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Sell GBA's game ROM's

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Is it legal to make game for GBA and sell ROM so people can put in flash-cartridge or play on GBA emulator? I guess not, but I might be wrong. Could ou please clarify it for me? Thanks.

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If it works on a flash-cartridge it's illegal, as a real GBA unit will only play games which have specific copyright material in the header of the game. There are only two ways to get that, a proper licence from Nintendo, or pirating it from another game.

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It's a blurry field in terms of legality. While it seems to be perfectly legal to create your own ROMs using the flash writers available (unless you don't violate Nintendo's IP and only use home-brew libraries), I don't know whether it's legal to sell ROMs without Nintendo's permission.
I remember someone mentioned to have seen people doing so. He didn't provide any references, though so I remain sceptical about this.


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Guest Anonymous Poster

maybe you could sell it with information as to how to put in the "specific copyright material in the header" or an application to strip it from one of their own roms

just a thought

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2 Anonymous Poster: Your thought migt be very useful if you could clarify it for me, please. I didn't understand where you were going to, sorry. English is not my native language so sometimes things appear to me more complicated than they are.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I am the same ap...

I was thinking that if you may look into selling the rom along with specific documentation telling the customer how to find and insert the specific header into the rom you sold them.

Perhaps you could even create an application to do this automatically by grabbing the specific data from a rom they already possess.

I hope that helps.

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I am the same ap...

I was thinking that if you may look into selling the rom along with specific documentation telling the customer how to find and insert the specific header into the rom you sold them.

Taking the header info from a game for use in another game would be breach of copyright. Inciting someone to do this might well result in Nintendo coming after you as you are specifically selling something that requires the user to breach copyright and encouraging them to do it.

The GBA is designed to only run code if it contains the required info which is copyright of Nintendo. Only licensed developers/publishers have permission to create/use the info in their code so you can't make games that run on the GBA without a license from Nintendo.

If you can find an emulator that runs code but does not require this header info then it would be possible to sell games for use on that emu (the game wouldn't run if transfered to a cart and used on the GBA). It would be Possible but not probable because your target market isn't viable. - Most of the people out there who own flash carts aren't game developers. They are people who want to download free/pirated roms from the net. Those people are unlikely to pay for your game.

Conclusion
The target market of GBA emu users would be small
They would be unlikely to pay for your game
It is more complex for them to do that simply downloading a PC game
There are possible legal hassles with Nintendo.

Put simply I can't see any real positive reasons to try this.

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Well, really, if you look into the Sega v. Accolade case, you'll find some very interesting information. Basically, although originally an injunction was served over Accolade for working out how to use the Sega check, and using it. However, this was later cancelled, and has been a key - and heavily quoted - case, for proving why we (GBA-devers) are not breaking the law.
Nintendo won't really like you selling the games, and will probably threaten to sue unless you stop. However, if you sell them to not make a profit (pretty much impossible if you are just supplying the roms, not on single write cartridges) they might turn a blind eye. You could, as has been said, supply the games un'patched' and simply tell them what to use (such as the rather excellent GBARM available on gbadev.org) may work.

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Yep, it will always be risky, until you get licensed or get a licensed publisher. I just make GBA games for fun, like most programming I do, and also to have the 'buzz' of working something else that's been bugging (ahahah) you in your game. Make some quality, free titles, or demos - for example, from the gbadev.org 2003 compo, the 'Sushi the Cat' demo could have been a great full game. Then, with a few good demos under your belt, go to a publisher, see what they think. If they like it, your in, if not, 'If and first you don't succeed, try, try, try again!'.

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If you do stuff for fun then it is unlikely they will ever find you or bother you. Start selling stuff and it becomes a different matter. Just because you don't make a profit won't make a difference - it will just mean you are a bad business person ;)

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Example : gbadev.org 2004 compo (cartridges to be sent soon, 2005). I am pretty sure there are a few Nintendo 'bugs' lying around gbadev, and Nintendo haven't given gbadev a hard time, because they are breaking even on the cartridges, selling them for about USD$14. If thye had sold them for USD$25, I think Nintendo would be on their tale.

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