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So I see all the mods throw a fit when users request commercial products. Personally I don't see a problem and sense this is a international forum are we really held by American Copy Right laws? And if users want to share links to stuff posted on there own dropbox or drive than who's right is it to stop them from doing so? I asked for a game that was no longer being produced and the mods throw a fit just because it was a payed game.

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You saw the chief mod explain the rules. The games are commercial, they aren't declared abandonware, and they're under Copyright. The rules are quite clear about that.

Sometimes--very rarely, though--we allow people to share things that would be difficult to get or which are otherwise unreasonably restricted; these are usually not games but components or software that no reasonable person would feel shouldn't be generally accessible, provided that every effort has been made to procure the stuff by legitimate means. But I've never known a case where we haven't been very clear that such sharing is only to the extent necessary to overcome general unavailability. We would never allow the forum to become a vehicle for general unauthorised software distribution. Put simply, we have a social heart, and aren't copyright maximalists, but we are against outright piracy, respect peoples' moral rights and the work people do. We therefore allow only what is reasonable and disallow the rest.

MODERATION:

Moved to Site & Forum Feedback, of course.

Just myself, as usual.

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I agree with sebby, but even if I didn't, there is this.

The owner of this web site has the right to decide what he will or will not allow to happen on his site, just as he has the right to decide what is allowed or not allowed in his home or place of business.

They are the owner's rules, respect them. If you don't like them, no one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to come here or to use this site.

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4 (edited by jacob100 2017-08-15 19:03:33)

@hurstseth405

Virtually all nations are signatories to the  Berne Convention and  are members of WIPO, so public copyright infringement is not something to be taken lightly anywhere.

To the moderators, unfortunately there is no abandonware or special needs exemption to copyright infringement, and the forum may actually lose its safe harbor under the DMCA, in case  its owner or moderators either fails to  act upon receipt of a valid DMCA notice or acquires actual knowledge that the material is infringing or facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent.

The knowledge exemption to the safe harbor is of particular concern if a user explicitly request something illegal and the moderator or owner fails to remove the subsequent thread.

Note that a forum is not by default protected under the DMCA's safe harbor but must jump through hoops including registering a DMCA agent for processing notices and must -- though  the particular conditions aren't well settled -- enforce a repeat infringer policy.

Also note that tolerating copyright inducement is by itself something that may bring down the hammer on a site operator by raising red flag knowledge.


Asking for a an abandoned game may seem innocent but if protected by copyright, the forum should probably just ban the user to avoid further trouble.

And no, I don't like copyright at all, but explicitly and publicly encouraging copyright infringement is  not very smart.

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I mean, @4, that's pretty much the fact of the matter. If my legal knowledge serves me correctly, because I'd imagine the forum would be considered doing business in the united states, I'd imagine you'd be subjected to US copyright law, but I'm not an attorney, and international law is pretty hazy anyways, so I'm not sure. I'm very curious to know what would happen if a particularly grumpy copyright holder who's rights were infringed via use of this site were to catch wind of it. Me thinks it would be good to hope that that never happens, as that would be a very big mess for everyone involved.

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Juris diction with regards to websites is weird and unweildy. I would think that, being hosted in the Netherlands, the site would be under Dutch law, but ianal.

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@CAE_Jones

A site  operator  can't   avoid being sued in his home country by hosting his site overseas.

A US operator can of course be held responsible  under US law.

But  in this case, this  doesn't really matter because Netherlands  is a signatory to the Berne Convention and a member of the European Union.

The EU has its own intellectual property framework which happens to be as strong as US law.

So pick your poison.

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@4: Thanks for the insight. I am not in the US and this site is in the Netherlands, but I am quite sure that if the forum received a notice from a copyright owner, we'd gladly take the content down. After all, the notice would confirm the holder's continued interest. But I'm pretty confident this would never happen very often, if at all, because the nature of the content concerned is usually that it was once freely available and it has since simply disappeared from the Net, or it is something for which the requester already has the license of some kind which they otherwise couldn't exercise. It would I think be foolhardy to deny that this happens, for the most trivial of reasons, like somebody not having the right runtime installed, or needing to use an older version of a program for an older OS. From an ethical standpoint, I think causing the copyright holder in such extraordinary circumstances the small added inconvenience of filing a complaint is probably the very least we can do. I am no lawyer, though, so maybe we should actually consult the site's administrators, who have the relationship with the web host that would act on any complaint received. In any event we will always refuse to promote piracy for its own sake and defend creators where we are aware that there are clearly legal avenues for getting the content. A general rule might be that if you can Google it, we won't tolerate discussion about distributing it on this board. We always err on the side of caution and do not simply assume commercial content is freely available because it can no longer be purchased, since the author might still have a copyright interest in it. We generally require that the software be declared abandonware wherever possible, and use our best judgement (usually based on the extended length of time since last release or update) in other cases. I recall one instance where we linked to another page with some abandoned games on another mainstream site. As it happens, that game collection was ultimately later published as a mobile app, so maybe I should track that link down and purge it, and it's evidence that age is not always an indicator. In any case, as we cannot possibly claim to be the ultimate oracle on which obscure content may or may not still be available long after it was thought to be defunct, we are of course glad for any reports we get about content you think infringes, or discussion of it (please use the Report function for this). In general, we try to walk the fine line as best we can, and it's worked out just fine so far.

