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Borrowing ROMs

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the something-to-consider dept.

Games 432

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like Console Classix is trying introduce a new old concept to the world of P2P file sharing, at least as it applies to NES and SNES ROM images. You download their client program, and then you can "borrow" one ROM image at a time from their site, play it, and then release it for someone else to use. There are a finite number of ROM images on the site, each one ostensibly dumped from a legitimate and unique cartridge. I wonder if this will allow an end-run around some of the questionable legality of file-sharing... and I wonder if this could work for MP3s, movies, and other forms of media?" I think its pretty reasonable, but I doubt that the industries will agree.

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432 comments

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not FP (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973025)

ftso.org #trolls

Monday, November 13, 2000 [awsomecelebs.com]
Strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree

That shirt looks lovely on you.

Women are more likely than men to be good listeners.

I am often nervous in social situations.

Sometimes people act without thinking.

In a crowded elevator, I try not to let my body touch anyone else's.

Being naked together is a good way of getting to know someone.

When I say something and you don't reply, it hurts me deeply.

Love is an important part of life, but some people are too singleminded about it.

I would very much enjoy skinny-dipping with Natalie Portman.

This plum is too ripe.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms.

I am not comfortable around knives.

My soul yearns for the sweet softness of your kiss.

People with long tongues should show more restraint in public.

Most men are only looking for a good time.

Youth is wasted on the young.

I have lived out many of the dreams I had as a child.

All things considered, I am content.

I love it when you do that.

Re:not FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973048)

What has happened to trollaxor.com? The public
demand answers.

Re:not FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973059)

to the best of my knowledge, free bandwidth ran out.

story here [kuro5hin.org] .

-ashpushy

Abortions for some, (-1)

returnofthe_spork (552824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973027)

miniature American flags for others!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973028)

first post by me.

yay.

This sounds... (5, Interesting)

Satai (111172) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973038)

This sounds sort of similar to the MP3 locker program that mp3.com had a few years back, except more stringent. I don't think it'll fly, and if it does, it'll be AFTER legal battles.

Shareing (3, Insightful)

buss_error (142273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973044)

Didn't seem to work for MP3.COM, and I thought that MP3.com had a better chance than Napster. After all, MP3.COM wanted to confirm you actually had the CD you were trying to play, and Napster didn't.

my idea (-1, Flamebait)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973046)

Just to play the Devil's advocate here, I will propose an analogous practice. Kidnap someone's wife, force her into marriage, rape her, and then give her to someone else when you're finished. When everyone's had enough, she is divorced by the last guy and returned to the first guy. Hey, since only one person does it at a time it must be legal, right? Right?

Changes the dynamic of the business (5, Insightful)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973047)

I like this idea, but because it will hurt business, it'll go away.

Of course, "fair use" states that you can lend, borrow, and sell used merchandise (CDs, PS2 games, etc) but when it's on such a large scale, businesses will fight back to try to make up for lost sales. If it stays limited to older nintendo and sega ROMs, they might slip under the radar... but I don't know anymore.

Re:Changes the dynamic of the business (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973091)

Yeah, look at the whining by authors about Amazon selling used books. And the whining and pressure by the recording industry about record stores selling used CDs.

Re:Changes the dynamic of the business (2)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973194)

To be fair:

For the most part, it's the publishing houses complaining, not the authors themselves.

Sure some authors have been vocal on the subject, but they are in the minority.

Re:Changes the dynamic of the business (1)

rushiferu (595361) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973174)

Of course, it couldn't hurt sales that much seeing as how they don't market these games anymore. It might slide if the site offers corporations something in return. For example, if the site becomes popular enough it could give free ad space to game companies as compensation.

Re:Changes the dynamic of the business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973238)

Of course, it couldn't hurt sales that much seeing as how they don't market these games anymore.

Except that they do still market all of the new games (and consoles.) When you buy or play old games you aren't at the store buying new ones.

Why not a partnership? (5, Insightful)

TwitchCHNO (469542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973051)

Ok can someone tell me why Nintendo doesn't partner with Gamespot / Fileplanet & let an infinite of roms & mame playing go on with a membership. (With Nintendo collecting a small royalty fee).

Are there any of the older video game companies offerin thier old games for purchase? (in any format) Or is it pretty much lawers protecting IP that the company no longer uses. If that's the case it seems like a big waste of $ to me.

Re:Why not a partnership? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973108)

thats a genius idea. Sega ESPECIALLY would make a killing on all those old Master System, Genesis, and Game Gear roms.

Intellivision
http://www.intellivisionlives.com /

2 words, 6 syllables

B-17 BOMBER

FLAK FLAK

if you dont know what im talking about yer too young.

PARTNERSHIP??? biiiig possibility!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973115)

I believe as if yhere were partners. i could see SNES
and NES and Neo geo games pased around. Thats great. we all love the old games. But a partner should serve "borrowed" N64, DC,Xbox,And PS1/2 would be alittle hard to have a borrowed actual "Rom image" But would be good for sales on the XB,PS2 games...but would be difficult cause of the copyrights. If only the day would come! Im patiently also waiting for a X-box Emulator for PC Since the x-box is so close to the X86 design. shouldnt be hard for the emulator but i dont think anyone will stand on it... Bleem went down and they were sony hungry..but still. Just keep " /. " real

Re:Why not a partnership? (5, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973128)

The reason is that Nintendo, unlike other game companies, still makes money off of their old games. Notice the three Super Mario Advance games are exact copies of Mario 2, Mario World, and Yoshi's Island? Other companies like Sega do not re-relase their old games, like Sonic 2, in their exactly the same as original forms.
So while companies like Sega and Sony or Arcade machine makers aren't hurt by roms, Nintendo very much is. If you download Mario 2 for free, that's one less copy of Mario Advance they sell. If you download a copy of Sonic 2, the only one who gets hurt is the used game store in the mall.

