RE: [stella] 7800 programs -- potential problems?

Subject: RE: [stella] 7800 programs -- potential problems?
From: slapdash@xxxxxxxxxxxx (Russ Perry Jr)
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 00:14:27 -0600
At 2:11 AM 01/18/0, John Saeger wrote:
>Russ Perry Jr wrote:
>> Look for a copyright string around $0AA0 in PICKLOCK.

>Yep, there's a copyright message there all right.  But, it says copyright
>Atari, not Harry Dodgson or Video 61.

Yeah, I verified that today.  Thanks for checking too.  It looks like
we're out of trouble with Video61.  Too cool.

>The following games also have back doors:

Verified?  Or assumed?

>Food Fight

And why would these have back doors if they're Atari games?

>if somebody buys a Joust cart from O'Sheas, pinches a few KB of code to
>get the encryption key passed and the startup vectors, and then replaces
>the Joust game code with their own game code, solders a new EPROM into
>the cart and ships it, buying a fresh copy of Joust for every game of
>their own that they ship, maybe that's O.K. to do.

Ha ha!  I strongly doubt the courts would see it that way, but it's a
funny example and would have a judge scratching his head for a while.
After all, every copy is paid for; the author makes no claim to the 4K,
only his own code; etc.

>Chances are people producing small quantities of games may be buying one
>of the above carts for their games anyway.

Yeah, I'm sure O'Shea's will get a big order when someone finally
releases a new game.

>But back to Video 61.  What's the worst case scenario?  What if PICKLOCK is
>*identical* to 4KB of Harry's cart?  Does that necessarily mean that using
>PICKLOCK is infringing on Harry?  Maybe, but not necessarily.  It really
>depends on the contract between Harry/Video 61 and Atari.

If a cart used Harry's 4K, there are three bits it would likely use: reset,
NMI, and IRQ.  Using those functions without permission would be a violation.
Though that DOES depend on the contracts...  The way I understand it, Atari
gave Harry permission to use and modify the 4K he put in the Monitor Cart,
and Harry licensed use of his 4K to Video61.

>It would be nice if Video 61 would lighten up a bit with the saber rattling.

That's kind of my personal opinion...  But to be fair, it's not like he's
out there publicly bullying folk (which is why I was keeping it quiet at
first).  I think Lance was merely sounding off worries about what releasing
the Monitor Cart again might lead to.

>Then maybe it would be easier for people to see them as a possibly
>valuable service provider for helping people to publish games.

As far as I know Lance, he's put out a bunch of Atari 8-bit carts and
hasn't sued anyone.  :-)

>All this talk about legal stuff only makes me defensive and certainly
>doesn't predispose me to consider them as a publishing option.

I hope this mild paranoia isn't a direct translation of my worries, which
seem to be panning out for good after all.

>As far as I'm concerned, people should have a right to write games for a
>machine if they want.

For any machine without a licensing structure for third parties, I
wholeheartedly agree.  I still agree with license-driven machines (NES,
PSX, that sort of thing), but there are legal reasons it might not be
so straightforward.

>And the exclusionary licensing stuff is only borderline legal anyway --
>if that.  This is something Microsoft seems to be finding out lately.

Are you talking monopoly allegations, or other cases?

I believe licensing is entirely legal, but I'm sure not a fan when the
owners take gestapo-ish stands against those getting around the licensing
(like what Sony did to Bleem! at one of the trade shows -- yikes!).

>As for what gets posted on the list, that's up to Glenn I think.  If he
>wants to change his guidelines then he can tell us.  But I'm leaving
>PICKLOCK up on my web site until I become convinced that it is actually
>infringing on Harry/Video 61,

And it isn't!

>or somebody from Atari/Hasbro tells me they're having a problem with it.

I'm sure that won't happen.

>> That begs a question...  Can you put 2600 games on 7800 boards?

>Yes, I believe so.  I think you can write large flat-model (up to 48K) or
>bankswitched (up to 128K) 2600 games and put them on a 7800 cart no problem.
>No encryption problems if you don't turn on the Maria chip.

Actually, I meant the question in a more physical way...  If I put a
2600 EPROM on a 7800 board, can I plug it into my 2600?  I know that
7800 games have more pins on the board, but do the extra pins mess up
anything in a 2600?  Or is the board too wide (it occurs to me that
I've never compared them!)?

||  Russ Perry Jr   2175 S Tonne Dr #105   Arlington Hts IL 60005  ||
||  847-952-9729    slapdash@xxxxxxxxxxxx    VIDEOGAME COLLECTOR!  ||

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