As gamers, we never get tired of playing old, engaging games; even when new ones come out, we have a tendency to go back and look for old favorites. It’s no surprise that we keep coming across phrases like “abandonware.”
Have you ever wondered what the phrase means? Is it secure to download them? Is it legal to download them or even offer them for download? Then stop wondering!
While we know that downloading through torrents or warez sites that offer cracked copies of paid software for download is illegal in some countries, most websites prefer to avoid litigation. They will require adequate answers to the preceding questions.
What is Abandonware?
Associated with the term “abandoned.” This refers to software for which the copyright is no longer active or enforceable.
It also refers to software that has no active support. This could be due to the owners’ lack of interest in developing the software or to the software being sold to new owners.
The latter decides to disregard the software’s advancement entirely. It’s also possible that the owners have failed and are no longer doing business with software.
How is Software Declared Abandonware?
The majority of the time, abandonware is confirmed by direct official statements from developers or through their cooperation. A typical example was when the developers of the video game Descent issued an official statement disclosing the software’s source code in 1997.
Is My Abandonware Safe?
The main point here is that downloading Abandonware is illegal. So you’ll wonder why it’s illegal to download software that has been abandoned by the developers.
The simplest answer is that the owners retain ownership of the software even though they have abandoned it. As a result, it is not yet public property.
The scope of copyrights is not universal; it varies according to national laws. Most laws require video game copyrights to be protected for at least 70 years and up to 125 years.
Despite this and the illegality of Abandonware, it has frequently continued to operate in the face of mounting litigation due to the difficulty in enforcing penalties for violations of such copyrights and.
In other cases, owners’ willingness to go the extra mile to seek justice can last for years.
For example, Electronic Arts, the owner of the copyright to System Stock (an adventure game), has yet to enforce its rights against several Abandonware sites that host the game for free downloads.
More importantly, when the software’s owners cease to exist, who takes on the task of enforcing the copyright? Nobody, obviously. As a result, Abandonware continues to exist.
Why Downloading Abandonware Will Likely Continue – Why do Gamers Love Abandonware?
Abandonwares are, as previously stated, illegal. However, because there are few or no cases supporting the prosecution of Abandonware title users and game players, the chances of nailing perpetrators by the hands of justice may be slim.
Before filing a lawsuit, a warning letter (pre-action notice) is usually sent to alleged copyright violators. This will cause the Abandonware site to be taken down.
Others would continue to host this software, taking advantage of gaps in international law by hosting it in countries with lax copyright enforcement laws, piracy laws, and so on.
The situation will be different if developers distribute their software for free. It will not be illegal to download, use, or play the Abandonware in this case.
They will be classified as software with publicly available licenses, GPL, or Creative Commons, depending on the case. Copyrights may still be enforced by the developers on newer or altered versions of the software.
The goodwill of developers may also explain why there are few or no cases of copyright infringement prosecution. Even though there are ample resources to pursue litigation, they would prefer to turn a blind eye to the obvious illegal use of titles.
Most likely, to divert public attention away from an avoidable legal action. Especially for titles in which they are no longer interested.
As a result, as long as pre-action notices or warning letters are followed, legal actions based on Abandonware may never see the inside of a courtroom.
Is it Legal or Safe to Download Abandonware?
This is largely determined by the website from which you are downloading. However, downloading from popular or trusted Abandonwares such as Abandonia and MyAbandonwares may be safe. Aside from being trustworthy, they serve thousands of users every day by hosting nearly all abandonware titles.