What is Abandonware?- Following the word “Abandoned.”‘ This means software whose copyright is longer active or enforceable. It also means software with no active support. This could be due to the lack of interest in developing the software by owners or where the software has been sold to new owners. The latter decides to totally disregard the software’s improvement. It may also be that the owners have failed and stopped doing business with software permanently.
What is Abandonware? – Is MyAbandonware Safe
As game lovers, we never get tired of old engaging games; even when there are new ones, there is always the tendency to go back to search for those favorite games. Little wonder why we would always come in touch with words like “Abandonware.”
Have you ever wondered what the term actually means? Whether it is safe to download them? Whether it is legal to download or even offer them for download? Then wonder no more!
While we know that it is illegal in some countries to download through torrents or warez sites that offer cracked copies of paid soft-wares for download, most websites want avoidable litigation. They will need adequate answers to the above questions.
How is Software Declared Abandonware?
Most of the time, Abandonware is confirmed through direct official statements by developers or its cooperation. A typical instance was where the developers of Descent, a video game, made 1997 an official statement disclosing the software’s source code.
Is My Abandonware Safe?
The main point here is that it is illegal to download Abandonware. So, you will ask the question of why it isn’t legal to download software that has been abandoned by the developers.
The easiest response to this is that the owners still have copyrights over that software even though they have abandoned it. So, it is not a public property yet.
The span of copyrights is not universal; it varies in the laws of different countries. Most laws span the copyrights of video games to last for a minimum of 70 years to 125 years.
Despite this and the illegality of Abandonware, it has often continued to run in the face of multiplying litigation because of the difficulty in enforcing punishments for the breach of such copyrights and.
In other times, owners’ willingness to go the lengthy mile of pursuing justice could last for years.
For instance, Electronic Arts, the copyright holders of System Stock (adventure game), are yet to enforce its right against several Abandonware sites for hosting the game for free downloads.
More so, where owners of the software have failed to exist, who takes up the matter of enforcing the copyright? Obviously, nobody. So Abandonware, for this reason, continues to exist.
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Why Downloading Abandonware Will Likely Continue – Why do Gamers Love Abandonware?
As written above, Abandonwares are illegal. Albeit, the chances of nailing culprits by the arms of justice may be difficult because there are very few or no cases supporting the prosecution of the Abandonware title users and game players.
Usually, a warning letter (pre-action notice) is sent to supposed copyrights breachers before filing a lawsuit. This will prompt the Abandonware site to bring it down.
Some others would continue to host this software, taking refuge under the lapses of international law by hosting the same in countries with relaxed copyright enforcement laws, piracy laws, among others.
The case will be different, where developers release the software for free. In this instance, it will not be illegal to download, use, or play the Abandonware.
Here, they will be classified as software with publicly available licenses, General Public License, or Creative common as the case may be. The developers may still be able to enforce copyrights on newer or altered versions of the software.
Goodwill of developers may also be why there are few or no cases of breach of copyright prosecution. They would prefer to turn a blind eye to the apparent illegal use of titles even though there are abundant resources to pursue litigation.
Probably, to evade public attention to an avoidable legal action. Especially to titles they are no longer interested in.
Consequently, provided there is compliance to pre-action notices or warning letters, legal actions on Abandonware may never see the four walls of a court.
Is it Legal or Safe to Download Abandonware?
This is largely dependent on the site you are downloading from. However, it could be safe to download from very popular or trusted Abandonwares such as Abandonia and MyAbandonwares. Apart from being trusted, they serve thousands of users daily by hosting almost all abandonware titles.
Other trusted Abandonware sites include but are not limited to:
1. Abandonware Dos- http://www.abandonwaredos.com
2. RGB Classic Games-http://www.classicdosgames.com
3. Games Nostalgia- http://www.gamesnostalgia.com
Advantages of Downloading from Abandonware Sites
Abandonware sites through illegal serve some positive purpose. These purposes are summed up into the following:
1. Continuous Existence of Games: there is a behavioral pattern of game users to desire to connect back to their old favorite games either for memory sake, to access improvement of soft-wares, or for the sole sake of pleasure. This purpose will obviously be defeated if there is no means or platform to preserve those games. It is in light of this that Abandonwares play an important role.
While there are other forms of protection, such as the British Library and Internet Archive, these platforms are quite selective and do not contain some obscure titles.
2. To spread revenue: Developers make money from soft-wares, but when these developers disregard the continuous development of these games or soft-wares may be to pursue other projects, it may seem morally right to allow others to feed on it. This way, the hosts of Abandonware get a piece of the forgotten cake. At the same time, little may still trickle down to the developers or their companies.
Differentiating Good Old Games (GOG.Com) From Generation Of Old Gamers (GOG) – How Good Old Games Has Threatened The Existence Of Other Abandonware Sites
Truly, good Abandonwares never grow old, and the rush for classic games may dwindle but never cease.
Generation of Old gamers as an Abandonware was to fulfill the mission of easy transition of classic game experience to both the old and new generations of gamers for no cost until the advent of the Good Old Games.
Abandonware, a brand created to join the business of promoting and protecting abandonware titles. But unlike other Abandonware sites, Good old Games through http://www.gog.com updated to accommodate sales of modern titles for profits.
It would later work with copyright holders to republish games and sell the same for profitable gains.
This has threatened the existence of other Abandonware as developers or companies are now cautious of the profits they can make from republishing and selling old games to the detriment of other Abandonware.
The activities of Good old games have put a stamp on the illegality of Abandonware. Thus, giving further justification for the increase in legal actions against other Abandonware.
What Else Do you Need to Know About Abandonware Sites?
Games have evolved to become part of the pleasures of life. While the younger generation in the multitude of advanced and developed games is curious about what types of games exist, the old generation would always want to feel old times by playing classic games.
Abandonware, as software with no active support, is protected through abandonware sites to achieve these objectives.
Downloading or using Abandonware titles is largely illegal, so hosts of these sites would prefer providing these services under countries with mild or tolerable piracy laws.
Some other times they are quite confident of maneuvering international copyright law by relying on the lapses of enforcement of punishments and the lack or scarcity of precedents from legal actions by developers.
The developers are not spared too. They played the role of conscious inactivity in demanding justice for fear of losing goodwill irrespective of their abundant resources to pursue the same. The use of pre-action notices or warning letters has also limited court action in this respect.
Although illegal, Abandonware is still useful in creating pleasure and revenue for abandonware sites salivating to share the spoils from the downloads of thousands of such soft-wares.
However, the existence of some of these abandoned sites has to be threatened by other abandonware such as Good old Games (GOG), which require users to pay for the use or download of classic games.
The coin here is two-sided; in the first part, it stamps the illegality of Abandonware, thereby creating a legal business venture between Good old games and developers and their companies.
On the other hand, because these classic games are numerous and sometimes obscure with no existing owners, it may shut the door for existing Abandonware, consequently leading to the loss of touch to antiquity’s brilliance.
Irrespective of these threats, Abandonware does not seem to be going out of business any time soon.
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