WTF Nintendo?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by flu!d, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Aha, now we're getting somewhere.

    I purchase a cartridge copy of Super Mario Bros, and ask Nintendo for a legal copy of the game that can be played on an emulator (perfectly legal option). Nintendo inform me I need to purchase A SECOND LICENSE to play the game on modern hardware.

    I don't want a second license. I want to play my current license. Nintendo have no options for me. What now? Tough shit?

    If the option is to purchase a sub-par, unlicensed "Famiclone" console (also perfectly legal, as the patent on that expired a long time ago), why would I do that when open source software exists that offers a far superior and more accurate software emulation experience? There are also good quality FPGA consoles out there, but they cost a fortune.

    So in cartridge terms, like, someone with a ROM dumper who can dump the ROMs and provide me with a copy? You see where this is heading, right?

    I'll re-repeat what I said above: I'm not for either extreme. I'm against mass copyright infringement, but I'm also against Nintendo's breech of what I consider fair use. There is a middle ground which I think requires (a) Nintendo to not treat their audiences like complete arseholes and (b) audiences to not take the piss, and pay for what they use fairly.

    Again, I refer to the GoG model, which shows to me that fans and copyright holders are capable of meeting in the middle on sensible ground, where people get paid for work, and customers get to move things they've paid for around to different platforms without penalty.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  2. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    18,459
    I believe people that owned original media that failed through age and use should have a 'legal' right to obtain a replacement ROM for software they still own licensing for.

    If Nintendo themselves do not provide the ability to source replacement software for the original hardware and ROM sites are the only way to obtain such media, than I believe that technically there may be a legal loophole regarding copyright law. If there isn't than I believe copyright law regarding vintage software is outdated and needs to be amended.
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I feel like I'm going over old territory here, but the problem is not that copyright is "out of date" per se, but rather that copyright law has been extended over and over again:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

    The law was actually quite sane to begin with. There's been considerable legal efforts from several groups (Disney and Sonny Bono's estate, of note) to extend copyright well beyond reasonable terms to the ludicrous, anti-consumer levels of today.

    Had the law remained at the "28 years" originally conceived, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
     
    flu!d likes this.
  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    And hey, while we're talking copyright, let's talk about Nintendo's breech of it.

     
    flu!d likes this.
  5. Grant

    Grant Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,512
    Location:
    Wollongong
    Also not a lawyer, but my understanding is that copyright law doesn't really care about what's in the end user's possession. Copyright literally protects the "right" to "copy" a work, in the context of those copies going out to other people, so you can only violate it by making a copy available to other people, not (in this narrow scope) by receiving a copy.

    So it might not be illegal to download a ROM from the Internet (maybe it is, maybe there's other laws involved), and it might be morally justifiable if it's technically equivalent to dumping code from a cartridge you own, but it only violates copyright law for the ROM site to make a copy for you, whether or not you have a right to own it. It's definitely not legally equivalent to stealing, as the tacky "You wouldn't download a boat" ads would suggest.

    That's why all the scary threats of lawsuits that have been targeted at end users in relation to music and movie sharing have been limited to technologies like BitTorrent and Napster-style software, where you upload as well as download: they're different things in terms of copyright.
     
    elvis and flu!d like this.
  6. xsive

    xsive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,343
    Why is the copyright holder responsible for you being able to exercise your rights to licenses obtained for outdated media?


    No, I dont see where you're heading. I also don't see a problem with dumping ROMs from your own cartridges or finding someone to do it for you. Among the other things I don't see is the the argument (from Nintendo) that game copying machines are illegal because they provide functionality that lets people infringe copyright.

    There are very few material differences, that I can see anyway, between the GOG model of licensing and the way licenses work for old games on physical media. In both cases you acquire a license to software. You can back up that software (i.e. make copies) for your own use, and you can run that software and its copies on whatever machine has the ability (I think Nintendo disagrees with this last part). If you buy a physical copy of the game on eBay, GOG is not required to provide you with a digital copy. If you lose access to the files (and to GOG.com), your license doesn't give you the right to make a copy of the game from someone else.

    Obviously physical media is more of a PITA to access and it's easier to lose the ability to exercise your rights if your cartridge disintegrates. But you run a similar risk with GOG if they ever go out of business. Yes you can store the things you downloaded in the cloud and use emulators until forever but I think the same is true for personal ROM backups (ignoring Nintendo's objections about only using authorised hardware).

