Video Game Makers Sue ROM Archives
11:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
According to a report from the AP presswire, a coalition of major video game makers (including Activision Inc., LucasArts, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Midway Amusement Games and Capcom Entertainment) have come together to sue four individuals accused of operating web sites which distribute "ROMs," electronic images of video game EPROMS that can be used in conjunction with emulators. The suit seeks to shut down the sites and asks for monetary damages which could total $150,000.00 per posted ROM file that is found to be in infringement of copyright law.
While the article is frustratingly short on details or links to the sites in question, it does open up once again the debate over whether ROM distribution (for "evaluation purposes only," as many sites mention in their disclaimers) is a legitimate practice. The companies that hold the patents and copyrights for these games allege they are experiencing monetary loss from this distribution; emulation fans say the games are "abandonware" that is no longer being sold, and their actions are taken to preserve games that can no longer be played on arcade machines after the death of the 'arcade' as a cultural phenomenon.
This line of argument is watered down considerably by the more recent phenomenon of some sites distributing ROMs for current console systems such as the Nintendo64 and image files of Playstation CD-ROMs; Nintendo and Sega have successfully shut down many sites which posted ROMs for their console systems.
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Additionally, several of the sites in question also offered 'warez' copies of popular PC games as well, which explains the inclusion of companies such as Microsoft. Read the AP article for more details, and be sure to voice your thoughts on this volatile issue in our forums.
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