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I think the Atari OS ROMs are PD, here's why.

OSA OSB Atari BASIC PD

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#26 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 7:49 AM

Uhh ... just look back and read the previous posts from people who understand the law and who have tried to warn you about the potential dangers of what you're doing.  As they have tried to tell you, you're running the risk of opening an ugly can of worms and creating difficulties for everybody, all for the sake of eliminating a few extra minutes of one-time setup work for beginners who are too lazy to learn how to download and extract archives and navigate a directory hierarchy (which isn't "rocket science" by anybody's definition).

 

No source there, just opinion



#27 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 7:55 AM

 

Read my prior posts. Parse them carefully. All I can or will say is contained therein, including the answer to your questions. Pay close attention to my use of the word "retroactively." It was not an accident.

I'm done.

 

I spoke to a lawyer friend of mine last night, who is familiar with copyright law; he is equally unwilling to give actual legal advice, and I can't blame him for that,  but I asked for an educated gut feel and he says I may actually be onto something here. He says he'd be interested in the definition of 'average user' in the context of an Atari 8-bit computer in the 70's-80's as the copyright notice on the rom chips themselves may be sufficient if it would be reasonable to expect a user to open their Atari and look at it, if that's an unreasonable thing to expect, the code was probably never copyrighted 



#28 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 8:17 AM

Mr Robot you seem to fail to understand the level of
carte blanche given to corporations in copyright law.

It's egregiously liberal, take the XEGS rom with the
copyright display on the screen of Missile Command
and the nearest copyright judge would grant protection
across the board to any Atari 8bit OS and game.
From any time frame. In full disregard for the evolving
timeline that the common man off the street must adhere
to as to where and what does constitute a proper
copyright and how the symbol is ok one year and not the
next doesn't matter at all for a corporation with
hundreds of paid for copyrights. He is the guy in
the white hat and you will always be the interloper.

Especially when all you have is 'I want it'. Just my
2 cents and I was amazed to see a lack of copyright
notice in the code itself, but of course the source for
it is quite atomic in getting that point across right
away. Quite acceptable for a corporation with many other
copyrights, in my opinion it's their property in every
meaning of the law. Best of luck in your endeavors, I
doubt anyone is even watching but as you said, I am not
a lawyer.

 

If the judge is wrong, any council retained to fight the case would point that out, isn't that how it works, They assert one thing, the opposition asserts another, both sides give evidence, the just decides based on the evidence and the written law. That's why we have a court of appeals. 

 

So many people think that we as people have no power against the 'corporations' but the law is the law. "Night of the Living Dead" Missed putting a copyright message on prints and the film became public domain, the law was very clear about it back then. 

 

I'm no lawyer, but I'm also not an idiot. I can read and understand material at an advanced level, I can think critically. I don't need to be a lawyer to understand the law any more than I need to be a doctor to understand a medical textbook or a programmer to understand a source code listing. I am not qualified to give legal advice but I'm smart enough to understand. 

 

All I've seen from anyone so far (here and in three groups on facebook) is opinion... no one has pointed me to a bit of caselaw where I am proved wrong, no one has any cited sources for their opinions, it's all just so much #fakenews. 


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#29 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:06 AM

Shit or get off pot. Wish you the best.

#30 1050 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:19 AM

Pure opinion in fact. With a righteous cause there
is nothing more powerful to stir a justice into the
proper frame of mind, but this wouldn't be such a
case. It's you wanting it VS the way that type of
business is done routinely and in volume. Atari did
have experienced copyright lawyers, they left no
door open. I just don't see you winning the prize
here but best of luck anyway.

#31 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:23 AM

Thats why I come here; quality, substantial, intellectual discussion as always :/ 

 

So the consensus is.. 

 

...Who cares

...I don't think so

...My feels say you are wrong

...Shhh. don't wake the giant 

 

and some insults



#32 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:29 AM

Pure opinion in fact. With a righteous cause there
is nothing more powerful to stir a justice into the
proper frame of mind, but this wouldn't be such a
case. It's you wanting it VS the way that type of
business is done routinely and in volume. Atari did
have experienced copyright lawyers, they left no
door open. I just don't see you winning the prize
here but best of luck anyway.

