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Old 10-31-2009, 09:21 AM   #1
Colco
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Default Question and comment about emulators

Hello New member to the site here and wanted to comment first on something i've seen regarding emulators and roms, oh about, 3 months ago. It was at one of those computer shows I was attending that I saw the Super Mario Bros. 3 game on a tv screen and thought this vendor was selling original Nintendo systems, and I saw a cd disk laying in front of the tv, making mention of an emulator and roms, and this vendor was selling these disks.

Right before I registered here, I noticed a FAQ question on the main website, it was number 4 I believe...


*Is it legal to spread cartridge ROMs?

NO. Nobody seems to care though, mainly because there is no profit to be made from ColecoVision software any longer. Nevertheless, be aware of the fact that by using commercial software you haven't bought you are commencing an act of piracy.*


This is my main thing I want to ask. If its illegal, acts of piracy etc, then how was this vendor getting away with selling cd's that had both the emulator and ROM's?

I personally haven't seen any article, no thing in a document telling me that spreading emulators and roms is illegal, wouldn't mind viewing a couple articles about it tho.

But, this person here selling this stuff at a computer show, (actually it was 2 shows I had attended back to back, the same vendor was there) that HAS to be illegal, number one making profit off programs that he isn't even licensed to sell, and probably breaking a lot of copyright laws on top of it all.
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:40 PM   #2
InVerse
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How was he able to do it? In the same manner that drug dealers are able to sell heroin. He didn't get caught. (Though, in their defense, heroin dealers are at least selling a product they didn't steal from someone else.) Chances are, Nintendo didn't have a rep at that convention. If they did, his ass would have been shut down immediately. Had I run into that guy, I would have made a very loud spectacle about how what he was doing was illegal and how anyone could obtain what he was selling for free on the Internet. In fact, if the organizers didn't immediately shut him down, I would have sat down right in front of his booth and informed anyone that considered buying his CDs exactly what he was doing. (I got someone kicked out of a mall a few Christmases ago for doing something similar.)

Spreading emulators isn't illegal if the emulator was released under a license that allows for such, which most of them are. There are some emulators however (Magic Engine being the best example) that are released under a commercial license, making it illegal to distribute them.

As for the ROMs... Distributing a commercial ROM is no different than distributing a commercial mp3.
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:51 PM   #3
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Your right, it is generally illegal (in most countries). Think of it as the equivalent of selling a bootleg DVD off the street. Lots of people do that and never get arrested or fined, but it is still illegal.

Its not so much bundling the ROMs with the emulator that makes it illegal. Its just the sale or redistribution of unlicensed software that is the issue. If they sold just the emulator, it may also be illegal, if the license of the emulator disallows sale. If they gave it away it would also be illegal.

Read the "Legal Status" section for more detailed information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROM_image
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:36 AM   #4
The 9th Sage
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Indeed...they probably just didn't realize what he was doing. I know people have gotten shut down for things like this before...for example, those NES systems with built in games in what looked like a Nintendo 64 controller (at least I'm pretty sure it was that particular device). Used to see them being sold in mall kiosks here in the US, now you see them no where. I was reading, evidently Nintendo eventually found out (as you might expect) and sued the pants off of them.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:50 AM   #5
Colco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The 9th Sage View Post
Indeed...they probably just didn't realize what he was doing. I know people have gotten shut down for things like this before...for example, those NES systems with built in games in what looked like a Nintendo 64 controller (at least I'm pretty sure it was that particular device). Used to see them being sold in mall kiosks here in the US, now you see them no where. I was reading, evidently Nintendo eventually found out (as you might expect) and sued the pants off of them.
Yes I remember those N64 controllers with the built-in games. I think that whole entire thing was a rip-off, because I first saw it with a friend of mine at a mall probably 7 or 8 years ago, before or near 2001.

The vendor there at the mall was tellin me that it had 70,000 games if I can remember correctly, and when you read the fine print, it wasn't anywhere near 70,000, but each game had X amount of difficulty variations so they'd push each game variation off as a game too.

What really got me was when I asked how much it was, he says, how much do you think it would be? I forgot the answer I gave him but I remember having 20 bucks less than what it was, and he was going to sell it to me anyway. I passed because it just didn't feel right.

Good thing then that they are off the market, tho I believe I remember seeing them at the computer show too, not 100% sure about that.

Have any news links on the company being sued? I can't seem to find anything about it.

Last edited by Colco; 11-01-2009 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:59 AM   #6
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They can still easily be found. I'm pretty sure I've seen them on Amazon in the recent past. It'd be a bit hard to have even 7,000 games, though, considering there are only around 2000 NES games and that's when you include Japanese, American and European versions of the same game.

There are several different variants aside from the N64 controller shaped ones. Just do a search for "NES on a Chip" if you're interested in seeing them.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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You probably can find them on the Internet (from what I read, the chinese company that manufactures them still does so). Haven't seen one in a mall in a really long time though. Also, I can't find where I saw that information about the lawsuit...I'll look some more though. Chances are I'll eventually remember where I saw it (annoyingly I can't find anything in my history that suggests it's the right page)..
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Last edited by The 9th Sage; 11-01-2009 at 03:06 PM.
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