In early May 2022, MetaGravity released the Retro Arcade Collection, which is noteworthy for two reasons. The first was a novel concept that playable software was created as an NFT. This is a technology proven in Abandonware’s collection of games and demos. The second reason is not very flattering. Many of the titles that MetaGravity has created as NFTs still have copyrighted owners.
In the collection description, MetaGravity argued that NFT games and demos were abandonware “saved” by the collection and could be used as software that could be played for two weeks. Abandonware is a term for games and software that is no longer sold or supported by its owner. There is growing interest in preserving older titles that do not benefit from remakes or re-releases, and websites such as Abandonia and My Abandonware specialize in preserving games and software that are considered Abandonware. Games are an artistic medium, and preservation of art is a noble pursuit.
The problem is that MetaGravity’s claim that the game they chose is Abandonware seems to be dishonest. Blizzard’s SNES / MS-DOS title Blackthorn Originally released in 1994, it was re-released in 2013 and more recently in 2021, so it’s far from abandonware. This is recognized by MetaGravity and is included in the NFT description.Blizzard copyright ownership Blackthorn Even if it’s just a demo, they won’t allow it to be built as an NFT.
Within a week of the release of the Retro Arcade Collection, many of the titles consumers enjoyed through NFTs have been removed. Buyers who bought from the collection still had NFTs, but they couldn’t play the demos and games, so they didn’t have the original product promised. Even titles, which are freeware (software that is free and readily available to owners), had to be removed. It is not legal to turn it around and sell it as a product just because the software is free.One of the collections is from Remedy Entertainment Dessler.. Although it became freeware in 2021, the copyright of the product is still retained.
It seems that MetaGravity’s approach was to seek forgiveness, not permission. Instead of contacting them to confirm that they have the right to create these games as NFTs, they have a web form that companies can fill out to request that MetaGravity remove all games in the collection. I set it on the site. This approach is arguably understandable, as many games that are actually considered Abandonware may not have a clear owner. Extinguished companies, mergers, acquisitions, and expired contracts can leave some titles in vague and uncertain spaces, making it nearly impossible to know who actually owns them. is. However, this debate is inadequate in the choice of suspicious products sold to consumers and the games presented. for example, Blackthorn When Dessler It was the property of Blizzard and Remedy.
Even games and software that are considered Abandonware are not automatically legal to download or share online. The legality of downloading Abandonware is usually on a case-by-case basis, but in general, software owned by the copyrighted party is downloaded, even if it is not sold or often updated. It is not legal to do. Year. The distribution of Abandonware is already volatile and selling for profit is causing problems. That’s why the reputable Abandonware site offers a free selection of games and software.
It is not unreasonable for consumers to assume that sellers have the right to sell their products. Knock-offs and misleading products aren’t new, but they tend to be particularly annoying in online spaces and NFTs. Sites like Red Bubble and Amazon are full of unlicensed merchandise and stolen artwork, but after all, consumers can expect to at least own a physical product. This dispute with MetaGravity’s RetroArcade Collection proves that ownership of media created as NFTs is not as specific as sellers want consumers to believe. For those unhappy to buy an NFT sold by a party whose legal rights to the product are suspected, legal consequences may even occur.
Cryptocurrency and NFT ownership has not yet been tested in court, but there is legal precedent that consumers will be prosecuted for owning and sharing illegally distributed digital goods. When the music industry began to retaliate against digital piracy, one of the measures taken by companies like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was for consumers using file-sharing programs like Napster and KaZaA. It was to file a lawsuit against it. The RIAA has sued at least 18,000 individuals for infringing on music. This same logic may apply to NFTs in court. Prosecution can be a threat not only to the parties who create NFTs of intellectual property that are not really theirs, but also to the consumers who buy them.
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