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Archive.org Hosts Massive Collection of MAME ROMs 193

Posted by timothy
from the tie-a-yellow-onion-on-that-old-oak-tree dept.
An anonymous reader writes to point out a giant gift to the world from the Internet Archive: a massive collection of MAME ROMs, playable in your browser using Javascript Mess. From the blog post announcing this extension of the already mind-blowing Internet Archive: "Like the Historical Software collection, the Console Living Room is in beta – the ability to interact with software in near-instantaneous real-time comes with the occasional bumps and bruises. An army of volunteer elves are updating information about each of the hundreds of game cartridges now available, and will be improving them across the next few days. Sound is still not enabled, but is coming soon. Faster, more modern machines and up-to-date browsers work best with the JSMESS emulator."
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Archive.org Hosts Massive Collection of MAME ROMs

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  • Copyright (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:26AM (#45804371)

    Excuse me if I'm just not getting it but isn't this copyright infirngement?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      On one hand, it's copyrighted content, but on the other, it's ~20 year old content, and not freely available in the public marketplace (or at least, not very affordably). Most manufacturers have chosen not to pursue copyright claims against anything that is not current-gen.

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:40AM (#45804449)

        Legally, it isn't a grey area: It's civil infringement at the very least. The only area in which the 'not freely available' may come into play would be deciding upon the damages. If there is any copy-prevention technology involved or if you accept payment in any manner for distributing the roms, including accepting other infringing data in return (ie, using a torrent client) then it's also a criminal offense in the US under the DMCA and NET Act respectively.

        On the other hand, screw the law. It's an unfair, counterproductive, rampantly abused law resulting only from a century of corporate lobbying and I have no respect for it whatsoever.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @07:48AM (#45804673)

          http://archive.org/about/dmca.php

          They seem to have an exemption.

          • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @08:20AM (#45804755)

            That only exempts them from the anti-circumvention provisions. Plain old copyright law still applies.

            A lot of the old games will have effectively lapsed now simply because their owning legal entities ceased to exist, but confirming that poses quite a challenge itsself. Just because the publisher is out of business doesn't mean the game is in the public domain - there may well have been a selling-off of rights during bankruptcy, or another company may have aquired the defunct publisher.

            How hard? Well, let us say you have a game called The Lords of Midnight, published by Beyond Software. You look it up, and Beyond Software is long defunct. Game good for the taking, right? Well, no: Beyond Software was aquired by Telecomsoft, so you need to look them up too. Also defunct. Good? No, because Telecomsoft (Better known as 'Firebird') was actually owned by BT, the British telephone company, who (AFAIK) still retain the copyright. That was an easy case, it was all documented on wikipedia and the companies involved are very well-known. Identifying the true owner of something more obscure is a much more difficult prospect.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday December 28, 2013 @10:30AM (#45805397) Journal

              I can vouch for this as me and a programmer friend looked into recreating the days of shareware for the current gen. What we found was a minefield where even if the company closed its doors you had pieces of the company going here and there and nobody knew who the fuck, what the fuck, or where the fuck some 20+ year old game went. The few we did find wanted more money for the rights to distribute the SHAREWARE version of their game than a triple A title from the period could ever hope to make, we are talking about $100K+ for just the limited locked shareware even though we were doing it non profit. That is of course if they would even speak to you, we got many that were like "Oh we have zero plans for it but we might do something someday" so they refused to allow anybody to sell or distribute the shareware version.

              The saddest part? We were told flat footed if we would just make it in China all our problems would go away. this is why i think China will be the next hotbed of innovation, as unlike the USA you can actually make things without having to spend the majority of your capital on lawyers.

              • by Immerman (2627577)

                As I recall most shareware came with explicit rights to redistribute granted on the splash screen, right alongside all the splashy ads for the great features you were missing out on in the full version.

                • by hairyfeet (841228)

                  Problem is those rights were given by company A which no longer exists and company B, which may or may not own the game, refuses to honor that agreement.

                  Again if we just made it in China? All our problems would have went away. Its just sad that the USA is simply unsuitable for anything other than lawsuits :-(

                  • by Immerman (2627577)

                    Can they do that? Seems an awful lot like retroactively changing a license to me. Sort of like if some company bought out an open source project and tried to revoke GPL rights - if they dotted all the right T's they could do it for all future versions, but the stuff already released can't be clawed back unless they can show they didn't actually have the right to give you the license in the first place.

