Copyright infringement is not legal January 24, 2012 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Why do we allow posts to warez sites?

This FPP links to a site that emulates the Game Boy Color, and has a bunch of games you can play. None of those games are authorized to be there. Distribution of copyrighted works without permission is illegal under the law.

I posted in that thread complaining about its existence; I should have done so here. So, here I am doing it. Please delete the post.
posted by andreaazure to Etiquette/Policy at 6:39 PM (103 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's not metafilter's job to police the world until after SOPA passes.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:44 PM on January 24, 2012 [46 favorites]


Legality of the linked post isn't necessarily the only, or the primary, determiner of whether a post should stay.

At the least, this is a reasonably interesting technical achievement (I think?).
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:45 PM on January 24, 2012


The post was pointing that site out so's you'd know not to go there!
posted by carsonb at 6:45 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's an interesting technology demo, to create an emulator in javascript/HTML5, it's kind of a wonder. They are using old nintendo games on their server but it's not what I would call a warez site. A warez site is something used to offer instant downloads of installers and game files.

The site certainly could be taken down by Nintendo if they wanted to complain about lost sales of a 10+ year old platform, but I feel ok linking to a web scripting technology demonstration that uses copyrighted material to test out the coding.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:46 PM on January 24, 2012 [34 favorites]


The post was pointing that site out so's you'd know not to go there!

That's going to be Google's next defense when their "it's just a natural byproduct of the search algorithm" argument gets some legal pressure.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:48 PM on January 24, 2012


I want to reiterate, this isn't a black and white issue for us and it's impossible to make definite rules about this. A link to pirate bay for a new Lady Gaga album would be instantly deleted. Sometimes links to old out-of-print or interestingly remixed movies on YouTube stay and are ok. Sometimes a very old game you can play in a tech demo is ok too. We take these on a case-by-case basis and I'm saying in this case there seems to be very little harm done to anyone involved to keep it around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's been a while since I went looking for warez, but my understanding is that a warez site is a site that exists primarily to enable the downloading of warez and other illicitly copied software (including ROMs).

A cursory examination of the linked site does not indicate that downloading is a primary function of the site. I imagine you could find a way to download those roms off of that site, but it's really pushing my understanding of the term to call that a warez site.

It's a pretty cool technical achievement, and showing the roms is a pretty good way to show the achievement.

onPreview: what mathowie said.
posted by gauche at 6:50 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I know is I downloaded Company of Heroes last night from Steam and the last thing I'm going to be doing is playing bloody Pokemon: Yellow or something equally dire on an Internet Explorer page. Also can anybody point me towards any good Company of Heroes nude skinz?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:56 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


finally, someone is thinking of the megacorporations!
posted by DU at 7:01 PM on January 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


this brings an interesting (to me) question: is it 'distribution' if the games remain server-side? That is, if no files persist on my computer, have they been 'distributed'?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:04 PM on January 24, 2012


I posted in that thread complaining about its existence; I should have done so here. So, here I am doing it. Please delete the post.

Christ, chill out.
posted by rocketman at 7:05 PM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


You could contact Namco or Nintendo (whoever actually made the games) and let them know the site exists. Let them worry about enforcing their copyright or trademarks or whatever.

Or PayPal me $10 and I'll do it for you (seriously).

I'm guessing this thread isn't going the way you wish, huh?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:07 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is, if no files persist on my computer, have they been 'distributed'?

It's one of the tricker questions of websites like the one in the FPP. If the FPP was more "Hey download these old games, for free!" it would be less okay to us, as a post. But in this case, it's a "Wow check out this hot HTML5 thingdoo and play $_GAME while you do" [and I don't even know wtf they are because I'm using Firefox 9 which might as well be IE6 as far as this site and whitehouse.gov are concerned, please tell me if there is Galaga] and MeFi has never had a strict "Don't link to copyrighted material" policy, like it or not, it has a "Don't link to shit that could get the site in trouble or which is pretty obviously stealing someone's stuff who is trying to sell it" Or at least that's a paraphrase. Mostly these sorts of posts are handled on a case by case basis, any of them might get deleted, some of them do, some of them don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:08 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It appears as though you've gotten your wish. The original content is down and replaced with (hilariously still copy protected and probably unauthorized content) this.
posted by codacorolla at 7:26 PM on January 24, 2012