I'm still pissed however that Mario Advance 3 is Yoshi's Island and not Super Mario 3. What's up with that? The last time Mario 3 was put out was Mario All Stars for SNES. I want it for GBA, like now-ish.

Re:Why not a partnership? (1)

TwitchCHNO (469542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973169)

Ok cool.

Nintendo:

Ports all of thier older titles to thier portable system. Cool - very cool. I should get a GBA. Thanks!

Does anyone know about SEGA? Neo-Geo? Atari? & the arcade games that weren't available. (The star wars arcade game is my favourite - I play that all the time!)

Re:Why not a partnership? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973188)

Keep in mind that Sega released a few "Sega Smash Packs" for Dreamcast which included old Genesis and Saturn games each. It seems logical that they will continue to release older games in their new found role as a strictly 3rd party developer.

Re:Why not a partnership? (3, Insightful)

edwdig (47888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973143)

Nintendo has been rereleasing a lot of their old NES and SNES games on the Gameboy Color & Gameboy Advance systems. Most Mario games have been rereleased, or will be soon. They attempted porting the older Zelda games, but the GB screen was too small for it. Zelda 3 will make it to the GBA though.

Various other old NES games are included within Animal Crossing, which is coming to the GameCube later this year.

So, the answer is, Nintendo would lose money by getting involved in schemes allowing people to download ROMs.

Playing by the rules? (5, Interesting)

Wizri (518731) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973053)

How long beforce some one figures out how to bypass the locking and keep the ROMs on local machine? My guess 48 hours.

Re:Playing by the rules? (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973123)

Well guess what, I already know how to xerox a book and copy a movie, so whats the diff?

good idea (5, Insightful)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973054)

good idea! Public libraries have been operating like this for centuries.

Re:good idea (2, Interesting)

Maniakes (216039) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973088)

good idea! Public libraries have been operating like this for centuries.

Not to mention Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.

Re:good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973093)

We're working on making that un-American practice illegal, too!

P.S. Be sure to buy the new N-Sync album, it's great!
Love & Kisses,
Hillary Rosen [riaa.com]

Re:good idea (1)

paladin_tom (533027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973133)

The thing with public libraries is that they are public in the sense that they are run by governments. People's tax money funds them, and a slice of this money goes to the authors of the books borrowed.

In Canada, for instance, we have an institution called CanCopy. The number of times a given book is borrowed is tracked, and the author gets a slice of the pie based on this.

Music can also be borrowed from libraries, so there is a real precedent for online music-sharing.

I suspect that industry would be more receptive to these online libraries if goverments extended such programs into this area.

Re:good idea (1)

Ashran (107876) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973179)

AFAIK one copy has to be given for free to the library, atleast in germany / austria..

Well recepted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973055)

This will be as accepted to Nintendo as mp3.com's "beam it" software was to the RIAA.

Who cares about what the industry thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973057)

Do you really care what the industries will think about this? They are the ones that created licensing agreements, and we are just finding the loopholes. What really matters is what congress (or the courts) thinks. If it falls under fair use, lets do it!

Ahem (-1)

RTFA Man (578488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973058)

YOU are making a COPY of a legitimate ROM. YOU, MAKING, COPY.

Copyright law forbids YOU from MAKING a COPY of copyrighted material, except under specific circumstances. Fair use, archival, etc., do not apply here, therefore, YOU are MAKING an ILLEGAL COPY.

Every time (1)

EMDischarge (589758) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973060)

someone tries to circumvent copyright restrictions they get slapped down. This will be no different.

Why do you think the game manufacturers don't release these games/ROMs? Because there is still money to be made from them, no matter how old or tired they are. Hell, if they would just SELL them they could make a killing.

Clearly, you have to own the console game itself to be able to use the ROM. All other "methods" of obtaining them are usually illegal.

Re:Every time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973095)

Dumb fuck. They do own the console game itself, and thus are able to use it. It's no different from Blockbuster or the Public Library.

Re:Every time (2)

Storm Damage (133732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973151)

Blockbuster was able to fight off Nintendo and Sega back in the late 80s/early 90s because they had a lot of revenues to hire good attorneys with. As cool as this operation appears to be, I don't get the impression from looking at their site that they are extremely well-funded, and as such, despite the overwhelming favor of legal precedent a competent trial lawyer could bring to bear in their case, The flashier, more connected legal goons Nintendo could easily throw at these guys will likely argue that the fact these guys are operating on the internet makes it all different, and they should be shut down. I wish CC luck, as they are already on Nintendo's radar. However, the only legal correspondence from the company was in July, 2001, so they may actually be giving them a pass.

Now, if they start doing the same sort of distribution with other systems, especially more modern ones (playstation, PS2, Gamecube, or heaven-forbid XBox), they might find themselves in significantly hotter water. In that case I'd recommend the strategy of getting big, fast, charging a good monthly membership fee for content use, and building a revenue base to hire a good legal team.