                    • It depends. I think it comes down to redistribution rights. You can license some rights to someone, but not redistribution. Some shareware likely fits into that category. So people who got licenses directly from the author would have permanent rights for his own use, but not to redistribute. The GPL explicitly grants redistribution rights.
                    • by hairyfeet (841228)

                      Take a closer look at those shareware licenses friend, because as someone who studied them closely, even talked to a lawyer or two, I can tell you that while they give you the right to USE the software almost none of them gave rights to redistribute.

                      With the GPL you have the exact opposite of the shareware scene, pretty much the first thing written was redistribution rights so while a company could refuse to allow future versions under GPL there would be no way to stop you from forking the code. That said

            • by chrismcb (983081)

              A lot of the old games will have effectively lapsed now simply because their owning legal entities ceased to exist,

              That isn't true. ownership doesn't "ceased to exist" When a company goes bankrupt, it has assets that pass on to someone. No computer software copyright has "effectively lapsed" Of course that doesn't mean we know who owns the copyright. Many times a corporation might even know they own the copyright.

              • Read the rest of the comment. That was the point. It isn't always the case that someone else aquired those assets, but it very often is, and it can take a lot of research to determine who they ended up with after thirty years of business dealings.

        • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @08:59AM (#45804907) Homepage

          So it definitely is illegal, but very obviously does zero damages to victim.

          So, would that mean your punishment would be zero dollars?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            My worry is that archive.org might suffer the same fate as mp3.com. Damn good service, but they decided to dip their toe into uncharted waters, and got torn to pieces by the armies of RIAA lawyers. Hell, the RIAA has been doing DRM for over a century.

          • Nope. In such an event, the copyright holder simply sues for statutory damages instead.

          • by guruevi (827432)

            It isn't illegal.

            There are exceptions to the DMCA for:
            Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete.
            Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access.

            Therefore MAME and pretty much any emulator of abandon-ware including the software is legal to own, copy and distribute.

            • smf (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              As has previously been explained, a DMCA exemption allows you to bypass the DRM on something you legally own. You still have to abide by copyright law.

              Also the exemptions are re-assessed annually and they decided not to keep the DMCA exemption in place for old computer games.

            • by Immerman (2627577)

              What? No. An exemption to the DMCA means you are allowed to legally bypass the copy protection, NOTHING else. The DMCA says nothing about distribution, that's the domain of copyright law. The DMCA is only an added restriction making it illegal to bypass what had previously been purely technological additional restrictions on copying. Of course so long as the software was published at least 100 years go it is no longer under copyright and you are free to distribute it, and in another few decades that wil

              • by Maritz (1829006)

                assuming Disney hasn't managed to buy another retroactive extension to the law.

                Which, let's be realistic, they will do.

                • by Immerman (2627577)

                  Well, they'll certainly try. But why do you suppose the current duration is 99 years and not 100? Or why things get sold for $299.99 instead of $300? Those big ol' zeros play funny funny games with the human psyche, letting us make much more rational decisions. I suspect that the effort necessary to push past 100 will be almost as much to get to 200, or for that matter "forever".

              • by guruevi (827432)

                I thought the DMCA was the Digital Millennium COPYRIGHT Act - therefore doesn't it logically follow that it simply states and supersedes copyright issues over digital media? (I'm not a US Citizen)

                Also, if nobody is around to claim copyright, how will anyone go to court over the issue? Also many copyrights from the era between 1978 and 1989, published without registration (many small-time developers) are currently in the public domain.

        • by Nyder (754090)

          ...

          On the other hand, screw the law. ...

          When the lawmakers and the government aren't following it, why should we?

    • by dosius (230542)

      Well, yeah, it is copyright infringement...and I can imagine they're gonna get creamed hard for it, given that there's a lot of stuff from big companies among the MAME romsets.

      OTOH, I'm of a mind that copyright is just too damn long, so when it comes to stuff of the age of most of the classic arcade games, I just don't give.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Never mind that, I finally got to play ET on the Atari VCS. It's awesome!

  • 42.8GB ZIP (Score:5, Informative)

    by qubezz (520511) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:30AM (#45804395)

    Unfortunately, the only format they released the ROMs in is one huge ZIP file. Even the torrent, where torrent software might have allowed picking-and-choosing individual ROM files, is only the ridiculous 42.8GB ZIP.

