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Abandonware In A Nutshell: Why Nobody Wins

Legalizing Abandonware: Why It Will Never Happen

The IDSA is cracking down only to protect their members' Intellectual Property rights, and nothing else.

As described eariler, the concept of Intellectual Property is the legal position that the owner of an invention has the right to control all aspects of his invention; mainly, the invention's use and availablity. Software, in our case, is the invention; the owner is the title holder of the software. This is a perfectly acceptable position to take, even if it wasn't the law; you certainly wouldn't want someone else misusing, plagiarizing, or profiting off of something you created, would you?

But there is little reason for software companies to be worried, as mentioned above in the consumer's position. Software companies obviously have the right to protect against plagiarism, but most classic game titles are so established that plagarism would be obvious and easily brought to litigation if the need arose. And if lost profits are their concern, they needn't worry; the titles in question haven't been available for years, so there has been no opportunity to make a profit (let alone lose it). Even future profits are safe, since the companies in question continually state that the older games are not available and will not be made available for the forseeable future. (They may change their position at any time, of course, but the way the software industry is mutating, it is highly unlikely that older titles will be released.)

Be that as it may, the IDSA is protected by law. A holder of any intellectual property must enforce his rights or risk losing them forever. In other words, if a copyright holder knows that people are infringing his rights but does not do anything about it, he cannot wait and then sue them for infringement if it turns out the copyright has value in the future (or simply wants them to stop infringing in the future).

So the only real problem consumers can have with the whole situation is ultimately an ethical one. The IDSA, and the software companies they represent, are simply being petty.

Continued: Are there any loopholes?

Table of Contents: Abandonware In A Nutshell: Why Nobody Wins