RE: [stella] Are 7800 demos legal???

Subject: RE: [stella] Are 7800 demos legal???
From: Pete Holland <petehollandjr@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 18:02:06 -0800 (PST)
--- John Saeger <john@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I don't know.  I think that in the absence of a
> license agreement you'd have...It's *fair use* of a
development kit.  So I think
> it's reasonable to link in
> some code from the dev card and distribute the
> product...Publishing source code may be a little
> For sure we can publish
> source code to to the original parts.  The other
> stuff is more of a problem.
> One thing we can do is to publish directions on how
> to combine the legal
> demo source code with the object code of the
> complete demo that we publish
> so others can write their own demos.  In fact it
> would be perfectly legal to
> write a program to turn the relevant portions of the
> object version of our
> demo into an include file to use with the source
> code that we legally
> publish.

Does this mean it would be possible for some ordinary
mope to create his own technique for getting past the
encryption and declare that to be "public domain"?

> From a practical standpoint, I don't think Hasbro
> really cares about this
> stuff.  They're more interested in writing a new
> Pac-Man or something like
> that.  So even if they could prove that they still
> have a proprietary
> interest in this stuff, it would not be worth their
> while to waste any time
> on it.

Am I the only one who sees something awry in Hasbro
releasing a system where no one has yet to figure out
a way around the encryption software?

One more question:  were ALL those companies in
Atari's heyday creating officially licensed titles? 
Considering the shear volume, and the divergent
personalities of companies like Playaround, didn't
anybody try making the games without a license?  If at
least one company tried and succeeded in marketing the
games that way, then any concerns would have to be
moot.  There's a historical precident for not getting
an official stamp of approval, right?

> Hmmm...  Well if the originator has a copyright
> regardless, then that would
> mean public domain documents are no longer possible.

Uh...I'm not sure if this affects anything, but it
could be analogous.  "It's A Wonderful Life," is owned
once again by Republic Pictures (I believe, I haven't
looked this up).  It used to be that one could not
swing one's dead cat without hitting an airing of
IAWL.  But a few years ago, Republic got the courts to
reinstate the copyright that lapsed so many years ago
(under copyright laws that were far less forgiving). 
I'm not sure what era of copyright Atari stuff falls
under.  I also seem to recall Congress passing a law
enabling Disney to keep a hold on Mickey Mouse even
though it was supposed to fall into public domain this
year.  I'm not sure of the details, but it's a
potential snag.

Of course, we could just do what SM does for game
music and manufacture the games in a country that
doesn't enforce a copyright law...hmm, I wonder if
Sealand would go along with this? ;-)

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