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How is OpenRCT2 legal?


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Sorry if this is a dumb question or sounds judgemental, but I'm considering making an OpenRCT2-style reimplementation of a different older game and was wondering exactly how (legally speaking) OpenRCT can be distributed for free without infringing on the original work. What can and can't be used from older games, and what legal frameworks protect OpenRCT from accusations of copyright infringement?

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OpenRCT2 seems to be an absolutely niche software. Even in the evening prime-time, the free multiplayer servers often only have about 5 players online. I think that the publisher Infogrames don't interest very much that there also is an open source release of RCT2 - especially it is already 20 yeras old. Aside from that, an original RCT2 version is still required to run OpenRCT2 - so Infogrames can earn money if a new user is interested in OpenRCT2.

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It's not that OpenRCT2 is 'small' enough that Frontier wouldn't care, there simply is no copyright or license infringement. If you want to do something similar with another game, make sure you read their their EULA thoroughly before you do anything unintended (especially look for 'no decompiling or reverse engineering', which has been added to most newer games).

(I have no experience with legal stuff and haven't read through much of it)

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17 hours ago, jensj12 said:

make sure you read their their EULA thoroughly before you do anything unintended (especially look for 'no decompiling or reverse engineering', which has been added to most newer games).

 

The RCT2 EULA also has that wording, but that didn't stop the OpenRCT2 project.

eula.png.2ee32b8c6c8881e4204bfe311bdd2b9c.png

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8 hours ago, X7123M3-256 said:

The RCT2 EULA also has that wording, but that didn't stop the OpenRCT2 project.

eula.png.2ee32b8c6c8881e4204bfe311bdd2b9c.png

Except ORCT2 doesn't do any of that in the sharing sense, therefore, since its not being sold, given, or claimed as their own, its fine. It simply modifies code that the person(s) already has. Which is completely legal. 

Edited by HookerHeels
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1 hour ago, HookerHeels said:

Except ORCT2 doesn't do any of that in the sharing sense, therefore, since its not being sold, given, or claimed as their own, its fine.

No, they aren't distributing any of the original assets, but they did reverse engineer, decompile, and modify the code, which the EULA tells you not to do. It is not a clean room implementation.

My point is not that I give a shit what the EULA says, I'm just saying that if the OpenRCT2 developers had followed @jensj12's advice, we wouldn't have OpenRCT2.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey there! I created this account just to share my thoughts. OpenRCT2 would probably fall into the 'fair-use' territory since it still requires you to have the original game assets in order to play. OpenTTD seems to follow the same principle. Halo has a fair-use policy that allowed a non-profit derivate game project (whose name I forgot) to carry on after the legality of it was questioned, my guess is that OpenRCT2 would be just like it.

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  • 1 month later...

X7123M3-256 rightly points out that OpenRCT2 seems to be in clear violation of the original RCT2 EULA, even if the original files need to be supplied. I've looked into this issue on other sites and forums. The responses I saw were very dubious.

Also, I recently found the page on this site that provides the instructions and download link of the RCT2 demo to use in OpenRCT2, to "enjoy the full experience" without having to purchase the game at all. If I'm honest, this soured my enthusiasm and interest in the project.

Maybe I've misunderstood somehow? I'd appreciate it if anyone can fill me in on more. OpenRCT2 looks like a great tribute to RCT and a fantastic way to play, but because of these above issues, I won't be doing so at this point.

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6 hours ago, Alexkv said:

X7123M3-256 rightly points out that OpenRCT2 seems to be in clear violation of the original RCT2 EULA, even if the original files need to be supplied. I've looked into this issue on other sites and forums. The responses I saw were very dubious.

Also, I recently found the page on this site that provides the instructions and download link of the RCT2 demo to use in OpenRCT2, to "enjoy the full experience" without having to purchase the game at all. If I'm honest, this soured my enthusiasm and interest in the project.

Maybe I've misunderstood somehow? I'd appreciate it if anyone can fill me in on more. OpenRCT2 looks like a great tribute to RCT and a fantastic way to play, but because of these above issues, I won't be doing so at this point.

