You are here

Allowed to link to my portable app here?

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2014-12-31 09:15
Allowed to link to my portable app here?

I recently managed to use the various guides and tools here to create a portable version of a game I have. I am currently trying to determine if I would be allowed to post a link to my work here.

The game in question is a free ad-supported game that was released back in 2006 by a game publisher that ultimately went out of business (Midway Games). Being ad-supported, it requires a connection to some ad servers to run and the game refuses to start if there is no connection to the servers available.

Now this is where there may be a problem. The ad servers were shut down some time ago which means that it is not possible to play the game without modifying the EXE to not look for these ad servers. The copy of the game that is distributed with my PortableApps launcher has these modifications applied. I note that this forum's guidelines states that "Links to pirated software or unauthorized modifications of closed source software are not permitted." and the game's EULA does forbid modifying any part of the game.

My defense of the modifications I put in the copy of the game I'm distributing is that one of the exceptions in the DMCA allows for the circumvention of DRM in games that require authentication servers that are no longer available:
So my understanding is that, in the USA at least, the modifications I applied to the game are legal but I would like to find out if this site's moderators agree with me before I write any more posts about it. Thanks!

Ken Herbert
Ken Herbert's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 14 min ago
Joined: 2010-05-25 18:19
If the game is open source

If the game is open source (and you provide a way for others to access your modified source) then there would not be an issue.

But from the sounds of it, this isn't an open source program we are talking about, which brings us to a couple of stumbling blocks.

Some people see abandonware as a reason to completely ignore all other legality, but I would recommend not posting it.

1) Although the DMCA says it is legally OK to circumvent DRM under such cases, it still isn't a modification authorized by the copyright holders of the program, which is what our terminology restricts. Of course, final say on that point is up to John, but that is my understanding of the wording and the intent of our guidelines.
2) Even if the DMCA exemption was a valid reason for changing our policy on that, it still only counts for the US. PortableApps is worldwide, so we would have to come up with some way to geoblock access to the package.
3) Regardless of any modifications made to it, for us to accept any software here that does not explicitly state that distribution in its installed form is acceptable in its license, we would require some form of proof of permission from the copyright holder. Since they are now out of business it is highly unlikely you could ever get this, unless you can find a person or company who has inherited Midway's ownership and copyrights.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

the developer formerly known as winterblood

demon.devin's picture
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2007-08-02 09:04
This was very well said.

This was very well said.


Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2014-12-31 09:15
Distribute without the game's files then?

I suspected that there would be problems. You are correct that the game is closed-source and there is no explicit acceptance of distribution in the EULA, though the EULA only forbids distributing the game's files for commercial purposes:
"You may not network, rent, lease, loan, sublicense, operate in a service bureau or cybercafe, broadcast, distribute or otherwise use the Software for commercial purposes."

The way I currently have the PAL installer set up is that the installer only comes with the PAL exe and everything else except the game's files. The game is 2.5GB in size and I found that the PAL Installer creator failed with an "out of memory" error any time I tried to create the installer with the game's files included. Instead, I packed the game's files with the ad server requirements removed into an archive then uploaded that separately from the installer. The PAL Installer downloads that archive while it is installing.

If I instead provide an installer that does not download this archive and instead ask the end-user to provide the game files themselves, would this be acceptable?

Log in or register to post comments