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Abandonware In A Nutshell: Why Nobody Wins

Proposed Solutions for the IDSA

The best thing that the IDSA can do, as an organization, is listen to the letters it receives and communicate the interest conveyed by those letters to the software companies they represent. My personal experience has suggested that none of this information exchange is occuring; the software companies join the IDSA, then let the IDSA worry about infringement.

To the IDSA: Please, compile summaries of the letters you receive and send them to your members. If that's not possible or not within your scope, then providing contact information on all of your members would be helpful to consumers willing to petition for the re-release of classic gaming titles. (Merely providing a URL to a game company's website is not enough -- many game company websites are purely promotional and don't have any contact information.)

Also, try to communicate your intentions better to the common public; this very article could have been prevented if you had done this. The reputation you currently have with the classic gaming community is that you'd rather shoot fish in a barrel (taking down little websites run by enthusiasts) than go after the sharks in the sea (real software piracy rings that rob software companies of thousands of dollars a day). This appears cowardly, and doesn't solve any real piracy problems.

My final plea to the IDSA is to change your position on emulation. While not directly related to PC gaming, I feel I must comment on this briefly to point out a glaring error in your logic: Emulators are indeed legal, contrary to what you state on your website. People are allowed to make backup copies of their games; you yourselves have stated this. But without emulators, what good are the backup copies when the original hardware fails?

To the software companies themselves: You need to make your older titles available in some fashion before it becomes too late. This is not an ominous prediction meant to scare you, but today's reality: Mark Pelczarski released the rights to all Polarware / Penguin Software titles in early 1996, but by then, even Mark himself didn't have a copy of all of his former company's titles to make available. To this day, his website still doesn't have a complete set of all the adventure titles he published in the 1980s. Some gaming enthusiasts and collectors fear the missing titles are lost forever. Remember, you don't have to support those titles; just make them available in some fashion.

Continued: Proposed Solutions for Consumers

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