I don't imagine there is much of this being done routinely and in volume for works published between 1978 and 1989. The law changed after that and yes, if it were after 1989 i'd have no leg to stand on. But it's not

 

I'm confident enough about this that I will be putting the files on my website, I got to say I think it's odd that so few people are even open to the possibility that I might be right. 



#33 thorfdbg OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:39 AM

 

I'm going to assert that distribution of the Atari System ROMS is legal and that Atari do not own any copyright on them. I'm looking for peer review of my research here.

Quite frankly, this is a pretty naive approach. It will typically depend on the payment of the lawyer what the result will be, and that your claims will withstand in court is something I would personally call "questionable". Atari surely had the intention to copyright the ROM. Just because a thing does not have a copyright sticker does not make it free - right the reverse, it is usually "owned by the creator" unless some other form agreement has been made.

 

For all pratical matters: How likely is it that someone will be sued due to copyright protection of the ROMs? Quite unlikely, but not due to your shady arguments. To my very knowledge, copyright of these ROMs went from Atari to OSS, and from OSS to FTE, and FTE framed their customers. Thus, if any is able to sue you, it is FTE, and not Atari, and not OSS (now defunct), because they j- Atari and OSS - just passed the copyright over to another party and hence waived their rights. Should, however, FTE ever attempt to sue somebody, or sell their property, then FTE would be sued as well by its own customers, namely for collecting money and never delivering their products.

 

Thus, I guess, chances are pretty slim as any such movement would do more damage to the copyright holder than it would be beneficial for them. FTE will just keep silent, and they better keep silent.



#34 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:55 AM

I don't imagine there is much of this being done routinely and in volume for works published between 1978 and 1989. The law changed after that and yes, if it were after 1989 i'd have no leg to stand on. But it's not
 
I'm confident enough about this that I will be putting the files on my website, I got to say I think it's odd that so few people are even open to the possibility that I might be right.


And what is suppose to be the outcome if you are right?

How does it change anything?

Seems like we've been doing fine for all the years that people have presumed that the OS is under copyright protection. Hasn't stopped the existence or further development of emulators. Hasn't prevented custom versions of the OS from being created. I could go on, but anything that currently depends upon the OS ROMs has not been impeded by the copyright. So what's going to change?

And sometimes it really is better to not rock the boat. Which I believe this is one of those 'sometimes' situations. But by all means if you have a point to prove, please do go on and prove it if you must. After all forum's make for a good place to debate things, and AA has had it's share :)

#35 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 9:56 AM



Just because a thing does not have a copyright sticker does not make it free - right the reverse, it is usually "owned by the creator" unless some other form agreement has been made.

 

Yes is does... well... yes it DID. Back before 1989, if you didn't stick a copyright notice on something, it was pubic domain.

 

We see all this through the lens of todays copyright abuse and hyper protective IP laws and how aggressively companies protect their copyrights, it hasn't always been that way.

 

 

 

The first prints of “Night of the Living Dead” didn’t use the title we know it as today. Instead, it referred to the movie as “Night of the Flesh Eaters”, one of the working titles of the movie.

 

However, before release, the title was changed to its more familiar version but, when changing the title card, the distributor forgot to put the copyright notice on the final print

 

 

Though that would not be a large issue today (the Copyright Act of 1976 removed all notice requirements), in 1968 that meant the movie was not protected by copyright and, instead, was placed immediately into the public domain. 

As a result, reports say that George Romero, the movies co-writer and director, saw little to no money from the film, despite it grossing some over $30 million at the box office (some estimates as high as $42 million).



#36 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 10:08 AM

Aww yes the old FTE accusations surfaces again. This too is something that really needs to be let go of. Basically it's just another story of someone getting in way over their head, with no evil intentions, and unfortunately a few people lost as a result. FTE isn't the only case of this happening in the Atari world, and there have certainly been a few others that are far more recent. If anything we should be thanking FTE for providing us with a PD version of SpartaDos, and for allowing the SDX project to go on unimpeded.

