Freespace 2 and me never remembering things...

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
I'd think they are killing the possibility of that game ever being released again in a bundle like EA replay.
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
When's the time you've seen a bundle of 80's PC games? Especially the more unknown (but no less awesome) ones?

90's games are different IMO, they actually have a chance of getting bundled and are usually possible to obtain legitimately.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Oh, I know it doesn't make it any more legal, but what is 'right' depends on the person. I believe that the bigger crime is to let a great old game die forgotten than to spread it to the masses. Other people take the opposite view of what is 'right'.

And don't forget that if the copyright holder doesn't want a game to be distributed as abandonware, they can tell the abandonware sites to take down the download links. You see a lot of abandonware sites were they have places for games, but the downloads are removed. I have not *once* seen a download removed for an 80's PC game. It's pretty obvious that pretty much all of those developers and copyright holders either couldn't care less that their old 80's games are being downloaded -- there are probably some that actually support it.
You're mixing two separate issues, however. It's true that current copyright laws are entirely out of touch with reality. The idea that copying, say, a Spectrum game from the 1980s should be considered theft is as ridiculous as the idea that scanning a document from the 1600s should be considered theft. Copyright laws need to change, and gradually they are changing. Regardless of all this, however, the law is the law, and theft is theft, so it's silly to call it abandonware and pretend it's legal.

As an analogy... we don't say that Robin Hood took abandon-money from the rich and gave it to the poor - we might think he was a nice guy for doing it, but we don't pretend that he wasn't actually robbing people.

(on a sidenote, the argument that abandonware is all right because game developers have the option of asking people to take it down is definitely very wrong, and not just in terms of being illegal - the physical property equivalent would be a thief breaking into your house, stealing your stuff, and arguing that it's all right because he'll return it if you ask him to)

I'd think they are killing the possibility of that game ever being released again in a bundle like EA replay.
Uhh... right. Like the way nobody ever tries to publish the Bible any more, now that it's been freeware for the past 2000 years. Downloading a game from the 1980s certainly is illegal - but if it was legal, it definitely wouldn't hurt such a game's sales. What's the average user gonna prefer - to download a game along with an emulator and spend hours trying to set it up and trying to remember how to run a game on a system he hadn't used for years (if ever)... or to buy the same game in a box, re-released for his current computer?
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
You're mixing two separate issues, however. It's true that current copyright laws are entirely out of touch with reality. The idea that copying, say, a Spectrum game from the 1980s should be considered theft is as ridiculous as the idea that scanning a document from the 1600s should be considered theft. Copyright laws need to change, and gradually they are changing. Regardless of all this, however, the law is the law, and theft is theft, so it's silly to call it abandonware and pretend it's legal.

I didn't argue that. I know that abandonware is illegal. I was just saying the same thing you just said, copying some unknown game from the 1980s and calling it theft is out of touch with reality.

(on a sidenote, the argument that abandonware is all right because game developers have the option of asking people to take it down is definitely very wrong, and not just in terms of being illegal - the physical property equivalent would be a thief breaking into your house, stealing your stuff, and arguing that it's all right because he'll return it if you ask him to)

I do think you're on to something here, but that analogy is pretty ridiculous. The thief breaking into my home has a direct consequences to my livelihood and wellbeing, and destroys my sense of security. Someone pirating one of my old games would at worst be an annoyance. The harm done from breaking into my house will continue to have a negative impact on my life even after the thief returned my possessions, while in the case of the software pirate there isn't residual negative impact.
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
IIRC HOTU is run by one guy. Personally, I believe that the site has done quite a bit of good -- and harm.

HOTU has done good by giving new gamers a better appreciation of older games (which, of course, helps to eventually lead new gamers to Wing Commander), but has also put a lot of newer games on their servers that shouldn't be there -- like System Shock 2 for instance.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
But what if you don't care about the game? For example, what if there is a game from 1988 called Star Command that you've never played before, but looks like it might be good. You do a Google search and it becomes evident that the odds are against you of *ever* being able to buy it legitimately.

Well, sure, I shot him... but I wasn't angry when I did i t! It's not the impetus that matters here -- it's the actual act.

That said, show me someone who can't find a rare video game and I'll show yousomeone who's either lying or lazy (or both). There's a huge group of people who collect, preserve and trade old video games. Maybe it will take me a month of posting notes and searching auction sites to find 'Star Command' -- but it's certainly, certainly something that can be done (and I speak from exerience, having tracked down quite a few rare games in my time -- if I can find the FM Towns port of Wing Commander II with a little bit of hard work, then you can find somebody's space invaders copy).


If you don't download the game from an abandonware site, you've just missed a great game, and I'm sure that the original developers won't be hurt *in the least* from you obtaining it 'illegally' (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many developers actually like the fact that newer gamers get the chance to appreciate their work). As someone who is taking a CS program and wants to get into game design, I sometimes like to look towards old games for inspiration. If I limited myself to not downloading any old impossible to find games, then there would be no way for me to investigate the *vast majority* of those games. Besides, I think that the more older PC games that people play the better. Something seems to be missing in most of today's games that was present in the 80's, and if no one in the generations to come (which will be the developers of tomorrow's games) played the older, impossible to find games than I think PC gaming would be heading in a very negative direction (the cynical might say in an even a worse direction).

