Online game permanently offline? The EFF wants to make it legal to fix that

Current copyright law makes modifying some aspects of games legally dicey, in the U.S. As part of a bigger push, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to change that.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed legal paperwork seeking six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and among them is one specifically targeted at video games. Specifically, the group is seeking a DMCA exemption for games "that are no longer supported by the developer, and that require communication with a server." In other words, the EFF wants to see it become legal to tinker with a game which has had its online support discontinued, for the purposes of "continued play, preservation, research, or study." Notably, the petition does not apply to "persistent world" MMO games. "The fair use doctrine enables the manipulation and copying of software code in order to gain access to the ideas and functions embedded within it that are not protected by copyright, including server communication protocols," the EFF argues in its petition. [PDF] The move comes as part of a bigger fight to change the DMCA so as to "make sure copyright law doesn't stop user choice and creative expression," EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz said in a statement. The news coincidentally comes the same day that The Internet Archive has put up a wide range of classic arcade games on its website for preservation and play.

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