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doynax

Unity An official view on emulation?

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So I've decided to take Sneftel's advice and stop posting hijacking threads (sorry for that). And I hope this is the right forum for this, too bad the FAQ suggestions thread has been retired. To quote myself:
Quote:
Isn't this particular discussion still worth having? There still seems to be much confusion left surrounding the issue, given that the topic seems to derail a lot of unrelated treads just like this one. I personally wish we had some semi-official statements (or generally accepted truths) about emulation and ROMs, especially in relation to console development, in the Consoles, PDAs and Cell Phones FAQ. At least then we could easily deal with any further "OMG, you'll get banned!" statements. (I know there's a few words recommending the use of an emulator for GBA development in there, but that's hardly concrete enough to quote).
I realize that this is a somewhat politically loaded discussion surrounding a large legal grey zone. But can we at least reach consensus on that emulation for development purposes (with the proper BIOS roms) is almost universally considered to be legal? Or, if not, then state which devices and/or regions are "allowed". This is an important issues for me since console development is a big hobby of mine which has been questioned more than once (mostly outside of gamedev, but once step at a time..). Besides, this entire forum almost certainly wouldn't exist without emulation. Or am I just making a big deal of nothing?

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Emulation isnt "legal grey zone." I make emulators for imaginary CPUs all the time, nothing illegal about that...just owning ROMs of games you dont own, is illegal, not the emulation its self.

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The hairy legality issues regarding consoles generally relate to people downloading ROMs rather than creating themselves. Luckily for me, that's a topic that's mostly outside the scope of this forum, so I don't have to worry about it. [grin] Nevertheless, here's the short version, applicable within the US: Downloading ROMs is illegal, period, full stop. That includes situations where you own the cartridge.

As far as homebrew development is concerned, independent developers don't have much to worry about. Virtually all copyright statutes include provisions that protect reverse engineering for purposes of creating interoperable software. The thing that WILL get you in trouble here is using, having, or helping people obtain pirated SDKs and devkits.

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Quote:
Original post by Fallen God
Emulation isnt "legal grey zone." I make emulators for imaginary CPUs all the time, nothing illegal about that...just owning ROMs of games you dont own, is illegal, not the emulation its self.
I agree, but I think issue is a bit broader than that.
For instance it's not hard to imagine a country where the process (and the results) of deciphering a console's hardware is illegal. And I'm doubtful whether "owning your own ROMs" is legal either when you haven't dumped the ROMs yourself.
And then we've got the whole DMCA affair..

Hopefully this particular instance is okay however, all I want is a tiny notice in the FAQ to quote really.

Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
The hairy legality issues regarding consoles generally relate to people downloading ROMs rather than creating themselves. Luckily for me, that's a topic that's mostly outside the scope of this forum, so I don't have to worry about it. [grin] Nevertheless, here's the short version, applicable within the US: Downloading ROMs is illegal, period, full stop. That includes situations where you own the cartridge.
Good to hear, and I seriously doubt that EU legislation is any stricter.

Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
The thing that WILL get you in trouble here is using, having, or helping people obtain pirated SDKs and devkits.
True, but then that's no different from software development in general.
In particular I guess the official hardware documentation provided with SDKs is the main issue, but they're virtually impossible to get hold of anyway (and often said to be much worse than the homebrew stuff).

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Exactly. For example, in a couple of past situations, people have turned up asking suspiciously clueless questions about the XDK, despite the fact that (a) generally people working on commercial XBox development have half a brain, (b) people with access to the XDK have signed NDAs preventing them from talking about the XDK on internet forums, and (c) people working on commercial XBox development have their own set of private newsgroups. Invariably, the people asking the questions turned out to be n00bs who found the XDK on Morpheus or Napster or whatever it is you kids use these days.

Those people aren't here anymore.

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