Also, and I just now learned about it, but there's this site called "Your Tube" which apparently can be used to host other people's content. Someone should REALLY look in to this. I was just about to spend 20 dollars on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but then I saw that clip. Maybe you could contact Warner Brothers and have them do something about it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:29 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awww what the? That nice thing that was just there! Why can't we have it anymore?
posted by danny the boy at 7:41 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is why we can't have nice things. Or Zelda.
posted by arcticseal at 7:59 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why are there comments on that video from a week ago asking where the gameboy stuff went, if it just went up as a replacement?
posted by jacalata at 7:59 PM on January 24, 2012


Maybe it gets switched over whenever the site gets a lot of attention to save on server resources.
posted by ODiV at 8:00 PM on January 24, 2012


Eddies in the time stream.
posted by scalefree at 8:07 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quick, quick, I just saw some kids out behind your house getting high! If you run away from the computer right now, you may be able to catch them!
posted by klangklangston at 8:08 PM on January 24, 2012 [40 favorites]


Just make sure you don't stand downwind from the kids and get high off stuff you didn't pay for.
posted by geoff. at 8:10 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


scalefree: "Eddies in the time stream."

Oh, is he?

Seriously: gaming, music and cats. You can't go wrong with an FPP that has one of those three. Even on AskMe. You could ask what theme song you should play while teaching your cat how to beat Angry Birds, and it would NEVER be deleted.

Unless you forgot to post a pic of your cat.
posted by misha at 8:20 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This made me sad because when I first saw the link, I couldn't do much about it. Now that I'm home, it's gone. The subsequent film clip was hilariously on-point. Can't even go to his/her homepage. I am a sad panda.
posted by smirkette at 8:20 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


andreaazure, Do you ever message the mods, or is opening a MeTa your go-to when you see something you don't like?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:30 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a great video (which is a sampling of a larger work, which is protected in case law).

I am not about protecting the large corporations; I am about treating others as I wish to be treated -- I am about equal protection and equal responsibility under the law.

I make digital games for a living; under US copyright laws, and under most global copyright laws, I have the right to say how said work is distributed.

Yes, nitpick about me using the word "warez" if you want. The fact of the matter is that the site was doing something illegal. Not talking about a potentially illegal act, not complaining about the law, not advocating an action some people might not like -- it was doing something against the law. /rant
posted by andreaazure at 8:35 PM on January 24, 2012


the man of twists and turns according to MeFi's account page for me, I have posted to MeTa seven times in the almost eight years I have been a member. 4 complaints in the last 15 months. *shrug
posted by andreaazure at 8:38 PM on January 24, 2012


The fact of the matter is that the site was doing something illegal.

Unless you have some law enforcement responsibility I'm unaware of, your self-appointment as guardian of the statutes comes across to me as spoiling sport.
posted by Trurl at 8:40 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


misha, I'm not sure I see what you're getting at. Do you have a picture of this hypothetical cat you're referrring to?
posted by maryr at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is that entire idea of choosing one's battles, and not sweating the small stuff. And also reading an audience.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:53 PM on January 24, 2012


Warez site? Did it turn 1998 in here all of the sudden?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:06 PM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, misha, where's the cat picture? *opens MeTa on failure to post picture of kitteh*
posted by arcticseal at 9:16 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


greetz: CaptainNadir, ElO^^u, 6HeD, Tolueen, MrFab, N3C4pT, BrandonBlatcher
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 9:21 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


So if the link rots before our eyes is it delete worthy? Content is gone. Now kill the post?
posted by cjorgensen at 9:37 PM on January 24, 2012


Goddammit, first I was all jazzed that I wasn't going to have to buy a GameBoy Color thanks to those leet, leet warez, and now it looks like I'm going to have to buy one after all. Adding in the cost of education and technology to facilitate my traveling back in time to 1999, this is probably going to put quite the dent in the money I was saving up for the wife and I's third anniversary road trip to Moosejaw.

I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY NOW
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, and Moosejaw is really beautiful this time of year. It's the Saskatoon of the south.
posted by maryr at 9:52 PM on January 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


Unless you have some law enforcement responsibility I'm unaware of, your self-appointment as guardian of the statutes comes across to me as spoiling sport.