    I've already outlined, in my earlier post why I think this is unreasonable. I'm happy to discuss these issues but I don't want to go around in circles.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    18,459
    So don't go round in circles.

    Just because you made the post by no means indicates that I have to agree or be bound by your opinion. I disagree entirely with what you believe. If you don't like that, I don't care.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    18,459
    Totally agreed, the laws have been manipulated by capitalist multinationals and the laws have to change to reflect the rights of the consumer. Copyright law was never intended to be a marketing tool. The laws are being used to promote, effectively, forced obsolescence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  9. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Ignoring the last few pages of arguing in circles for a moment, I wonder what the dollar cost of all of this legal action is to Nintendo. Clearly they see protecting their brand as worth it (and that's fair enough). But I wonder if there's an actual, measurable, dollar amount of profit that they see in return for this legal action - i.e.: if shutting down ROM sites means they sell more NES Minis.

    I know we'll never find out, but it would be interesting to see the figures.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    18,459
    All they really need to do is threaten a ROM site and the owner will cave, no ROM site can hope to take on big bad Nintendo. I doubt theres much of a legal cost involved.

    I honestly believe the impact on sales would be negligible, enthusiests know how to gain access to ROMs irregardless of how many sites Nintendo shut down. I honestly believe enthusiests would buy a NES mini no matter how hard Nintendo try to shut down ROM sites just to once again own a piece of Nintendo history.

    Non enthusiests would buy the NES Mini as they have no idea alternatives exist, illegal or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  11. xsive

    xsive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,343
    OK, that's fine. I didn't realise your position was ideological. If I had, I wouldn't have bothered trying to engage you. I guess there's nothing left to say. We disagree.

    Seriously? Bloody hell.
     
  12. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It was a segue caveat, not an invalidation of your opinion. I appreciate everything you've added to the thread, and diverse opinions on this topic are both valid and welcome.
     
  13. Grant

    Grant Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,512
    Location:
    Wollongong
    One interesting factor in the copyright debate is the rise DRM, and its use as a legal protection more than a technical one. In my opinion it's another case of media industries (like game publishers) trying to assert control over and influence the public, beyond the rights of copyright law, and it's been paramount in the shift of opinions over the last few decades as media has moved to digital distribution.

    The DMCA was the first big push for this, which basically says "if there's a protection measure on a copyrighted work, it's a crime to circumvent that measure, even if you're not violating the copyright yourself". If you read the Wikipedia article on it, you'll see there were a bunch of exemptions that had to be granted where that breaks down - where there were clear rights that people had that were restricted by DRM, including obsolete protections on video games. So the USA itself explicitly granted a right to users to continue using copyrighted video games that they bought, that were no longer supported in their original format by the publisher.
     
    flu!d and Phido like this.
  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Motherboard have an interesting article up:

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/...tragic-and-totally-legal-erasure-of-rom-sites

    Interesting quote from Bennett Foddy (PhD, professor, game designer and teacher):

    "If I was teaching poetry, I could send a student to read nearly any poem written since the invention of the printing press, but in games my legal options limit me to, I would guess, less than 1 percent of the important games from history,"

    Some good suggestions towards the end that companies should provide a "Netflix/Spotify for old games" service. Ironically, this is similar to what Nintendo are offering with their upcoming "Nintendo Online" service.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  15. Bert

    Bert Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,463
    Location:
    Brisvegas
    All the philosophical posturing and arguing technicalities are pointless....

    It's simple, Nintendo own the material. They are pursuing people who are distributing their material without authorisation.

    I've heard the "legally make a backup of a game, or download a game, I already own on a different media" argument for decades. It's not what all this is about. It's about people getting upset because their easy access to tens of thousands of games (which they download, despite not owning in the first place) has been taken away by the copyright holder.

    Any other argument is raised to justify one's position against Nintendo actions.

    Historical archiving... no one gives a crap
    Being able to download a rom because my cartridge broke... yeah, right.
    I once bought this game (and later sold it or dumped it), which somehow should give me the right to download it now... ok.
    … insert next justification here …

    These are all rubbish arguments.

    We are upset because Nintendo is threatening the retro-gaming community, pure and simple.

