As part of the US Copyright Office’s regular review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the EFF and others are asking for an exception that would let users modify games and systems to restore servers for games that have been “abandoned” by their original makers. The Entertainment Software Association, as the industry’s biggest trade group, has been fighting those efforts, and the reason, as ESA president and CEO Mike Gallagher puts it, is simple: “There’s no such thing as an obsolete game.”
Answering questions from Ars at a media event during last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (which is run by the ESA), Gallagher said copyright arguments that rely on games or servers being considered abandoned or obsolete just don’t fly in today’s gaming ecosystem.
“If you look at the games that are played now, they’re available on multiple devices today because the devices have gotten more and more capable,” he said. “All of these games that have been made, certainly by ESA members, these can be used and re-utilized and repurposed in so many different ways. There’s no such thing as an obsolete game when you can revive it on any platform at any time. It’s digital. From our perspective, there is no merit to the term ‘obsolete.’ There is no need to allow people to hack or otherwise open up these things or create competing economic enterprises.”
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