Intellectual Property laws
are the bane of many different areas. Why can a company say this? "We may not have produced
for 20 years, but it is still ours. So what if we have no remaining copies of it? So what if we completely forgot its existance until you tried to make it available again? It is ours based on the fact that someone who worked for us produced it at one time and we slapped a copyright
Now don't get me wrong. If a product is still available for a consumer to purchase it from the producing company, or one that has bought the rights to that product, whether it be music, software, or anything else, it SHOULD NOT be pirated. That is bad. You should not steal stuff that can be legally obtained.
The situation changes though if a company has decided not to support or produce a product, that product by law was supposed to become the property of the public domain. But new intellectual property laws have changed this.
Now when some of us speak of intellectual property, we are talking about the software industry. Here is where the main part of the battle takes place. When a company stops producing a game it has generally run its life cycle completely. Those who are left are fans of the game. Now years later when the fans' games have failed, they will want to replace them. The company no longer sells these products, it would be way too expensive for them to reproduce almost all the games people want (there are some exceptions, like the old genre creating games). In console gaming it would require the rengineering of the game to work on newer consoles, and in PC gaming it would require the fixing of backwards compatibility issues. So the companies do not do this. So the fans cannot replace their games.
Now I ask you. If you cannot buy the game and everyone followed the law and obeyed intellectual property laws, what would happen to the games and other programs? Would they be around in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? In almost all cases, no. These companies kept one original master disk. In many cases these master disks no longer operate. The media simply was not made to withstand even 15 years time. So what happens to a portion of history? It dissapears. So I ask you, do intellectual property laws, when taken too far help or hinder the industry?
We have not even looked into the thoughts of the actual programmers themselves. I challenge you to take a look at the home of the underdogs. The webmaster there reported some time ago, that in a large majority, game developers wanted their old creations available to the general public. The companies that these developers worker for no longer sold the titles, and these people just wanted there old work accessable. The problem is, the people who develop the games do not own them, they do not see most of the rewards from them. The companies the developers worked for them and thus the companies own the games, and the companies say it is illegal......