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Submission + - Abandonware Age Limit

hinesbrad writes: "Hi Slashodot. I realize this topic is a bit taboo given the number of developers within our community. My questions all relate to abandonware. I'd like to get an idea what the general consensus is on practice and see what the 'street rules' for old software are. Many people, myself included, willfully copy old games and applications based on an arbitrary rating system and self imposed discipline despite copyright law. For instance, the Sim City Series:

Sim City Classic — released in 1989, I wouldn't think twice about copying.
Rationale: The game fit on a floppy disk, it has 4 newer versions, it was made for DOS/Mac6, I can't buy a copy anywhere, and the only reasonable way to obtain it is probably to download it illegally. The company that made it, Maxis was swallowed up by Evil A$$holes. EA doesn't even support two newer versions than the original. I would probably forced to run the title in a DOS emulator just to get it to function.

Sim City 2000 — Same story as the original. Released in 1994, impossible to find, company no longer exists. Copy it.

Sim City 3000 — I suppose you might be able to find a copy in a bargain bin at Staples or Office Max. At a $3 price point why bother driving to the store to get it? Download and be done with it. This was released in 1999.

Sim City 4 — This is a purist version and has current expansion packs coming out with it. Although the title is dated, it's still being sold, probably at a $20 price point. Released in 2003 I'd be OK with shelling out cash for this.

Sim City Societies (5?) — This is a current release. I'd buy it without question.

Here are my questions:
- Which versions (1/2/3/4/'5') would you copy freely, and why?
- Do you think game manufacturers should adopt a 'recursive' model with older titles? For instance, if I register 5 on a cloud service like steam, if I paid $X dollars extra on the cloud I could pull 1,2,3 and 4 to play as well? How much should $X be?
- With software registrations, I think CD-ROM and related media are absolutely obsolete. Do you think if you register a valid S/N# and email address with a company they should be obligated to make the title permanently available for download? (For instance, my house caught on fire and I lost Office 2003. Shouldn't I be able to download and install it forever with impunity? I paid for it.... )
- Do the rules differ for different types of software? Would you feel different about copying, say, Oracle 6 than an abandoned game or an old school (Mac OS7, 3.11WFW) operating system?
- Would you send a small amount of $$$ to a developer if they made a 'come clean' abandon ware site?

Thanks for your input and advice."
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Abandonware Age Limit

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