    I'm still looking for a list of files, but for that size, it might be EVERY MAME ROM in the MAME database of over 7000 ROMS.

    • I wasn't going to comment until I had looked things over. But, yeah, all there is to see, is that poorly packaged humongous frigging zip file. I guess you have to download the whole damned thing, then decide if there is anything that you really want. FFS, I haven't seen anything quite so stupid in a long time.

      • Re:42.8GB ZIP (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jafiwam (310805) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @07:43AM (#45804657) Homepage Journal

        I wasn't going to comment until I had looked things over. But, yeah, all there is to see, is that poorly packaged humongous frigging zip file. I guess you have to download the whole damned thing, then decide if there is anything that you really want. FFS, I haven't seen anything quite so stupid in a long time.

        Be patient.

        They probably want to get it all out fast. By releasing it like this people will re-seed it. Had they sorted through all of it, created all the torrent seeds for it, we'd be waiting another month.

        Plus, it's a lot harder to stop once the whole thing is out and about. Some of those vendors _are_ going to have a problem with this even though they have no interest in monetizing the things themselves, they'll get instantly jealous and go after them.

        If you absolutely need re-packaged versions, just wait a while. Someone else will do the work for you and convenient little theme-based sections or company based sections will be released during the time you spend whining about it.

        • by smaddox (928261)

          I think what he/she is complaining about is that the files are zipped together when they could have easily been zipped individually or in small groups.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          because making a torrent of a zip file saves more time than making a torrent of a directory??
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        you have to pass the download to see whats in it!
      • I guess you have to download the whole damned thing

        Not necessarily.

        http://www.loadscout.com/features.shtml [loadscout.com]

    • It's like offering Slashdot as a compiled zip of all articles ever published. Download the whole lot and then see if there's an article you might want to read. Simple eh? No?

      • by tepples (727027)
        I offer NESdev Wiki [nesdev.com] as a compiled zipfile of the latest version of each article for offline use (see "Offline HTML version" at left). But then I admit that's in the tens of megabytes, not the tens of gigabytes. Wikipedia offers dumps as well.
    • Re:42.8GB ZIP (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @08:14AM (#45804743)

      Seem you can download indivual zips from the big zip file from https://archive.org/download/MAME_0.151_ROMs/MAME_0.151_ROMs.zip/ and then clicking on an individual file. Seems they forgot to include a link in the description.

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      SEED PLS!
    • by Nimey (114278)

      Here you are:
      https://sites.google.com/site/nimey5/home/archive-org-mame-rom-listing/Archive.org%20MAME%20ROM%20listing?attredirects=0&d=1 [google.com]

      Sorry about the formatting, but I'm not going to fix tabdamage on 28740 lines.

    • I'm still looking for a list of files, but for that size, it might be EVERY MAME ROM in the MAME database of over 7000 ROMS.

      What I've got that I can find quickly, these will even show you how to build the arcade cabinets for individual ROMs.

      http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.mamechannel.it/pages/bios.php&usg=ALkJrhh2HqT-Dm9Szquc1fgWTubW-OSIXw [googleusercontent.com] (Italian)

      Same link English

      http://www.mamechannel.it/pages/progettosnaps.php [mamechannel.it]

      http://www.emulator-zone.com/doc.php/arcade/mame.html [emulator-zone.com]

  • An anonymous reader writes to point out...

    And this reader has been crossposting in how many threads already?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @07:00AM (#45804527)

    Look at the stuff in the "MESS and MAME" collection. There's PSX dumps, there's Saturn dumps, and there's a whole bunch of arcade games that I know for a fact cannot be legally distributed (Raiden, Raiden Fighters, a couple of CAVE games, etc). I'm not even sure how legal those ROM dumps are even if you own the original arcade boards- almost all arcade PCBs have hardware protection on them (think of DRM, but a billion times worse), and in order to dump the ROM contents properly and/or run them you'd have to crack that protection first.

    I mean, shit, this is basically a ROM hoarders wet dream. I have never ever seen that stuff hosted anywhere other then torrent websites. I'm honestly surprised that archive.org allowed this to be posted and I'm surprised the mamedev guys haven't freaked out over it, because this could potentially attract a lot of negative attention (and mamedev is very, very prone to sudden outbursts of illogical drama).

