QUOTE(JACKERL @ Mar 31 2005, 05:23 AM)
I rest my case...
it doesn't hurt to familiarize oneself with the "fair use" doctrine, as well.http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107
now that we're in the electronic age, it's probably time for legal definitions pertaining to "libraries" to be updated. for example, is borrowing a CD from a city/county's public library much different from downloading mp3s, listening to 'um for a little while and then deleting them? would it be illegal for a library to purchase arcade motherboards, back them up, and make them available to play on emulators?... might sound like a funny idea at first, yet "mainstream" society is starting to accept video games as being akin to interactive literature or interactive cinema. and so forth. these are the sorts of questions which may someday have to be answered by judges, as "soft" electronic storage & transmission replaces old-fashioned ink & paper, magnetic tape and optical discs.
more to the original question: most electronic games' copyrights are still in effect, they will not expire for many years... BUT the ownership of many games' copyrights are either unknown or subject to dispute as companies sometimes go out of business and no one bothers to purchase their assets (copyrights & trademarks), or the people who've inherited the assets have no interest in continuing to market & protect them.
this is an important idea that would be used in defense of an emulator such as MAME... the idea that the emulator is largely intended to preserve the functionality of ROMs that have (for all intents & purposes) been abandoned, and that many ROMs are what you might call "abandonware." even if MAME's developers were to remove support for all of the titles that are still being recycled commercially in "arcade hits" compilations, there'd still be a huge list of games which would otherwise be completely lost and forgotten if not for emulation.
as for how all of that holds up in court, it's all very much a grey area as previously stated. one might think "the law is the law is the law" and that's the end of that, but it really depends largely on the particular circumstance, the judge, and the skills of the lawyers involved in each case.This post has been edited by 3RA1N1AC: Apr 5 2005, 08:36 AM