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Abandonware: Good, Or Evil (Or awesome)

posted by Pvt._Public on - last edited - Viewed by 914 users

I know this is something that a lot of people are always talking about and i also know that there may be a lot of people who are going to call me filthy pirating scum for this and ALSO that there may be another thread much like this hidden elsewhere in the forum but basically, what do you think? Abandonware good or bad?
Personally, having been born back in 1990 i missed out on all the classic games such as Maniac Mansion and whatnot. Also i was a little too young at the time to think that most of the games around then were any good. Where were the explosions? now days though i find my self spending vast sums of money continuously buying classic games. Some games though are impossible to find (at least in NZ). The point is that i download a lot of abandonware. Indiana Jones and the fate of atlantis being the latest one (please, no links). I am aware that some of the people at telltale game may have worked on some of these classic games but i'm sure they know what i'm talking about. Once again, what do you think? should Lucasarts etc. continue saying that i shouldn't download their games despite there being no other way to get them or not?

51 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Ah, OK. So the term freeware is made up as well. But I thought companies could make games free without having to relinquish the rights to them.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]What i meant was that though i do download abandonware i don't just go, "Hey! Doom III was kind of fun. I think i'll just go and pay 5 dollars and get it burnt to disk".[/quote] Yeah, but Doom III is most certainly not abandonware. That's out-and-out piracy. The key is that "abandonware" has never really been defined. Is it piracy or isn't it? So, the Doom III analogy doesn't quite work, but I know what you're saying.
    [quote]But some games, they were around in 1989 and nobody longer wishes to know about it and the copyright stopped back in 2000 and i really REALLY want to play it and after about 1 month of searching a i can't legally buy it, i'll download it. I ain't no pirate just because of that am i?[/quote]That's the debate. I don't see how anyone can be considered as such. Obviously, others do.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]Freeware doesn't exist from a legal standpoint either. A game is either Public Domain or it's not, most freeware games aren't. Freeware and abandonware are both terms invented by gamers.[/quote]
    No, that's not true. "Freeware" is a viable term in that it has a different license than public domain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware

    "Public domain" is just that - it belongs to the public who can do whatever they want with the material.
    [quote]So the term freeware is made up as well. But I thought companies could make games free without having to relinquish the rights to them.[/quote]
    That is correct. "Freeware" is software that is made available to the public for free; however, it is still owned under copyright by the software company or developer. The public can legally distribute freeware, but cannot alter or modify it without express consent of the copyright holder.

    Freeware authors often also put other stipulations, such as the software cannot be sold, cannot be included with another package, and so forth.

    The statement that it was developed by gamers is also not correct. The term "freeware" was not coined by gamers. It was started by someone who wanted to distribute a communications program. Freeware includes all types of software, not just games. You can get software under "distributed as freeware" licensing for just about any category imaginable.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]If it's the one I think it is (the place of residence for canines who don't get enough credit )[/quote]

    BING! BING! BING BING!! BING! We have a winner.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]
    No, that's not true. "Freeware" is a viable term in that it has a different license than public domain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware

    "Public domain" is just that - it belongs to the public who can do whatever they want with the material.
    [quote]So the term freeware is made up as well. But I thought companies could make games free without having to relinquish the rights to them.[/quote]
    That is correct. "Freeware" is software that is made available to the public for free; however, it is still owned under copyright by the software company or developer. The public can legally distribute freeware, but cannot alter or modify it without express consent of the copyright holder.
    [/quote]

    Yes, but my point was that freeware is not a legal term. It's a term that describes software that has a license that allows anyone to spread it. You won't find the term in a lawbook like Public Domain. Or maybe you will, I'm not an expert on this.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]Yes, but my point was that freeware is not a legal term. It's a term that describes software that has a license that allows anyone to spread it. You won't find the term in a lawbook like Public Domain. Or maybe you will, I'm not an expert on this.[/quote]The term has been used for over a decade to represent a specific type of legal, licensing methodology. It might not be in a dictionary, but that doesn't make the term any less valid. Besides, any issue regarding law will be defined by the terms of the End User License Agreement (EULA) for the application/utility/game that is in legal question, not the descriptive word that's assigned to that type of licensing. Different types of freeware have different types of licensing. The licensing is what any lawyer would be concerned about.

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    Anonymous

    Umm... Yes, exactly.

  • yup good old eula............
    >_>
    <_

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    Anonymous

    Abandonware, in the sense that most people use it, is inherently bad, since it is also illegal. Copyrights don't just expire because noone defends them. It is always better to have the consent of the copyright holder.

    Now, there is a considerable movement in the games industry towards releasing old games as freeware, subject to license agreements that make it clear that the developers still hold the copyright. Many developers use the GPL or similar licenses if they release source code along with the game.
    Some people like to refer to these previously commercial games as "liberated games".

    Some high-profile examples include:
    Rockstar Games (released GTA 1 & 2, and Wild Metal)
    Team17 (released their entire Amiga lineup of games)
    Revolution (released Beneath a Steel Sky to ScummVM)

    A good place to start looking for officially liberated games is, apparently, liberatedgames.org .

  • [quote]
    Some high-profile examples include:
    Rockstar Games (released GTA 1 & 2, and Wild Metal)
    Team17 (released their entire Amiga lineup of games)

    A good place to start looking for officially liberated games is, apparently, liberatedgames.org .[/quote]
    I did not know about these, or this site. Very nice, thank you, cappuchok!

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