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View Full Version : ROMs are not illegal


starjimstar
05-14-2009, 08:55 PM
The amount of ignorance here at Touch Arcade is astounding. ROMs are not illegal. To call it a gray area is an oversimplification as well. I can only speak for Canadian Law; the Canadian Copyright Act allows for what is known as "format shifting" or "time shifting." You are entitled to download games you have previously purchased to protect your purchases from rapidly changing technologies.

It is not an infringement of copyright in a computer program for a person who owns a copy of the computer program that is authorized by the owner of the copyright to
(a) make a single reproduction of the copy by adapting, modifying or converting the computer program or translating it into another computer language if the person proves that the reproduced copy is
(i) essential for the compatibility of the computer program with a particular computer,
(ii) solely for the personís own use, and
(iii) destroyed immediately after the person ceases to be the owner of the copy; or

(b) make a single reproduction for backup purposes of the copy or of a reproduced copy referred to in paragraph (a) if the person proves that the reproduction for backup purposes is destroyed immediately when the person ceases to be the owner of the copy of the computer program.

brendons
05-14-2009, 08:57 PM
yeah but at the same time

when people ask for ROMs

you FULLY know that they're talking about pirated games :p

i suppose TECHNICALLY ROMs are not illegal but at the same time

what else are they ever used for

supg328911
05-14-2009, 08:58 PM
what exactly was the point of this....and what is a rom (i did read this but still not sure what it is)

nooobynick
05-14-2009, 09:07 PM
what exactly was the point of this....and what is a rom (i did read this but still not sure what it is)

The roms are converted games, basically what you use to play games on an emulator(pokemon rom, LOZ rom, etc.)

brewstermax
05-14-2009, 09:08 PM
ROMs are not illegal. If you rip them yourself. If you get them from any other source, it is illegal. That is redistribution of pirated/illegal files. You can't do that. You can rip your own ROMs from the cartridges and use those, if you know how.

DaveMc99
05-14-2009, 09:11 PM
The amount of ignorance here at Touch Arcade is astounding. ROMs are not illegal. To call it a gray area is an oversimplification as well. I can only speak for Canadian Law

I am a bit surprised you started this topic.. it is obviously a gray area because the world is not governed by Canadian Law.
I don't know much about it but did find this page http://www.nintendowiiemulators.com/wii-roms.htm

"However, in the U.S. it has been illegal since 1983 for a user to create their own backups of video game ROMs. This was decided in the case of Atari v. JS&A-JS&A manufactured a "game backup" device that allowed users to dump their Atari ROMs onto a blank cartridge. JS&A argued that the archival rule allowed for this. The court disagreed, noting that ROM media was not subject to the same volatility as magnetic media (for which the law was created). Thus, not being so relatively vulnerable, ROMs were not applicable under section 17 USC 117."

CDubby94
05-14-2009, 09:12 PM
I don't know if I'm supposed to say this but I received an infraction for explaining how to get ROMs on your iDevice.

Point being if TouchArcade considers them illegal, then I'll listen to them while I'm on this site.

NotYou
05-14-2009, 09:17 PM
They're illegal because it's stealing.

"I downloaded this ROM because I already own the game" is equivalent to "it's medicinal, man."

starjimstar
05-14-2009, 09:19 PM
@brewstermax

You are partially correct. The distribution is illegal. In Canada, you can download without legal recourse, but distribution is illegal.

@supg

This was a response to a thread that was closed on false pretenses.

@Dave

I did not mean to suggest that Canadian law extends beyond our borders. I was simply clarifying that a blanket statement; "roms are illegal" is false. I would not label their legal status as a "gray area" because that dumbs down the issue. But you have sited your source so I will let the semantical dispute pass.

starjimstar
05-14-2009, 09:19 PM
They're illegal because it's stealing.

"I downloaded this ROM because I already own the game" is equivalent to "it's medicinal, man."

I sited my source. In Canada, it is legal. That is not in question.

brewstermax
05-14-2009, 09:23 PM
I sited my source. In Canada, it is legal. That is not in question.