These are all silly justifications that don't affect the legality or the morality of the situation in the slightest. There are all kinds of illegal and immoral things that would make my work or my personal life easier or more pleasurable.

The Ford Thunderbird has substantial value as a collectible, and is a physical object with material worth. IMHO It's a rather poor comparison to use against downloading old 80's games that are impossible to buy -- They have little if any value and no material worth.

That's absolutely wrong -- there's an extensive community of video game collectors, and a large market for such games. I've personally been involved in rare game sales that are roughly equivalent to the price of a nice used car... and then there are even getting to be rare games that sell for classic car-levels on the secondary market (Mt. Drash, for instance).
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
That's absolutely wrong -- there's an extensive community of video game collectors, and a large market for such games. I've personally been involved in rare game sales that are roughly equivalent to the price of a nice used car... and then there are even getting to be rare games that sell for classic car-levels on the secondary market (Mt. Drash, for instance).

It's not the files on the disks that are worth that much though -- it's the authentic package. That's why you can't sell a pirated copy of a rare game for thousands of dollars. It's one thing to download a rare game, but the feeling is entirely different when you have the box, manual, secret decoder, etc. It is worth noting that you can still sell the stolen car though.

Your analogy would work better if you said "stealing a game out of someone's video game collection is like..." but you didn't. You're comparing apples and oranges.

That's absolutely wrong -- there's an extensive community of video game collectors, and a large market for such games. I've personally been involved in rare game sales that are roughly equivalent to the price of a nice used car... and then there are even getting to be rare games that sell for classic car-levels on the secondary market (Mt. Drash, for instance).

And how many gamers have that kind of perseverance? maybe a few hundred? Insignificant although admirable.

These are all silly justifications that don't affect the legality or the morality of the situation in the slightest. There are all kinds of illegal and immoral things that would make my work or my personal life easier or more pleasurable.

Illegal and immoral are two different concepts. My morals are different than your's. I don't feel guilty if I download an old game from 1984, and from the sounds of it Quarto and others wouldn't feel guilt either -- obviously you would, and in a way I respect that kind of integrity.

It works the same way all over the world too. What's considered immoral in the USA or Canada can be different than what is considered immoral in Japan or Iran.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
It's not the files on the disks that are worth that much though -- it's the authentic package. That's why you can't sell a pirated copy of a rare game for thousands of dollars. It's one thing to download a rare game, but the feeling is entirely different when you have the box, manual, secret decoder, etc. It is worth noting that you can still sell the stolen car though.

People can, and do, sell pirated software -- in fact, just about any "abandonware" website you visit is doing *exactly* that... by making money off of advertisements while you download someone else's hard work.

Your analogy would work better if you said "stealing a game out of someone's video game collection is like..." but you didn't. You're comparing apples and oranges.

I've never understood this cliche. How is comparing apples and oranges wrong? They're two different things -- that's exactly the necessary prerequisite for comparing things. What's the message -- you can only look at how things are different as long as they're the same?

And how many gamers have that kind of perseverance? maybe a few hundred? Insignificant although admirable.

That's exactly the point -- "abandonware" isn't some high minded ideal, it's the lazy man's way out of having to put forth any real effort. If you want to do that, fine -- but don't pretend it's anything special or noble.

Illegal and immoral are two different concepts.

It should be pretty obvious that I know this, as I listed them as separate concepts.
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
People can, and do, sell pirated software -- in fact, just about any "abandonware" website you visit is doing *exactly* that... by making money off of advertisements while you download someone else's hard work.

You do make a point (though keep in mind that I don't support 'abandonware' in general, I only support the downloading of ancient games that would otherwise be horrendously difficult to obtain, so this strand of the debate is starting to diverge from the main argument), but the main difference here is that in the case of abandonware the person downloading pays nothing. The site owner gets money from hits, not downloads -- he is in fact losing money for every download since he pays for bandwidth. You can say that he indirectly makes money from downloads, and you would be right, but this is a lot weaker of an argument than if the money were directly made. However, without the right statistics showing how much money these owners make, and how much of it goes towards maintaining their sites, it is hard to tell if those owners are actually 'milking it' or not.

I've never understood this cliche. How is comparing apples and oranges wrong? They're two different things -- that's exactly the necessary prerequisite for comparing things. What's the message -- you can only look at how things are different as long as they're the same?

Sure, you can compare an apple to an orange and that's all good and well, but what that adage is trying to communicate is that you need to have similarity between whatever two things you are trying to link to each other to make a point. For example, I could say "How is downloading 80's games any worse than Kidnapping" but that would be stupid. While both are crimes, and something is stolen in both cases, kidnapping is obviously more sever and different psychologically than downloading an 80's game. It's 'comparing apples and oranges.'

