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Are ROMs Legal to Use?


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#1 SuperSonic7

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:37 PM

Hello everybody,

I am new to the forums and really like the Visual Pinball software. It's cool how a lot of the recreations are very close to their originals. However, I notice that VP uses "ROMs" and... well at least when I think of a ROM I think of illegally ripped things, like games. I read the Terms of Service and looked at the Forum Policy but neither of them clearly state anything about ROMs. So I beg the question: is it legal to be using these ROMs? Thank you everybody.

#2 StevOz

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:46 PM

Innocent unless proven guilty, there is no case to answer.

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#3 destruk

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:50 PM

I think you should research this and let us know.
If this is a serious question, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROM_image
Otherwise you're just being a troll.

Edited by destruk, 26 January 2011 - 01:08 PM.

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#4 007

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:43 PM

When vpinmame launches the rom, it asks if you are legally entitled to use the rom.
You have the choice to answer yes or no. rolleyes.gif

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Edited by 7, 26 January 2011 - 01:46 PM.

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#5 faralos

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:00 PM

since they are in a public website i would think as long as you not sell that pin (virtual vp gets illegally sold all the time on discs usually in Eastern Block countries), I have seen such illegal discs on ebay already selling tables that people have downloaded and are trying to sell, without anyone's permission. Vp cannot be sold ever (it is freeware and open source), but as for using roms, yes they are public domain...as long as its for private use.
i.e. have you ever recorded a telecast sporting event? did you get the written permission of the sports teams as required by law? same thing here...
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Edited by faralos, 26 January 2011 - 03:03 PM.

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#6 Rawd

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:03 PM

From the link that Destruk provided:


"Commercial distribution of copyrighted games without the consent of the copyright holder is generally illegal in almost all countries, with those who take part in such activities being liable for both criminal and civil penalties."

"There have been few convictions and lawsuits related to ROM trading. Criminal convictions tend to be related to high-profile warez groups which trade combinations of recent films and computer games. In contrast, the ROM scene tends to concentrate mostly on older games. Given the lack of continuing profit from most older games, the grievances of games companies rarely exceed sending a cease and desist letter which demands that the recipient stop distributing the copyrighted works in question."


 


#7 faralos

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 07:30 PM

like I said if ya' give it away it's cool just never try to sell it...
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#8 Practicedummy

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 07:51 PM

If you want to play it safe, don't get any roms that are less than 2 generations old (approximately 10 years). I did a lot of research into this and there is really no definitive answer to this question and the companies feel that it isn't worth the hassle to take anyone to court unless someone is massively distributing for profit. So in a few words, all the older stuff is practically abandonware. Still the choice is yours. biggrin.gif

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#9 SuperSonic7

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:15 PM

Well, after reading the article and scrolling through all of those comments, I basically got this out of it: It's illegal, but the company won't really want to take legal action unless it's a ROM for a product they recently made/still make money off of. And especially do not massively redistribute the ROMs for profit. Thank you everybody, my question has been answered. And yes, this was a serious question, not a troll. I apologize if I may have gave that impression to regular members/admins smile.gif

#10 kristian

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:22 PM

No... it's highly illegal... that's why I always pull the black curtains and shut the lights before I play MAME and PinMAME.... you never know who might be watching. dirol.gif

#11 Itchigo

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:40 PM

I'd have to say technically illegal but unless your mass distributing and it's something that makes a lot of money for a company, don't worry about it. Since this is freeware that helps even more because it's not for profit.

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#12 FDSystems

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 01:33 AM

There is also an agreement with Stern not to recreate the newest games till they change their systems.
Better informed members could give you more details.

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#13 Noah Fentz

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:42 AM

I'd say technically not illegal in our case, as it has been discussed, or I have even discussed personally the issue with the relevant companies, and they have given us the 'nod' to do what we do. Just like the nod given to IPDB to host the ROMs.

There's nothing to be concerned about.

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