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[LEGAL QUESTION] Is app/game patching legal? And the deployment of patches online?

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:10 pm
by rkk
Hi, I'm fiddling around with the game Ultim@te Race Pro and I've already plenty of stuff patched to make it compatible with modern systems and fixed some other bugs it had. I was just wondering to what extend it is legal to be deploying that kind of patches to the public. Maybe somebody here knows something about laws and could answer me some of this questions:

Is it legal to be deploying 3rd party patches for comercial games/apps which fix compatibility related issues?

I assume that deploying modified game/app executables directly could cause legal issues, but what if I depoloy a patcher (instead of the game/app executable which could be under copyright, create a program which is able to patch the original game executable). As it has no copyrighted code in it, would it be legal to deploy it?

I guess in case of old games, most of them are considered abandonware and "theoretically" should lack of any copyright actions. But what about other games like Sub Culture (From Ubisoft). What is the most legal way here to go to deploy patches? What could be the worst case scenario of what could happen if I deploy the patches?

Greetings, and any info is highly apretiated. Thanks.

Re: [LEGAL QUESTION] Is app/game patching legal? And the deployment of patches online?

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:58 pm
by VEG
Yes, it is absolutely legal: https://supporters.eff.org/civicrm/mail ... =1&id=1234
EFF also won an exemption for users who want to play video games after the publisher cuts off support. For example, some players may need to modify an old video game so it doesn’t perform a check with an authentication server that has since been shut down.

Re: [LEGAL QUESTION] Is app/game patching legal? And the deployment of patches online?

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:11 pm
by rkk
That are awesome news!! Thanks VEG.
Though there is not much written about deployment, I guess deploying it as Diff Patches should be more than fine.

Re: [LEGAL QUESTION] Is app/game patching legal? And the deployment of patches online?

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:26 pm
by Stiletto
VEG, your interpretation of that statement is a bit ... overenthusiastic.

The DMCA exemption you're looking at was explicitly for patching games whose servers had gone offline. It had nothing to do with otherwise patching games in general.

To the OP: distributing pre-modified executables is generally not recommended, distributing a patcher utility is more recommended.

Re: [LEGAL QUESTION] Is app/game patching legal? And the deployment of patches online?

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:24 am
by VEG
Stiletto wrote:VEG, your interpretation of that statement is a bit ... overenthusiastic.
The DMCA exemption you're looking at was explicitly for patching games whose servers had gone offline. It had nothing to do with otherwise patching games in general.

It's just an example (“For example, ...”). This statement allows to patch any unsupported and abandoned game. It is right about almost any old game.

I prefer to distribute ready-to-use files (already patched executables). Just for convenience of users. I think that this is not a problem, if a game already abandoned by the publisher.