I think it's interesting that there is a mosaic of mitigating excuses for linking to copyrighted material, including it didn't really hurt anyone, it's not that current, or it's part of a demo for something cool. I say hats off to having some principles.
posted by phaedon at 10:07 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


linking to copyrighted material

You're going to have to be more specific than that, since pretty much everything linked on MeFi is copyrighted by somebody.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:15 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I say hats off to having some principles.

Yep. Sure is nice when you have a compliant segment of the population willing to do the work of law enforcement for free.
posted by Jimbob at 10:16 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're going to have to be more specific than that

unauthorized copyrighted material. happy?
posted by phaedon at 10:30 PM on January 24, 2012


Sure is nice when you have a compliant segment of the population willing to do the work of law enforcement for free.

Yep. Sure is.
posted by phaedon at 10:30 PM on January 24, 2012


That site ruined my yard sale. I was all set to make a wad of cash selling my Gameboy cartridges.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


That site ruined my yard sale. I was all set to make a wad of cash selling my Gameboy cartridges.

It's for your own good. Under your license agreement (which I'm sure you've held onto) Gameboy cartridges aren't covered by the First Sale Doctrine as they're licensed to you, not sold. So he saved you from adding yet another series of violations to this crime spree. Scofflaw.
posted by scalefree at 10:48 PM on January 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


"I make digital games for a living; under US copyright laws, and under most global copyright laws, I have the right to say how said work is distributed."

They must be a hoot, full of all the licensed and cobranded content kids today demand. But while you have a legal say in how that work is distributed, you don't have a say in how this work is distributed, and other content distributors can have other feelings about how their work is disseminated.

"Yes, nitpick about me using the word "warez" if you want. The fact of the matter is that the site was doing something illegal. Not talking about a potentially illegal act, not complaining about the law, not advocating an action some people might not like -- it was doing something against the law. /rant"

The law is not a justification for morality. You should repeat that to yourself whenever you find yourself getting het up about some violation of the letter of the law that has an immeasurably small harm and some demonstrable benefit.

Arguing from the position that you hold — that this was bad because it was illegal — immediately sets you up for a raft of reductio ad absurdum, whether that's pointing out that it's not illegal everywhere, or that some laws are bad laws (segregation, etc.), or even that you're not the judge of what's legal and illegal.

Basically, you put forward a simplistic message in a hectoring tone while ignoring the lack of harm to both the rights holders and MetaFilter. Do you work for the RIAA? (this should keep you busy for a while. It's muzik warez on the your tube and just by viewing it, you make a copy and VIOLATE THEIR RIGHTS!)
posted by klangklangston at 12:17 AM on January 25, 2012 [14 favorites]


Well, where do you draw the line? This is a hell of a sticky wicket on the one hand I agree in that of it's illegal, it's illegal - and on the other hand, sometimes I park where I'm not supposed to and I have shared (on at least five occaisions, but less than twenty) music files with friends.

Letter vs spirit of the law and all that.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:32 AM on January 25, 2012


Fuck the law.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:52 AM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I want to reiterate, this isn't a black and white issue for us...

Well, obviously. It is the GameBoy Color after all.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:20 AM on January 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well, where do you draw the line?

Draw the line? There is no line to be drawn in terms of "demonstrable benefit" for the community or for the copyright violator. Unless perhaps you view this demo as having some kind of necessary, scholastic benefit, which it does not. But even then, why not contact Nintendo? If anyone can demonstrate a benefit by stealing something that you created, pretty much during your lifetime and without your permission, well then, fuck copyright law altogether. Why bother making anything in the first place. All that said, long live the internet.

But let's not pretend there's a fine line between Nintendo and Universal Music Group. It's just that the copyright wars are being fought in Terra Musica and that's what you're all used to. Lady Gaga fuss fuss, Super Mario aw come on.

As for arguing the position that the law is a justification for morality - talk about creating a straw man and knocking it down. You might want to calm down and notice that she's distinguishing between an actual copyright violation and a hypothetical one. She even points out that she is merely treating people the way she wants to be treated - if this isn't quite literally what morality is well then I don't know what the fuck else to say.