Re:Every time (1)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973187)

Yeesh. They better save up and buy a really expensive server, if they're going to distribute CD images over the 'net. Seriously though, I doubt that's ever going to be a possibility.

Software Swapping? (1)

nherc (530930) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973061)

Sure, here's my copy of Photoshop now... you can use it and I'll borrow your copy of Office.

What are the legalities involved with swapping software both physically and "virtually" like this over a central server?

If it was checked out and fully uninstalled once you were finished using it, before it was returned, would this fly?

Re:Software Swapping? (2)

jd142 (129673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973182)

In theory yes, provided that you aren't talking about oem versions of windows, which I believe are required to stay with the machine they came on. But always make sure to read the license.

napster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973062)

Napster was cool, i miss it!

It may work, for a while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973063)

...and then someone will release a crack for the client that will allow you to "return" the game without actually returning it, and you're back to where you started.

Yeeeaaaah. I'm sure that's fine. (0, Troll)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973064)

I'm going to open a store that, um, loans video cassettes to people, and ALSO rents the equipment to copy said cassettes, assuming they would NEVER do anything nefarious like COPY that material and maybe give it to friends. I'm ~sure~ I'll get away with that one.

Oh wait. Isn't that what Blockbuster does? Why is this a problem again?

Re:Yeeeaaaah. I'm sure that's fine. (1)

tmark (230091) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973127)

Oh wait. Isn't that what Blockbuster does?

Yes, companies DO rent videos out, but as I understand they also pay FAR more for their copies that you do if you buy the video new.

And as for the presumed legitimacy of these sorts of enterprises, I once belonged to a software "club" in Toronto which, for the price of a membership and a small rental fee, let users borrow software for "trial and evaluation" purposes only. This was in the days of floppy disks, and I bet almost EVERYBODY who belonged to that club ran straight home to run Locksmith or whatever was the prevailing copy program at the time. If anyone really believes that software libraries aren't going to facilitate pirating they're crazy.

When they allow.... (0, Troll)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973065)

When they allow PSX games and ISO downloads, I'll play.

Of course, I'll NOT burn them to cd.......(heh)

Scrap this P2P stuff (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973066)

Until there is a total reversal of the moronic thinking in the law regarding P2P, this type of info should be left out of Slashdot. It does NO good and can get people in jail once the links go up and the software rolls...

This will last real long. (3, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973070)

I mean, I expect the first corp bot to "check out" all the roms within a few weeks, and never release them.

Didn't scientology do this court records, at one point?

Re:This will last real long. (1)

endoboy (560088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973159)

no problem-- just like at the public library, charge a fine if it isn't returned on time...

Re:This will last real long. (2)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973250)

Only they'll probably check them out under a temporary web address & false ID, changing them several times a day...

Re:This will last real long. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973185)

So you kick them off! You set a restriction on the number of simultaneous "check-outs." It's just like your friendly local public library.

Well put. (3, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973076)

"I think its pretty reasonable, but I doubt that the industries will agree."

Well, I hope these guys have good lawyers, because I doubt that the video game industry is going to just watch this site,and the cops in South Carolina (The apparent home of Jonathan Cooper, the site admin.) aren't among the nation's more liberal police forces. If he's lucky they'll just try piracy charges via some DA unable to comprehend software licensing and such, and not try to sneak in some DMCA violation on top of it.

Don't drop the soap, John.

Legal Page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973120)

I think it is at least worth while to read their "legal" page (http://www.consoleclassix.com/legal.htm)

"We allow you to rent our games, not buy them. We allow you to access our ROMs, but we don't distribute them."

Too early (0, Troll)

SexBot (595624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973079)

I believe this application is the kind that the TCPA and Palladium were designed to enable. In lieu of their deployment to consumers, the rule of "THE CLIENT IS IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY" still applies, so I'm pretty sure the "content holders" will follow the FSC ("Freak and Sue Contingency").
Funny to see the same story played out again and again. Maybe we'll even see the same comments stamped out by a dim-witted, cookie cutter of a mind...

I get the damn point, info wants to be free qjkx (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973080)

If I filter every article that basically says "information wants to be free" and complains that it isn't, I think I'd have 3/4 less articles. It will happen, but jeez must it be EVERY FREAKING ARTICLE?

Perhaps nintendo will (1)

cardshark2001 (444650) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973083)

Lobby congress for a specific law that allows them to hack this p2p network, and perhaps sell anyone who uses it into slavery, creating a new world economy!

Great for porn! (0)

kirkb (158552) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973084)

You could loan your porn to people without worrying about it being returned all (ahem...) "sticky".

is the 'industry' getting paid for it ? (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973086)

if not it won't fly. Everything else is irrelavent...

"What we can't make money on the net, so let's change it then. What people are using it, SO..."

feh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973089)

"I think its pretty reasonable ..."

of course You think its reasonable. You're
a dyed-in-the-wool idiot jackass. Exactly
how is this going to prevent anyone from
copying anything? The honor system?

Taco, have you hit puberty yet? jesus.

it isn't flamebait if its true - its just
strongly worded truth from one person FED
UP with the morons.

But who is going to stop the End user from... (0)

two-bookoo! (588692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973100)

But who is going to stop the End user from Copying the downloaded ROM?

Sure, I will borrow it...

But we all borrow our friends CD's and now have a copy of them. Who is going to stop someone from "borrowing" a COPY of a item, and just keeping a copy on thier box.

When you get down to it, it is a copy of the item in the first place- They are not going to delete and create the file every time, so they are just sending a copy.

