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ROM images, Backups, and the Marketplace

Cebus Capucinis

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AA members:


The moderating team knows there's recently been some questions and some confusion relating to sale on the marketplace of ROM images, "backup" games, or even custom modded systems that come pre-loaded with said images. This can be a somewhat difficult topic to understand, because there can be a lot of differing information out there relevant to the legality of such measures. Some state that "abandonware" is acceptable, others state that "if you delete it within 24 hours or own an original copy", etc. However, some clarification is necessary to ensure the protection of both the AtariAge website, and, more importantly, the members that make this place home.


While there is a large amount of grey area legally as to who is responsible for website content, and whether the lack of preventing such transactions to occur means "silent admission", there exists a potential for legal action on the part of copyright holders against either AtariAge or the members in question. That's something I think we all can agree we don't want. Thus, the rules of the site state that posting access to or locations for copyrighted material is forbidden. This is meant as a protection against these possible legal actions and to ensure that we can continue appreciating and loving the hobbies that we enjoy for a long time in the future.


Of course, modded systems are a large part of helping us enjoy what we do, and there's no real harm legally speaking in the systems themselves. Emulators themselves are also not problematic. The problem begins when copyrighted material has been reproduced, and several court verdicts in the past in the United States (where AtariAge is hosted) have shown that "abandonware", "delete it within 24 hours or own an original copy", etc. is not admissable for copyright violation defense. Simply put, if there's a copy of protected material created, a violation has occurred.


This is not directed to any members in particular; this is just a general statement regarding the rules and guidelines governing the site as a whole. As ROMs, backup copies, or systems pre-loaded with such material are in direct violation of United States copyright law, please do not post or sell such materials on AtariAge. If you have a modified system to sell, do not include any copyright infringing material with it. It's just a protective measure for the members of the site.


Thanks for your co-operation in this, and we apologize for any confusion that may have arose. We all want to keep asking "Have You Played Atari Today?" for years to come! If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to PM any moderator (including myself) or Albert. Thanks again!

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