    I don't like it any more than any of you guys, but let's leave BS arguments justifying why people should have the right to download thousands of roms from third party websites.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    18,459
    No one's justifying anything, people are discussing the consumers rights regarding products they legally purchased and the use of copyright law in a way it was never originally intended to be used - As a method for the manufacturer to force obsolescence onto the consumer, therefore selling them licenses for software they already own.

    The whole concept of "You wouldn't download a 30 year old car" is a joke and no matter what Nintendo do these ROMs are always going to be fairly easy to obtain, especially considering you can download them in seconds.
     
  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    They aren't.

    It isn't.

    The law is designed to protect the people. People are enormously wide and varied in their make up. More importantly, the law needs to reflect the attitude of the times, and laws can change.

    Copyright used to be 28 years. The law has been changed several times, and now it's "death of the owner plus 75 years". And when the "owner" is "a corporation", and one like Nintendo that's been alive for 128 years (not a typo), that means things are very different than the law originally intended.

    If corporations (made up of people) can lobby to change the law, individuals (people) can protest changes to the law, and lobby for their own changes. What you describe as "pointless philosophical posturing" was already done by others to change sensible laws into ill-fitting ones, and discussion about how ill-fitting the changes were is not, at all, pointless.

    Wrong forum to throw that argument around in.

    90% of film made before 1930 is gone. Lost forever. That matters, *especially* because it was the birth of an entire craft and industry.

    There are countless video games lost to time already, because nobody bothered to preserve them. And the only ones doing the preserving, at all, are doing it "illegally".

    *I* preserve games "illegally". My website contains tape dumps for Sega SC-3000 games, both commercial and homebrew. I put them there because they're important - most of them are Australian and New Zealand games that can't be commercially purchased anywhere, and represent the dawn of commercial video game production in the country I was born in. That puts me at a lot of personal risk, but I don't care. If one person ignorant to this history learns something from it, then it was worth it.

    No, Nintendo are threatening ROM distributors. Outside of some quite feeble token attempts, they're ignoring the retro-gaming community.

    And here's the real kicker - Nintendo tell us it's too difficult to sell certain games because they can't figure out who actually owns the licenses any more, and it's too expensive to bother offering them commercially. But then claim to have the authority to remove all ROMs (not just the ones they have copyright claim over) from sites giving them away. A point few people have picked up on, and one I find the most ironic of all. Not because they're wrong (because they're not), but because the argument that these games existing online interfere with profits and don't need to be preserved are the complete opposite for at least 50% of the not-Nintendo-owned titles that Nintendo are responsible for pulling down.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
    flu!d and Zenskas like this.
  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,791
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Retronauts contributor and long time games journo Chris Kohler writes a great article on the issue:

    https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/08/i...ion-to-dying-games-and-broken-copyright-laws/

    Excellent commentary on how copyright has changed over the years, and what librarians call the "20th century black hole" of media (which spans all media, not just video games).

    More interestingly, he directly quotes senior game developers from the NES and SNES era, and asks them their opinions directly in the matter. Not surprisingly, few are against ROMs and emulation, and one even admits that he not seeing any royalties from his old games, despite hard line stances from lawyers.

    Quoting the best line of all:

    "If game publishers could continue to pursue consumers where they are, rather than where they’d like them to be, we could get to a point where complaining about ROMs sounds as quaint as complaining about Napster."
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
    Grant likes this.
  19. Bert

    Bert Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,463
    Location:
    Brisvegas
    Matters to you... not necessarily to the bulk of retro-gaming fans. And why is this the wrong forum to 'throw that argument around in'? I'm stating my opinion. Just because it doesn't conform with yours it doesn't mean I can't state it in this forum, does it?

    Ignorant is probably the wrong word. Just because someone isn't interested in a particular video game system from decades ago, it doesn't make them ignorant. If we were to define ignorant by that standard, then every person on this planet is ignorant.

    Correct. ROM distributors facilitate retro-gaming (Hyperspin, Retropie, etc..), hence, they indirectly threaten the retro-gaming community.

    PS. I'm aware how long Nintendo has existed as a company. You didn't need to add "not a typo" :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  20. fredhoon

    fredhoon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Messages:
    2,708
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Your logic appears to be flawed, prior to recent efforts from licence holders there were near zero avenue to pursue retro gaming, let alone widen the audience. ROM distributors were an integral part of the retro gaming community, without them it wouldn't exist.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: