Are emulators illegal?

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An emulator is a program like any other, and falls under the same rules and guidelines that affect all software. The intended usage of an emulator does not affect its legality in anyway.

The usage of an emulator is also completely legal, and any reverse engineering of a system's BIOS to make emulation possible is also legal. The case of Sony vs. Connectix concluded the following:

"Connectix's reverse engineering of the Sony BIOS extracted from a Sony PlayStation console purchased by Connectix engineers is protected as a fair use."

There are some gray areas regarding this however. Some emulators require a copy of the system's BIOS to operate, and distributing a BIOS file is in fact illegal unless the copyright holder authorizes the distribution, or if the copyright becomes nullified.(Which can happen because of other events not discussed here.)

ROMs unto themselves are also perfectly legal to own, copy, and distribute. These rules do NOT apply to copyrighted material however, and it just so happens that most ROMs are made from data that is still under copyright.

The idea that it is legal to download a ROM if you own an authorized copy of the software (or that you must delete within 24 hours of downloading if you do NOT own it), is false and is more or less a courtesy to video game manufacturers. It is illegal to perform an unauthorized download of copyrighted material in any form whether or not you own a legally distributed copy.

However, it IS legal to copy an officially distributed piece of copyrighted software as a personal backup, as also concluded in the Sony vs. Conexant case that stated:

"Any purchaser of a copyrighted software program must copy the program into the memory of a computer in order to make any use at all of the program. For that reason, 17 U.S.C. Section 117(a)(1) provides that it shall not be an infringement for one who owns a software copy to make another copy"

Though whether or not creating a ROM image specifically is legal has been openly debated. Primarily because of the ruling in Amiga Vs. JS&A Where the use of the PROM Blaster to copy the magnetic cartridges was NOT protected by a user's right to copy software.

Whatever the case, it remains illegal, to distribute legally made backups without authorization from the copyright holder.

The rules above apply regardless of any ROM copyright holder's rules and policies. Though no court ruling has tested the concept that purchasing a game might bind the consumer into a legal contract giving the manufacturer the power to apply additional restrictions regarding the game's usage.

Copyright infringement is a criminal offense, but it is typically the responsibility of the copyright holder to initiate any sort of prosecution. However, It is often too difficult or impossible for copyright holders to obtain sufficient information to prosecute individuals who copy and distribute ROM files. Because of this, ROM distribution between individuals is generally considered a safe practice. However, this does not hold true for public file hosting and distribution where the copyright infringer can be identified.

The typical response to copyright infringement is a "cease and desist" letter detailing the copyrights that have been violated, and informing the infringer that failure to remove the content will result in legal action. Extreme cases of copyright infringement may be considered a federal offense which could result in up to ten years imprisonment (see the No Electronic Theft Act, 18 U.S.C. 2319).
25 people found this useful

Do you have to pay to get an emulator?

No. Not exactly there are websites where you can get one for free im not going to name any because I do not know if it is illegal or not to Download emulaters for free. That and I don't know any. But yes there probably is a place to get one for free. Answer What kind of emulator, to do what with w (MORE)

What is an emulator?

A software application which enables the computer to "emulate" a piece of hardware, fooling the computer into thinking that the hardware, such as a CD-ROM, is attached to it. Emulators are often used in situations where there is no CD-ROM present, as in the case of some laptops, or to test an image (MORE)

Are emulators dangerous?

No, emulators are not dangerous. Emulators just help you to play games on your computer. They don't do any harm to your computer at all.

How To Get An Emulator?

it depens what emulator you want if you type in emulators to goolge and bring the first one up that should have a large collection

Are video game emulators illegal?

[Ahem]. This matter has been talked about many time and there are probably many questions like this on this site. The thing is that emulators are programs made with a copied code from the actual system or from scratch with similar codes. As far as I know, they are legal as long as you don't sell (MORE)

What is emulating?

Emulating, as a computer term, means the simulating of another system on your own system. For example, the emulating of a gameboy or Nintendo game on your PC would require an emulator program. This program will allow you to use these things on your PC, which would not be possible without an emulator (MORE)

How do you use a emulator?

You download what's called a ROM, and put it on your files, and then click on open (ROM) on your emulator. you can get a ROM from

How do you get a emulator?

It depends on the system you want to emulate. Most emulators can be found here: A lot of roms are also on this site. If the site doesn't have the ROM you're looking for, just try searching it on Google, like 'Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Rom Download.'

What is a ds emulator?

It's a program on your computer that allows you to play ds games. You can get one at:

Where can you get emulators?

There are many sources of emulators, and one resource I can definitely recommend is known as Zophar's domain. There are many websites dedicated to emulations, and places to find emulators, the best step to take is to search Google for an emulator based on the system you are looking to emulate. It is (MORE)

How do you get an emulator?

You can download them from this link : They have all kinds of good emulators for most consoles!

What is a PlayStation emulator?

A PlayStation emulator is a program that allows you to play PlayStation games on another platform, such as your computer or a Dreamcast.

Are Emulators legal?

Emulator are legeal if you have that gaming console and the game you are playing but illegeal if you dont have those

Is there a PSP emulator?

Yes there is a PSP emulator. To get one, copy and paste the link below and choose the emulator you like.

Where can you get a ds emulator? i recomend desmume. it's the best one they have beware if you have trend micro security, as it will say it is a fraud page.

Were to find emulator?

I know where to find game emulators that run directly on your computer, but I'm not sure if that's what you mean?... Anywho, check out this website: They have all sorts of emulators, it's amazing. Just find the one you need and download it!

What does emulation mean?

Emulate means to equal or match someone E.G.Tom wanted to emulate his sister's skating skills.. Emulate means to equal or match someone E.G.Tom wanted to emulate his sister's skating skills.

