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Emulators

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Do you guys think it is ok and legal to use emulation programs )such as project64 and dolphi) to play roms that you already own for the sake of making walkthroughs and cheating?
 

Kybyrian

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Didn't I already answer this one?
Emulation is legal, but ROMs are actually not legal. Emulation really has no point without ROMs, so in reality putting emulators to any actual use is illegal.

Keeping that in mind, linking to ROMs is against our forum rules, so avoid that in this thread. No one's done it so far, this is just for future reference.

However, be sure to place your topics in the correct section in the future. We have "General Discussion" and "General Gaming". This falls under General Gaming.
 

Ventus

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I personally think that emulation betters the community, if done right. What is done right, you ask? Well, there is no direct, completely correct answer to that question. I believe "done right" means within limits. For example, Game A released for the Sega Genesis, created, devved, published, etc by Company A, is no longer in circulation. Also, Company A was dissolved without transferring its rights to any existing company. As far as I know of copyright laws and the like, no other company can take that game as its own IP without taking necessary steps as far as buying out the company. With off hand emulation, Game A could be revived. Maybe even Company A could arise from the dust of no workers!


There are obvious limitations to this idea. I admit that.

There are many reasons why people use emulation. Lack of money to obtain said game is one. Greediness is another. And simply testing out your computer is yet another. I personally use emulations for walkthroughs, and I know many big YouTubers use emulation for walkthroughs rather than the actual game under the invigorating idea of "it is more convenient for me to use emulation rather than track down the game that probably costs XXX amount of money".

Emulation, in a sense, does eat at the money the companies make. Don't ever listen to those who say that they emulate only to try out the game before buying; more often than not someone who can get a game for free will not be seeking to legitimately obtain the game. For one, there is no reason to, seeing as how you already "own" it.


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Many people use emulation to get access to games that they no longer can play. Examples being Ocarina of Time v1.0, which is incidentally the best version to do glitch runs on. Anyway, I've actually read that emulation, emulators and what not, can possibly go against some game companies' terms of use.

This is the closest I can get to emulators, not ROMs, being illegal:
Nintendo - Corporate Information said:
Yes. Personal Websites and/or Internet Content Providers sites That link to Nintendo ROMs, Nintendo emulators and/or illegal copying devices can be held liable for copyright and trademark violations, regardless of whether the illegal software and/or devices are on their site or whether they are linking to the sites where the illegal items are found.
Obviously, Nintendo in one way or another sees emulators as illegal. However, I found this to be contradicting:
Nintendo - Corporate Information said:
How Come Nintendo Does Not Take Steps Towards Legitimizing Nintendo Emulators?

Emulators developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software promote piracy. That's like asking why doesn't Nintendo legitimize piracy. It doesn't make any business sense. It's that simple and not open to debate.
Nintendo uses emulators, as does Sony and any other major company that somehow allows playing of a port. For example, the Nintendo Gamecube collect "Zelda:Collector's Edition" is actually just a bunch of ports, ran on the GC's ability to emulate. The Wii's Virtual Console is also just software emulation as well. That is partially why some games haven't been released, and why others have fatal errors that weren't present in the original release; emulation isn't perfect and it is doubtful it ever will be.

Here is Nintendo's stance on Emulators and ROMs:
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#emulator
 

Zorth

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I have an emualtor (PJ64) and play all the good old 90's games that totally rocked and I used to play back then.
I see no problem in playing a game on an emulator if you already own it.
IMO playing any N64 game on an emualtor should be legalized, Those games aren't made anymore anyways.

However what's cheap is when people try to emulate new games..
I'm pretty sure somebody will try to play SS on their Dolphin emulator, That's just disrespect to Nintendo.

But emulators tend to lag and crash totally random, So if you want the best experience (for newer games) then I recommend buying it.
 

Ventus

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That is a point that Nintendo has addressed, Zorth:

People Making Nintendo Emulators and Nintendo ROMs are Helping Publishers by Making Old Games Available that are No Longer Being Sold by the Copyright Owner. This Does Not Hurt Anyone and Allows Gamers to Play Old Favorites. What's the Problem?

The problem is that it's illegal. Copyrights and trademarks of games are corporate assets. If these vintage titles are available far and wide, it undermines the value of this intellectual property and adversely affects the right owner. In addition, the assumption that the games involved are vintage or nostalgia games is incorrect. Nintendo is famous for bringing back to life its popular characters for its newer systems, for example, Mario and Donkey Kong have enjoyed their adventures on all Nintendo platforms, going from coin-op machines to our latest hardware platforms. As a copyright owner, and creator of such famous characters, only Nintendo has the right to benefit from such valuable assets.
And then there's this fact:
Haven't the Copyrights for Old Games Expired?