The futility of enforcing copyright law in the technological world we live in though is an interesting one, and may very well change the law altogether down the road. "Girl Talk" has been taken down on iTunes, but as far as I know has never been sued and is viewed as pretty mainstream. Tell that to all the black hip-hop artists who have had their pants sued off and who have had their music historically viewed as "uncreative." You hear Greg Gillis talk about the "transformative" changes he makes to music he samples and you'd think he was the creme de la creme of the music world. The truth is he's so bottom of the barrel with regards to the metrics of what constitutes a copyright violation, that if you go after him, then you pretty much have to go after everybody - and that's increasingly proving to be a very hard thing to do.
posted by phaedon at 2:48 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I posted an AskMe once asking if there was such a thing as warez sites for sewing machine software, and it got deleted.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:11 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


fuck copyright law altogether.

Yeah, when the law, after weighing all the benefits and associated costs, no longer benefits society,it's time to abandon it. We are rapidly approaching this point.

Why bother making anything in the first place.

It's a well known historical fact that there were no works of art worth mentioning before the copyright law.
posted by hat_eater at 3:22 AM on January 25, 2012 [20 favorites]


The video has now gone and there's a FBI piracy notice and the line "Online JavaScript GameBoy Color has been taken down in permanent protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills."

Given that the FPP is still on the front page and no longer works, maybe it should now be deleted as a dead link.
posted by jontyjago at 4:19 AM on January 25, 2012


@jontyjago: it still works, but you need to supply your own ROMs.
posted by GenericUser at 5:24 AM on January 25, 2012


She even points out that she is merely treating people the way she wants to be treated

Not infringing the copyright is her treating people the way she wants to be treated.

Publicly complaining that the mods aren't doing enough to prevent other people from infringing copyright is being a busybody. I doubt she wants strangers attempting to interfere with her recreational pleasures because they morally disapprove of it.
posted by Trurl at 5:42 AM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jesus people. It's a legitimate complaint from someone who works in the industry. Mathowie's response seems reasonable to me, but there are a lot of unnecessary personal attacks on the OP in here.
posted by Think_Long at 5:52 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's a legitimate complaint from someone who works in the industry. Mathowie's response seems reasonable to me, but there are a lot of unnecessary personal attacks on the OP in here.

The OP was trying to enforce her morals on other people. Very few people respond well to that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do we allow posts to warez sites?

so we know where to get warez, dude.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:57 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I posted an AskMe once asking if there was such a thing as warez sites for sewing machine software, and it got deleted.

We pretty much delete "Where are the warez" questions on sight, yeah.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:03 AM on January 25, 2012


unauthorized copyrighted material

Like your profile picture?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:17 AM on January 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


I was expecting this post to be about the FPP which links to the pirates bay.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:28 AM on January 25, 2012


obiwanwasabi: "I posted an AskMe once asking if there was such a thing as warez sites for sewing machine software, and it got deleted."

Sewing machines have software?

*googles*

Holy crap! We've come a long way since my great grandmother's Singer, haven't we?
posted by zarq at 8:04 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I doubt she wants strangers attempting to interfere with her recreational pleasures because they morally disapprove of it.

You make it sound like you have an intrinsic right do whatever you want online. Bizarre. You realize this website has mods, right?
posted by phaedon at 10:21 AM on January 25, 2012


I think it's interesting that there is a mosaic of mitigating excuses for linking to copyrighted material, including it didn't really hurt anyone, it's not that current, or it's part of a demo for something cool. I say hats off to having some principles.

Principles? "It's bad because it's illegal" isn't much of a principle, but yes it's one andreazure has stuck to in the past, arguing against things that are illegal but hurt no one. Copyright law needs some changes. Violating copyright in some situations is as much of a principled stand as knee-jerk adherence to unreasonable laws.

