It's been widely reported that Archive.org has added more than 2,300 classic DOS games to its virtual database. This set includes a handful of Origin selections including Space Rogue, Ultima VI, Pacific Strike and Chris Roberts' Bad Blood, among others. The internet has had a field day with this story, and few sites have stopped to ponder the legal ramifications involved. Of the few places that have touched on the subject, most simply point towards the Internet Archive's DMCA exemption and party on. If you actually read the thing though, it clearly states that the exemption applies to media that depends on obsolete hardware - which then sets up a virtual Catch-22 since DOS emulation works really well on today's machines. Of particular interest is that some games have been removed this week. Wing Commander Academy, which is available for sale on GOG, was just pulled from the site. It's not clear what the circumstances surrounding this are, but it seems that there may be some sensitivity to games that are still being sold today.
There are heated arguments both ways that posting games like this can both help or hurt a long lost franchise. We're very proud of the fact that the CIC carefully avoided posting WC games online before modern digital distribution arrived - all the while working behind the scenes with EA, GOG and others to push for a legal way to obtain Wing Commander again. It'll be very interesting to see what comes from this latest development!