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Is it legal to keep my PC games sealed and play downloaded copies of them?

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xelios

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I'm sure this is a stupid question, but is this legal or piracy? A lot of my older PC games I like to keep sealed, and this just sprang to mind today. I double dip with Steam if they're available, but others (BG big boxes for instance, PS:T etc.) are not available on Steam. By downloaded I don't mean uploading them to others in the process. If this is answered elsewhere mock and lock.
 

Dynoro

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I would suggest you pop over to gog.com and have a look for legal games as you have mentioned BG and PST that are both on the service.

I suspect that legally you should not download copyrighted data even if you own it in another form.
 

Fersis

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In before : Is it legal to use counterfeit money if i have 5 real dollars?

To be honest OP i dont know much about the subject but it seems to be illegal... if the donwload copies are cracked/pirated copies.

captmcblack said:
Everything is piracy, especially on GAF.

You probably shouldn't be doing that, or NO-CD cracks and whathaveyou, but whatever.
I think that the GAF policies accept No-CDs and those cracks with fixes if you own a legal copy of the game.
 

erpg

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So you're keeping them sealed for resale value, and pirating them so you can play? Doesn't matter your reasons, it's copyright infringement.

And kinda cheese too. But if your reasons make you sleep better at night, whatever.
 

xelios

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No, I keep them sealed to collect. =/ Anyway I was just wondering. Thanks for the answers. I suppose I should just get another copy of the ones I can't get through Steam or another digital service.
 

captmcblack

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Everything is piracy, especially on GAF.

You probably shouldn't be doing that, or NO-CD cracks and whathaveyou, but whatever.
 

StuBurns

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It's infringement of copyright, if you're keeping them forever though, and just want to keep them sealed for some strange pleasure, then act on your own moral opinion.
 

OMG Aero

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I would say that legally it is piracy, but since you already have the games whether it is morally right or wrong is a matter of opinion.
 
Jul 15, 2009
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I remember reading in multiple places that it's still illegal to download a game through illegal ways, even if you own the game. Especially if you accidentally download a different version of the game than you own.

I'm no legal expert, though.

Fake edit: Nintendo's web site says this:
Can I Download a Nintendo ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?

There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction of the authentic. Therefore, whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.
I wouldn't use Nintendo's web site as a source of true, legal information, though, because of their possible bias.
 

Cardigan

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It's legal to have backups of your games, but I don't think it's legal to download those backups.
 

drizzle

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xelios said:
Is it legal to keep my PC games sealed and play downloaded copies of them?
Officially, no, it's not legal to download copyrighted material. There are no "buts" or "ifs" in that law.
Ethically, who cares?

Cardigan said:
It's legal to have backups of your games, but I don't think it's legal to download those backups.
It's legal to have backups of everything you own that's digital, for safekeeping purposes. Most of the times, it's illegal to MAKE those backups.
 

jay

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Lyphen said:
So you're keeping them sealed for resale value, and pirating them so you can play? Doesn't matter your reasons, it's copyright infringement.

And kinda cheese too. But if your reasons make you sleep better at night, whatever.
To run with this idea, would it be necessary to physically manipulate the physical copy of a game every time you were going to play the downloaded version in order to simulate the wear of normal usage? Otherwise you could sell for more than it is worth years from now because it will be closer to mint than it would have had you actually played (or simulated playing) it.

I am of the moral opinion that you cannot pirate a game you own. The legality seems irrelevant.
 

DietRob

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It seems 'wrong' to me. This is the major problem I have with some of my EA games. Games like Crysis, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect. I own physical copies of all of them and was pretty bummed that I couldn't activate those on steam.

I don't like being bothered with fumbling around with the collectors edition cases to take the disk out to play it.
 

Clott

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Fersis said:
In before : Is it legal to use counterfeit money if i have 5 real dollars?

To be honest OP i dont know much about the subject but it seems to be illegal... if the donwload copies are cracked/pirated copies.


I think that the GAF policies accept No-CDs and those cracks with fixes if you own a legal copy of the game.
Completely different, the thing with money is it by using it you would also make it someone elses moral choice without knowing. He isn't planning to exchange with these downloaded games.

I say do what makes you happy as long as you buy the product.
 

Suairyu

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Completely illegal.

You are entitled to make your own backup copies yourself, not to download the copies of others.
 

jorma

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Playing the downloaded games would not be illegal. It's the actual process of downloading the copy that is infringing the copyright.
 
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There's been a lot of piracy talk on this forum as of late, so as opposed to stating an opinion and engaging in a back and forth, I'd instead like to interject by stating that I don't really understand what you're asking. You mention a game like Torment --an 11+ year old game -- for instance. So, you've had an unopened copy of it for some time. How have you played it up until now? Because pragmatically you can probably just keep doing whatever it is that you've been doing already. But if it's a philosophical debate you want, then prepare for an onslaught of car analogies.
 

xelios

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*scratches head* I think for the sake of sanity I will just get a second, used copy of games that are not available for digital download. Thanks for telling me about the other service for BG and PS:T in particular.
 

jorma

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Lyphen said:
Jaywalking and the piracy epidemic aren't similar, but again, whatever makes you feel better.
We're talking about someone who wants to download games he already owns, or did you forget?
 