That's exactly the point -- "abandonware" isn't some high minded ideal, it's the lazy man's way out of having to put forth any real effort. If you want to do that, fine -- but don't pretend it's anything special or noble.

I never argued that abandonware is noble. I'm arguing that downloading old, hard to find 80's games in order to gain an appreciation for game history isn't something that needs to be frowned upon. Your stance is obviously more noble than just downloading because you are taking the far, far harder path. I do however, disagree with your judgment of people who download old games instead of searching weeks or months for them -- you can't realistically expect people interested in old games to have that kind of dedication to a game they've never played before.

It should be pretty obvious that I know this, as I listed them as separate concepts.

Ok, granted. What do you think about morals differing from person and culture?


PS I'm actually kind of enjoying this debate. So far, It's been quite a bit more civilized than some of our previous ones :p
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
the main difference here is that in the case of abandonware the person downloading pays nothing. The site owner gets money from hits, not downloads -- he is in fact losing money for every download since he pays for bandwidth. You can say that he indirectly makes money from downloads, and you would be right, but this is a lot weaker of an argument than if the money were directly made.

What a load of awful semantics.

I never argued that abandonware is noble. -- you can't realistically expect people interested in old games to have that kind of dedication to a game they've never played before.

He never argued that they would.

Ok, granted. What do you think about morals differing from person and culture?

Ugh.
 

hurleybird

Rear Admiral
Yup. Pretty much anything before 1923 is in the public domain. When copyright was first introduced it only lasted like thirty years, but now, thanks greedy people, they last much longer... over one hundred in most cases.
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
There are basically three kinds of Intellectual Propriety protected by law: Patents, Trade Marks and Copyright.

Building on the example, while the possession of a 1956 Ford Thunderbird will last for as long as the object exists, you could, in theory, manufacture a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, because the related patents should be over by 1976. The related trademarks, however, will last for as long as they are used. Software is protected by Copyright, and, unlike Trademarks, it doesn’t need to be actively defended, which nullifies the entire concept of “Abandonware”.

The current protection of 70 years for software much larger the useful life, and there are some ideas to make the time of software protection shorter, or to establish conditions some conditions for the copyright holder like the necessity for support. Software companies tend to be predictably unhappy with this prospect.

“Abandonware” doesn’t exist from a legal perspective and doesn’t fit in any limitation or recognized Fair Use category. But, even if it did, it would be a limitation to copyright law, something against the will of the holder. If a company decides to make the game available for free, it's freeware.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I didn't argue that. I know that abandonware is illegal. I was just saying the same thing you just said, copying some unknown game from the 1980s and calling it theft is out of touch with reality.
No - calling it theft is absolutely normal, because it is theft. Saying that it should be called theft is out of touch with reality. In other words, as long as the current copyright laws are in place, it is theft - but you gotta be pretty crazy to argue that the current copyright laws are reasonable and do not need to be changed.

As for the duration of copyright laws, in the US the current term is 70 years after the death of the author (in other words - if Richard Garriott died today, Akalabeth's copyright term would expire in 2077). However, in the case of corporate works, the term is 95 years from the date of first publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first - so unlike Akalabeth, Wing Commander's copyright term will not expire 70 years after Chris Roberts' death, but rather in 2085 (95 years from 1990). The trick, however, is that until 1998, the copyright terms were 50 years instead of 70 years, and 75 years instead of 95 years - and when the copyright terms were extended, this was done retroactively for works that had already been published. And, since the copyright terms get extended every time Mickey Mouse approaches the end of its term, as far as we're concerned copyrights will never expire (...in the US).
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
Hell, even if you go to a site like HOTU you're confronted by a disclaimer that flat out admits that what they're doing is illegal. If you're downloading copyrighted material, you *are* stealing, because you are infringing copyrights and that is *illegal*. Whether the people who own said copyrights care is in this case irrelevant. This isn't a morality case on this level.

Abandonware isn't copyrighted software that suddently becomes free, "free" or "free ;)." It's slang for copyright infringement that said copyright owners aren't actively enforcing at the moment; it certainly isn't a legal term like shareware or freeware. Downloading said software doesn't mean that what you're doing is not illegal; it just means that you're less likely, or unlikely, to be caught for it.
 
Honestly this whole discussion is pointless.
The whole thing started with me not knowing that freeware can be also used for software that became free. In my personal thesaurus freeware was simply used for software being free from the beginning. This made it necessary to use the term abandonware to describe software which was charged once, but is legaly free now.
I also didn't know that abandonware is explicitly used for software which in not free, but is dealt with as it would be. These two strings formed the mix-up in my startpost (which made Loaf upset). I never asked for abandonware (in it's original meaning) but for freeware - so I don't see an reason to keep on fighting here. :)
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
This made it necessary to use the term abandonware to describe software which was charged once, but is legaly free now.

NO.
IT.
IS
NOT.


Have you even bothered to read this thread? Or even the post directly before yours?
 
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