFF requests are exemptions which seek to allow users to tinker with 'abandoned' video games. Such action by end users may be necessary to get games to work on modern PCs or to disable authentication server checks for servers which are no longer run, for example.

The Verge raises an interesting point with games – if users know they could play them for periods beyond any 'abandonment' by a software publisher the game may be considered better value during its supported life span.

Beyond the world of video games there are other ways that Section 1201 of the DMCA puts unjust digital shackles on end users. The EFF cites an example of basic repairs of automobiles and household devices which are not allowed under the DCMA rule if any kind of DRM is in place. EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry claims that "The DMCA was supposed to help protect against copyright infringement, but it's been abused to interfere with all kinds of lawful activities that have nothing to do with infringement". So your car or fridge repair, for instance, could incur a legal risk.

Another complaint targeted against the copyright law is that these exemption requests need to be 'refreshed' every three years. This is "burdensome and confusing, with high hurdles to success," according to the EFF and it also stifles user choice, learning and creative expression. The law has furthermore hindered legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials claims the organisation.

Link to HEXUS discussion forums for this news.



HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
As this is obviously a US law then are things any different under UK law regarding abandoned video games?
Is there some way to put pressure on video game distributors to release the source code of abandoned games? That would be really good.
Output
As this is obviously a US law then are things any different under UK law regarding abandoned video games?

Depends, if the games legal owner is in the US, then you probably get an extradition request submitted for some outrageously inaccurate claim.

Otherwise it would probably fall under copyright or computer misuse.

Just because someone calls it “abandoned” doesnt mean its legally disowned in any way, unless the owner has expressly released it or the copyright has expired.
I can imagine the kind of people wanting to get their mitts on these abandoned titles will be the same people churning out freemium IAP-riddled games on iOS/Android.

I say just leave them be, if I was involved in making one of those games back in the day I'd prefer they stayed there. Maybe loosen the laws on ‘acquiring’ ROMS of said abandoned games.

Games companies should be focusing on creating original ideas rather than trying to rehash other people's work.
virtuo
I can imagine the kind of people wanting to get their mitts on these abandoned titles will be the same people churning out freemium IAP-riddled games on iOS/Android….

Or people who bought games which will not run on current era PCs. Whilst some companies are very open to third party patches and content on legacy games (Microsoft with MSTS and FS for example), others might not be.