As for copyright in general, I think it is one of the few things we can reform for the better after Brexit. The EU copyright directives, even as amended by the most recent package of reforms, are still thoroughly corrupt--worse than the US DMCA on technical protection measures for instance (US trade representatives heavily lobbied, of course)--and there are far fewer exemptions. In the UK, our Personal Copying Exemption was overruled by the European Court of Justice, to the delight of copyright maximalists everywhere. Still, it is really not copyright I hate, as such, but this hard-line neoliberal interpretation of it. In itself, copyright is absolutely necessary.

Just myself, as usual.

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@Sebby

In order for a work protected under copyright to become abandonware, the rights holder must actually   grant permission.


And the person stating that the work is now freely distributable must actually have the legal right to act. And that gets complicated, if the intellectual property rights are held by an entity which no longer exists and all its assets have been transferred to another entity.

You can't take a single  ambiguous statement or promise from the purported author at face value unless you can be sure that he or she possesses the legal right to make the entire work freely distributable.

Note that copyright on different components constituting software may be held by multiple parties.

So the author John Smith who wrote the main program but licensed the graphics or other code from another party may only have the power to maike some of the work freely distributable.

Or the author of the software might have created the product for his employer in which case he or she lacks any right to release the work for distribution.

A logo in a piece of old software might also be protected by trademark law, and though it's unlikely that anyone would sue, you can't really know who owns what.

Copyright law does not recognize waiver by silence, even if the copyright holder fails to send a takedown notice, this lack of action does not create any enforceable promise not to sue for violation of copyright.

The forum is skirting on thin ice if it assumes that there is a de minimus or grey area wherein some copyright infringement won't be actionable if  it respect nice takedown requests.

Sorry, but that's how copyright works.

Copyright and other intellectual property law is  necessarily a maximalist regime of legal repression.


Unfortunately I think you are dead wrong about Brexit, the UK government is in no mood to lessen the laws making even non-commercial  sharing a criminal offense, or to abandon the censorship
of overseas websites.

On the contrary, Amber Rudd wants to  backdoor encryption, and outside the European Union, you are no longer protected by the human rights judgments of the CJEU.

The CJEU gets  lot of wrong about copyright, but it struck the data retention directive, which   required the members of the European Union to log their citizens' internet trafick.

Outside the EU, you will still get encryption backdoors, bogus prosecution of non-commercial file sharers and  extension of the Fraud Act to copyright infringement.

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@jacob100: as I said, I will have to consult with the other mods but particularly the administration team in order to decide the legal risk. I am aware that we are on thin ice, but I am also aware of the harsh realities of "off-the-cuff" infringement. We can make a best effort not to let it become an epidemic, but that's all, I think.

As for Brexit, well yes you are quite right the UK government of the day are of the more inept and right-winging variety. But alone, I think we have a lot more leniency under a potential left-wing government, in this respect. As I said the Personal Copying Exemption was a triumph, until the ECJ killed it. That, and more, may happen again. We need Copyright reform, plain and simple, and until the EU stops listening to lobbyists, we won't see it.

Note that, personally, I am not a supporter of Brexit in any shape or form, and think it to be one of the most unimaginably stupid and destructive things this country has ever done. And you're quite right that the EU has a far more civilised approach to human rights, among other things, which Brexiteers seem all too happy to rid us all of, no doubt in order to imagine their small-state dystopia. But that's a whole other thread ...

Just myself, as usual.

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I'm going to use my (very) limited knowledge and only reference US law since that's all I have to go off to confirm some things said here. I'm going to use federal law since that's mainly where all this copyright danger comes from if the audiogames.net forum admin is actually in the US.
The first section we need to look at is section 117 of Title 17 of the United States Code (Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs) (it's referenced as 17 U.S.C. 117). It says, and I quote:

(a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.—Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or

(2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.


(b) Lease, Sale, or Other Transfer of Additional Copy or Adaptation.—Any exact copies prepared in accordance with the provisions of this section may be leased, sold, or otherwise transferred, along with the copy from which such copies were prepared, only as part of the lease, sale, or other transfer of all rights in the program. Adaptations so prepared may be transferred only with the authorization of the copyright owner.

