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Old 07-17-2008, 05:39 PM   #43
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle area, WA
Posts: 50

Originally Posted by Cornellius View Post
The thing is that, roms are legal for those who owns the real cartridge. My copy of Zelda - A link to the past broke (can't save my game anymore, battery is messed up), so emulating it is the only way I'm able to play it. The problem is that nobody respect that rule.
ROMs are legal for -you- to make if you have the means of dumping a backup. It is, according to the companies that have enough money to succeed at suing your butt, illegal to provide ROMs for all-and-sundry to download, especially if said company is currently distributing any form of the original game (such as through the Virtual Console). Also, if there is -any- encryption on the game cartridge/CD/what have you, the DMCA makes it ILLEGAL to bypass that encryption even if it's a Caesar cipher. By any method. It's illegal to record a DVD with a camcorder pointed at your TV screen because the DVD is encrypted.

I play ROMs, but I have no illusions about the legality of such. Hell, I started playing Zelda: LttP on the Wii via emulator recently, for exactly the same reason you gave, but I know it's not legal since I can purchase it for Virtual Console. The fact that I own the cartridge means exactly zilch; my cartridge is WELL past warranty. It broke, boohoo. I'm supposed to buy a replacement for it. I'm cheap and I don't want to, but I also know I'm using a less-than-legal method to get around it. I did not make that backup I am playing. Just because no one else knows that doesn't make it legal, it just makes it impossible to prove in a court of law.

And then there's the Mickey Mouse Rule. You cannot use a character that is currently under copyright. Sonic, Mario, Link, Samus, Kirby, all those characters cannot be duplicated in any fashion because they are owned wholly by their corporations. Just like how you can't legally draw a picture of Mickey Mouse and use it for your own gain unless it's for educational purposes or satire, you can't distribute a ROM of a game that contains a copyrighted character. This doesn't mean you'll actually get in trouble for it; litigation is expensive and has no guaranteed return. But it's still illegal.

I personally condone the playing of ROMs on emulators. It's the best way to experience old games outside of hunting down the original cartridge and a system that still works. I cannot suggest it as a -legal- pastime though.
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