#37 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 10:09 AM

And what is suppose to be the outcome if you are right?

How does it change anything?

Seems like we've been doing fine for all the years that people have presumed that the OS is under copyright protection. Hasn't stopped the existence or further development of emulators. Hasn't prevented custom versions of the OS from being created. I could go on, but anything that currently depends upon the OS ROMs has not been impeded by the copyright. So what's going to change?

And sometimes it really is better to not rock the boat. Which I believe this is one of those 'sometimes' situations. But by all means if you have a point to prove, please do go on and prove it if you must. After all forum's make for a good place to debate things, and AA has had it's share :)

 

 

If I'm right, the OS roms can be bundled with the emulators without fear of any repercussions. getting an Atari emulator to work becomes a matter of clicking the icon or typing the name, making Atari homebrew and demoscene works accessible to more people who are just getting into retro computing. 

 

I can double click the Vice icon and get a C64, I can double click the Fuse icon and get a ZX Spectrum, If I want to explore the Atari 8-bits I have to find some defunct emulator with the roms included or some dubious looking roms website, risking all sorts of malware, then put them in the correct location and update my settings just to get the thing to boot. If I ask where to get the roms as a newbie, I get told to google it, if they were PD I could just give the new person a link.

 

All of this brings MORE people into the Atari scene, it encourages new blood that maybe gets bitten by the bug and they go and buy a real Atari, they learn stuff, its all good :)



#38 kheller2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 10:51 AM

Have the C64, and ZX ROMs been officially released as PD?  I'm curious how this played out on other platforms...



#39 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 11:45 AM

Have the C64, and ZX ROMs been officially released as PD?  I'm curious how this played out on other platforms...

 

Amstrad Released the Spectrum ROMS for use with emulators so they retain the © but allow distribution http://www.shadowmag...index.html#ROMs

 

Timex (who produced spectrum clones), don't know who owns the rights to the code they used so make no claim to ownership.

 

The Commodore story is similar to the Atari one, it just happened in 2009. People Assumed a company called Commodore Gaming (a shell of IP owning trolls) owned the rights to the code but no one including Commodore Gaming was willing to test that in court. People used the roms without permission from anybody, because no one was sure who the owner was. Nobody ever got sued. Move forward to 2017 and VICE comes with the kernal roms in the source tarball and they still claim GPLv3 on it. I can't find any discussion on how that change happened, I'm not really into the C64 scene. Here's a chunk of discussion from Lemon in 2009 (it's very similar to the discussion here) 

http://www.lemon64.c...der=asc&start=0

 

I'm still looking at the Commodore story, it may be exactly the same as the Atari one when it come to the OS roms. I'll update if I find anything.

 

for all the early machines (prior to 1989) it seems a bit wooly as to who owns what. I'll look at MSX as well, TRS-80 and Oric too I suppose. 



#40 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 11:56 AM

I still don't see the fuss here, the OS's for pretty much every console and computer are out there and really not hard to find, if you can find Altirra on Google you will be able to find the needed roms, why would an emulator author take on the hassle of someone coming out of the blue to issue a cease and desist order over something so easy to find. Some people would like the roms with the emulator but like a vast majority of emu devs they don't supply them. Lets also imagine if the copyright holder wants to press action on the dev, being that most devs don't work for themselves the last thing they want are legal action cases possibly getting to the knowledge of their employers. Extend that idea if by some chance they work in the software industry in some way, starts to get messy.....

 

The notion that you will be able to either bypass the lawyers or convince the possible copyright holder to release them as PD just seems a hugely complex time waste...

 

Yes it would be nice but the chance of it happening are slim to none....Want to be the test case?

 

Who needs that hassle....

 

I like the idea but the process is another matter....


Edited by Mclaneinc, Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:01 PM.


