Re: CommodoreWorld

From: Rainer Buchty (
Date: 2004-06-24 16:58:10

> That is, the source codes were long gone, and it was the online C=
> people -- who had been collecting, organizing, etc. old games -- that
> made it possible for Activision to make some money off of their old
> stuff.

That's something which really saddens me: the fact that companies just
dump "old and useless" stuff once they phase out a business branch or
indeed go out of business.

So they either should place it in the public domain (and see people
mirroring, sometimes even developing it further -- for free) or at least
save it to some means of long-term data storage.

It's so annoying if a machine you like breaks and "repairing" would mean
to cannibalize another machine for parts because the custom chips are
gone. The C64 community is in the lucky position that numerous people
spent an awful lot of time in reverse engineering those chips and putting
together emulation models. (Plus, they at least got a register

For example, I'm also a member of the synth DIY community. Old machines
based on discreet technology can still be repaired w/o major problems.
Moderately integrated machines can also still be repaired. But the
machines from the mid-80s on are doomed: the companies are gone or were
merged and dumped each and every information concerning "that ol' crap".

> When C= went under and everything was auctioned off, some people were
> asking what happened to the chip templates etc. (for the purposes of
> really understanding VIC and SID, instead of reverse-engineering).  My
> recollection is that nobody knew -- they are just gone, and nobody knows
> where.

Even worse: I once had the case that the original manufacturer had no
information whatsoever about the custom chips anymore -- but Hitachi, who
manufactured those chips, still had docs in their archive which they would
gladly share with me if I could present some sort of permission by the

Now guess what...

As for the C= chip templates, I must admit that the 8520 schematics (RTL
level) fell into my hands back in 97, 98 during my AMD/Vantis times and
that I was stupid enough to never xeroxing it for own/further use (also
due to the fact that my boss seemed to have a special eye on me whenever I
was working with those schematics)... Back then a German customer, who
aquired some stuff from the C= pile, showed us those schematics and was
asking if those were of any use in replicating the 8520 using Vantins

> As a legal matter, how could you even prove ownership of something, be it
> a reverse-engineered chip or a piece of software, if you don't have the
> source code or templates?  I ask out of ignorance; I just wonder how Tulip
> would plan to argue in court that they own something they don't possess.

I guess for the lawyers it's enough if they show a signed document which
say something about a rights transfer about this and that to Tulip. No
need to present source code here.

However, it would be hard for them to prove that the rev-eng'd stuff
really is violiating their IP.

> Finally, if crackers etc. thrived in the 80's, when all this stuff was
> clearly illegal and the technology was more primitive... well, good luck
> to Tulip trying to close these things down.

Isn't that the case for all sort of IP violations... They might get down
the obvious and open-to-anyone distribution channels (vulgo: web sites,
P2P). All they do is pushing distribution back into closed circles, aka
the underground, where you need to have certain connections to get access.


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