(c) Machine Maintenance or Repair.—Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner or lessee of a machine to make or authorize the making of a copy of a computer program if such copy is made solely by virtue of the activation of a machine that lawfully contains an authorized copy of the computer program, for purposes only of maintenance or repair of that machine, if—

(1) such new copy is used in no other manner and is destroyed immediately after the maintenance or repair is completed; and

(2) with respect to any computer program or part thereof that is not necessary for that machine to be activated, such program or part thereof is not accessed or used other than to make such new copy by virtue of the activation of the machine.


(d) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—

(1) the "maintenance" of a machine is the servicing of the machine in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine; and

(2) the "repair" of a machine is the restoring of the machine to the state of working in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that machine.

So, to summarize, in English, without all the legalese within:

  1. Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy: It is not an infringement of U.S. copyright law if the owner of a computer program makes a copy of their own computer program (or authorizes the copying of such a program), or the owner of a program adapts their own program (or authorizes the adaptation of that particular program) provided:

    1. that such a copy or adaptation is a required step in the utilization of the computer program in question in conjunction with the use of a machine, and that the copy or adaptation is used for no other purpose, or

    2. that such copies or adaptations of the original computer program are for archival purposes only and that, should the continued possession of them become unlawful or illegal, such copies or adaptations are destroyed immediately.

  2. Lease, Sale, or Other Transfer of Additional Copy or Adaptation: The newly made copy or adaptation of a computer program may be leased, sold, or transferred so long as the holder of the copyright (the person authorized to make the copies or adaptations of the original computer program in question) gives up their own rights to the program; and that such a lease, sale, or transfer of the rights of one copyright holder to another must be authorized by the original copyright owner (the creator) of that computer program. The authorization cannot come from the holder of the copyright to the copies or adaptations of the original computer program, because then the lease, sale, or transfer would then become unlawful and/or illegal.

  3. Machine Maintenance or Repair: it is not an infringement of copyright law for the lessee (an individual or a corporation who has the right of use of something of value, gained through a lease agreement with the real owner of the property) or the owner of a machine to make (or authorize the making of) a copy or adaptation of a computer program so long as the copy or adaptation is made solely by the use of a machine that legally contains an authorized copy or adaptation of a computer program for the purposes of performing maintenance on that particular machine or if the computer program is used in the repair of that machine, if:

    1. the particular copy or adaptation is used in no other way and is destroyed immediately after the particular maintenance or repair that was necessary on that machine has been successfully completed; and

    2. if the copy or adaptation has parts/components not necessary for the machines usage, the parts/components not necessary are only used in making copies or adaptations of a computer program by usage of the machine in question.

I know, this particular section is extremely confusing, so if your just as confused as I am by this point, don't mind -- I'm just as confused as you. I would have given you the particular house report, if it weren't for the fact that it won't explain what the section is trying to tell you. If you guys want me to post it though, simply tell me and I will. Now, moving on to 17 U.S.C. 501 (Infringement of copyright), which states, and I quote, once again:

(a) Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be. For purposes of this chapter (other than section 506), any reference to copyright shall be deemed to include the rights conferred by section 106A(a). As used in this subsection, the term "anyone" includes any State, any instrumentality of a State, and any officer or employee of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the provisions of this title in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.

(b) The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it. The court may require such owner to serve written notice of the action with a copy of the complaint upon any person shown, by the records of the Copyright Office or otherwise, to have or claim an interest in the copyright, and shall require that such notice be served upon any person whose interest is likely to be affected by a decision in the case. The court may require the joinder, and shall permit the intervention, of any person having or claiming an interest in the copyright.

(c) For any secondary transmission by a cable system that embodies a performance or a display of a work which is actionable as an act of infringement under subsection (c) of section 111, a television broadcast station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local service area of that television station.

(d) For any secondary transmission by a cable system that is actionable as an act of infringement pursuant to section 111(c)(3), the following shall also have standing to sue: (i) the primary transmitter whose transmission has been altered by the cable system; and (ii) any broadcast station within whose local service area the secondary transmission occurs.

(e) With respect to any secondary transmission that is made by a satellite carrier of a performance or display of a work embodied in a primary transmission and is actionable as an act of infringement under section 119(a)(5),1 a network station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local service area of that station.

(f)(1) With respect to any secondary transmission that is made by a satellite carrier of a performance or display of a work embodied in a primary transmission and is actionable as an act of infringement under section 122, a television broadcast station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local market of that station.

(2) A television broadcast station may file a civil action against any satellite carrier that has refused to carry television broadcast signals, as required under section 122(a)(2), to enforce that television broadcast station's rights under section 338(a) of the Communications Act of 1934.