EULAs (or any contract) cannot take away rights you legally have. It should be noted that Atari itself is fully aware of our existence, and has endorsed it by 1) using it in their streams, and 2) allowing GOG to offer a bundle OpenRCT2 with RCT2. It’s hardly surprising, as OpenRCT2 has driven the sales of RCT2 a lot - many people bought RCT2 on Steam or GOG because they lost their originals discs or didn’t have a convenient way of reading them.

About the demo: I’m not happy about it either, but please note that this is not an official site, but one made by a fan, and we have extremely limited control over what goes on it. The official site is openrct2.io. We (the devs) never link to it from our Discord or the Reddit (and any posts linking to it get removed).

Edited by Gymnasiast
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On 11/10/2021 at 12:26, Gymnasiast said:

t should be noted that Atari itself is fully aware of our existence, and has endorsed it by 1) using it in their streams, and 2) allowing GOG to offer a bundle OpenRCT2 with RCT2. It’s hardly surprising, as OpenRCT2 has driven the sales of RCT2 a lot - many people bought RCT2 on Steam or GOG because they lost their originals discs or didn’t have a convenient way of reading them.

This is a good summation of laws in general- Technically, any act is legal as long as nobody wishes to press charges.

 

And even if Atari were put in a position where someone tried to argue in court that this specific violation allowed more serious violations to become acceptable, I strongly suspect that the ensuing backlash would make it absolutely not worthwhile to shut down a popular mod in order to preserve full ownership of a game that's nearly (and based on a game that *is*) two decades old.

Edited by Ruuuubs
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  • 9 months later...

I realize this is a pretty old discussion, but for those wondering what the official position Chris Sawyer takes in regards to OpenRCT2, as official as we're likely going to get anyway, I reached out to Guy Herbert of Marjacq Micro Ltd, the agency that represents Sawyer. Here's the response:

The project has no blessing or support from Chris Sawyer and our view, it is both unethical and unlawful, involving infringements that may in some territories be criminal as well as a violation of Chris Sawyer's rights and those of his licensees - all of which remain reserved. 

RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, distributed by Atari, contains RCT and RCT2 rebuilt for modern operating systems under Chris's own direction.

Sincerely

Guy Herbert
Director

Marjacq
The Space 235 High Holborn LONDON WC1V 7DN
t: +44 (0)20-7935-9499 
f: +44 (0)20-7935-9115
http://www.marjacq.com/

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Why did you feel the need to do this? We go out of our way not to annoy either Atari or Chris Sawyer, and you just did the virtual equivalent of emptying a bag of itching powder into a gorilla enclosure.

Edited by Gymnasiast
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@Alexkv There was absolutely no need to do this... You do realize that waking sleeping hounds is not a good idea, right? We've always kept this project free of funding, completely open source, and always tell people to get the original games in order to use OpenRCT2. With you contacting them, you have it in your hands that this entire project could be being taken down if they decide to take action, and thus ruining the fun for literally thousands of people.

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You've misunderstood my intentions. I did not reach out to the agency to spoil anyone's fun. My email made it clear I was interested in using it to play the game, but that I also wished to know Chris Sawyer's views on the port.

As far as I know, he's never shared his opinion on it. I do care about knowing his position and I thought others in this forum might want to know too. Without him, we would have never had this wonderful game in the first place.

Also, Gymnasiast already mentioned Atari knows about OpenRCT2 and has previously used it in their online content, which means Sawyer's agency had to know about it as well. Both have not tried to shut anything down for many years. I understand what you're saying, but I think it's unlikely my email will have any influence on that.

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4 hours ago, Alexkv said:

Also, Gymnasiast already mentioned Atari knows about OpenRCT2 and has previously used it in their online content, which means Sawyer's agency had to know about it as well. Both have not tried to shut anything down for many years. I understand what you're saying, but I think it's unlikely my email will have any influence on that.

Well, I really hope you are correct. But this is far more dangerous than you realise. Also, since Atari and Sawyer have had some court cases over the years, it’s very well possible they didn’t run anything by Sawyer or his agency. I really hope that, if something like this pops up in the future, you will check with us beforehand.

-----

I think we now said enough about the matter. There is also no point in tearing into Alexkv further either, so I will lock this topic.

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