my quest to build a replica donkey kong arcade machine

Monday, February 27, 2012

legal stuff

You can go on the Interwebs and download MAME the Donkey Kong rom pretty easily, but because Nintendo owns the copyright to the Donkey Kong computer code you commit copyright infringement when you download the rom. Most of the rom sites will warn you about this.

This presented a problem for me. As an attorney, I don't believe in breaking the law. As a video game enthusiast, I don't believe in piracy. I didn't know what else to do but write a letter to Nintendo asking for a license to play Donkey Kong on my arcade machine.

To my surprise, they wrote me back a very nice letter. They said that they couldn't offer me a license, but "[a]lthough we are not able to grant permission, use of Nintendo's properties without formal permission by Nintendo may still be allowed
under the relevant law of the particular jurisdiction involved." That's just about the friendliest language you'll ever get out of a lawyer.

So what will I do? I'm going to play Donkey Kong on my arcade. I am also going to continue to buy every Nintendo console they make until I die.

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