Luckily for all of us, we have a house report to save us! It explains this particular section in wonderful detail, although it is a bit out of date. Note that this report speaks of 'the bill'. The bill is the bill that passed this particular title. Also, the 'present law' is the law at the time this report was written. It follows:

The bill, unlike the present law, contains a general statement of what constitutes infringement of copyright. Section 501(a) identifies a copyright infringer as someone who "violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 118" of the bill, or who imports copies or phonorecords in violation of section 602. Under the latter section an unauthorized importation of copies or phonorecords acquired abroad is an infringement of the exclusive right of distribution under certain circumstances.

The principle of the divisibility of copyright ownership, established by section 201(d), carries with it the need in infringement actions to safeguard the rights of all copyright owners and to avoid a multiplicity of suits. Subsection (b) of section 501 enables the owner of a particular right to bring an infringement action in that owner's name alone, while at the same time insuring to the extent possible that the other owners whose rights may be affected are notified and given a chance to join the action.

The first sentence of subsection (b) empowers the "legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right" to bring suit for "any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it." A "beneficial owner" for this purpose would include, for example, an author who had parted with legal title to the copyright in exchange for percentage royalties based on sales or license fees.

The second and third sentences of section 501(b), which supplement the provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure], give the courts discretion to require the plaintiff to serve notice of the plaintiff's suit on "any person shown, by the records of the Copyright Office or otherwise, to have or claim an interest in the copyright"; where a person's interest "is likely to be affected by a decision in the case" a court order requiring service of notice is mandatory. As under the Federal rules, the court has discretion to require joinder of "any person having or claiming an interest in the copyright"; but, if any such person wishes to become a party, the court must permit that person's intervention.

In addition to cases involving divisibility of ownership in the same version of a work, section 501(b) is intended to allow a court to permit or compel joinder of the owners of rights in works upon which a derivative work is based.

Section 501 contains two provisions conferring standing to sue under the statue upon broadcast stations in specific situations involving secondary transmissions by cable systems. Under subsection (c), a local television broadcaster licensed to transmit a work can sue a cable system importing the same version of the work into the broadcaster's local service area in violation of section 111(c). Subsection (d) deals with cases arising under section 111(c)(3), the provision dealing with substitution or alteration by a cable system of commercials or other programming; in such cases standing to sue is also conferred on: (1) the primary transmitter whose transmission has been altered by the cable system, and (2) any broadcast stations within whose local service area the secondary transmission occurs. These provisions are linked to section 509, a new provision on remedies for alteration of programming by cable systems, discussed below.

Vicarious Liability for Infringing Performances. The committee has considered and rejected an amendment to this section intended to exempt the proprietors of an establishment, such as a ballroom or night club, from liability for copyright infringement committed by an independent contractor, such as an orchestra leader. A well-established principle of copyright law is that a person who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer, including persons who can be considered related or vicarious infringers. To be held a related or vicarious infringer in the case of performing rights, a defendant must either actively operate or supervise the operation of the place wherein the performances occur, or control the content of the infringing program, and expect commercial gain from the operation and either direct or indirect benefit from the infringing performance. The committee has decided that no justification exists for changing existing law, and causing a significant erosion of the public performance right.

I hope what I've provided in this post will clear up a bit of the confusion here.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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@Ethin

Thanks for the references.

I  Note that the limitation on exclusive rights in 17 U.S.C. 117 for purposes of interoperability grants the (legal) owner of a computer program a very limited right to make a copy for enumerated purposes.

However,  this limitation would only protect someone whose 'ownership' was already legal.

It would not grant any protection to someone who downloaded old unmaintained software from the internet, unless the act of acquiring the software was in itself legal.

Of course,  one might argue that every copy is identical, but for purposes of copyright law, it's really important (legally) how you  acquire that copy.

The exemption to the exclusive right of reproduction as  far I understand in addition to requiring legal ownership also contingent on the copy being made from a legal source.

Even though someone once bought a license to an old piece of software, he or she can't just grab a copy from the internet.

This question whether it's legal to 'restore' something you bought from an unofficial source provided that you owna license, has never been definitively answered.

In any case, it would not legalize making available said software to the public.

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What are we going to do about audio described content? Could that be a trickier area?

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@13, I don't think so. I think that Audio Described Content (aka Described Movie Programming or DVS or whatever else they're calling it) gain the rights to do that by purchasing a license or a copyright grant. The distribution of such content to other media outlets who do not own the copyright rights to distribution is a totally different matter though.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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Seeing the first topic made me think about whether the United Nation, which oversees the global aspect of things, has established intellectual property laws, since many people feel that the United States is the number 1 country with all the knowledge and power, rather than distributing everything equally. I also heard of copyleft, but I forgot in which context it was in.

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