As I understand it no one was downloading anything copyrighted or currently available for sale. I can't see how this is different that swapping old vintage game cartridges. My roommates in college used to package bundles of old video game systems and games (NES, Atari, Collecovision etc) from garage sales and thrift shops over ebay. None of that money went to Nintendo, Atari, or Colleco and yet new people got to enjoy the same copyrighted material. What's the difference?
posted by Hoopo at 10:23 AM on January 25, 2012


The fact of the matter is that some of these game boy games are currently being sold or will be sold in the future on nintendo's 3ds' virtual console eshop.
While I find it unlikely that metafilter's link to the site might have influenced those sales at all, the site as a whole was definitely infringing on nintendo's rights (at least before the change).
posted by yeoz at 10:31 AM on January 25, 2012


I find it incredibly likely that MetaFilter's link to the site has influenced sales. I can't be the only one who has looked up the price of the 3DS because of it.
posted by ODiV at 10:34 AM on January 25, 2012


If you think that site is a "warez size" you literally have no fucking clue what you're talking about.
posted by odinsdream at 10:45 AM on January 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I agree, ODiV; since downloading an NES and SNES emuator and ROMs, I have bought tons of games from the Nintendo Store for their Wii virtual console, and from Square through the Apple Store for the iPhone, once they became available that I might have otherwise have forgotten. This is the same type of nonsense we heard from the recording industry in the 1990s when they tried to outlaw blank media and second hand record shops. I bought more music, and payed more for it, because I was being exposed to so much more. I may be an outlier in that sense, but I find it hard to believe there aren't others like me.
posted by Hoopo at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a nagging suspicion I was a tattle-tale often as a little kid. I'm sorry, everyone.
posted by maxwelton at 11:35 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


unauthorized copyrighted material. happy?

How do you know? It's not your responsibility to determine the legality of anything you link to or download.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2012


You realize this website has mods, right?

You mean people with the authority to decide what is acceptable content for the site?

You're the one refusing to recognize that authority - not me.
posted by Trurl at 12:28 PM on January 25, 2012


We pretty much delete "Where are the warez" questions on sight, yeah.

Yeah, it's interesting that asking for downloads of stuff is verboten, while asking for something like live streams is allowed and gets pretty shady answers. And similarly providing a torrent link to an old movie is banned, while YouTube links are allowed. Guess you have to draw the lines somewhere.
posted by smackfu at 12:36 PM on January 25, 2012


Sewing machines have software?

I spent about 10 minutes pondering why on earth someone, anyone, would want a computer program that emulates the usage of a physical sewing machine before I figured out what was actually going on.
posted by elizardbits at 12:45 PM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rule 34.
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on January 25, 2012


All posts are © their original authors.
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2012


It's definitely porous and complicated territory, yeah. A livestream question for example is usually more of a "how do I engage with this bit of ongoing news/culture that's occurring right now" than it is "how do I bank myself some FREE TEEVEE, WOOOO", but shady answers are shady in any case and are worth flagging or dropping us a line about.

I have mixed feelings about how a lot of stuff shakes out, but the difference between a SHOW ME THE DOWNLOADZ file-trading sort of aesthetic and more of a "here's a cultural artifact we can talk about" thing is roughly where my personal line gets drawn. Depends a lot on the details.

I have fairly specific feelings about the subject of old video games: game history, and games as the cornerstone cultural artifacts of that history, have been served incredibly poorly by the rapid and in a lot of cases pretty tumultuous growth and maturation of the industry over the few short decades it has existed.

Here's a medium that has exploded over a few decades from crude exercises with kilobyte-sized footprints to functionally cinematic productions running on home-use consumer hardware that is laughably powerful.

Which is a very exciting thing, but it also means there's been almost no incentive for folks building games at any point in time to think about those games as something they need to plan for the future of. You don't program a game for ten years from now, or twenty years from now: you program it for now, for the system or systems you're releasing on. And then the world marches on, breakneck year after year, and stuff ages badly in terms of how functional it is after the contemporary hardware becomes the old hardware.

There's also tremendous amounts of code and asset loss. Whether out of carelessness or poor backup practices or just plain IP-hoarding issues, game code that might in an ideal world be fixed to run properly on newer hardware never gets that chance, because the code is in a vault that the current owners refuse to open or because it was trashed entirely at some point.

And even when there's nothing actually preventing an old game from being re-released, most of them don't get re-released anyway, because the owners don't see any profit in it, so it stays int he safe. The whole concept of "abandonware" exists because this is such a pervasive issue with this industry that is always constantly marching on.

So there's all that driving my own feelings about old games. I don't think the copyright issues disappear in all of this, but at the same time I don't feel about ten- or twenty-year-old games quite the same way I do about equally old books or movies or albums, because (a) ten or twenty years in the games industry is functionally a whole lot longer as a result of the rapid growth and turnover of the basic hardware and software involved, and (b) the physical artifacts of especially older console games have become functionally defunct and significantly inaccessible in that short time.

I genuinely love that places like Good Old Games are making a point of doing actual legit re-releases of what they can, often with excellent documentation of how to bridge the gap between the hardware/software environment it was released in and what exists now. I like that Nintendo has put out some of their old stuff on a Virtual Console basis for the Wii, for the 3DS and done some re-releases of ported/emulated titles for newer systems (though I think their pricing structure for this stuff has historically been kind of terrible). But at that we're talking about pinpricks in the black tarp over most of gaming history.

So emulation and dissemination of older games that aren't getting any sort of viable commercial second life (and Nintendo was not, last I checked, making available anything even remotely approaching the full back catalog of GB or NES titles) falls into a more complicated territory for me as a lifelong video game enthusiast than just "that's stealing". I know what the law is, I understand why it exists, and I also know that it predates the current game industry basically in its entirety and does a very poor job of serving this stuff as part of our cultural history. The result is a real swamp of what is legal vs. what is culturally sensible.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:28 PM on January 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


Apparently I have opinions about this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:29 PM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


ODiV: "I find it incredibly likely that MetaFilter's link to the site has influenced sales. I can't be the only one who has looked up the price of the 3DS because of it."

The 3DS is a lovely, frustrating little machine. Lovely because the controls are nice and clicky, the screen is clear, bright, and colourful, the 3D effect is immersive and it has the second-best 3D Mario of all time on it. Frustrating because I want to play the original versions of Super Mario Bros, SMB3, Super Mario World and others on my 3DS, but I can't because they won't sell them to me. My purse is open and ready to throw money at Nintendo but they won't take it, instead waving ports of original Game Boy titles at me, unveiling their back catalogue in tiers, with the shittest bits first, because they know that no-one will pay money for ports of any Game Boy games (except Pokemon, Link's Awakening, and the Mario Land games) if there are NES, SNES, and GBA titles for sale.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:56 PM on January 25, 2012


cortex: "There's also tremendous amounts of code and asset loss. Whether out of carelessness or poor backup practices or just plain IP-hoarding issues, game code that might in an ideal world be fixed to run properly on newer hardware never gets that chance, because the code is in a vault that the current owners refuse to open or because it was trashed entirely at some point."

Sega "lost" the source code to Panzer Dragoon Saga, which is sort of nuts. It's a hugely important game, and a great game to boot, but it's unplayable outside of the original hardware and discs (scarce) or PC emulation, which still takes a pretty powerful PC given the complexity of the Saturn hardware and probably why there's been no PSN, XBLA or Steam release the way there has for Space Channel 5.

I still can't believe you can buy a new Nintendo handheld, the first since the DS in 2004, and still, a year after its release, not be able to buy their classic, big-name games. Come on, Nintendo -- I know you're listening -- you have a back catalogue Microsoft would smear itself in shit and dance naked in front of Apple for and you're keeping it locked away! Call me.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:06 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My purse is open and ready to throw money at Nintendo but they won't take it

Ugh, so true about Nintendo ALWAYS. Last Story and Xenoblade please! Yeah, i know, they're coming apparently but what's the freakin hold up?
posted by Hoopo at 2:22 PM on January 25, 2012


I regret using the word warez. I did it to highlight the issue at hand. It is not technically correct.

Pretend my post said "Why do we allow links to sites that are clear copyright violations?" Please note that YouTube is not, on the face of it, one of those sites. They went to court over that very issue, remember. (Viacom vs. YouTube.) turns out that fair use defenses about sampling and remixing work still applies.

Emulation is not remixing (under the law). Post your emulator? Have fun - good luck in court. You might win or you might lose. (See Sony vs. Bleem.) But to post your emulator and a bunch of ROMs/DMGs/ZIPs containing software you do not have the right to distribute? That's not legal, and as someone in the industry I have a real problem with people linking to it and saying how nifty such a thing is.

A bunch of people are giving negative commentary and nit-picking because they do not like my stance on another pet issue of theirs. Fine, I get it. Can we stick to the topic?