Ok, sure in Canada. I personally don't care, file sharing has been around since the internet began, and always will be. Net neutrality and different countries with different laws keep it going. A hoster in China, giving a file to people in Russia, Japan, India, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, US, and UK, give all sorts of different laws on the topic, and thus, can't be stopped. I think that if you own the game or book or whatever, you should have a copy that you can use however you wish.

Eli
05-14-2009, 09:34 PM
I sited my source. In Canada, it is legal. That is not in question.

This site is owned and operated in the United States. For legal purposes, it really doesn't matter what is allowed in Canada, or any other country for that matter. If Arn got a DMCA notice for someone posting ROMs on Touch Arcade, it's not like he can just tell whoever sent it, "B...b...but ROMs are legal in Canada!"

starjimstar
05-14-2009, 09:44 PM
This site is owned and operated in the United States. For legal purposes, it really doesn't matter what is allowed in Canada, or any other country for that matter. If Arn got a DMCA notice for someone posting ROMs on Touch Arcade, it's not like he can just tell whoever sent it, "B...b...but ROMs are legal in Canada!"

I didn't know anyone posted ROMs on Touch Arcade. I didn't even think that was possible. Oh, looking at the attachment formats, it is acceptable for TA to host zip files. That is living dangerously.

As I mentioned earlier, sharing copyrighted material is illegal, so I am not suggesting TA should become involved in distributing such material. Though there is no harm in discussion and posting external links.

Eli
05-14-2009, 09:47 PM
Though there is no harm in discussion and posting external links.

Where do you draw the line? Should you be able to post links to torrents because copyrights don't exist in Sweden?

starjimstar
05-14-2009, 10:09 PM
Where do you draw the line? Should you be able to post links to torrents because copyrights don't exist in Sweden?

I am not entirely up to speed on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and we have nothing similar so you will have to tell me where that line is drawn. Does the act really include a gag order, as you suggest? I imagine, if that were the case, Google would be in a heap of trouble because their search engine returns links to torrents all the time.

Eli
05-14-2009, 10:13 PM
I am not entirely up to speed on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and we have nothing similar so you will have to tell me where that line is drawn. Does the act really include a gag order, as you suggest? I imagine, if that were the case, Google would be in a heap of trouble because their search engine returns links to torrents all the time.

The DMCA pretty much allows for anyone who holds a copyright to wage a legal war of attrition with anyone they feel has violated their copyrights. The reason you see organizations like the RIAA sending nasty letters to grandmas and college students is because they are easy targets for out of court settlements. If they ever did go to court, there's no way Grandma could afford to defend herself against the legal army of the RIAA, so she might as well just pay the settlement early and get it over with.

Google on the other hand is a serious force to be reckoned with, and the DMCA is a pretty ridiculous piece of legislation so I have a feeling if anyone ever tried to sue Google for DMCA violations it would end up being a multi-billion dollar landmark case in the US Supreme court that would end with the abolition or severe modification of the DMCA.

It's much easier for them to just send out threatening letters and sue anyone who refuses to meet their demands.

starjimstar
05-14-2009, 10:23 PM
The DMCA pretty much allows for anyone who holds a copyright to wage a legal war of attrition with anyone they feel has violated their copyrights. The reason you see organizations like the RIAA sending nasty letters to grandmas and college students is because they are easy targets for out of court settlements. If they ever did go to court, there's no way Grandma could afford to defend herself against the legal army of the RIAA, so she might as well just pay the settlement early and get it over with.

Google on the other hand is a serious force to be reckoned with, and the DMCA is a pretty ridiculous piece of legislation so I have a feeling if anyone ever tried to sue Google for DMCA violations it would end up being a multi-billion dollar landmark case in the US Supreme court that would end with the abolition or severe modification of the DMCA.

It's much easier for them to just send out threatening letters and sue anyone who refuses to meet their demands.

Sadly, you are correct. Large entities do not need to win so long as they can outlast (and they can.) I maintain that I am right in principle, but you make a fair point as well.

Eli
05-14-2009, 10:36 PM
Yep, that's the way it goes with a lot of laws in this country, sadly. A lot of things SHOULD be legal that aren't, and I'm right with you in that you should be able to legally back up the junk you buy. ROMs, music, whatever. If I had kids and bought them a bunch of DVD's, you bet your ass I'd rip the DVD's and re-burn them to have copies they can destroy while I keep the originals in case I ever need to make another copy. This doesn't mean my kids would be trading their burnt copies of Toy Story on some kind of grade school black market, it just means I'm protecting my $20 investment when they decide they want to use the disc as a frisbee.

