US Copyright Office Wants to Hear From the Public On Exemptions for Abandoned Games

Jun 5, 2011
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#1
Deadline for written comments are May 1. You don't have to be a US Citizen to participate.

Deadline to schedule yourself as part of the public hearing is April 20.

Update 1:
Interesting. So it seems the major classes that effect videogames are the ones below:



Proposed Class 17: Jailbreaking – all-purpose mobile computing devices

This proposed class would permit the jailbreaking of all-purpose mobile computing devices to allow the devices to run lawfully acquired software that is otherwise prevented from running, or to remove unwanted preinstalled software from the device. The category “all-purpose mobile computing device” includes all-purpose non-phone devices (such as the Apple iPod touch) and all-purpose tablets (such as the Apple iPad or the Google Nexus). The category does not include specialized devices such as e-book readers or handheld gaming devices, or laptop or desktop computers
Proposed Class 19: Jailbreaking – video game consoles

This proposed class would permit the jailbreaking of home video game consoles. Asserted noninfringing uses include installing alternative operating systems, running lawfully acquired applications, preventing the reporting of personal usage information to the manufacturer, and removing region locks. The requested exemption would apply both to older and currently marketed game consoles.
Proposed Class 23: Abandoned software – video games requiring server communication

This proposed class would allow circumvention of TPMs on lawfully acquired video games consisting of communication with a developer-operated server for the purpose of either authentication or to enable multiplayer matchmaking, where developer support for those server communications has ended. This exception would not apply to video games whose audiovisual content is primarily stored on the developer’s server, such as massive multiplayer online role-playing games.


The first half of the classes (not outlined here) are largely related to exemptions for use of materials for educational purposes (which should technically fall under fair use exemptions to begin with, but yay Americuh)

These are the major classes which effect videogames specifically, though there are other exemption classes for devices that could potentially be used for videogames as well. So if there's a game you feel adamant about that you think might not be covered by the above classes it's not a bad idea to try and find the class that does or propose an extension of a class.

Original Post:

The Office is accepting comments in two ways. First, commenters who wish to provide a full legal and evidentiary basis for their position may submit comments in a long form format. Such comments should be limited to no more than 25 pages in length (which may be single-spaced but should be in at least 12-point type), not including any documentary evidence. To assist participants, the Office has provided a recommended long comment form.



Second, for those commenters who wish to briefly express general support for or opposition to a proposed exemption, the Office is providing a recommended short comment form. Short comments should be limited to no more than one page (which may be single-spaced but should be in at least 12-point type).



Comments and associated documentary evidence (but not multimedia evidence) should be uploaded as a single combined file via the comment submission page. Commenters submitting long form comments may also separately submit multimedia evidence. Multimedia evidence must be submitted separately via U.S. mail or hand delivered to the Office, on specified digital media, in an approved file format and labeled as described in the NPRM.
So is anyone going to take part in this hearing?
 
Jun 5, 2011
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#3
Not me! But I'm sad that this thread fell off the front page. It's pretty important for long-term game preservation.
I remember seeing a long discussion about this topic over a week ago so it is something quite a few members were vocal about. Now here they have an opportunity to make their case for either side of the debate.
 
May 24, 2012
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#11
I wish I had anywhere near the expertise to defend the preservation of our medium.
You don't have to be a linguist or an expert on preservation to write a comment. Hell, just a personal story about a game you liked to play but has been effected by lack of preservation (a game who's multiplayer has been abandoned for example) will be sufficient.
 
Dec 6, 2008
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#12
You don't have to be a linguist or an expert on preservation to write a story a comment. Hell, just a personal story about a game you liked to play but has been effected by lack of preservation (a game who's multiplayer has been abandoned for example) will be sufficient.
Exactly.

I'll probably put in some comments.
 
Jun 5, 2011
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#14
I hope the capable can stand up and talk competently on this topic.
While I feel this is something that should happen for those going to the public hearing, no one should be discouraged from writing in their concerns. I hope people don't have such apprehensions when someone suggest writing to your local congressman.
 
Dec 14, 2008
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#17
While you're at it, you should also advocate for the legality of emulating old proprietary systems such as game consoles. Preserving old games isn't of much use if you don't have an old game console or computer on hand, or an emulated version of one, to play the game on.
 

Ihaa

Neo Member
May 28, 2014
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Do I have to live in the US to write a comment for them? I'm from Canada but I think we should all be vocal about allowing preservation of old games the same way we allow preservation of old art and what not (having photos available online for public viewing or in games case, allowing us to play them).
 
