2019-06-07 06:05:37

Absolutely, the only obvious exceptions being Mame stuff, such as the talking Apple2 and recent developments by the preservation crew themselves in getting a lot of handheld toys emulated.
As for proof, I'll search that up again, problem is it's likely going to be different in every country. We all know how long Bookshare took to go international, for example.

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2019-06-07 06:09:25

The whole mame thing is tricky since you'd have to check every system to see if it's in the public domain and stuff. Thus the all or nothing approach.

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2019-06-07 06:21:31

Still looking for some official source regarding the legality of the movie description distribution, but here's what we know.
1. If such an exception is made, it would be the most logical explanation for why the Blind Mice Megamall hides the movie vault from public view, because, like Bookshare, you need an account first. One problem. Bookshare does proof of disability check, Blind Mice doesn't. Also it is pretty widely known by now that they don't do a good job actually protecting the files (all be it audio-only mp3's of the movie's audio track) from public consumption. No drm. No custom generated links with download id's embedded that expire after x uses or after x amount of times.
All things considered, what does that generally mean? Is it ok to allow people to mention/refer to the Blind Mice movie vault, but to not allow mirroring if the movies are actually meant to be hidden from public view? Assistive technology manufacturers *Humanware for example* have mentioned blind mice movie vault in interviews on ACB Radio (one such interview explaining fixes to Keyweb in Keysoft 9.3 allowing better use of sites such as the movie vault*. Does that in any way make it any less of a legal gray-area? This is why admittedly it's easier to take an all or nothing approach, unless we can find some official proof of legality under copyright exception. Or, better yet, a legal way to access audio description anywhere and everywhere.

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2019-06-07 06:26:09

Here's one such post proving that the blindness company landscape and surrounding news is either, a, just as confused as most of us are on this, or b, knows something we don't about the legality.
this post right here on an APH-affiliated blog
Likely more to come as I find it.

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2019-06-07 09:04:31

Hi.
@Ethin, I just now have the chance to reply to post 19.

i due see your point, but personally I think that audiogames isn't a place to host audio games, the site mostly just links to developer pages who then host the games on their servers, so basically, the devs are the distributors of possibly copyrighted material.
it's gets interesting when games get announced on the forum and if there is just a dropbox link for the game given out. Is Audiogames then the platform where these games are distributed, or the service dropbox.

Greetings Moritz.

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2019-06-07 13:08:06

I have had this explained to me thus:

People with visual impairment, when consuming media, have different requirements. The idea that the audio MP3 of a movie is somehow not protected by copyright, while the entirety of the movie is, is ridiculous. Put another way, you can't strip the video out of a movie, post the MP3 and say "See? Now it's not under copyright, so it's okay".
Morally I understand the arguments about region locking, about access to description, the whole nine yards. Morally, how I'd do it is a generally "be ready to take it down if asked" stance. But that may not be wise, and it may lead to complications, so that's why we're here right now.

If there is some sort of legal exception in EU law that would allow this - demonstrably, I mean, not just conjecture or wishful thinking - and it's provided, then on this subject at least, I am willing to go a little easier. But ROMs and straight-up pirated material needs to go.

On a final note for now, it is kind of tiring to be demonized for doing the right thing. None of you regular users would have any serious problems coming your way if any sort of action were taken against the site. As users, you wouldn't necessarily be held accountable; rather, those in power (mostly Richard and Sandor, but the rest of us as well) would be the one  answering for it. So I find it kind of troublesome that some of you are purporting to talk about how safe and easy and fair things are when you aren't the ones at risk.

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2019-06-07 13:39:45

The only people that'll be affected by copyright issues are Richard, Sander and the user posting the material. Hence why I suggested asking Richard and Sander threw whatever means we can. If they don't reply within 2 or 3 weeks, taking the nothing goes approach to copyright seems reasonable. But in my opinion some effort should be made to ask them personally about this. And also @46, just because we're the only ones that benefit from mp3 recordings does not mean we can just use them. Look at sites hosting emulator roms, game companies are not really losing profit but they need to protect their copyright because otherwise anyone can use their characters, I beleive.

Roel
golfing in the kitchen

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2019-06-07 15:00:27

@56 the part about us not having any responsibility is actually not true. Going just by the audiovault example, the site author would surely have more responsibility to take than ag.net. This forum is just having links to material, which can easily be removed, while the site has the files themselves. The same goes for pretty much any content, since we as posters usually host the material. If it's not on our own server, then that's so much better since pretty much any cloud sharing storage service allows you to report copyrighted files to be taken down, so the forum would have 0 responsibility. Yet, I do suggest you research this a bit before taking a definite rule, because as far as I see it the issues that the forum would face are almost none.

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2019-06-07 16:42:30

Even if sites link to copyrighted material it can be a problem though. Take the pirate bay, they don't host any files themselves, but are a portal to illegal material.

Roel
golfing in the kitchen

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2019-06-07 16:50:02

Oh of course it can be a problem, I did not say that it's not a problem at all, just that the posters do have as much responsibility as admins themselves.

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2019-06-07 16:58:51 (edited by jack 2019-06-07 17:05:51)

I'm with you that pirated software and the like has to go. That's always been a problem.
As for The Pirate Bay, reason why they get straight-up sued when this site likely wouldn't though is because their mission is clear, and they are bold about hosting as much pirated content as possible. And believe it or not, they have the money to keep the legal battle going.
I've been through takedown requests years ago, it was a false takedown request mind you, but it was a first-timer, thus there were no serious infractions, no legal contract, no law-firm crashing down my door, nothing. So I say, as far as described movies *described movies* are concerned, a moral and legal solution may be to let them *and only them* continue unless and until we were to get a takedown request. As long as there was strong moderation against the rest of the copyrighted material (pirated software and the like) we could presume the takedown request were targeted at described content, take care of it, then us U.S. folks could go let the NFB know about what just happened so they can start the brouhaha with the film production studios/streaming providers. Lol. But in all seriousness, I really, highly doubt that the first takedown request could be anything more than a takedown request.
This is coming from someone who actually took some considerable time actually producing an audio description of my own thanks to Aira's help. But thanks to the legal gray-area on described film distribution, I was concerned that it would never see the light of day, and no one would be able to see this described. I asked Aira themselves about it, and Aira's stance on distribution is very much a go ahead, credit us while you're at it, and don't make direct profit out of it kind of deal. They were even willing to go with that for described film, and I asked how they thought it would be ok if I posted a sample for the #airaMemories Twitter hashtag, and they gave me a strong go ahead. Keep in mind this was a considerably sized sample (I'd say about 5 minutes) so we're talking quite a bit of content. What this proves, however, is that the legality regarding described content distribution is such a gray-area that even other law-abiding companies are willing to take the moral high-road, screw what the law may or may not say or imply, until someone's directly approached about it.

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2019-06-07 17:07:04 (edited by flackers 2019-06-07 17:16:23)

@57. Yeah, I wasn't suggesting copyright doesn't apply to stuff that has very limited interest. I'm saying this is so piddling that from a legal point of view, no one in their right mind would ever give a crap. But bots don't have a mind, so that could be an issue. But I still say wait and see.

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2019-06-07 17:19:14 (edited by jack 2019-06-07 17:23:51)

Flackers has the right idea. Technically if we were going the all or nothing approach, Crazy Party, Braillemon and Pokemon Crystal Access would have to go. Which is not fair to the developers who spent countless hours on those projects, particularly Tyler Spivey who basically created an in-game screenreader. It just doesn't work in situations where if they were to target us it would be purely evil for the sake of being evil, and at least the boisterous blindness agencies would be all over it and pummeling them with counter-legal acts. Particularly when things happen such as major tech-news/resource sites post about vpn-ing your way through Netflix region locking, Netflix patches one such loophole but the news source doesn't get sued. If something like that could happen then I highly doubt description is a pressing enough legal issue, also remember the Serotech made an indirect profit off of it. You could only access described content through their Sero subscription, and that's profit through and through, like it or not. Yet state agencies more than likely dealt with Serotech, Department of Human Services/Bureau of Blind Services here in the U.S.

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2019-06-07 18:17:11

@62, we agree on that. But what would happen if someone not in their right mind would come onto the scene? I think that's the question the moderators, and Richard and Sander, want answered. And pirated software, was that not a no-go already? The only pirated stuff we should consider tolerating are things that can't be used when purchased threw proper channels. ROMs might fall under this regard, I think. Although technically you could buy a game cartridge and the necessary hardware to dump it to a ROM yourself, it's more expensive than purchasing a classic game console.

Roel
golfing in the kitchen

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2019-06-07 18:36:55

No to mention the fact that were it not for roms and emulators, we wouldn't have Pokemon Crystal Access. This is why I really, really think it would be better to get the opinions of Richard and Sander over this, and I don't think we want to start suddenly decentralizing these otherwise tremendous advancements in game accessibility what with things like PCA.

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2019-06-07 19:34:03

I totally see both sides of this, as I've said before.

If it's an all or nothing approach, and the rule is nothing, then there also goes Messapple. All that free/public domain Apple II software, and all that software I have personally been given permission to distribute, including BEX and Braille Edit from Raised Dot Computing, ProWords, ProTerm, and ProBraille from Microtalk, and Speaking Speller and The Talking Apple IIe by the American Printing House for the blind…rendered completely useless because I can't mention where to download a complete working emulator package, because there are these little ROMs for the Apple IIe, Disk II controller card, etc. which the letter of the law states I cannot distribute to anyone who doesn't already have the hardware. And without these ROMs, an emulated Apple IIe is about as useful as an audiogame without any sound.

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2019-06-07 19:37:15

Well in regards to pca, an option would always be to exclude the ROM from the package and tell users to get it themselves. If users decide to get it illegally, that's not the problem of audiogames.net. So we wouldn't really lose pca, but it would make it harder to play.

Roel
golfing in the kitchen

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2019-06-07 19:53:50 (edited by jack 2019-06-07 20:04:15)

@roel, But here's the problem. Emulators are, by definition, illegal. Only because console manufacturers cause brouhaha over it. Problem is without them, there would be no genuine accessible Pokemon Crystal. You couldn't get a screen-reader to run on the actual hardware. Nintendo has, by and large, been one of the least vocal or forward-thinking about accessibility, and there hasn't even been a cross-play effort made by them equivalent to Microsoft's Play anywhere, or even any remote streaming protocols that both MS and Sony have manufactured. But I digress. What I'm saying is there is no legal way to obtain an emulator. For that reason, if it were truly an all or nothing approach, Pokemon Crystal access could not be uploaded and posted about on this very forum, because even if it were talked about, people would be asking where the hell to obtain the thing, and there is no legal answer as to how. Even if someone bought a gameboy advance, the Pokemon Crystal cartridge, rom-dumping/desoldering tools and the like, managed to dump the Gameboy Advance rom as well as  the Pokemon Crystal rom, your homegrown emulator would not be quite the same as Visual Boy Advance. You would have to embed Lua scripting support into the thing. Then finally load your rom with the accessibility scripts. And you couldn't pass on your source like you could with other diy projects as it's not open source. No one is going to go to that length just to emulate a freaking game. It's why Mame has people donate hardware to them because they're the ones that have the x-rays to rom dump the hardware, which for some rare hardware is a one-shot or nothing deal.
Same obviously goes for the Mess Apple stuff. While it is again true that games too are a want instead of a need, this is audiogames.net, so this goes beyond the described movie issue into essentially deciding whether or not important landmarks in accessible gaming history has to be deleted or not, at least as far as this site is concerned.
Applevis, the ACB Radio and such have all embraced Mess Apple without questioning the legality, as truly no harm is done here. I think, even with Article 13/15/17/whatever the hell it is, no one's going to actually get sued over this.

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2019-06-07 21:20:07

As far as pokemon crystal access goes, the emulator and scripts are completely fine and legal to distribute.
The problem arises when rom images of a copyrighted game are distributed along side everything else.
Pokemon crystal access could just drop the rom and be fine, it would then be up to the indevidual users to source their own copy of the rom.