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Just give it a few days and there will be delicious drama all over the place.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Look at the stuff in the "MESS and MAME" collection. There's PSX dumps, there's Saturn dumps, and there's a whole bunch of arcade games that I know for a fact cannot be legally distributed (Raiden, Raiden Fighters, a couple of CAVE games, etc). I'm not even sure how legal those ROM dumps are even if you own the original arcade boards- almost all arcade PCBs have hardware protection on them (think of DRM, but a billion times worse), and in order to dump the ROM contents properly and/or run them you'd have to crack that protection first.

      I mean, shit, this is basically a ROM hoarders wet dream. I have never ever seen that stuff hosted anywhere other then torrent websites. I'm honestly surprised that archive.org allowed this to be posted and I'm surprised the mamedev guys haven't freaked out over it, because this could potentially attract a lot of negative attention (and mamedev is very, very prone to sudden outbursts of illogical drama).

      Only if a ROM hoarder didn't use google, you can get all these files from various websites on the internet for the last decade. No one has shut them down, and it isn't like they have been hiding.

      It's like you are new to the internet and computers.

    • Nobody's making any money from them any more.  Legal or not, someone has to give a shit.
  • Even better if the entire Internet is shut down, not just the Archive.

  • Too bad there's no good, modern MAME client for Linux. Or for the Mac for that matter (last version was 2009)
  • LoadScout (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guy From V (1453391) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @08:38AM (#45804823) Homepage

    This little freeware program allows you to not only see what's in an archive shortly after you begin to D/L it, you can prioritize individual files inside it or pick and choose any number of them to D/L or not. Also to get bits and pieces of the archive in truncated form, still retaining the format container. I haven't used it but maybe 3 times, but these situations are perfect for it: this huge-ass, inconvenient HTTP grab of over 40 damn gigs. There's a portable version available somewhere but I can't locate it ATM.

    http://www.loadscout.com/index.html [loadscout.com]

  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgwNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday December 28, 2013 @09:21AM (#45805031) Journal

    Us pinfans have been happily using VisualPinball & PinMAME for ages now. The VP team negotiated terms of usage with the owners of pinball ROMS (Stern, Bally, and other defunct-ish companies) which included a flatout promise not to design or publish pinball sims for games less than a year old. It seems to have worked well, in the sense that I know of no attempt either to ban distribution of the ROM files or to sue any designer or user of VP files.

  • From Other Files [archive.org] -- torrent [archive.org], or the generated Magnet [magnet]

    It's still One Big File, but at least you might reduce the load on archive.org. Neighborly, y'know?

    Or you could always donate (3 to 1 match until EOY) [archive.org] to help with the upcoming lawsuit. (Oh there'll be one, well, just because. These bits USED to be owned, and I'm sure there are some people who still think they are -- whether they truly are or not.)
  • I've been piecing the Mame ROM collection together from Alt.binarier.emulators.mame
    I admit I haven't worked on it for a year or so, I have 26 Gigs worth of ROMS, and
    my UseNet isn't that quick. The version I was working on was 37 Gigs, this at 43 Gig
    has grown a bit.

    I like Moon Patrol if your my age it's one of the popular stand up arcades of the time
    a moon buggy you jumped craters and boulders then the addition of space craft you shot at.

    It's got four keys forward, backwards, jump, and fire. So would work an

    • I'd like to say !Score! but this Torrent could take a very long time, I'm uploading 31 KB/s
      downloading .5 to 1.1 K/s we'll just download it and see what's there. I knocked the upload
      down to 5 KB/s could be a junk file.

      Been 10 hours and I've got 1.7% at least it says 1.5 weeks to finish now it was infinite all day long. I've got 700 MB out of 43 Gigs, wish me luck.
      Increased to 30 MB/s upload - breaking even...

      • Been 10 hours and I've got 1.7% at least it says 1.5 weeks to finish now it was infinite all day long. I've got 700 MB out of 43 Gigs, wish me luck.
        Increased to 30 MB/s upload - breaking even...

        I got it, left the torrent running all night, I'm a happy camper...

        They added a warning that the zip file had changed, I took a screen shot of it and pasted it to IrfanView, saved then forgot it.

        This morning I looked at the screen and see a 50% torrent and was rightly ticked, something was odd, ah ha, closed IrfanView to see the torrent at 100% so leaving it online for awhile if not longer.

        Thank you Archive.org I've been after a complete collection for a long long time. BTW this is version .151 think I was

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