It won't Work, and they are going to end up in a simmilar situtation as Napster.

Re:But who is going to stop the End user from... (3, Informative)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973215)

Read their page - it doesn't work that way. You have to download a specially modified version of Nester (which fortunately happens to be a very good NES emulator) that connects to their site and downloads a ROM into the program's memory. No files touch your hard disk.

Someone would have to waste a lot of time writing a crack, but I guess someone probably will do just that, if only for the challenge.

Donations (1)

jimmythegoat (595952) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973104)

I have a couple of old games I would like to electronically "donate" to such a cause. Do you think they'll ever set up such a system? Could I "donate" games that I don't have?

Rental-priced videos (3, Interesting)

torinth (216077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973109)

Blockbuster pays on the order of 10 times as much for a copy of a video that they can rent as compared to the copy that you can pick up at Target. Not having worked at a rental store or anything, I can't speak definatively, but aren't there special restrictions on rentals that extend beyond fair use? And may not this apply? If not in the case of console roms, at least, perhaps in the case of "other media", as mentioned?

-Andrew

Re:Rental-priced videos (2, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973196)

Nope they actualy just get normal DVD's etc to use. They tried to make them more expensive in AU that didn't fly and they havent tried it in the states (but I may well be wrong) Physical representations of things like videos DVD's CD's etc historicaly have be property as long as they stay in the same form, that may be the snag that they are moving around digital bits not say overnight mailing you an actual rom. Our US leaders think that for some strange reasont he two things are different and to some extent they are I could rip a NES cart you could to but joe sixpack dosent want to cant (remember this guy cant get his VCR clock programed and is confused by to many desktop icons) as the barrier to pirating roms lowers to cheap harddrive space, broadband Internet and some adware application that joe six pack can get his local computer expert to install companies get a lot more worried about this sort of thing.

Re:Rental-priced videos (3, Interesting)

Pfhreakaz0id (82141) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973212)

I know that my local video store once had PC software for rent, but had to pull it. Guy in the department told me it was because the video game suppliers/wholesalers complained that the copies weren't licensed for rental, only sale. He said the companies wouldn't sell them rental licenses for PC titles like they would for playstation(2)/n64 (this was pre-ps3/gamecube), because of piracy problems so rampant on PC's. Thought it was interesting.

Re:Rental-priced videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973233)

Where do you live?

I find it funny because I have a friend who's dad owns a chain of grocery stores in town. Every month he would receive a list of video games from a distributor which he could purchase, and then rent out. The games cost only $5-10 a piece because they were purchased in bulk.

I distinctly remember this because my friend would be the one who determined which games to buy...

Litmus Test (2)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973112)

If it doesn't maximize corporate profits, then it is theft.

What else could you possibly expect, considering what the media companies pay for Premium Legislative Services in the US and the EU. The idea that you do not own what you have bought is absurd, but the bankrolled politicians are turning that hallucination into a scary reality.

Anybody in north central Florida got a Donkey Kong ROM?

Along a similar vein (5, Interesting)

Hollins (83264) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973114)

I proposed something very similar for mp3s about a year ago on kuro5hin. There were some good comments on the idea's merits and drawbacks.

Here [kuro5hin.org] is a link.

probably doesn't work in general (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973118)

Commercial rental of copyrighted works is governed by its own set of rules. Libraries and some other institutions are special. Perhaps this would work if it falls under fair use, but then you may not have to worry about "lending" anyway.

My God (-1, Flamebait)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973125)

You people have to be kidding. "Sounds reasonable"? "Borrow" ROMS? "I wonder if this will allow an end-run around some of the questionable legality of file-sharing"? Here's a hint - NO!!!

Dispite what you may read on the Internet, it is not legal to make a "backup" copy of any modern media. It is not legal to have a "24 hour trial period" for games. And it is definately not legal to download a copyrighted piece of material that you have no authorization to see and load it up on an emulator (itself on shaky ground because of reverse engineering) to play.

The more that I read about file sharing, the more that I realize that most "freedom of information" types on the Internet are not concerned about distributing information. They're not concerned about preserving information for future use. They're only concerned about getting copyrighted material for free. Copyright owners be damned, I want my free music/movies/ROMs/software.

Flame me, mod me down, whatever. I'm just sick as shit at the pirates who continuously spout off about "freedom" without thinking about the consequences.

Re:My God (2)

tmark (230091) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973190)

The more that I read about file sharing, the more that I realize that most "freedom of information" types on the Internet are not concerned about distributing information. They're notconcerned about preserving information for future use. They're only concerned about getting copyrighted material for free. Copyright owners be damned, I want my free
music/movies/ROMs/software.


Thank goodness, a reasoned voice in the cacophony of hypocrisy. I often wonder what kind of reception would be had if someone setup a P2P service with all sorts of GPL'ed software, with all the GPL licenses/comments/etc. stripped, out allowing users to escape encumbrances which really aren't different in spirit than the encumbrances attached to the properties most commonly traded on these networks.

Think there'd be hell raised ?

Re:My God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973200)

I'm sick as 5h17 at those who continuously spout off about the "consequences" of piracy without being able to show REAL evidence of any.

I'm not advocating piracy, and don't doubt that those huge factories that churn out bootleg MS CD's for China have probably lost MS some revenue (I own stock, yes). Come on though, downloading Britney's latest song hurting her record company...doubtful.

