ESA: Preserving Old Games With Hacking Encourages Piracy

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ESA: Preserving Old Games With Hacking Encourages Piracy

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ESA is blocking efforts to preserve classic games on the basis that hacking is a crime.

There's a growing concern right now that most classic games we grew up on will be impossible to preserve for future players. DRM software, out-of-date hardware, and licensing issues will make it extremely difficult for historians to study these titles - especially once servers providing access shut down. That's why the Electronic Frontier Foundation proposed an exemption to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, allowing anyone to alter games to make them playable when publisher support ends.

Sound great? One problem: The Entertainment Software Association - alongside the MPAA and RIAA - are opposing the exemption on the basis that hacking game files encourages illegal piracy.

This issue revolves around Section 1201 of the DMCA. As the law stands, if you hack a game's files to circumvent DRM, you're breaching copyright and committing a crime no matter what your intent. The EFF's exemption would allow access controls to be circumvented for third-party historical preservation. But according to a blog post by the EFF, the ESA doesn't want to send a message that "hacking-an activity closely associated with piracy in the minds of the marketplace-is lawful".

The EFF continued by saying that hacking is well within the boundaries of the law, and that the ESA knows it. "Of course, 'hacking' is legal in most circumstances," its post reads. "ESA, the spokespeople for a group of software companies, knows this full well. Most of the programmers that create games for Sony, Microsoft, EA, Nintendo, and other ESA members undoubtedly learned their craft by tinkering with existing software.

"If 'hacking,' broadly defined, were actually illegal, there likely would have been no video game industry."

In response, the ESA sent The Escapist a copy of its Copyright Office filing, which states that Section 1201 is essential for the industry. "The proposed exemption would jeopardize the availability of these copyrighted works by enabling-and indeed encouraging-the play of pirated games and the unlawful reproduction and distribution of infringing content," it reads.

The filing goes on to state that the ESA isn't against the preservation of games - and in fact has taken action to preserve such titles itself. "The Entertainment Software Association worked with the Smithsonian Institute to offer The Art of Video Games, which was one of the first exhibitions exploring the evolution of video games as an artistic medium," it continues. "ESA also has partnered with GlassLab, an unprecedented research and development effort that is exploring the potential for existing digital games to serve as powerful learning environments and providing real-time assessments to improve student learning."

Source: EFF

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fucking stupid......
i mean, of course cracking current games shouldnt be condoned, but old games? games you cant buy anywhere except used? why the hell not?
its not like anyone loses money if i crack a game that is 10+ years old that i cant buy ANYWHERE. but oh noooooo the poor publishers..... they didnt earn enough money with the game because im cracing it after they jumped the ship and abandoned their product! poor guys!

Hey, remember this nifty little thing called "Fair use" doctrine? The one that allows me and any other guy or gal to do basically whatever the hell we wish to do with our own personal copy of the product except for directly messing with immaterial intellectual property rights and selling copies of the copy? Well, I do.

You are concerned with people downloading illegal copies? Deal with those people and "dealers". Leave people who are within their rights given by aformentioned doctrine alone.

P.S. Sorry if I've maid any legal mistakes in my post.

This is like saying that athletics should be discouraged because it encourages people to run away from the police.

K12:
This is like saying that athletics should be discouraged because it encourages people to run away from the police.

That's why we have bullets :)

But to be on topic...

How are you supposed to play some of these games? And the idea of having an art gallery for gaming isn't really an option. What nonsense is that? That's the equivalent of saying that you can only look at the advertising poster for The Wizard of Oz, but no one could watch the movie.

K12:
This is like saying that athletics should be discouraged because it encourages people to run away from the police.

That's why we have bullets :)

But to be on topic...

How are you supposed to play some of these games? And the idea of having an art gallery for gaming isn't really an option. What nonsense is that? That's the equivalent of saying that you can only look at the advertising poster for The Wizard of Oz, but no one could watch the movie.

I shudder to think what would've happened if these chuckleheads had been around throughout human history. We wouldn't know about Shakespeare, or the Iliad, or Don Quixote, nothing. Nobody would know Beethoven's music, no one would see any paintings. Art NEEDS to be preserved, good or ill. "Oh no, what's important is making sure this stuff is profitable now. Who cares if future generations miss out? I'm not from the future generation."

I'm trying to figure out what possible harm this could be doing to publishers. If they're at the point where they're abandoning support for a title, they're obviously convinced that sucked that particular well dry. So what do they care if a few hardcore fans decide to continue supporting that game on their own time?