I am not sorry that I make my living creating digital entertainment. I am not sorry that copyrights matter. SOPA/PIPA went too far, and yet even without those bills becoming law the fact of it is that distributing software that you don't have the right to distribute is illegal. It does actually hurt our bottom lines. People do actually lose their job over this. And even if it isn't as much as some people make it out to be, there is a real financial cost involved.

My argument against linking is not a moral one - it is a legal one. My moral stance on it is pretty clear, but even beyond that, the more important legal one is still true regardless of what you think of me, my industry, or my morals.
posted by andreaazure at 2:34 PM on January 25, 2012


Metafilter: Apparently I have opinions about this.
posted by epersonae at 2:38 PM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


It does actually hurt our bottom lines. People do actually lose their job over this. And even if it isn't as much as some people make it out to be, there is a real financial cost involved.

I have no doubt that things like mod-chips and burned copies of games affected bottom lines. I and others are questioning how this particular post did any of that, given that the only way for anyone to play any of these games is to actually have a Game Boy Color and a bunch of cartridges that are no longer available for sale. You are taking a very black-and-white view of this situation.
posted by Hoopo at 2:40 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My argument against linking is not a moral one - it is a legal one.

If your legal opinion is that it's a crime to link to copyrighted material, you're wrong.
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


My argument against linking is not a moral one - it is a legal one.

I appreciate and understand that, and I guess our site response is that legally we are not concerned with linking to sites such as this one. Linking is not a crime. If the world changes such that doing this becomes more problematic for any number of reasons, we might reconsider. However it's not just that we assume minimal-to-zero legal risk by linking to this site, it's that we also don't think that legislating via punishing people who link to things is a valid way to enforce or deal with copyright issues. Period. And I say "we" here because I am guessing at what the rest of Team Mod thinks about this but I am absolutely speaking for myself. If this were my website, I'd probably personally engage in even more calculated civil disobedience because I'm so frustrated at what I see to be the chilling effects of stupid legislation on my librarian ability to share content that is legally mine to share. You have a different professional approach to this, which is totally fine, but it's not the only way to view the legal and social morass that copyright in the Us is mired in.

Really this is mathowie's decision to make and his risk assessment that matters and everyone else can basically decide how they feel about that and/or agitate to get him to make the decision differently. But I'll say it again, linking is not a crime.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:43 PM on January 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


They went to court over that very issue, remember. (Viacom vs. YouTube.) turns out that fair use defenses about sampling and remixing work still applies.

Fair Use is a doctrinal guideline, not an unambiguous classification that is inherent to some things and inherently absent from others. Youtube would not have retroactively become a different entity if the court case had gone differently; already-hosted content would not suddenly have been more or less fair in its use than it was by any abstract measure. Only the legal action following the outcome would be different.

To the extent that I have complicated feelings about this stuff and am pretty much okay with the non-commercial redistribution of out-of-circulation (and in many practical cases only-playable-through-emulation) games, it's because in my assessment much of this stuff falls precisely into the sort of territory that ought to fit well with the doctrine of Fair Use—that there's a significant difference indeed, in both potential commercial harm and practical cultural value, between pirating a new release game and emulating the ROM from a twenty-year-old game on carts that aren't manufactured anymore for a system that isn't manufactured anymore.

In any case, Metafilter's position is not that copyright is the strict line by which we judge whether content can be linked or not. We're generally following Matt's lead in trying to be good internet citizens in terms of not encouraging behavior grossly exploitative of other folks' work, and folks here are pretty good about being sensible about that stuff, but we're going to end up in disagreement with any brightline copyright-oriented philosophy on such stuff because that is not the highest fundamental priority of this place or really a very practical way to treat with the internet as a teeming cultural exchange.

It's totally fine if you disagree with that, people have varying opinions on this stuff and I can totally respect both your perspective on the copyright issue in general and the personal/professional investment you have in the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I regret using the word warez. I did it to highlight the issue at hand.

We are having all kinds of framing issues today! Also GRAR. Something in the air, maybe?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:55 PM on January 25, 2012


Microsoft would smear itself in shit and dance naked in front of Apple

they did that already, it was called windows vista and it didn't go as planned.
posted by elizardbits at 2:57 PM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Man, and Moosejaw is really beautiful this time of year. It's the Saskatoon of the south."

