From: Rainer Buchty (buchty_at_cs.tum.edu)
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 description...) 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 rightholder. 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 CPLDs. > 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. Rainer Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
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