Stumpokapow

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May 21, 2006
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I don't feel that downloading a copy of something you own is piracy. For example, if I want to play SMB3 NES on my PC (I own a cartridge copy. Currently. It is in my house. There's no excuses like "I owned a copy 20 years ago and I can't find it but I'm still entitled."), I will download a ROM. I do this because I am legally entitled to format shifting and no one has ever made a compelling argument why format shifting by proxy is materially different to format shifting yourself. On the other hand, I rip my own PSP games and my own DVDs, so the reason why I choose format shifting by proxy in other cases is because it's simply more convenient.

I don't care what the law says on the matter, although it's worth noting that there haven't really been any test cases (the MP3.com case did hold that it was illegal to provide format shifted-by-proxy content, but not that it was illegal to obtain), and format shifting / time shifting / fair use stuff is generally a pretty sparse field to begin with.

That being said, your question is slightly different. You aren't really asking "am I entitled to download a copy of something I own?" (I would generally agree with this--if your disc is scratched, even moreso), you're asking "am I entitled to download a copy of something I own so that I can artificially leave my physical copy unused so that I can profit more from it later?".

I can't come up with a good argument WHY opening the game, ripping the disc, and playing would be different than leaving the game closed, downloading the game, and playing, but something about it intuitively feels like you're scamming the system.
 

StuBurns

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jorma said:
We're talking about someone who wants to download games he already owns, or did you forget?
Indeed, I wish this forum could actually discuss piracy in a mature manner. I imagine if the mods didn't ban people who admitted to it, we'd see a whole lot less absurdly judgmental posts.
 

Zoe

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Suairyu said:
Completely illegal.

You are entitled to make your own backup copies yourself, not to download the copies of others.
This.

Ethically would be another matter, but if you chose to do it via torrents, don't forget that means that you're also distributing.
 

dude

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It is not legal.
You're not going to get caught though, so just act as you see fit. If you're morally fine with it, then do it.

I don't know how it fits with GAF's TOS though, there's no consistent rule about this over here, I noticed (drugs are cool, leaked music is cool, emulators are not coll etc.), so it's more according to the moral standard of the mods - I wouldn't talk about it too much over here anyway, though.
 

Neki

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Zoe said:
This.

Ethically would be another matter, but if you chose to do it via torrents, don't forget that means that you're also distributing.
Can't you just turn off seeding and only choose to download, and not upload?
 

erpg

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jorma said:
We're talking about someone who wants to download games he already owns, or did you forget?
That's the illegal part.

And piracy threads will always turn into discussions about the bigger picture, where 20 years down the line, people will actually be thinking that's it's somehow similar to jaywalking and a victimless crime. Well, you own it, so pirating it is okay. And abandonware isn't public domain, but nobody will enforce the copyright, so just go ahead and pirate it, and I'm just pirating it because there's no demo.
 

ethic

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no it's like buying a ferarri to keep in your garage and then stealing another ferarri to drive because it's raining outside and you don't want to get your fararri dirty.

it's uncool
 

Zoe

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Ultimoo said:
Can't you just turn off seeding and only choose to download, and not upload?
But then you're a leech which means you're a drain on the system!

If any publisher chose to go after people on torrents, I don't think they'd discriminate whether people have uploading turned on or not.
 

shintoki

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Momo said:
The OP isnt exactly a pirate.
It sounds like, I want to justify my pirating these titles. But it's okay, since I bought the game. Just haven't opened it yet, so it's resale doesn't go down.

I'm in the pool where if you own the title. It's yours. If you want a digital copy to play on PC, go for it. But this isn't it. It sounds like someone who buys a game from Wal Mart, doesn't open it. Torrents it. Plays it. Then returns the unopened copy. Just to say how they aren't a pirate since they bought it.
 

StuBurns

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ethic said:
no it's like buying a ferarri to keep in your garage and then stealing another ferarri to drive because it's raining outside and you don't want to get your fararri dirty.

it's uncool
It's nothing like that ethic.
 

dude

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ethic said:
no it's like buying a ferarri to keep in your garage and then stealing another ferarri to drive because it's raining outside and you don't want to get your fararri dirty.

it's uncool
It would be like that if Ferrari's could clone themselves.
 

JADS

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ethic said:
no it's like buying a ferarri to keep in your garage and then stealing another ferarri to drive because it's raining outside and you don't want to get your fararri dirty.

it's uncool
Your analogue makes zero sense, copyright infringement is not the same as stealing. Even though both are a wrong thing to do. OP can't you just take the disc out, make a back up and reseal it? Or is having a NRFB that important?
 