#41 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:06 PM

why would an emulator author take on the hassle of someone coming out of the blue to issue a cease and desist order over something so easy to find.

 

if the copyright holder wants to press action on the dev, being that most devs don't work for themselves the last thing they want are legal action cases possibly getting to the knowledge of their employers.

 

Extend that idea if by some chance they work in the software industry in some way, starts to get messy.....

I was just about the write the exact same thing (all 3 points, actually), so I'll just quote it.

 

The landscape between individual and corporation has never been right or equal in this (or any past, really) society...



#42 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:10 PM

Mr. Robot, can you explain, what exactly would the emulator author gain by including the ROMs, other than opening the doors to a lawsuit decades down the road, from whoever just acquired the IP, at that time [in future] ?

 

Because regardless of how the court ruled in past, once companies change hands, there's nothing to prevent them from a frivolous suit against the said developer.



#43 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:15 PM

I think more than anything, I just hate not *knowing*

 

Everyone assumes one thing because in todays world that's how that thing would be. They aren't necessarily right.

 

There are two instanced where the system ROMS have been freely distributed, people still think they can't be.

 

The copyright laws were different back then and it appears (to me at least) that Atari screwed the pooch back then (they didn't think about it back then, it was a different time, stuff like kernal code, OS code and embedded code was really new and not on peoples radar as something they needed to protect, there wasn't even a specific "computer program" section to the copyright code until 1990, before then, software was a 'literary work') They protected the sh1t out of the games though.

 

If we were free to stop hiding the location of the system roms, just were able to bundle them with the emulators it would be a much nicer, less seedy feeling experience getting Atari up and running. It legitimately looks like that might be a thing but everyone is so used to just keeping like it has always been, no one is even considering that it might not need to be. 



#44 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:17 PM

Yes is does... well... yes it DID. Back before 1989, if you didn't stick a copyright notice on something, it was pubic domain.


Isn't there a notice printed on the BASIC and OS ROM chips...? i seem to remember seeing a couple of copyright symbols on ICs last time i popped my 800XL open?

#45 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:22 PM

I can tell you this..  *NOW* is not the time to poke the bear.... Infogrames/Atari is currently licensing the hell out of anything they can... and they are trying to launch a project that might well use parts of this and that os........ they are not going to want to release anything that might interfere with those efforts.. whether they have the rights... retain the rights.. feel they have implied rights somehow or not....

 

You need to approach this kind of stuff when no one gives a sh*t... like when Hasbro was approached (Jaguar stuff)... you don't do it when they have a sh*t storm of stuff going on and don't know how it will affect things.... wait for the bear to be sleepy... and pillow talk it... don't poke it when it's wide awake and hungry!


Edited by _The Doctor__, Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:25 PM.


#46 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:27 PM

Mr. Robot, can you explain, what exactly would the emulator author gain by including the ROMs, other than opening the doors to a lawsuit decades down the road, from whoever just acquired the IP, at that time [in future] ?

 

 

A better end user experience and less inane support requests. 

 

There is another thread here about Atari800MacX not working any more and I chipped in saying that if you compile the base Atari800 it works fine. Now I have to explain how to compile Atari800, it needs SDL, so I have to explain how to get SDL set up so Atari800 will compile. If I could just bundle SDL with Atari800 and give that to someone and say "double-click on Atari800" there would be a bunch of happy Mac users who can run an emulator again, none of them need to know how to do all the stuff I had to do to get it running. That's a good thing. Unnecessary complication is bad. I'm all in favour of a thing being hard because it needs to be but not when it doesn't. Half the mac users would switch off at the 2nd or 3rd step in setting all that up. 

 

A lot of newbies to emulation would feel the same about getting an emulator running, the c64 is easy, the atari is hard... I'll run the c64 then. They would be missing out and my favourite system would have one less user. 

 

 

 

 

 

Because regardless of how the court ruled in past, once companies change hands, there's nothing to prevent them from a frivolous suit against the said developer.

