is downloading ROMS illegal if you are just playing them and not redistributing and more Speifically what are the laws for this in New York?

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  • david
    Lv 7
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Copyright is federal. According to 17 USC § 106:

    "Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following... to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;"

    In other words, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to authorize copies. You are making an unauthorized copy (unless the copyright owner has authorized the distribution of the ROM, which seem unlikely), so you may be infringing.

    According to 17 USC § 501:

    "Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be."

    "The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it."

    In other words, they can sue you. And they can sue you for lots of money, even for just one file. According to 17 USC § 504(c)(2):

    "In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000."

    Please note, however, that courts have ruled certain copying to be OK. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal to use your VCR or DVR to make a personal copy of a show being broadcast that you can watch later. So, if you actually own the underlying game, I'm not sure whether it would be infringement to have a ROM for the purposes of playing on a computer instead of a console. It might depend on how good your lawyer is. (The fair use law, which the court said justifies the VCR, is 17 U.S. Code § 107, but it's a little vague.)

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