Re:My God (5, Insightful)

dasunt (249686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973216)

What? How did this get modded up?

The 24-hour trial period is a myth. However, reverse engineering old consoles is not legally shaky. Look at the faqs on MAME.org or some other respected emulator site.

As for dumping cartridges, other then any possible DMCA concerns, it is 100% legal. Fair use, remember? As for transferring copyrighted material from an owner to a borrower, I did that last week at a local hangout known as the 'library', which allowed me to grab a few books, music CDs, and VHS tapes.

As for 'copyright infringement', I would be willing to bet that in 50 years, the only reason that some of the early 70's and 80's era games exist are because of emulators. Heck, right now, MAME emulates games that would be physically very difficult to find. Atari cartridges are also deteriorating over time. Sure, the guys who pirate the latest XBox and PS2 games are scum who aren't willing to pay for game developments, but there are guys who are into emulation for the old games which aren't available anymore. Games are a work of art, why let them be lost? Preservation has always been an admirable goal.

Re:My God (5, Interesting)

windex (92715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973222)

Last time I checked I was no longer able to buy brand new original 8-bit Nintendo cartridges.

I still own a brand new 8-bit Nintendo.

It works fine.

I am prevented, from a legal standpoint, of any easy way to back up or restore games to and from cart's, as far as nintendo is concerned.

Nintendo may have this right, but in reality nintendo does not provide replacements for the cart's themselves, how do you deal with that?

What rights to software owners have when software is abandoned?

None?

It's one thing to pirate music you can go buy from a store, I tend to beleive it's another thing alltogether when you download a replacement copy of software you honestly do own -- but even if, the law has made it difficult to put the game back into a cart for play on the original system, so when you talk about roms+emulators, then everyone automatically assumes you stole XYZ and your a damn dirty ape just because that's what corporate america has spoon fed them.

Mabye you should start thinking more about freedom and less about being pissed at people who cry wolf early and often to preserve your rights.

Re:My God (2)

BoyPlankton (93817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973223)

You people have to be kidding. "Sounds reasonable"? "Borrow" ROMS? "I wonder if this will allow an end-run around some of the questionable legality of file-sharing"? Here's a hint - NO!!!

So what you are saying is that it's illegal for me to loan my game cartridge to my friend for a couple of weeks. That the only way I can buy something and loan it to my buddy is to have him come over and play it on my game console?

Dispite what you may read on the Internet, it is not legal to make a "backup" copy of any modern media.

Care to tell me why I can't? Maybe you could cite some legal statute? Maybe a court case that backs up your point?

BTW, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 of the U.S. Code allows for backup copies of media if they are non-commercial in nature and don't affect the marketability of the copyrighted work.

IANAL, but it seems to me that this backs up both sides arguments. First of all, it's technically a commercial use since there's a company behind this. Second, it affects the marketability of the games. However, on the other hand, it doesn't affect the games that are currently no longer on the market. Seems to me there really should be some place that I could go buy/play games that I can't get any other way.

This is one of the F***ed up arguments made by IP apologists. Once someone makes something and sells it, that it should be that persons property forever. That was never the intention of copyright, nor should it be. Nowadays we have great novels that are out of print, and nobody is allowed to print new copies of them because the current copyright holders won't let them. The same goes for video games and movies. If you're going to let this stuff just sit in a vault somewhere tell your copyright expires, then you should lose the copyright to it. It's far too valuable to waste like that.

Re:My God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973224)

Try reading the method that this site uses to deliver the servce, first of all it IS LEGAL under fair use laws to make one backup copy of software that YOU OWN outright (though it must be destroyed if the original is ever lost/stolen/sold/etc). These people legally used their games to make their roms and in the process took every measure possible to ensure the legality of what they where doing. The client keeps the game in RAM at all times to prevent (or at least combat) piracy.

interesting idea... (1)

bowronch (56911) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973126)

Interesting idea, but it seems doubtful that anyone would go through the trouble given how easy it is to find NES and other console system ROMS online, and how relatively small the files are... you can have hundreds on your harddrive and they take up very, very little space and take very little time to download...

I wouldn't wait around to check out a copy of Super Mario Bros. when I could just as easily find a web site that I could download it from and keep it...

What nintendo etc needs to do to END illegal roms: (5, Informative)

anotherone (132088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973129)

If anyone from Nintendo, Sega, etc are listening, here is how you can either end or severly limit rom trading:

License a user-built emulator, re-rip every cart for your system, and offer them for sale. Make it cheap- maybe $1 per Rom, or maybe charge per megabyte, or release compilation CDs, or whatever. Don't make it too expensive. Then, advertise it a LOT. Make the emulator easy to use, maybe even have it integrated with the buying system so you can play a demo of the game before you buy it, then you can just enter your CC# into the program and you've got the whole thing.

I like my Roms, and I could get them free by lurking around a dozen shady P2P networks or download sites with gay porn banners for hours, or I could just pay a few dollars to get the same without any work on my part.

Sega actually does something close to this already, they've licensed the KGen emulator and sell a couple of the Sonic games for PCs in stores. I know this because I own them all.

They don't sell any carts anymore, so they've stopped making money from them. With this system, they'll start making money from them again, as well as get an ASSLOAD of publicity.

