The problem with that thought is as follows: what stops Sega or whatever other company from re-releasing that game on some current/future platform? Just because something hasn't been commercialized in the last 15 years doesn't mean it won't be 15-20 years from now (of course, I'm not saying that stuff like that is likely at all for the vast majority of games). Would the average person downloading something from a ROM site delete their copies if Sega were to do so? I'd think that to be even less likely than Sega re-releasing such things.itsthinkingstill wrote:Great way of putting it all in a paragraph!
I think that applies (me personally anyway) to games that are still published/still accessible in some form from the publisher or holder of the IP. Games that have not been printed or re released in 15-30 years i think could be consider fair game in uploading. Like the Netlink games for example, all very rare and in limited quantity and have not been touched by Sega legally since 97-98
Just me though
While I agree that morally speaking, it doesn't feel as bad in that case, it is still illegal. As I said up there earlier, arguing about the length of copyright protections being too long (especially in the case of works created for hire -- i.e, for a company) is an argument that I think our country and its lawmakers might need to have, but 17 U.S.C. § 302 is pretty clear here about how long copyrights are good for -- Life of the Author + 70 years for works not created for hire, or (for works created for hire) date of publication + 95 years (with the few minor cases of date of creation + 120 years if that is an earlier expiration than the earlier + 95 years case). It's very unlikely that our legislators would ever consider making that term shorter, considering the outrage it would prompt from (for instance) the Walt Disney Company if the first Mickey Mouse cartoons would fall into the public domain because of it.
Simply put, there's not a single computer game in existence that has had its copyright expire at this point. Some may have been subsequently released into the public domain by the original authors, but none have actually had their copyrights expire.
There's also the argument that pirates weren't going to pay for it anyway, as presented in the replies that went up shortly before mine here. That doesn't mean that companies need to make pirates lives easier nor does it mean that Nintendo, Sega, etc. shouldn't be doing everything in their power to get ROM sites shut down. In fact, it only strengthens the argument (in my opinion). If the pirates have no way to get a hold of what they want to pirate either A) they'll have to waste way more time/effort finding it, B) they'll go without, or C) they'll actually buy whatever it is they wanted to pirate. Many will go into A or B there, but I'd wager that a non-zero number would also fall into the C camp (even if it is a minority). If it's infinitely easier to obtain something legally than illegally, there will be at least some people who will choose to do so, even if they might not have before.