K12:
This is like saying that athletics should be discouraged because it encourages people to run away from the police.

Ok, you got me, that was both perfectly accurate and hilarious.

My main problem with copyright law is right here. If the copyright holder now lacks all ability to profit from said copyright, then "violations" should not be prosecute-able. My current favorite example is the Deadpool game. In a world choked with mediocre to terribad licensed games, Deadpool stands as a pretty damn good and hilariously spot on interpretation of what a Deadpool game should be.

Unfortunately, the only way to buy it now is as a used copy for 360 or ps3 because disney removed it, and pretty much every marvel game that they had the right to removed from digital distribution when they acquired the rights, shortly after it was released. So now the only way to get the PC version of the game,if you didn't buy it before it was removed like me, is piracy.

It is flat out impossible for Disney to profit from the sale of the game since THEY removed it, but the law attacks people for wanting to play a game that no one wants to sell them.

Captcha: THAT'S ENOUGH
Either it's agreeing with me or telling me to shut up...

Just because they think you're a criminal regardless of your intent, doesn't make it true. Intent is a very important part of every activity, and what differentiates innocent actions from crimes. These guys must be American, right? Only they could have such a perverted and primitive view of legal system. For fuck sake, even ancient Romans took intent into account. Modern legal systems were mostly based on Roman law. Only the most primitive legal systems throughout history didn't. And now America is one of them. Just the other day they convicted 11 teachers for RACKETEERING and now they're facing up to 20 years in prison for helping kids cheat on some tests. In any sane country they would simply be fired. In America, that can get you 20 years. Fuck that country. No justice whatsoever.

Who would successfully pursue this? Especially against a person who owns a license to the game and is just trying to get their copy to work?

Hacking old games to make them work after they have been abandoned does encourage people to pirate the games being hacked. That seems fairly obvious, I cannot play many old games I grew up with because I cannot go out and purchase Sega Genesis Cartridges from a store, and I have fondness of a few notably shitty games that have constantly been passed over for being re-released in "Classics" packages by Sega. With literally no way to acquire the games from the publisher, my choices are either to risk getting scammed buying second hand or find emulators that have preserved the old shitty games I grew up with. I generally just give up and move on but if I were ever at all motivated to play those old games, I would go the emulator route because it is by far the most convenient.

I find the implication that replaying an old game that has been modded to work on your system would encourage you go out and pirate the latest triple A titles interesting in that it doesn't really make any sense. There has been zero progress in stopping piracy, as games have become more popular, so has piracy of those games. Pirates already modify games to work, DRM is patched out by pirates, I sat next to a kid in a psychology course as he pirated the Devil May Cry reboot the week after it came out, he got it running by the end of class on his laptop. I don't know what sort of anti-piracy measures the game had but they were gone within a week.

If I were still a teenager and overly concerned with societal injustice, the ESA saying preserving old games encourages piracy would encourage me to pirate games far more than the EFF attempting to archive games for future generations. EFF seems to be doing something good, while the ESA is telling us we cannot do something, which is a more compelling idea to teenagers?

Fortunately, it seems like regardless of the ESA and DMCA, emulators exist and seem to be thriving, so at least games from the early 2000's and older are at least secure for future generations.

Seriously... [email protected]$k the ESA. And while we're at it: [email protected]$k the MPAA... and RIAA(whatever the [email protected]$k that is).

This one goes out to the ESA as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHwBD6r9r5c

Here's hoping that enterprising individuals do all they can to build up an archive of abandoned games and keep it safe from these outdated, out of touch businessmen.

It's odd how, when set against opinions like these, the internet can be seen as the entity that makes the most sense of the two. Especially when you consider that the internet is essentially made up of porn, games and videos of cats.

We can talk about a blanket, zero tolerance ban of "hacking" (lol) if nobody has "piracy" left as the sole option to get their game to work due to DRM and if old games are compatible with every system and fully available for purchase to anyone at all times.
Until that day comes, kindly fuck off and good day to you.

This is what happens when copyright law allows companies to defend their IPs to absolutely ludicrous degrees.

Speaking of archiving, did you know that about half of the films made prior to 1950 are just gone forever? Just gone forever, poof, in the wind, and we're not just talking about home movies either.

Thats what is going to happen to games prior to 1990.

Major Kong:
I'm trying to figure out what possible harm this could be doing to publishers. If they're at the point where they're abandoning support for a title, they're obviously convinced that sucked that particular well dry. So what do they care if a few hardcore fans decide to continue supporting that game on their own time?