Re:What nintendo etc needs to do to END illegal ro (2)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973199)

If I were in a position to do it (hell knows I'd love to work for Nintendo...) I'd do pretty much what you just said, but stick to the compilation idea. An emulator, a nice front end for choosing your game, and a couple thousand roms would probably fit nicely onto one of those GameCube discs. Bundle it with an old-school NES controller that's been adapted to plug into the cube, and sell it for $30-$40. Do the same thing on cd or dvd for the pc market, with a usb version of the controller. Hell, if the licensing fees aren't prohibitive, release versions for XBox and PS2. Pay attention Nintendo: THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE HERE.

Abuse? (1)

taeric (204033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973134)

The question to be asked about this is simply how easily can it be abused?

As soon as someone writes a program that "releases" a ROM without erasing the local copy, then this is no different then downloading straight.

As per people saying they don't make money off of these, I wouldn't be so sure. I believe there are a lot of arcade boxes popping up in bars and such that have a great many games loaded on them. It is almost like a jukebox for games. So... most game companies do, in fact, make licensing money off of older games.

And to the people saying it is in fair use to lend games... this has been covered time and time again. It is not the lending that is the problem, it is the copying.

This is already there for Canadians (2, Informative)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973137)

www.iceradio.ca is the exact same thing for Canadians only though. (Unfortunately not netscape compatible)

The public domain and video gam (5, Insightful)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973139)

Ok, a little off-topic, perhaps, but bear with me. Suppose we view older videogames as "classics". That is, we consider Pac-man [klov.com] and Space Invaders [klov.com] as the videogame analogue of David Copperfield or Beowulf (pardon my Anglocentrist literary background or whatever). Then this is perhaps a way to make it clear to people that it becomes increasingly difficult to bear the starvation of the public domain.

Let me take an example close to my own heart: Commodore 64 games. I want to be able to share these games with my kids, much like my old man showed me his Classics Illustrated [nostalgiazone.com] comic books. (They are classic literature in a form that kids could digest more easily as teenagers when he was growing up.) The problem is that I could be in the unfortunate situation of not having hardware that works or even software in a usable medium. Already, I've seen 5.25" diskettes go bad, so I'm left getting things off of c64.com [c64.com] where they have buckets of games in disk or tape image format. But these kinds of things are the things that make game companies cry foul. So I end up using an emulator like VICE [t-online.de] and these images to show off parts of my childhood. So whereas my dad has some slowly deteriorating comic books to show 50 years after his childhood, at the same point in my life I may have to do something that I might otherwise feel is illegal.

In short, I think our culture will eventually feel the need for a richer public domain and we need a way to get the public on board for getting everlasting copyright extension to stop. I think that pointing out that they may not be able to show their kids the games they grew up on would be one way to explain this to normals that don't follow Slashdot.

FWIW, I plan on making a case-by-case choice from here on out in my life as to whether I think a company is benefitting unfairly from copyright extensions. If my kid asks for a tape of Steamboat Willie (the first Mickey Mouse cartoon) I might just get a pirate copy and not feel one bit of remorse about it. They bought an illegal extension of copyright and I don't think they deserve it one bit. And in 20 years, I might be feeling the same way about Commodore games and other media I grew up on, provided my borg implant lets me think such thoughts. ;^)

Re:The public domain and video gam[es] (1)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973160)

Stupid typo. Supposed to be "video games" in the title, there, folks.

I sure hope "gam" does have some disgusting meaning that I'm not aware of. ;^)

Get real.... (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973142)

If this was legal, then where is the N64 emulator and N64 roms? And why doesn't NetFlix.com start checking out DVDs in online form... it would reduce tons of overhead as far as shipping goes.

Ultimately, he does not own the copyright of those games, and making them availiable online would probably count as an unauthorized form of distribution.

I'm not disputing the chance that this guy owns all of these titles, mind you.... Though I've never heard of "Hogan's Ally", most of the games on that list are common, and the fact that he only has 2 Mega Man ROMs up indicate that he may indeed be late to the game as far as collecting goes.

Re:Get real.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973206)

And why doesn't NetFlix.com start checking out DVDs in online form... it would reduce tons of overhead as far as shipping goes

Oh get real.

It is cheaper for them to ship it to you than to send the 4-18 GB to you. Furthermore, unless you have a really nice pipe, this transfer would take forever, and obviously you would need a nice chunk of space on your side (sure HDs are cheap, but I dont know if i have 10 GB lying around just to watch a movie).

*That* is why netflix.com doesn't do it that way. It has nothing to do with fair use, DRM, DMCA, etc.

read the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973144)

Nintendo already sent them a "Please stop" letter quite a while ago. The owner of CC replied with a complete explanation of the programs workings and there has been no response from Nintendo since then. The program keeps the game in RAM at all times, and even if somebody does figure out how to keep the games; I don't see rental stores beeing shut down by Sony because people can make an ISO of any PSX game they rent.

What does the license say? (0)

Nukenbar2 (591848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973146)

Well, what does the legalize in the back of the book say as to copies? I'm sure that if it even allows it, it only allows it for your own personal use. I seriously doubt that this type of trading is allowed.

Value (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973147)

These roms have no real market value as far as the games themselves go. They're not sold new anymore, and for the most part, they're not sold used either, unless you can find ebay auctions or a garage sale. However, the roms for all of them are available online. They're small, easy to transfer, and players are available on multiple platforms. The cat is out of the bag, and Nintendo and ohers don't have much they can lose from this, but obviously, they'll want their piece of the pie.

Has anyone tried to work with them on this? About the only thing the games are worth to them is the IP rights to the artisitic content. Of course, from my point of view anyway, that content value would only increase if it had a greater market saturation. Nintendo can reasonably expect $0 from the sale of game cartridges at this point. Therefore, if ANY amount of money is offered in exchange for legitimizing the rom sceme, they might be willing to go for it. Its a steady revenue stream from somewhere that no previous revenue exists, and with no work on their part.
They might just go along with it, grant permission, and forget about it. Just throw a couple ads on the site, provide nintendo with 100% of the profit (after bandwidth and other expenses) and they might go for it. At least this way there would be no concern about legal battles, assuming they go for it.

And if they don't go for it, you're no worse off than you are now.

-Restil

The manufacturers (2)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973148)

need to start selling roms.

They need to be realistic:
There is a demand for them.

If you make it so people don't have to "hunt them down", i'm sure atleast some people will pay you a buck per game.

Making a buck per game from some people sure beats making no money because the only way to get ROMs is to pirate them.

Do they actually expect people to keep thier NES hooked up to thier TV for 20 years?

Re:The manufacturers (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973209)

>Do they actually expect people to keep thier NES hooked up to thier TV for 20 years?

Don't laugh, but part of it is that they dont want you playing a franchise from 20 years ago when the Nth franchise game just came out for the PS2.

They don't want you to remember how good it was; they want you to be forced into buying the latest incarnation of the franchise (and/or the "Classics" collections).

Re:The manufacturers (2)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973244)

Yeah, but your logic defies itself. As soon as an "official" library is placed on the net, it will be raided and reproduced in an equally efficient form.

IE once someone makes a definitive list, it is much easier to just copy and reproduce that efficient list than it is to try and make your own list from file-sharing programs.

Why the need for ROMs? (2)

Colin Winters (24529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973150)

I appreciate their usefulness, but what's stopping anyone from going out and picking up old games? Two days ago my roommate bought an atari 2600 and 20 games for 10 bucks. Are people really that lazy that they won't go to a local video game store which sells old games? (of which we have at least two in Champaign). I could understand using roms if you can't get ahold of the cartridge-stuff like Ogre Battle or Chrono Trigger are really, really hard to find. But on the whole, I think getting ROMs is just laziness, and as long as the games are available for purchase if you look hard enough, they shouldn't be downloaded.

Colin Winters

Re:Why the need for ROMs? (1)

?erosion (62476) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973213)

1. Save states
2. Speed up/slow down gameplay
3. Reliability
4. Educational purposes.
5. Game Genie codes done easy
6. Playback demo movies made by other players

Just a few reasons. I wish this stuff had been made available for purchase, but it hasn't. So gamers are forced to go underground to get these sorts of functions. It's not a matter of buying the carts; the carts are old hat. They are limited by their physical platforms. An emulator can add to a game's usefulness and value.

Re:Why the need for ROMs? (1)

Tall Rob Mc (579885) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973229)

Are people really that lazy that they won't go to a local video game store which sells old games?
Yes.

However, laziness isn't the only reason for the popularity of emulators and ROMs. Anyone who has owned an original NES system knows that oftentimes, even after only a year of use, they start to require multiple attempts before a game properly loads. I can't even count the number of times I've had to pick up the Nintendo and blow into it (to the point of hyperventilation) just to remove enough dust (or so I thought) that the game would load properly. The main selling point of ROMS to me is that they work every time, which can hardly be said for a 20 year old Nintendo.

seems good (1)

wastedbrains (588579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973153)

This is a good idea. I know it is similar to mp3.com but honestly this is the kind of battle that really needs to be fought. It is alot harder to say something like this breaks copyright when the original game is a legal copy.

Just like the mp3.com thing (3)

mo (2873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973155)

This is just what cost mp3.com 400 million bucks. The problem here is that when you copy the ROM from the chip to disk, you are making a copy of a copyrighted product for commercial use. This is illegal. It doesn't matter what you do with the ROM images on disk, once you make the copy you're screwed. The only way for this to work would be to rent the physical rom chips.

Legal Questions About Console Classix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973158)

http://www.consoleclassix.com/legal.htm

At least they did their homework.

Good luck to them.

Oh Yeah (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973183)

This is yet another false layer of security... No offense, but I've seen this scheme before, and it just doesn't make sense.

Ok, so... user downloads a file as long as there's one available according to the system... Ok, so then when the user is done, they "check it back in" and the program deletes it/changes permissions/so forth to the local copy... What's to stop the user from keeping a copy while it's "checked out?" It IS saved on his machine... Even a user with rudimentary knowledge can break this system so they get to keep the files.

Wanna hurt the MPAA/RIAA'? End Media Addiction (5, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973204)

The problem can be traced bck to the most basic economic principle: supply and demand. The fact that there are so many people out there who are trying to create the latest flavor of file-sharing only proves that there is still a huge demand for media. Naturally, the industries do whatever they can to make a buck off of that demand, and prevent anyone from taking that market-share away from them.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. The various media industries view us not as citizens, but consumers. We all know this, and many of us resent that fact. The solution? Stop being a consumer!

I am not a psychologist, by any stretch, but I would suggest that some people are downright addicted to media. For some, they need to have music playing all the time. Others seek only to collect hunderds of gigabytes of media they may or may not have any intention of viewing/listening to. These are the people the xxAA's want to sink their hooks into, because there is the most money to be made from them.

So how about this. Cast off your media addiction and go do stuff that shows the various entertainment industries that they and their product are not needed/wanted. Find other hobbies/activities that don't support the monopolistic organizations. Maybe pushing the idea too far here, but maybe take up a sport!