May 19, 2009
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#19
While you're at it, you should also advocate for the legality of emulating old proprietary systems such as game consoles. Preserving old games isn't of much use if you don't have an old game console or computer on hand, or an emulated version of one, to play the game on.
Emulation isn't illegal.... I guess you mean the cases where the BIOS is required?
 

bishoptl

Banstick Emeritus
Jun 6, 2004
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#20
Do I have to live in the US to write a comment for them? I'm from Canada but I think we should all be vocal about allowing preservation of old games the same way we allow preservation of old art and what not (having photos available online for public viewing or in games case, allowing us to play them).
This is the question I was going to ask when I read the OP. I have an interest in ensuring looser restrictions on abandoned games, but I'm not American.

Anyone?
 
May 31, 2013
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#27
I'll try to submit a comment in the next day or two.

Hopefully they rule in favor of allowing users to preserve abandoned games as best they can or whatever outcome is feasible that would be closest to that goal.

I'm a cynic in general though so I'm not too optimistic on that :(
 
Jan 21, 2010
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The Internet
fyrewulff.com
#31
Non-US citizens can specify their state as Other in the dropdown. You do not have to be a US Citizen to go a hearing or be a witness in any proceeding.

Do note that if you supply them your home address on the form, it will permanently be part of the US public record.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#32
Do I have to live in the US to write a comment for them? I'm from Canada but I think we should all be vocal about allowing preservation of old games the same way we allow preservation of old art and what not (having photos available online for public viewing or in games case, allowing us to play them).
This is the question I was going to ask when I read the OP. I have an interest in ensuring looser restrictions on abandoned games, but I'm not American.

Anyone?

The only thing it says that I see is

Item 1. Commenter Information
Identify the commenting party and, if desired, provide a means for others to contact the commenter or an authorized representative of the commenter by email and/or telephone. (Please keep in mind that any private, confidential, or personally identifiable information in this document will be accessible to the public.)
It actually shouldn't matter if you are a citizen or not. The only thing they will be looking over really is the information and it's relevance.
 
Dec 20, 2010
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#33
Interesting. So it seems the major classes that effect videogames are the ones below:
Proposed Class 17: Jailbreaking – all-purpose mobile computing devices

This proposed class would permit the jailbreaking of all-purpose mobile computing devices to allow the devices to run lawfully acquired software that is otherwise prevented from running, or to remove unwanted preinstalled software from the device. The category “all-purpose mobile computing device” includes all-purpose non-phone devices (such as the Apple iPod touch) and all-purpose tablets (such as the Apple iPad or the Google Nexus). The category does not include specialized devices such as e-book readers or handheld gaming devices, or laptop or desktop computers
Proposed Class 19: Jailbreaking – video game consoles

This proposed class would permit the jailbreaking of home video game consoles. Asserted noninfringing uses include installing alternative operating systems, running lawfully acquired applications, preventing the reporting of personal usage information to the manufacturer, and removing region locks. The requested exemption would apply both to older and currently marketed game consoles.
Proposed Class 23: Abandoned software – video games requiring server communication

This proposed class would allow circumvention of TPMs on lawfully acquired video games consisting of communication with a developer-operated server for the purpose of either authentication or to enable multiplayer matchmaking, where developer support for those server communications has ended. This exception would not apply to video games whose audiovisual content is primarily stored on the developer’s server, such as massive multiplayer online role-playing games.
The first half of the classes (not outlined here) are largely related to exemptions for use of materials for educational purposes (which should technically fall under fair use exemptions to begin with, but yay Americuh)

These are the major classes which effect videogames specifically, though there are other exemption classes for devices that could potentially be used for videogames as well. So if there's a game you feel adamant about that you think might not be covered by the above classes it's not a bad idea to try and find the class that does or propose an extension of a class.
 
Feb 19, 2015
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#34
Glad to hear someone cares.

I was emotionally destroyed when Square-Enix confirmed there would never be an offline version of Final Fantasy XI.

So...one day a mainline FF might not be playable ever again. We're talking about the preservation of a series here.

Q: Is there any possibility to release an offline version of the game?
A: We have talked about plans for an offline version several times; however, every time we start looking into the cost it is too high and we end up dropping the plan. We do want to make it available, but it is impossible to make the entire FFXI game something that is playable by one person, so we would have to take away specific parts. For these reasons we currently have no specific projects for this.
Source: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxi/threads/46687

And even if SE is willing to let that happen, let's hope us, the people, can save it.

Now let's see if I can actually contribute...
 