Keep in mind the No One Lives Forever re-release stalled because three separate companies went 'We wont let you buy the license because we don't know if we hold the rights, we don't care to find out if we do have the rights, but if you release this and we do have the rights we'll sue you.' That should really sum up the attitude we're dealing with.

well, I'm calling copious amounts of bullshit on that,

also

good luck stopping anyone archiving these games for the future, fuckers, you retards can't even stop pirates of modern games, let a lone some one downloading something 5+ years old.

What the...
What???
I mean... who... why are these people so ... @$%^...

Warhammer 40k's universe seems more logical then real life. That is sad.

Really? They're whining that an official foundation shouldn't be allowed to preserve games "because hacking paints piracy in a good light." Guess what? Data in any form is sensitive and doesn't last forever. Motion and still picture film degrades, magnetic media loses its charge, optical discs oxidize, and even flash memory has a storage life. They can also be accidents where someone deletes the wrong things, or the media is destroyed, and no proper archive exists. Sega lost the original code to Sonic CD! The HD remake was a complete recreation done by a fan (who likely would have been (or was) on the ESA's bad side until he was hired by Sega to fix their fucked up).

I think that as many groups as possible should be preserving as many different works as they can, because of how hard it is to preserve decades worth of material. Except for the original rights holders, they shouldn't be allowed to distribute anything or profit off of their records, but when a work's copyright holder refuses to make something available on the market for a few years, it should become public domain.

Reading the above comments about the Deadpool game and No One Lives Forever just proves copyright law in the US is one of the most broken things, in a massive pile of flawed, out of date laws. What was supposed to originally protect the artists has, in the last century, been manipulated to protect the interests of corporations who only funded those artists (or stole from them, in many cases), and it's getting so bad that even the customer who is willing to pay a reasonable price is getting screwed.

There is a simple reason for their response, and it is this.

We live in the era of reboots.

A thirty year old game that hasn't seen a sequel in that time and has been all but forgotten is still considered a valuable property based solely on the possibility that it's I.P could be used for a reboot of it's franchise. So if they allow people to make the games free and modify them then they feel they are losing control of their intellectual property somehow, because corporate lawyers are trained to be psychotically obsessive compulsive about that sort of thing. Even if they had no plans, past, present, or future to ever revitalize an old property, the possibility, however remote, still exists that they COULD and thus they cannot allow anyone to touch it.

You know what encourages piracy? Companies placing themselves in direct opposition to their customers. This isn't about people trying to get games illegally. It's about people trying to play the games they already own. I don't expect a publisher to continue to support a game they put out 20 years ago, but the people who bought it should be able to engage in self-help to play a game they paid for.

My reaction to the licencing issues that got in the way of No One Lives Forever's preservation was "well that's a shame, but it does happen." My immediate reaction to the ESA wanting to actively block game owners from continuing to play the games they bought? "Fuck you." There were other thoughts I'm not allowed to express on this forum, so I won't directly reference them.

Yeah, pissing off your customers will probably encourage more piracy than letting them continue to use the products they paid for.

Grr...!

To my mind, it all boils down to one phrase:

when publisher support ends.

How can you "jeopardize the availability of these copyrighted works" when those copyrighted works are no longer being offered by their original publishers at all?

Is the ESA saying that the right of venture groups to usurp the names and libraries of older companies and profit from publishing "nostalgia packs" decades later is more important than the hundreds of games that could fall through the cracks and never be functional again?

Or are they worried that audiences will realize the "updated" versions of classic works don't actually hold a candle to the originals?

Or that given a library of older games, companies won't be as able to entice consumers with the latest round of chrome, smoke, and mirrors from long-held franchise entries?

Far too many great works of cinema have only survived because of reels held in the private hordes of collectors, rather than the movie studios themselves, which often failed to properly preserve their own archives. Video games could enjoy an enormous digital resource of tens of thousands of such "collectors", a collection that could grow instead of degrade... Except for foolish laws and short-sighted implementations of them.

I truly hope the EFF prevails.

:l . . . . .
*Sighs* Seriously? It's because moron's like this guy are in charge that make me fucking grumpy. It's not the fucking 90's anymore! Someone fire this guy and hire some new-blood that actually knows what the word "hacking" means.

Because downloading a 5-10yr+ old game and hacking has literally NOTHING to do with one another.
Anyone with half a functioning brain that's fresh out of high school could tell him the difference.

