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Ultima IV — EA Takedowns Precede Official Reboot 194

Kevin Fishburne writes "According to posts at the Ultima fan site Ultima Aiera, both the browser-based Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation at Master System 8 and the IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software have received cease and desist letters from Electronic Arts, the current IP holder of the Ultima franchise. The post states that despite the widely held belief that Origin had allowed the Ultima Dragons to distribute Ultima IV freely in 1997, in fact that is no longer the case. It further suggests that the EA takedowns are preceding an upcoming browser-based Ultima IV reboot by Bioware Mythic. Has EA lost an eighth, or are they well within their rights by going DMCA on a 26-year-old game they had no hand in developing?"
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Ultima IV — EA Takedowns Precede Official Reboot

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  • by no known priors ( 1948918 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @06:39AM (#35650594)

    You can still download the Ultima IV legally []. Or, at least, according to both that page and the first article linked to from the summary. And, from that page there is a link to a Usenet post with the permission:

    >I've been the recipient of a forward from Edward Franks (Fortran)
    >regarding the distribution of Ultima IV and I'm mighty confused..

    sorry for the confusion... let's see if I can clarify

    1. the U4 distribution in the magazine was intended to be an 'exclusive'
    for the mag.
    2. Once the mag distribution was over, it was felt nothing much could be
    done to stop redistribution of U4 after that
    3. KickAss was offering U4 for d/l, but the Dragons couldn't (per a
    previous 'restriction' by Origin?)
    4. I said, that's not fair to the Dragons... They've been honest about
    this. Why not let them offer it as well.. Answer: Your absolutely right..
    5. Ergo: email to Fortran Dragon 'OK'ing' the ability to offer U4 for free
    d/l by Dragons

    So, I just went and downloaded the game. Go me!

    As far as I can tell, EA is only going after those who didn't have permission in the first place. Which, is perfectly legal, and not even that dickish when considered from that perspective. (From another perspective, that copyright is shit, and/or that copyright for a 26 year old game is shit, it is dickish. Whatever.)

    But yeah, to bad nobody reads the article around here hey. Too bad the summary didn't mention this little point about the game still being available from some places.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @09:40AM (#35652120) Homepage Journal

    I seem to recall if you were stupid enough to attack a villager in a town, you'd not see that once, but about six times over. (I don't recall which few virtues you didn't lose)

    But EA probably is within their rights to do this. It does no good to get upset at them because they're playing by the rules. As we all know, it's the rules that are broken.

    BUT, the reason the rules are broken are because companies (like EA) have lobbied congress critters to write those laws. But again, that's still them playing within the rules, and again leads back to the rules being broken. It's a problem that's two levels deep, and in both cases comes down to a defective legislative system. Defective, not malfunctioning. It's working as designed, it's just designed wrong. Unfortunately certain aspects of its design (such as lobbying) make it a problem that's self-perpetuating to a large degree.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments