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Thread: A question about legal ROM usage.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Petersburg, IN

    Default A question about legal ROM usage.

    This may be an odd question. As we all know, the legality of ROM usage is a bit hazy, but the general consensus is that if you own the original cart, you can use the rom for that cart.

    My question concerns game compilations. If you own a compilation, would that mean you are within legal right to use ROMs of all the games in that compilation? Lets say, for example, Sonics Ultimate Genesis Collection. If you got that, would you be in legal right to own ROMs for the Genesis, Master System, arcade, and Game Gear titles in that compilation? Or if I have Intellivision Classics on the Nintendo DS, could I legally use the roms of the games on it?

    Mostly asking because whenever I make a youtube video, I like to cover my rear end by making sure I own physical copies of whatever I am showing.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G530A using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    random_dave Guest


    Well I most cases the compilations themselves will be roms and emulators, but I think the real intention of the law is that in "owning" the product you do not have ownership, you are merely granted a license to use them in that form

    Where it all starts to get confusing is different countries interpretation of 'fair use' clauses and 'education/journalism /parody/satire' clauses

    In theory, any form of rebroadcasting a games content outside of home use is a breach of the copyright, but if you are producing a review, or a historical look at something and use screenshots and footage mixed in to aid with that, then it starts to fall under the other categories of fair use

    I think in those cases you really should have some text at some point saying that "footage of x is the property of x and used without permission" sort of like a references section in an academic paper (but noone really does this, so in court there's a strong argument to say that by allowing the masses to have got away with not doing it for so long they set a precedent to say that it's ok)

    Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    random_dave Guest


    At worst you would only really be close to a complaint if you were monetising the videos, but even then, on YouTube at least there is a mechanism by which a copyright holder tags your video and it just means that they get the revenue from it instead

    Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk

  4. #4


    If you consider the idea of what a licence is then there shouldn't be a problem. The whole point is that when you buy a game you purchase the right to play the game, not use of its code or assets, and that the media provided is their means of providing you with a way to play the game as per the agreement. From that perspective, it shouldn't matter what means that you use to play, as you are simply using your paid licence.

    But, the industry itself disagrees and has codified their interest into law wherever they've been able to. What they want is to redefine the idea so that your licence allows you to only play the game using the original media supplied and on the specific hardware intended by them. And, of course, many will also assert that any footage of the game such as a let's play or review constitutes a derivative work and belongs to them as well. And that if said game relies on DRM which requires their server to authenticate then the customer has no right to complain about their paid licence suddenly being revoked with no compensation and no legal means to circumvent the DRM to continue playing the game.

    I guess it's up to you. If you prefer to stay completely clean and abide by the game industry's wishes, then skip those. Just bear in mind that their own view gives them everything and you nothing. If you prefer to think in terms of what is fair and just, then assume your licence gives you the right to play the game through any means necessary and that fair use gives you the right to review, whether you own it or not.

  5. #5
    Blackzc Guest


    No one, in 20 years has ever been nailed for downloading old rom, just dont sell them.

    I can remember in like 2000 before i had broadband, sending off for 8 DVD's full of MAME roms in the mail. I was for sure it was a trap.

    It was the free mame rom society or something like that. Very exciting times.

    Drunken replying to 10000 year old post. What am i doing with my life?
    Last edited by Blackzc; 05-06-18 at 02:10. Reason: Because i want to...doy!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Lancashire, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackzc View Post
    Drunken replying to 10000 year old post. What am i doing with my life?
    Not enough, clearly.
    Before you insult a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you insult him, you'll be a mile away, and have his shoes.
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