Discussion on NOCD/copy protect emulation laws

Discussion in 'GameJackal' started by Targon, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Targon

    Targon Well-Known Member

    I will start by saying that I am not a lawyer, but I have been watching the legal side of what has been going on for quite a while. Since Game Jackal is currently unsupported, and there is so much speculation on what happened, I figured a thread to discuss the laws that have brought this about might be a good idea.

    There are a number of groups out there that have tried to make things like NOCD patches, and similar things illegal. Organizations like the MPAA and RIAA in the USA have been trying to push to make it illegal to do ANYTHING to work around the copy protections, which I suspect are the reason for what happened with Game Jackal. The sad thing is, these laws don't give any consideration to fair use in their attempt to fight those who make a living by selling copyrighted materials.

    So, what we have is programs like Game Jackal, Alcohol 120%, Clone CD, and others which are designed to let the user take an image of the original CD/DVD so that you don't need to keep the disc in the drive while playing. These programs, and others go on the idea that they are NOT there for those trying to violate the terms of the software license(aka you should not use them to play the game on multiple computers with just one purchased copy).

    Unfortunately, there are those(the companies that develop CD/DVD copy protection) that feel that if too many people use a NOCD patch to get around their intrusive copy protection system that software publishers will stop putting copy protection on their products and use a software license/activation key model instead. So, they push, and push, and stupid politicians who really don't understand what is going on make laws to cause problems for honest people.

    The RIAA/MPAA get involved in this discussion because of the copy protection on DVDs, as well as on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs. These two groups push to make it illegal to work around copy protection because with movies, there is NO alternatives without the copy protection. So, they push to make it so you can't make a copy(since the copy would have the protection removed), and to even try forcing people to get a license before they can invite a friend over to watch a movie. For these organizations, they don't limit their push to copy protection of movies or music, they just make it a blanket thing that no one should be able to work around ANY copy protection at all.

    For myself, I personally feel that the source of the problems stems from the RIAA/MPAA not limiting the scope of the protection they push for. If they would push for laws that ONLY apply to music and/or movies, then we wouldn't see a problem for Game Jackal and the others. So, there are broad laws written that say that ANYTHING that gets around the protection in any way is now illegal. God forbid that common sense would apply and let us play the games we pay for without putting a CD/DVD in the drive.
  2. InTheFlow

    InTheFlow Well-Known Member

    You make some good points. Although I think the RIAA/MPAA should go after the actual counterfeiters if they want to fight with someone. Making criminals out of everyday people is stupid. Look at what happened with Prohibition in the United States...

    If they were to focus just on movies/music it might help us GameJackal customers but wouldn't be an answer to the overall issue because it would simply focus in on the 'criminals' who copy the DVDs and CDs that they buy.

    The entire concept of the RIAA suing individuals is ridiculous to me. Come on, you mean to tell me that Mr John Smith who copied a DVD so his kids could watch it without damaging the original should be punished? That is how absurd the path they are walking is.

    You know, they'd probably never even consider that if they would charge less money for a DVD or CD, more people would be inclined to buy multiple copies of them.

    IMO, the entire reason for the lawsuits against individuals is to perpetuate fear. "If you don't buy my product the way I want you to buy my product, I might file a lawsuit against you. And I'll win because I have more money than you." When any organization uses fear to manipulate people into doing what they want, I find great fault with it. The only remedy for fear is knowledge...but, I digress. LOL

    Companies big and small should take a look at SlySoft's method of doing buisness...they create/develop a product that people want and then treat their customers so well that they in turn tell their friends and family. What a concept...:rolleyes:

    EDIT: This seems to be relevant as well...remember the scene in Star Wars when Princess Leia tells Darth Vader: "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." Sounds to me like the RIAA should take the advice of a little Star Wars wisdom!
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  3. Targon

    Targon Well-Known Member

    The RIAA doesn't want to PAY for anything, and since the MPAA governs the motion picture industry, the people from the RIAA have probably never watched Star Wars to catch the reference and see how well it applies. It's too bad because you are right, it's a great line for these people.
  4. blueclouduk

    blueclouduk New Member

    A few years ago I bought a copy of TOCA Touring Cars 2 for my PC.

    My local shop had a copy in the sale for £19.99.

    Most other local shops were selling the game for £29.99.

    So I got my self a bargain.

    Maybe not.

    I got home, installed, played, went to take the disc out and SNAP!!!!!

