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Squire
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For console emulation to be legal, a working unit must be owned and used to dump the BIOS file. Yeah yeah, we've all heard it a million times already.

But, my question to you guys is, what happens when all of the hardware stops working? For instance, what happens when the last ps1 on earth breaks, and the BIOS is no more available to newcomers of the scene? Will the ps1 emulation scene still exist?

Let's face it. The hardware won't last forever, and there will come a time when you just can't these consoles through sites like eBay anymore?

I know that right now it's pretty easy to get a hold of older systems, but I'm just thinking in terms of the slightly foreseeable future.

I'm curious as to what you guys think on this issue. Am I incontrovertibly correct, dead wrong, or somewhere in-between?
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,570 Posts
I'm sure the companies will do all they can to extend the length of time a copyright is valid, but even if the company sees some level of success in receiving an extension the copyright will have to expire completely at some point... unless the laws change... again.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,570 Posts
No. That's illegal to do.

Emulators that are packaged with the original system BIOS are often released by third parties and are very much illegal.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,570 Posts
Dumping is perfectly legal.

Modifying, claiming the BIOS as your own design, making it available to others, or downloading someone else's BIOS dump is illegal.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,570 Posts
Nintendo can post whatever they want on their own site, even if it is completely incorrect. The "legal statement" on the Nintendo site is closer to "how they feel" as a company about copyright legality. Not a single American court of law supports their online statement.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
Joined
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5,570 Posts
The "way" to make a copy of the BIOS has little to do with it. Bypassing console security does not constitute hacking or copyright infringement. There's also the old fashion way, involving desoldering the BIOS EEPROMs themselves and dumping the data with a chip programmer.

If doing these things was illegal Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo would be suing people left and right and the originators of the various console exploits and dumpers would be in jail. It's not like it's impossible to find these guys. Also, any site with instructions on how to do so would have to have such information removed, like oh, I don't know, NGEmu.
 

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Registered
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436 Posts
the ps2 is not an open platform, you can't just make some device or program that runs on the ps2 and have it be legal without going to Sony themselves. Action Replay is illegal, and the program that you run on the ps2 to dump the bios is illegal as well, they are also a form of reverse engineering which is also illegal.

Just because they don't do anything about it doesn't make it legal. Why would they sue people left and right when most likely they wouldn't get any money back, plus, it wastes time, and it adds to legal costs and they'd probably bget negative publicity as well. It's just not worth it for them to go through the trouble. But that still doesn't make it legal.

Also, any site with instructions on how to do so would have to have such information removed, like oh, I don't know, NGEmu.
They couldn't do this even if they tried, it didn't work at all for the music industry. New sites will just replace the old ones.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
Joined
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5,570 Posts
the ps2 is not an open platform, you can't just make some device or program that runs on the ps2 and have it be legal without going to Sony themselves. Action Replay is illegal, and the program that you run on the ps2 to dump the bios is illegal as well, they are also a form of reverse engineering which is also illegal.

Just because they don't do anything about it doesn't make it legal. Why would they sue people left and right when most likely they wouldn't get any money back, plus, it wastes time, and it adds to legal costs and they'd probably bget negative publicity as well. It's just not worth it for them to go through the trouble. But that still doesn't make it legal.
Charging for software not officially licensed by the console's parent company is when it becomes illegal. The example you are giving is similar to Microsoft's business model, where you have a license to legally use it. Consoles have no license and purchasing one (a console) means you own everything included with the console. That's not to say that you can do whatever you want with the parts and software (can't file copyrights on proprietary technology, can't sell or make BIOS available). The licensing program exists to help eliminate bootleg companies and software/games that may be harmful to the console. Unlicensed software cannot claim to be officially licensed and is expected to be used "at your own risk".

They couldn't do this even if they tried, it didn't work at all for the music industry. New sites will just replace the old ones.
Read: music industry. There is no emulator industry. If they could somehow shut down NGEmu on legal grounds, sure, another site may pop up... after several other sites are shut down. Eventually, people will stop trying and all that will be left is the underground.

If console makers are so worried about piracy, wouldn't it benefit them to try and find a legal way to shut down the homebrew coders and sites explaining how to dump your BIOS and games, especially since the console makers seem to believe that emulators are the devil and everyone that uses one is a pirate? The reason: they can't, not legally anyway.
 

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Level 9998
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9,384 Posts
Regarding the BIOS... developers can choose to HLE the necessary functions and calls of the BIOS, which might actually improve performance in some cases. Anyway, it'll at least not require the BIOS.

The problem is that if you do not require a BIOS with your emulator, people would kind of use it more for piracy purposes... and that's not what most emulator authors would like to deal with. Also the manufacturer of the machine might suspect the emu author of reverse-engineering the BIOS codes... and oh God... that's something nobody would like to see. Also a BIOS would have quite a few complicated functions so HLE takes a long time, and it's not something a hobbyist would like to do out of fun. Especially given the short time frame that they have to work on their software.

If your console breaks down, however, and say... it's completely useless, then by which time, you wouldn't even want to play the game that was on it. By your own rights, you can still take the BIOS chip out and read the BIOS data from it if the thing is not damaged beyond recognition. Otherwise, you're out of luck... legally. See... the problem here is just like you buying an apple and then leave it there for the next say... 10 years. By then it'll be overripe (actually much worse than that...), and what? You're going to blame the seller? :innocent:
 
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