 

 

Look at all of Atari's copyrights (they are online for you to browse). There is nothing to cover the OS roms prior to 1990, they can no longer register those copyrights, it's gone 5 years. No one can chase anyone for a copyright they have not registered.



#47 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:33 PM

Isn't there a notice printed on the BASIC and OS ROM chips...? i seem to remember seeing a couple of copyright symbols on ICs last time i popped my 800XL open?

 

There is a notice printed on the chip, there is nothing in the code itself. The rules on the positioning of the © notice were very clear that it must be visible to the average user, 

 

Here is the section of the official circular...

 

  1. The copyright notice had to be placed on copies or phonorecords in a way that was permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work and could not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination.  

 

https://www.copyrigh...ircs/circ03.pdf

 

I'd argue getting the top off the Atari and removing the shielding to look at the chip was not reasonable examination by an average user. There needed to be a © notice on the label on the bottom of the Atari. There isn't 

 



#48 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 12:54 PM

 

I'm still looking at the Commodore story, it may be exactly the same as the Atari one when it come to the OS roms. I'll update if I find anything.

 

I've found a few instances of comments like this... 

 

 

a) in the early days of usenet, commodore people (from braunschweig) posted they had no problem with emulation (refering to the the early c64 emulators, and specifcally x64, which later became VICE) 

b) noone can really tell who actually owns the IP of the kernal and basic roms these days

 

 

 

"commdore (original) still existed when the emulators were developed, and all the authors pretty much said we are only including roms because we think it's okay, and if commodore says otherwise, we'll pull them. And commodore returned the respect, and said it's okay, as i understand it." 

exactly. they didnt mind because they thought c64 times are over anyways and c64 emulation would not cut into their business at all. (which was probably true back then - however these days it may be different)"

 

But nothing concrete, I guess I need to hit the usenet archives 



#49 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 1:02 PM

There is another thread here about Atari800MacX not working any more and I chipped in saying that if you compile the base Atari800 it works fine. Now I have to explain how to compile Atari800, it needs SDL, so I have to explain how to get SDL set up so Atari800 will compile.

If they have to ask, they're not gonna understand the answer. How on earth do you expect to guide someone who hasn't ever done it through the compilation ? Even if they did, given the dependency and environment jungle, you need to be proficient in linux commandline anyway, hence you wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.

 

If I could just bundle SDL with Atari800 and give that to someone and say "double-click on Atari800" there would be a bunch of happy Mac users who can run an emulator again, none of them need to know how to do all the stuff I had to do to get it running. That's a good thing.

No, it's not. Barriers of entry can be great for weeding out certain groups. Fat&Flashy Icon Clickers is one such group.

 

I'm all for keeping them contained within the boundaries [perceived or not] of their playground.

 

Half the mac users would switch off at the 2nd or 3rd step in setting all that up.

Just half ? :)

I have to say, I envy you your experience with Mac users !

 

 

 

 

No one can chase anyone for a copyright they have not registered.

That's not exactly true in U.S of A, though - is it ? Anybody here can sue anyone else for any reason. My friend has been a victim of this in a tenant-landlord court last 2 years.

All that landlord has to do, is to show up, without lawyer (and any financial investment whatsoever), say some BS without backing it up, and then the endless legal process starts - postponing, witnesses, judges throwing the case to another judge, and about a dozen other things.

Enough to make one's life completely miserable. And that's without an actual claim or investing any money.

 

Now contrast the above with the company, who just eagerly acquired all Atari's IPs, spend a minor fortune on the lawyers, have their attorneys on retainer, and discover someone has the balls to distribute "their" IP (regardless of how courts ruled in past).

The C&D is the least of the worries of the dev in question.

 

The lawyers will step up, show how the dev in question is "just a disrespectful hacker", totally discredit him, and judge won't really have any other option than to agree with them.

 

Sure there are appeals. Why on earth would the developer risk going through that ?

 

 

Please don't say "for Mac users" :D



#50 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 8, 2018 1:02 PM

Why not set up a web page offering them for download and claim they're Public Domain? See what happens..







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