We will always be considered consumers first as long as we behave like consumers. If we want to show the entertainment industries that we don't like what they're doing, remove yourself from their market pool.

Probably copyright infringement, ala my.mp3.com (2)

Eric Seppanen (79060) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973205)

Anybody remember the my.mp3.com lawsuit? The court found that making a copy of a copyrighted work is infringement, even if there's a real, honest, copy out there somewhere restricting who gets access to the copy.

So as far as the law's concerned, it doesn't seem to matter one bit that there's a stack of legal cartridges in the corner. If copies have been made and are downloaded to customers, it's infringement.

Just another area where common sense and judicial rulings disagree. Of course, my.mp3.com was just one case, and maybe another judge will disagree.

It's no different than renting... (5, Interesting)

Kakarat (595386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973207)

It's just more convenient this way. I remember there was a business in town a while back that rented software for the PC: games, applications, antivirus software (you know for those only needing temporary virus protection!). They lasted for many years until they were threatened with a legal suit because the rented software (typically for 3 or 5 days) which promoted piracy. So they shutdown for a few days then came back with a new policy: selling the software at their old rental price and after 5 days, if you haven't returned it (for any reason at all - no questions asked) then they would charge you full price.

So if they physically have the ROM and can provide a good checkout system, then how could this be any different than renting the game at blockbuster? Even if the ROM could be copied...the same argument could be said about renting the game at a video store. Besides, SNES and NES games are getting to the point that they aren't selling hardly at all.

Fat Chance (5, Interesting)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973210)

I don't think Nintendo would like this one bit [nintendo.com] . They state quite clearly that they are against ROMs, Emulators, and the like. I'm pretty positive Nintendo would come down hard on anyone who would try such a thing. I even know of "underground" ROM sites that don't put up any Nintendo ROMs for download for fear of being shut down by Nintendo. They're highly agressive with their IP.

Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3973236)

If this ends up catching on, the game for you as an author will no longer be to create something of enough importance that it will be of interest to the greatest number of people over the next few decades, but rather it will be to create a sensation that results in the greatest number of people experiencing your art simultaneously. It will be a matter of the 1-day fad, where everything will be hyped worse than today's "we-the-entertainment-industry --
of-the-united-states-of-america --
have-ordained-that-X-is-the-summer-blockbuster .
You-will-see-it-within-opening-week --
resistance-is-futile".
It will be a matter of getting a million people to view your art simultaneously, for then you have sold a million copies. (Versus a scheme in which your artwork is interesting for decades to come, but is viewed in a staggered scheme. I'll read it today, a friend of mine will read it tomorrow, etc."
You wouldn't need many copies of War and Peace to allow everyone in the U.S. to read it sometime or another.
Many less than would be required to let everyone hear the new Spears single just as it comes out....

Is that what we want of our artists? To create 1-day sensations? Or lasting works of art....

I think that a much better scheme would be like this: I as a consumer will allow my devices to record, in an anonymous way, all the art that I consume. I will receive all art for free, but will pay $80/month for the privilege. In a month a person has 30*24*60*60=2,592,000 potential seconds. Of the seconds that I use up, each author gets her share of my $60.

The problem in this second scheme arises when the quality of the art, or possibly the amount of time one spends on it, is not in proportion with the amount of time spent on it. For example, an accurate map of an uncharted island is possibly worth a great deal to you and to a few other people who must navigate it, but although the whole of the work must be accurate (a difficult prospect!) it takes very little time to look up the part of it with which you yourself are concerned. Another example: If I am reading a scientific study that tells me that I should not be willing to try recreational drug xyz because of its inherent dangerous-ness, (or conversely, that I should have no qualms about trying marijuana, because of its inherent inoccuousness) this information (more specifically, the scientific process and wealth of research behind it) is worth a great deal to me, even though I might spend very very little time actually reading in detail the publication of those results. Do you see? I might want the information in a huge $90 book of scholarship, but that information might take me 5 minutes to take, "on faith".

So a good system of compensating our artists addresses the following issues:
1. The greater extent to which the art becomes a lasting part of our cultural heritage, the more the artist should be compensated. Genius should be its own reward.
2. The more frequently compelling a work of art is, the more it should be rewarded. Although an artist should be duly compensated for producing 1 work of such importance that everyone will want to be familiar with it (some highly successful movies are like this, many a book), in general if it's not a matter of "Have you seen this (once)" but "would you like to go see (that again)", the reward should be still greater.
3. Compensation should be commensurate to some extent with the amount of time and effort put in by the artist. We don't want artists "set for life" with 1 work of staggering genius, so that they are not financially compelled to produce more. At the same time, if that "one work of staggering genius" takes a lifetime of research, then there should be compensation for it.
4. Etc. (I have to go, sorry. This isn't a troll, but if my ideas are worth discussing, do reply, and perhaps I'll join the discussion.)

Clever idea... (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973237)

Its a good idea, but they probably will have to have a deal like public libraries or the local video store in the end... but honestly, with the climate today I think it will just end up in court, the (record/movie/game/insert-another-here)industry is terrified by anything distributed digitally and its get no better if its done by a P2P network.

Suggested this a while ago (2)

digitect (217483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3973240)

Wow, I suggested this not too long ago on SlashDot:

"High speed CD brokerage house" [slashdot.org]

Nice to see someone implementing it.

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