The Technomancer

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Its a messy situation. I'd love to be legally in the clear with the Nintendo DS games on my flashcart, but I just don't have the hardware to rip them myself, so I download roms of games I own for convenience sake.

dude said:
I don't know how it fits with GAF's TOS though, there's no consistent rule about this over here, I noticed (drugs are cool, leaked music is cool, emulators are not coll etc.), so it's more according to the moral standard of the mods - I wouldn't talk about it too much over here anyway, though.
As I see it, Stumpokapow supports downloading backups of games you own, and he's still a mod, so Evilore must be alright with it.
 

xelios

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Stumpokapow said:
I can't come up with a good argument WHY opening the game, ripping the disc, and playing would be different than leaving the game closed, downloading the game, and playing, but something about it intuitively feels like you're scamming the system.

I don't feel that way at all, or didn't before these replies at least. But at least I'm getting some honest opinions. Again, I don't keep the games sealed to profit from them later, but because certain games I love I want to collect. I appreciate the opinions here and I don't intend to be a pirate, which is why I asked the questions. I don't appreciate the insinuations that I'm doing it so I can hold onto the games to make big bucks on them later while I play them for free. Otherwise I wouldn't buy them on Steam (when available, like Morrowind) when I already own them. Not to mention sometimes I pay outrageous prices for the sealed copies, and I doubt they are going to go up.
 

jiien

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dude said:
It is not legal.
You're not going to get caught though, so just act as you see fit. If you're morally fine with it, then do it.

I don't know how it fits with GAF's TOS though, there's no consistent rule about this over here, I noticed (drugs are cool, leaked music is cool, emulators are not coll etc.), so it's more according to the moral standard of the mods - I wouldn't talk about it too much over here anyway, though.
Pretty sure that emulation as a subject is okay, just not the illegally-obtaining-ROMS part.
 

jorma

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Lyphen said:
That's the illegal part.

And piracy threads will always turn into discussions about the bigger picture, where 20 years down the line, people will actually be thinking that's it's somehow similar to jaywalking and a victimless crime. Well, you own it, so pirating it is okay. And abandonware isn't public domain, but nobody will enforce the copyright, so just go ahead and pirate it, and I'm just pirating it because there's no demo.
Yes, we know that's the illegal part. Fifty posters including me have already said as much Duh.

If the scenario presented in the op is not an example of a victimless crime, then who is victim?
 

scitek

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If the cops were staking out your house because of your downloading, then busted in SWAT-style only to find you had legally-owned, sealed copies of each of the games you had downloaded, they'd look pretty stupid.

I think it's more frowned upon because it still uses those shady sites. If you were to open those boxes, then download the ISO but use your own CD key, then I see nothing wrong with it.
 

Neki

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Zoe said:
But then you're a leech which means you're a drain on the system!

If any publisher chose to go after people on torrents, I don't think they'd discriminate whether people have uploading turned on or not.
Well in Canada downloading music is legal while distributing and uploading is illegal so. ;o
 

jay

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Lyphen said:
That's the illegal part.

And piracy threads will always turn into discussions about the bigger picture, where 20 years down the line, people will actually be thinking that's it's somehow similar to jaywalking and a victimless crime. Well, you own it, so pirating it is okay. And abandonware isn't public domain, but nobody will enforce the copyright, so just go ahead and pirate it, and I'm just pirating it because there's no demo.
Who is the victim in the scenario the OP describes?

Edit - copyright holders. Because they were not paid for their work?
 

Minsc

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It's absolutely illegal, and besides that it's probably not even in your best interest to do it even if morally it's ok w/ you.

If you don't want to open and rip the games yourself, and you like seeing old games made available and compatible with modern OSs, head over to GOG.com and buy PS:T, BG1/2, and everything else you have sealed, and you'll be in the clear legally and morally. Plus the GOG versions install even easier than pirated versions. :)
 

erpg

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jorma said:
Yes, we know that's the illegal part. Fifty posters including me have already said as much Duh.

If the scenario presented in the op is not an example of a victimless crime, then who is victim?
Copyright....holders...?
 

dude

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jiien said:
Pretty sure that emulation as a subject is okay, just not the illegally-obtaining-ROMS part.
Well, you get what I mean though - It's not that all illegal topics are forbidden or something like that, that you can tell in advance - It's up to the norms of the forum and the moral standards of the mods. I'm not saying that's necessarily bad, it's just inconsistent, I can't tell for sure whether something like that will be okay to discuss on GAF.
 

StuBurns

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xelios said:
I don't feel that way at all, or didn't before these replies at least. But at least I'm getting some honest opinions. Again, I don't keep the games sealed to profit from them later, but because certain games I love I want to collect. I appreciate the opinions here and I don't intend to be a pirate, which is why I asked the questions. I don't appreciate the insinuations that I'm doing it so I can hold onto the games to make big bucks on them later while I play them for free. Otherwise I wouldn't buy them on Steam (when available, like Morrowind) when I already own them.
It's really morally no different to pirating MP3s as appose to ripping them yourself. I have a number of CDs I have never even opened because I had the MP3s. I don't even feel slightly ethically torn by it.
 
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