I saw what you did there.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:18 PM on January 25, 2012


A bunch of people are giving negative commentary and nit-picking because they do not like my stance on another pet issue of theirs. Fine, I get it. Can we stick to the topic?

Their pet issue? Seriously?
posted by Trurl at 3:55 PM on January 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cortex et al, I get that Metafilter has a nuanced view, and I appreciate the nuance. I failed to mention that in my reply, which was aimed more at the other people in the thread. I raised my point, it was answered, wish it was different, could have been worse.

Trurl, my pet issue is iguanas. I think they are nifty, and should be the default pet of all Americans.

My name is andreaazure, and I approve this message. /thread
posted by andreaazure at 4:02 PM on January 25, 2012


> my pet issue is iguanas

Tree chicken!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:09 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


OH SHIT MODS, it's iguana recipe time!

Iguanamole:

2 medium limes
onion
cilantro
1 large iguana
salt to taste

Be sure the iguana is slightly soft to the touch, and pit it carefully. Best if prepared just before serving.

posted by Think_Long at 4:56 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Linking is not a crime.

Well, I guess that all depends. If your website is hosted in another country, and has domain names registered in the states, well, just look at what happened with Rojadirecta.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:23 PM on January 25, 2012


Linking is being pushed as a crime.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/TVShack
posted by seanyboy at 5:49 PM on January 25, 2012


THEN ONLY CRIMINALS WILL LINK

and webrings will become like some sort of new crime syndicate thing

guys read my fanfic
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:50 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, webrings. Those were the days.
posted by maryr at 8:23 PM on January 25, 2012


You mean people with the authority to decide what is acceptable content for the site? You're the one refusing to recognize that authority - not me.

Yeah. The mods have in this very thread admitted to moderating content on this site. That's called "strangers interfering with recreational pleasures because they morally disapprove of it." Andreaazure, even as a mere user, is not being any more of a busybody in MetaTalk than any of the mods that heavily moderate this site on a daily basis. Need a concrete example? Look upthread. "A link to pirate bay for a new Lady Gaga album would be instantly deleted." It's unbelievable to me that I even bothered spelling this out to you but there it is.

Anyway, interesting conversation. This is indeed a real swamp of a subject.
posted by phaedon at 10:31 PM on January 25, 2012


guys read my fanfic

OK DoctorFedora, while Q certainly had an unusual fixation with Picard and Riker for a guy with limitless powers who could conceivably entertain himself in any number of ways, it was clearly not a sexual thing and you are SICK
posted by Hoopo at 10:41 PM on January 25, 2012


Hoopo: "it was clearly not a sexual thing and you are SICK"

I wouldn't be so sure.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:49 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Andreaazure, even as a mere user, is not being any more of a busybody in MetaTalk than any of the mods that heavily moderate this site on a daily basis.

The point, I think (don't want to put words on Trurl's screen) is that the mods are supposed to be busybodies - that's their job. Most of us understand that if we drive too fast, a cop can pull us over and give us a ticket. People generally don't respond well to other drivers doing the same thing.

In any event, like most MetaTalks, the conflict in this thread is really being produced by tone, not by content.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:03 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are spectacularly good torrents for ancient video game ROMs, often packaged with the emulator you need to run em'. A google search for "Galaga emulator torrent" found a MAME site, for example.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:23 PM on January 26, 2012


The site/page in the FPP has been taken down anyways, so the point is moot.
posted by BurnChao at 9:26 PM on January 26, 2012


The whole concept of "abandonware" exists because this is such a pervasive issue with this industry that is always constantly marching on.

Why History Needs Software Piracy: How copy protection and app stores could deny future generations their cultural legacy.
posted by homunculus at 4:46 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If metafilter were to delete everything that could potentially be copyrighted, they'd have to remove most youtube links. People post illicit stuff there all the time.

Downloading, as opposed to uploading copyrighted material is as illegal as buying a counterfeit purse. It's not. If you upload (including software like bitrorent or napster, which mixes uploading and downloading) then you're at risk.

Posting links to copyrighted material poses no risk to anyone the users.
posted by delmoi at 12:11 AM on January 28, 2012


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