I'm seriously in the mood to write a giant post on why everything that he says is fucking stupid. But you know what? No.
If he doesn't understand the basic concept of hacking then It's not even worth the time.

So fuck this guy. Period.

Surprised no one has trolled in this thread yet with the usual case of missing the point by stating that, technically no one owns a game, only the ridiculously limited license to the game because EULAs, legal dump, and other bs.

Anyways, I can't help but appreciate the insanity that even with so very many examples of how much history is lost when preservation isn't allowed, that the ESA -- the same ESA that argued for games as art before the Supreme Court only a few years ago -- will gladly throw away so much of gaming history in the name of possible profits. So many of these rightsholders now are just slumlords: though they own all of these properties, they do nothing of real value with them yet still demand their full due when they demand it! Sega took a Golden Axe recode down a few years ago since they thought it would compete with another one of their lazy repacks and somehow that is fine.

Only thing more angering than the companies doing this, at least, are the consumers that defend it. Don't see any of that in this thread so, progress?

I strongly support the preservation of games, so the ESA can go fuck itself. The DMCA is bullshit, that's the bottom line. Copyright law needs to be reformed, and not in a way that's good for publishers/developers. It wont happen, because we can't have any laws that tell businesses to go fuck themselves without certain individuals screaming about socialism or whatever (with exception to rare cases like Net Neutrality, but even that had people arguing against it), but it needs to happen.

Am I the only one that wondered what the European Space Agency had to do with this before opening the link?

There are already several abandonware sites out there that already do this sort of thing, hell there are even rom sites that show up as top results on Google with full ad support with games that are still being sold and the emulators to play them.

Piracy is already at full saturation, so whatever fantasy world they think they are preserving is nonsense.

I'll tell you what.

Release every single game you've made, patch it so it works, then slap it on Steam or GOG or your own bloody webstore, I don't care, and then I won't need to crack old games to play them.

If Konami put out all 3 original Silent Hills, not HD, just lift the data off the disks and put that online, I'd pay full £40 for at least 2 & 3.

I am willing to pay. It's these publishers who are not willing to let us pay, but then forbid us from getting it any other way. Fuck that.

Let me pay for it. Or fuck off.

Isn't archaeology theft then?

Weresquirrel:
I shudder to think what would've happened if these chuckleheads...

image

Chuckleheads... I'm totally using that.

OP: Everyone's asking why they're doing this but isn't it obvious? What with all these HD collections suddenly becoming the "in" thing to do these days for various reasons, publishers are now doing their best to take back ownership of classics they've formerly forgotten in order to resell them in HD.

In other news, according to gamers ESA can go fuck themselves. More news to follow.

People will do it anyway.

Try and make your little laws. When they are phenomenally idiotic don't be surprised when people completely ignore them.

Oh for fuck sake! There is always a new evil. They are not doing this to stop piracy, they just want power the greedy bastards. It all ends with making money. Anyone who isn't scum knows that this is a huge dick move.

ah, silly people doing more silly stuff. the benefit of preservation of those games are so great that any possible cracking of games that should have been public domain by now anyway is completely and utterly irrelevant. what ESA doing here may be legal, but its also a crime to human culture.

Its also funny how they do this to discourage piracy when im certain this will encourage it. if internet is good at anything its in sticking the middle finger to these people. im sure the piracy rate of these games has just quadripled.

Mister K:
Hey, remember this nifty little thing called "Fair use" doctrine? The one that allows me and any other guy or gal to do basically whatever the hell we wish to do with our own personal copy of the product except for directly messing with immaterial intellectual property rights and selling copies of the copy? Well, I do.

actually thanks to updates in the law circumventing built in DRM is not protected under fair use.

FoolKiller:

How are you supposed to play some of these games?

This right here is a very good point. You can no longer play the first Assasin Creed game because the DRM server is down and game thinks not being able to connect to a down server means pirated copy, hence crashing to desktop. Now, you can still play it if you make it think you do not have internet, but apperently they want to make that illegal. As online DRM has pretty much started around that time, id bet we will see more and more unplayable games as time moves on.

Strazdas:

Mister K:
Hey, remember this nifty little thing called "Fair use" doctrine? The one that allows me and any other guy or gal to do basically whatever the hell we wish to do with our own personal copy of the product except for directly messing with immaterial intellectual property rights and selling copies of the copy? Well, I do.

actually thanks to updates in the law circumventing built in DRM is not protected under fair use.

No no no no, I know that. This is what I actually meant. By creating DMCA USA took away most of the rights consumers enjoyed for at least century.

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