New DMCA exemptions will preserve some abandoned online games, but not MMOs

    
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Late last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a petition with the U.S. Copyright Office seeking specific exemptions to the DMCA essentially on account of absurdity (because it’s the future and even your car is a computer that needs to be tinkered with). One of the group’s requests involved “one for users who want to continue to play ‘abandoned’ video games.” That exemption, along with others, has now officially been granted by the Library of Congress, meaning that as of yesterday it’s OK to bust through a dead game’s DRM to make it work again.

Don’t get too excited, though; the exemption still doesn’t cover MMORPGs.

The Librarian granted part of EFF’s new proposal for an exemption to preserve abandoned video games. The new exemption allows players to modify their copy of a game to eliminate the need for an authentication server after the original server is shut down. Museums, libraries, and archives can go a step further and jailbreak game consoles as needed to get the games working again. Disappointingly, the Librarian limited the exemption to games that can’t be played at all after a server shutdown, excluding games where only the online multiplayer features are lost. Still, this exemption will help keep many classic and beloved video games playable by future generations.

Two steps forward, one back.

Source: EFF via VG
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Apollymi
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Apollymi

rottenrotny I would re-sub in a heartbeat if Blizzard had a legacy server.

ceraval
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ceraval

” Disappointingly, the Librarian limited the exemption to games that can’t
be played at all after a server shutdown”
This does apply to MMOs.
 

 “excluding games where only
the online multiplayer features are lost.”
This seems to refer more to games that were affected by the Gamespy shutdown, where the single-player is still playable but the online isn’t.  As MMOs were online-only, the first part seems to apply to them as they can not be played at all after a server shutdown.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Styopa Once they figure out that forcing them to go underground means you can’t tax it, they’ll come around.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Bummer for the emulator guys.

rottenrotny
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rottenrotny

People are goingg to play shuttered MMOs whether it’s legal or not, so they might as well make it legal 
Kudos to all the unappreciated emulated server people for keeping the dream alive.

MagmaFist
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MagmaFist

breetoplay MorpayneRADIO Exactly. I always believe my current access to Amazon videos and also Steam games I bought in the past are based on a continuing supply of new users paying these companies. Will there be a saturation point for these platforms where people are not buying as much but continue to access their library for years? At that point, how does the company pay for support, servers, electricity, etc? Most likely as you say, it will just shut down. 
At least to me these services are a sort of pyramid scheme.(not that I’m going to turn around and dump everything tomorrow in favor of physical media)

Rozyn
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Rozyn

About freaking time people are bringing these issues up – and not just for gaming. Our entire lives are entrenched in technology our government and majority of citizens don’t understand. I try to keep up a little bit and even I am completely buried by how fast technology moves and where it is now. The EFF are good people. All those series of tubes man, so confusing.

Rozyn
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Rozyn

Armsbend Peregrine_Falcon breetoplay lxndrtsh It was the WORST THING I’VE SEEN ON THE INTERNET TODAY OMG I R DIED. Mangled so hard! Haha, sometimes you all crack me up.

Snky
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Snky

Yeah MMOs would be such a slippery slope of intellectual property. This is a great start.

Styopa
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Styopa

It may not apply to MMOs, but that’s great precedent to get set down already.