    The disc broke clean in half. I rang the support line and was quoted a £25 handling fee for a new disc, I would also have to send in both the broken disc and the manual to prove ownership.

    I was being asked to pay more for a replacement than I had for the original.

    Thankfully, programs like CloneDVD existed to allow me to make a copy of a friends disc. As far as I know, I have done nothing illegal, I own an original, albeit broken, copy of the game. As far as am I concerned I am simply using the software in line with the license agreement.

    Unfortunately the attitude of companies producing software is despicable. Producers insist on creating more complicated systems to prevent discs from being copied and creative pogrammers find ways to circumvent.

    I will continue to use NOCD workarounds and systems like GameJackal, not because I want to promote piracy but because I don't ever want to spend good money for a product that I am later told I have to pay more for if a bona fide accident occurs.
  5. incognito

    incognito Member

    The main issue is that they assume criminal intent when certain acts are engaged in whether there was intent or not. If you do "A" then that equals criminality. The same argument was made when VCR's were made. Because people COULD copy movies, then if you bought a VCR then you WERE copying movies. It's a logical falacy, and one the courts did not buy into.

    With regard to CD/DVD copying, under the Fair Use section of US copyright law you are allowed to make up to 10 copies (backup) for your own personal use. Any more than that, and the law assumes it is meant for illegal distribution. That's the secondary issue. The RIAA could care less how many copies of anything you make. What they care about is distribution. The owner of the song, album, movie, et al, has the sole right to distribution. Whether that SHOULD be the case is open for debate, I don't mean to issue an opinion here, just observe what the core questions are.

    So use Slysoft proggies at will. You have the right to copy your own stuff, so long as you are a US citizen. I have no idea what the laws in other coutries say.
  6. Webslinger

    Webslinger Retired Moderator

    "DVD technology also restricts copying the disc's data to a different source. This creates an interesting legal paradox. The right to make a backup copy, for personal use, of any media you own is well established under US "fair use" exceptions. However, under the DMCA, it is illegal to circumvent a DVD's copy protection. Thus, if you want to make a backup copy of a DVD, you have to break the law in order to exercise your fair use rights. Again, the rights of users have diminished, and those of the copyright holder have increased."


    "But the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause does not take into account anything but a person's actions. If you break the encryption on a DVD, you have committed a crime. It doesn't matter if you are exercising your fair use rights to backup the disc, it does not matter if you are trying to make a disc from Britain play in your machine, and it does not matter if you simply want to remove the non-skippable commercials. If you crack the CSS encryption, a crime has been committed. As Lee puts it in the report's conclusion, "The DMCA errs because it focuses on a technological means--circumvention--rather than a criminal end--piracy."

  7. incognito

    incognito Member

    Excellent point. I had forgot about the DMCA. Yes it does point to a paradox of sorts. However, since it's a newer law, it takes precendence over any preceeding law. This is the part of the conversation where it gets into what should be. With other countries passing similar laws I can imagine things getting worse before they get better.

    When that law was passed, though, there wasn't a whole lot techo-philes around. Today, you can go to the Cato Institute's (a US think-tank) website where authors are talking about how they use "illegal" software to create copies of DVD's for their own personal use. In 1998, this would not have been the case when DMCA was passed. Here's an interesting read I found below. Webslinger, hopefully you find it interesting. What I think will continue to happen is some good ol'fashioned civil disobedience. I think DMCA needs to be ammended to come into line with the Fair Use Act. Bust real criminals, not the average joe who just wants to copy and keep is own software.

  8. SnowmanDK

    SnowmanDK Member

    Denmark passed a law back in 2003 that prohibits copying of games, music, movies and any other digital content if it has any kind of copyprotection (e.g. Securom etc.). It is also mentioned that it is not allowed to bypass protections. The only exception is, if you can prove you can't access the content as long as the protection is there.

    In reality this means I can't use GJ legally, but I must admit that I can't see anything wrong.
    I buy all my games, install them using my original keys, and use either GJ or a cracked exe.

    I actually had a game cd that broke in half in the drive.
    I contacted the publisher, who informed me I could get a new cd if I sent in the pieces along with the original cover and manual... and 20USD to cover their expences.
    I never did... It would be cheaper to buy the game again as the price had dropped to less than 30USD.

    After that I only use the original cd's during install and put them away...