U.S. copyright laws state that copyrights owned by corporations are valid for 75 years from the date of first publication. Because video games have been around for less than three decades, the copyrights of all video games will not expire for many decades to come.
Source: http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#emulator
 

blubb

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We had a very similar discussion about that some while ago, so maybe an admin or mod can merge the two threads (I'm too lazy to find the other one right now).
My personal opinion is that, even if it's still illegal to download a ROM for a game you already own, I think that it's not illegitimate (there's a difference!)
And furthermore, if it weren't for emulation, I most probably wouldn't be the big Zelda fan that I am now. I never owned a N64, only a SNES (on which I played and enjoyed aLttP). I never played Ocarina of Time before 2007, but I didn't want to buy an expensive N64 plus game on ebay, so I decided to emulate OoT (yes, illegally) and really enjoyed it and got interested further in the series. Eventually I bought Twilight Princess, a 3DS and OoT3D and I will also buy SS, as well as a WiiU when it comes out, things I probably wouldn't have done without emulating OoT before. So in the end, Nintendo made a profit which they wouldn't have made without emulation, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one.
Furthermore, emulation allows users to play the games at a much better quality than on the original console. Even old games like OoT look a whole lot better when played in 1080p instead of 240p, especially if you own a 46" TV. This is even more true for Twilight Princess, which looks very blurry when played on the Wii but crystal-clear when played using Dolphin (and yeah, I invested quite a bit of money and time by buying a LG DVD drive which is able to rip Wii games (€30), a bluetooth USB stick (€20) to connect the Wiimote (my sis has a Wii+motes), some IR LEDs, resistors and a perforated board (€15) as well as a better graphics card (€170) but it was worth it!)
And you can be sure that when SS comes out, the first thing I'll do after buying it will be ripping the game and playing it with Dolphin in Full HD because such a great game deserves it and shouldn't be watered down by blurry 1950/60s graphics (yes, the 480/576 line NTSC/PAL standards are that old!).

Botton line: Even if copyrights can theoretically last for 75 years or even more, Nintendo should do a bold move and freely release every game that is older than 10 years for everyone to download and maybe even release their own good emulators. Why? Because they don't make any significant amount of money with such old games (they aren't even produced anymore) so the theoretical loss would be minimal. On the other hand, with this kind of advertising they could gain a lot of new fans which would then pay for their newer products (just like I do) and maybe even gain a lot of public reputation by doing that (people could think "Wow, they're the first company to do such a nice move!"). All in all, I'm convinced that such a move would make them much more money than they could lose.
 
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I'm pretty much against ROM's unless you already own a copy of the game. I find it wrong to play a game for free while so many others have spent hard-earned cash on the product. That said, emulation is very tempting and I found myself fall to its allure during the Japanese release of Pokemon Black/White. (But I only played the first 10 minutes so I feel less guilty. 8D)
 
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i've heard several times that playing games on an emulator is legal as long as you own the games that you're playing on the emulator
 

athenian200

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I don't believe that hardware emulators are illegal. They're protected for the sake of allowing anyone to develop software for given hardware, so that they can't legally "lock" people out of developing for a given platform. In other words, emulation and/or hacking of consoles to run unauthorized code is legal, but only for homebrew games designed to run on Nintendo systems. Emulation of commercial games is illegal, however.

That's the legal stance as far as I know. However, my personal moral stance is that we should be able to emulate games we already own, and games that have gone unreleased in the US (especially if we import them and then apply translation patches)... after all, we've already paid for the software. Why should we be deprived of the product in the future if the physical media breaks? What if it's not made anymore and we need a replacement? Is it fair that we should just have to do without it because the company that holds the copyright isn't publishing it anymore?

I just find it upsetting that the companies are allowed to tell us "No, you guys in this region can't play so and so game," or "We're not going to make this game, so you don't get to play it anymore unless you track down one of the aging physical copies that will eventually wear out, and then no one will ever be able to play it again. Deal with it." It just doesn't make sense... software doesn't NEED to disappear like other things. They're just putting arbitrary restrictions on it to make it age out of existence.
 
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I wouldn't call emulation illegal because if it was illegal, why haven't they banned websites that offer ROM's and emulators? And what about games that are near impossible to find or play like BS Zelda? The only way I would call it illegal would be if you were trying to emulate games that have just been released or are fairly new.
 
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Apr 4, 2012
I say its perfectly fine. Thats a great way to test games as well. For example Earthbound, I downloaded it and absolutely loved the game that I bought myself a copy(used of course).
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
I wouldn't call emulation illegal because if it was illegal, why haven't they banned websites that offer ROM's and emulators?
"They" have. (ROMs/ISOs/BIOSes specifically, not emulators alone.) Many sites have been taken down due to copyright infringement.

Under US and many other countries' laws, distributing (or having someone else distribute to you) copyrighted ROMs, BIOSes or ISOs without the rights holder's permission is copyright infringement. Doesn't matter if you already own the game or not. (You can, however, often rip your own copy of the game legally though.) That said, while downloading a ROM/ISO for a game that you already own violates the letter of the law, it doesn't really violate the 'spirit' of copyright, since you did in fact pay for the right to play the game.

Emulators in and of themselves are legal, since they imitate hardware interfaces (which cannot be copyrighted) and they (usually) do not contain another party's copyrighted code.
 
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