Ihaa

Neo Member
May 28, 2014
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#37
The only thing it says that I see is



It actually shouldn't matter if you are a citizen or not. The only thing they will be looking over really is the information and it's relevance.
I just looked, you have to identify the state you live in so I'm pretty sure you have to be in America to give a valid address.

EDIT: Or maybe I should just put other as state. Not sure.
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
Feb 14, 2009
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#38
I dunno if I can make a 12 page long-form essay to expand beyond "uh, yeah, archiving digital stuff like games is a good thing for the sake of historical purposes, 'kay?" is going to happen so I may fill out a short-form tomorrow to submit to them.
 
Jun 20, 2013
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#40
This is the question I was going to ask when I read the OP. I have an interest in ensuring looser restrictions on abandoned games, but I'm not American.

Anyone?
You could always submit your message through someone who is in the U.S. who doesn't feel like filling it out themselves.

Not sure either way though.
 
Sep 8, 2014
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#42
It's hard to argue because we don't have a lot of information. Do we know what they're using to consider a copyrighted work to be "abandoned"? It it based on the time the work was made? The failure to renew the copyright?

If it's based on time, then the way that all film made prior to 1923 has been deemed in the public domain would be helpful, but this interpretation is extremely unlikely.


EDIT:

Wait. I'm an idiot. I looked on the website and saw this is all about that issue of hacking games to make them run after the servers are shut down. Disregard my post.


... may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The ultimate goal of the proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access controls.
 
Nov 9, 2013
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#43
Does anybody have any good examples we could use? Or maybe even a sample template that a bunch of people could use, just to show support?
For which thing? Jailbreaking consoles? Or abandoned games? Because for jailbreaking consoles, you can always use the Playstation TV as an example, because jailbreaking it could allow for more consumer friendly means of storing media through the enabling of USB storage, which may be hardware supported, but is definitely not software supported. There's even precedent for that in the Amazon Fire TV.
 
Aug 14, 2012
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What a ridiculous question!
#44
Glad to hear someone cares.

I was emotionally destroyed when Square-Enix confirmed there would never be an offline version of Final Fantasy XI.

So...one day a mainline FF might not be playable ever again. We're talking about the preservation of a series here.


Source: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxi/threads/46687

And even if SE is willing to let that happen, let's hope us, the people, can save it.

Now let's see if I can actually contribute...
Well, people have done the work to run private servers for it, so I'm sure it wouldn't be very difficult to tweak things to the point that you can basically be a one-man army. Not that I'm condoning illegal activity, but I'm simply stating that an offline single-player FFXI isn't impossible. It just won't come from SE proper.
 
Jun 20, 2013
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#45
Does anybody have any good examples we could use? Or maybe even a sample template that a bunch of people could use, just to show support?
Go down the list of games that have had their online abandoned within 1-2 years. Or point to the OG xbox and OG Xbox live being completely taken down as the future for every online title.
 
Nov 9, 2013
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#46
Go down the list of games that have had their online abandoned within 1-2 years. Or point to the OG xbox and OG Xbox live being completely taken down as the future for every online title.
Chromehounds would be a super good example of a game that was fucked because the online component was removed.
 
Jun 6, 2011
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#47
While you're at it, you should also advocate for the legality of emulating old proprietary systems such as game consoles. Preserving old games isn't of much use if you don't have an old game console or computer on hand, or an emulated version of one, to play the game on.

Emulating old game consoles is considered legal as shown in prior court rulings. What isn't considered legal is the distribution of copyrighted materials.

I may write something this coming week. I think this is very important because you can be equally assured that big companies / publishers are also writing in with concerns about this exemption.

If people want this, they should participate. That is, as long as they don't embarrass themselves or the community they are choosing to represent.
 
Dec 14, 2008
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#48
I'm no expert, but only the distribution of the bios image is illegal AFAIK, dumping your own is legal.
For the purposes of preservation, you can't assume that everyone who wants to play the preserved old game also has a properly preserved and working old console for it. This sounds dumb when you're talking about the PS2 and the 120+ million consoles which exist, but consider for example the Atari Jaguar or some console where they made considerably fewer of them.

Emulating old game consoles is considered legal as shown in prior court rulings. What isn't considered legal is the distribution of copyrighted materials.
I already commented on this, the BIOS is considered copyrighted materials and the emulator is useless without it.
 
Jun 20, 2013
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#49
Chromehounds would be a super good example of a game that was fucked because the online component was removed.
Yeah that's a perfect example, ugh if we had some way to preserve chromehounds through private servers I'd still be playing it.

There's also the obvious games that rely entirely on online, mmos like Star Wars Galaxies that people still love.