Stuff like that just seems to be common sense. Unfortunately, without millions and millions of dollars to back you up, you'll never be on even footing to argue the common sense violations of the DMCA in court against the RIAA/MPAA and anyone else who uses the DMCA to threaten/exploit their customers.

jchampl
05-14-2009, 11:35 PM
since people from all over the world access this site, roms are "illegal", if they can be illegal is some places then they have to be illegal on the forums. since not only canadians and people that actually own the games are the ones downloading them, it's simply much easier to not allow them all together.

reinhart_menken
05-15-2009, 12:03 AM
I am a bit surprised you started this topic.. it is obviously a gray area because the world is not governed by Canadian Law.
I don't know much about it but did find this page http://www.nintendowiiemulators.com/wii-roms.htm

"However, in the U.S. it has been illegal since 1983 for a user to create their own backups of video game ROMs. This was decided in the case of Atari v. JS&A-JS&A manufactured a "game backup" device that allowed users to dump their Atari ROMs onto a blank cartridge. JS&A argued that the archival rule allowed for this. The court disagreed, noting that ROM media was not subject to the same volatility as magnetic media (for which the law was created). Thus, not being so relatively vulnerable, ROMs were not applicable under section 17 USC 117."

I agree with you that it's Canadian Law.

However, the law is ever-changing (well not as literally), so I'd say not to take a case as the end all, especially when it comes to digital copyright like games.

A quick googling revealed that their ROM backup machine was prohibited from being sold because the court didn't buy the "backup for archival purpose" reasoning because JS&A claimed that their device can be used to backup the 9 Atari games that they allowed for backup (so they're claiming their backup device is meant for just that 9 games out of thousands).

In the later Vault v. Quaid case the judge decided that it was legal to make copies for archival purposes.

Problem with legal/case examples people use is that people always thought it's the end all example. It's all just theory until you test it in court.

ps. It'd call that grey :p Doesn't get "greyer" than that.

Benegesserit
05-15-2009, 08:31 AM
Gotta love the betamax vs sony trial then the napster trial. Precedent setting cases don't mean jack in the US. There is more "whiteout" on the constitution than ink by now.

markx2
05-15-2009, 08:35 AM
This site is owned and operated in the United States. For legal purposes, it really doesn't matter what is allowed in Canada, or any other country for that matter. If Arn got a DMCA notice for someone posting ROMs on Touch Arcade, it's not like he can just tell whoever sent it, "B...b...but ROMs are legal in Canada!"

Example:
They ask Arn, he says No.
They go to the webhost and they may say No.
Then they go to the upstream provider who say to the host "Remove that or we turn your business off" and yes it does happen, I see that type of email. These are not things you negotiate with, you just do it.

And they can do this for even linking to them.

SSJGohan3972
05-15-2009, 09:42 AM
I sited my source. In Canada, it is legal. That is not in question.
It is technically legal to make your own copy of a game for backup purposes, but downloading a rom from any source is illegal, and most emulators while not illegal themselves would not work without illegal peices of software, for instance:

any playstation emulator will not function without a copy of the PS1 BIOS code, and it is illegal to have the PS1 BIOS code outside of the physical chip itself, so in that case even if the person owned a PS1 it would still be illegal to have a working emulator for it so roms would be useless.

starjimstar
05-15-2009, 03:06 PM
It is technically legal to make your own copy of a game for backup purposes, but downloading a rom from any source is illegal, and most emulators while not illegal themselves would not work without illegal peices of software, for instance:

any playstation emulator will not function without a copy of the PS1 BIOS code, and it is illegal to have the PS1 BIOS code outside of the physical chip itself, so in that case even if the person owned a PS1 it would still be illegal to have a working emulator for it so roms would be useless.

I don't know where you got your information. That is all false.

@jchampl - I strongly disagree with your stance of removing everybody's rights and freedoms because; it's simply much easier to not allow them all together. It is everybody's personal responsibility to understand the laws governing their own countries. Not everybody sees the same internet, anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_People's_Republic_of_Ch ina