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Game industry pushes back against efforts to restore gameplay servers

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Game industry pushes back against efforts to restore gameplay servers

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:05 am

Story :

A group of video game preservationists wants the legal right to replicate "abandoned" servers in order to re-enable defunct online multiplayer gameplay for study. The game industry says those efforts would hurt their business, allow the theft of their copyrighted content, and essentially let researchers "blur the line between preservation and play."

Both sides are arguing their case to the US Copyright Office right now, submitting lengthy comments on the subject as part of the Copyright Register's triennial review of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Analyzing the arguments on both sides shows how passionate both industry and academia are about the issue, and how mistrust and misunderstanding seem to have infected the debate.

In 2015, the Librarian of Congress issued a limited exemption to the DMCA, allowing gamers and researchers to circumvent technological prevention measures (TPMs) that require Internet authentication servers that have been taken offline. Despite strong pushback from the Entertainment Software Association at the time, the Register of Copyrights argued that the abandonment of those servers "preclude[s] all gameplay, a significant adverse effect."

But while getting around defunct server authentication checks in games is now legally OK in most cases, the Register stopped short of allowing gamers and researchers to recreate the centralized gameplay servers that are needed to play many games online. That's why the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) is leading the charge for what it calls a "modest" expansion of the DMCA exemption in order to "preserve abandoned online video games in playable form."

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