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2019-06-07 21:38:03

Yes, but that brings the question of legality. Do we offer guidance on cartridge disassembly and rom creation, or guides on where to find a rom, and...good god this is more trouble to deduce than what it's worth. And @Exodus, I thought emulators were illegal too? Who the hell knows. If only the people who make these products weren't allowed to lobby in the legal department, and outsiders were the ones for advice. It's the very reason the entertainment industry-related laws are so backwards, because all you have are technologically ignorant politicians, and the entertainment industry themselves, making such regulations. Even if companies themselves aren't advocating the regulations, they'll use ones that involve drm as a method to force customers into their own ecosystem.
Also, even if that argument o outsourcing the obtaining of the rom *may* work for Pokemon Crystal Access, it sure as hell won't work for Mess Apple, because:
Jason Smith does not have an endless Apple 2 e enhanced auction, hell there aren't enough machines in circulation for something like that. So you can't trust everyone who wants to use Mess Apple can even obtain their own Apple2ee, plus tools required for rom disassembly.
Also, if there were an all or nothing approach, do we need to suddenly stop allowing streamers to promote their streams on here if they're caught playing some game that for some bullshit reason isn't allowed to be streamed? Nintendo I believe is the one caught being notoriously anti-streams, but I always thought nothing beats free promotion. But what do I know. Logic in the corporate world often does not exist.

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2019-06-07 22:12:10

Tell you what, folks. I've given this a ton of thought, and this is how I personally feel. Note that I do not speak for the entirety of the staff team on this.

1. We do have to get at least a little bit tighter/fiercer about certain piracy/code theft/hacking things. We've been historically pretty soft on that. I think that has to happen right away.
2. Regarding legality of ROMs, it's tricky business, and Nintendo in particular has a bad track record here. I am a pokemon fan, or was, but that can't factor into any of my decisions. The unavoidable fact is that a lot of us have been screwing around in morally/legally gray areas for a long, long time.
3. Richard and Sandor are, at the end of the day, the people who will be most answerable if something goes wrong. My leaning here is to say that our proposal is -probably what is going to happen, while also saying that Richard and Sandor's word kinda trumps everything. If they say to leave things alone, then we do that. If they say to lock things down, then we do that. Perhaps it is best, after all, if we let them make the choice. The only reason I am hesitant to do this is because, although it is extremely unlikely, if something bad happens between now and then, who's on the hook? Right now we're the ones presently administrating the website, so it's risky. Here's hoping nothing pops us, because so far nothing has.

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2019-06-07 22:16:05

Emulators are completely legal. Like exodus said, it's the ROMs. And many users will still pirate the ROMs, in fact all users will pirate the ROMs, but if they're not included in the package with the accessibility fixes that makes the package itself legal. It would be a lot of hassle, but pca and messapple wouldn't have to go. Getting the right ROMs will be tricky and will require other sites hosting them, though.

Roel
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2019-06-07 22:39:40

Ahh. Nintendo would like you to believe emulators are illegal, but they're just going to have to let shit fly and get a taste of their own cartridges, wait did I just say that? Lol!
If something were to happen, I believe the first people the legal department would be getting in contact with would be the CDN, Cloudflare in this case. The only probable reason they'd go straight for the motherload in cases like Youtube/Facebook is that they're nobody's customer, unlike a customer of a hosting provider who has terms of service to comply with, and in our case, a site with hundreds of links to dynamic content. If any legal communications were made, it would likely be between the hosting provider and their client, not direct contact with a law firm. Especially if we aren't knowingly a pirate-haven , because as Jayde said things such as legitimate software piracy and code theft need to be stomped out more harshly by now.

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2019-06-08 15:59:55

hi,
i do believe that we should crack down on piracy but not the audiovault. the preserving the tv shows topic should not be closed/deleted.

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2019-06-08 18:10:38

The way I see it personally is like this:
3. The sharing or encouragement of illegal material or activities (game cracks, copyrighted torrents that are not in the public domain, etc.) is not allowed.
This is pretty clear and is fair enough. If you want to share roms, audio described movies/tv shows or cracked apps go do some place else that isn't here.
This forum is going to be the place that many mainstream developers come to  if they have questions or want to get our perspective on things and therefor should be squeaky clean as a result.
Currently, the forum is rife with links to copyrighted roms, instructions to get even more  where those came from and audio described content that like it or not is firmly not in the public domain.
It's a terrible look and to any newcomers it will look like we're incapable of enforcing our own rules, or that we flat out don't give a shit about them.
But muh free stuff! We should allow audio describe stuff and burn everything else!
Again, this will just end up making the forum look hypocritical, we don't get to exclude things from our own rules because special blindies are special.
But <Insert Billion Dollar Company Name Here> aren't going to care about a few hundred blind people sharing links among themselves, SAVE THE FREE STUFF!
Trust me... they do.

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