    It has come to my attention that the law I mentioned above only applies to music cd's and movie dvd's.
    The law DO allow copying of games and other software, but only for what is called 'necessary backups'.
    It also allows to bypass copy protections to do so.
    It is NOT allowed to make a personal extra copy so you can use the software elsewhere.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  9. Targon

    Targon Well-Known Member

    An interesting thing about Game Jackal is that it doesn't "break" the copy protection. If you think about it, NO-CD patches modify the program to not look at the CD/DVD, which may violate certain laws in various countries. Game Jackal leaves the original program intact, but still allows you to run the game without the CD once you have created a profile from the original CD. Nothing has been duplicated(except the copy protection from the CD/DVD), and since encryption isn't being broken, it really doesn't violate any laws in most parts of the world.
  10. sickley

    sickley Active Member

    this is an on-going problem that sadly has almost no hope of escape for us. unfortunately we live in a world where piracy IS at large. unfortunately there are people who want to invade our rights, such as fair use. unfortuanately fair use does NOT over rule other laws, meaning if you get caught circumventing dvd copy protection in USA (and other countries) then you can be fined etc.

    its the same blah blah of governments telling us whats good for us and what we can and cant do, not that i disagree with governments but some times they just go too far.

    the saddest thing is that all the things they are trying to do is only hurting the real consumer, piraters will ALWAYS find a way around.

    also to mention i believe use of .iso emulation (and the likes) is illegal (in US) but nocd patches/hacks are not. meaning things such as daemon tools can not "legally" be used in US for gaming

    as far as backup copies for games/apps you need to read the EULA. generally you are aloud ONE backup copy, whether a burned cd, and iso, or regular file backup.

    my opinion is go ahead and make backups, the govt. doesn't really traffic such. and it is your right as a citizen under fair use.
  11. Raygun

    Raygun New Member

    nocd hacks are illeagal too...

    I believe (though it may not be true for all games) that the software lisence agreement we all just ok as we install games prohibits modifying most of the game files. I am not 100% on that now mind I have not read all that many of the Eula thingies but it is definitely the case in some if not all.
  12. sickley

    sickley Active Member

    yes this is true but i have read that no cd "patches" (also refered to as fixed .exe) are legal, im not sure why or if this is true but i dont use no cd patches or .iso

    since i have gotten G.J. i haven't needed anything else for nocd gameplay





    i guess there is a "loophole" that allows you to use no-cd cracks/patches in a way to create a backup for your game cd. this is a asinine way of going about things but from everywhere i've read its considered legal as long as you own the game.(of course keep in mind that forums and things like wiki-pedia can not be considered valid confirmations on such things since it is user based)

    we really need some lawyer or something to get in here and clear things up lol
    Last edited: May 6, 2007
  13. evlncrn8

    evlncrn8 Well-Known Member

    doubt it very much...

    making a fixed exe requires reverse engineering of the protection / game code, this is not allowed by the eula.. thus.. its illegal... common sense really..

    the reason some sites get away with hosting no-cd' patches etc is because they are not hosting the entire content of the game... so essentially the no-cd patch is useless to anyone who doesnt have the rest of the files..
  14. sickley

    sickley Active Member

    exactly, and i've also read that the guys making the patches would definitly be doing so illegally, and the people using them not illegally (once again this may not be entirely true)
  15. Targon

    Targon Well-Known Member

    NO-CD patches are legal in some places, but not in others. In general though, legal or not, the normal terms and conditions on software applications state that you may not modify the program files. For programs that allow modifications(mods), obviously you are not changing any game files, so those are fine.

    This is why Game Jackal really should be considered legal in the vast majority of places. You need the original CD/DVD to make the image, and you are not changing any of the game files, so are not really avoiding the copy protection(since Game Jackal emulates the protection). As long as you do not use the game CD on one computer while using Game Jackal on the other, you arn't doing anything wrong from the perspective of, "You paid for each copy you are using".

    This goes back to the old debate when VCRs first came out, and there was this big push from the TV networks and movie studios because people could record movies and shows on TV, and there was an attempt to make VCRs illegal. The end result was that just because a device can be used for illegal purposes does not mean that usage of the device will automatically be illegal. As a result, it is hard for them to make laws that would make Game Jackal illegal.

  16. evlncrn8

    evlncrn8 Well-Known Member

    possibly you mean the use / hosting of no-cd patches..

    the actual making of no-cd patches require disassembly and reverse engineering of the executable which is totally against 99.9% of the eula's.. which is close enough to breaking the law..