What is emule?

eMule is a file-sharing service, much like Limewire. It is filled with pornogrphy and illegally pirated software. I would highly recommend avoiding it unless you are savvy enough to avoid the viruses that come with any programs you download. Also, useage of this program could lead to lawsuits if (MORE)

What is a PDC emulator?

In an Active Directory Domain, there is a special Domain Controller which holds the FSMO Role "PDC Emulator".. As its name suggests, it is there to ease migration from NT 4 domains to Active Directory 2000 and up domains by letting this PDC Emulator DC behave like a NT4 Primary Domain Controller. T (MORE)

Is there a Wii emulator?

yes, it called dolphin, it is also a gamecube emulator download a wii ISO with torrent or rapidshare (etc...) then search dolphin wii emulator in Google and download it if your PC have a config that is strong enough, it will work perfect after you loaded the ISO into the emulator

What is a gba emulator?

You download what's called a ROM, and put it on your files, and then click on open (ROM) on your emulator.

What is a Wii Emulator?

emulator is an application that allows you to run other programs or games on other platform for example you can run snes game on PC or you can run commodore 64 programs on xbox 360 so wii emulator is allows you to play wii games on another platform there's only one wii emulator, it is dolphi (MORE)

What is the meaning of emulate?

Emulate means to follow the example of, attempt to equal, surpass or copy. For example... He sought to emulate the example of the Wright brothers and flew his own homemade plane.

What is a terminal emulator?

A terminal emulator is a software for desktop computers that can perform like a hardware terminal to connect with VT, Mainframe, AS/400 hosts.

Is a Playstation 2 emulator illegal?

The emulator is legal if you download your PS2 Bios from a PS2 you purchased according to them. Downloading the Bios from a site would be a copyright violation at the least and not legal

How do you make an emulator?

Programming an emulator is quite an undertaking, especially for a modern system! It requires knowledge of the system you intend to emulate, such as the hardware, firmware, and many, many other details.

What is the best emulator?

Well, these are the ones I use. They work well. Except for the NDS one. it's got some glitches in it. Gameboy Advance: VisualboyAdvance N64: Project64 NDS: NO$GBA (some games won't work, and I haven't been able to get the blowing thing either. But there is a way I just can't figure it out.) PS2: (MORE)

Are Game Boy emulators illegal?

no, all emulators are not illegal, they are test systems and some times are used for fun rather than testing .but you cant send test results or comments if you are not on the internet .

What is a gameboy emulator?

It is a program that emulates, or behaves like, the hardware of a Gameboy in order to run programs that were originally created for the Gamebody on the system of your choosing.

What is the purpose of an emulator?

An emulator, when referred to as having to do with video games, isa computer program designed to emulate or simulate a specificgaming console/handheld. The games are uploaded to a computer as aROM, which stands for Ready-Only Memory. A SNES Rom can berecognized and run by a SNES emulator. They also (MORE)

What is Lauterbach emulator?

Lauterbach is a well known company in the embedded tools market. Their prime products are the Trace32 ICE and the FIRE32 ICE, which are universial emulators and support a large number of processors and microcontrollers, with both bondout or normal productions chips. An emulator is a hardware or sof (MORE)

Is it illegal to download emulators?

Not necessarily. If the emulator contains no copyrighted material and you are properly licensed for it (which may include "the guy who wrote it is giving it away for free"), there is nothing inherently illegal about downloading or even using an emulator. It may be a violation of the End User L (MORE)

Why do Emulators exist?

Instead of running the original (because they no longer exist , are too expensive or hard to get or dangerous or...) You emulate and run on a different platform that you can afford (can get a hold of, can crash and recover from, ...).

What is vba emulator?

VBA stands for Visual Boy Advance. The VBA emulator essentially mimics the gameboy advance platform for use on a pc.

How is emulation illegal?

How can emulation, or using an emulator be illegal, even if you don't own the game? From what I know about copyright laws and such, there is nothing illegal about playing an emulated game, even if you don't own it, simply because: 1 it is currently not being produced (so that is not affecting th (MORE)

Is downloading ps3 emulator illegal?

There are no working PS3 emulators. The PS2 system has some poorly working emulators that can barely manage to complete some PS2 titles with a lot of work and very poor results on over half the titles. The much more complex PS3 system does not have a working emulator, but it could still be illegal t (MORE)

Is homebrew emulators illegal?

They are'nt. They're just made to play the system games, and possibly emulate the whole system. Emulators is made to those who cant afford the system, likely.

Is Lunar Magic illegal since it is an emulator of Super Mario World?

Despite the fact that Nintendo has mid-leading information on owning ROMS , the answer is NO, since that program isn't an emulator more so a hacking program. Hacking IS NOT illegal as long as whatever you hack belongs to YOU. Odds are, having the ROM (to hack) would be illegal, unless you owned t (MORE)

Is eMule a Trojan?

eMule is a trojan. It causes havoc on my computer. I downloaded it once, and it caused havoc on my computer that took me 2 months to clean.

Where can you get emulators for android?

The android market has a number of good emulators, including fpse (playstation). The market has all the -droid emulators (gearoid, gameboid, psx4droid, etc.) There are some other emulators too, like a great N64 one by paulscode. You will need to google for this.

What is an emulation card?

In computing , an emulator is hardware or software or both that duplicates (or emulates ) the functions of a first computer system (the guest ) in a different second computer system (the host ), so that the emulated behavior closely resembles the behavior of the real system. This focus on exac (MORE)

Why there is no emulators for PS3?

The Playstation 3 is quite a bit more complex than your averagecomputer. There is no current solution to making either a PS3 or anxbox 360 emulator that functions correctly.