Author Topic: Games that can't be found any more  (Read 3911 times)

?q

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Games that can't be found any more
« on: September 21, 2016, 11:09:42 AM »
The question got brought up a few months ago, but I'm not sure that it was solidly answered, so I'm putting it up here.

What are the rules around
*redistributing files that you do not own
*that were originally free to download (i.e. the creator never charged a price for them)
*where the creator's permission is difficult or impossible to get
?

The specific game I'm thinking of is Phantamagoria Trues but plenty of other examples of Old Stuff can be pulled out pretty easily.  It's a good game, but nearly all of the download links on the Internet that other (perhaps less scrupulous, IDK) people have put up have rotted away.  What do?

In the event that the answer in this particular case is "lol Len's not dead, stop being lazy" then
*let's talk about a different, more hypothetical game (for instance, one where the creator is unknown)
*if someone who knows how2Japanese can assist with asking Len to get a frigging web site for permission, then step right up, step right up, hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry; community service awaits

EDIT:  It is not the intent of this post or thread to discuss piracy; yes if you're rehosting something that normally you're supposed to pay for then that's out of bounds; if this is in the same category let me know, feel free to lock, and please do not ban the poor hapless topic creator.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 11:14:49 AM by ?q »

Karisa

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 05:07:30 PM »
Just to add, this is currently relevant for more than one known fan game, though the situation is slightly different--

Both Suwapyon games were originally sold, then released for free, but then (about a year ago?) UTG Software's site disappeared.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 05:52:49 PM by Karisa »

helvetica

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 05:50:30 PM »
If you can provide a reasonable defense (aka you did a little bit of homework) that it is no longer available publicly, I'm all for preservation and historical documentation so these can be preserved.

Basically if you can show more than just "oh I can't get it on Amazon.jp lol", that's fine. If you need storage or a permanent place to host it I'd be willing to keep it here too. This applies to any game, but we will respect any DMCA requests of course.

Demos don't need any approval from me or anyone tbh. Full versions I would ask to check with someone before posting, especially if they did sell physical (or digital I guess now, thanks Steam and stuff) copies at events or online at some point.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 05:54:22 PM by helvetica »


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helvetica

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 06:07:22 PM »
Realistically the anti piracy rules are not to prevent people from accessing these games. It's mostly out of respect of people's hard work and dedication, as the vast majority of the games we are here for are doujin/indie games which deserve all the support they can get.

I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that a lot of these games are very hard to obtain, and in a sense, the physical copies are seen as collector's items to show your support to your favorite circle. I personally would love to be able to talk to circles and other authors and discuss their actual stances on this, as I find the doujin community in general a fascinating labor of love.

That being said, I like to err on the side of caution and disallow direct links to games. If you can provide a reasonable enough defense, I'm all for permitting and even hosting doujin material that can't be obtained by any practical means.

The only obvious in my mind "duh don't link those" category of games are the main touhou games and stuff from major circles like tasofro. I personally have been easing up and calming down a lot on the hardcore "don't ask don't tell" policy about piracy and educating people rather than smacking them down in some righteous fury.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 06:11:27 PM by helvetica »


Twitter: @hipsterfont | Discord: helvetica#0573 | LINE: hipsterfont

He thought that on that same day he was to take the city of Priam, but he little knew what was in the mind of Jove, who had many another hard-fought fight in store alike for Danaans and Trojans."


?q

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 10:49:12 PM »
I guess the good news about Danmakufu stuff is that the only program I know of that was sold for money was Concealed the Conclusion.

Two things follow from this.
*Given the language barrier, is there anyone who can act as a semi-official liaison between MotK and <insert doujin content creator here>?  Like, with my example, I'd ask Len myself, but I don't know how to reach them and I don't know how to pitch the request in a mutually understood language.
*Taking your stance to its logical conclusion, would it be a good idea to keep up a continuously updated wall o' doujin programs?  Something with entries like

**Game: Phantasmagoria Trues
**Creator:  Len_dnh
**Environment:  Touhou Danmakufu v0.12m, distributed separately [or "stand-alone, requires DirectX 17" or whatever]
**For Sale:  No (free to distribute)
**Link:  <link to creator blog, or to some retail site, or "out of print to our knowledge - MotK-hosted link">

and this would steadily update as people found new games.  If we really wanted to expand in this direction, we could start reaching out to TH doujin music artists, or ideally develop a reputation among the content creators for being a reputable English-language mirror to the extent that we can start asking questions like "under what circumstances would you permit us to host this program; e.g. if your blog goes down for 60 days".  It would be a huge undertaking but becoming the de facto bridge for fanworks would be an interesting direction for the site to take.

...but if you don't want to go there, the more immediate question of "what do I tell people who tell me that the P.Trues download link is broken" remains, so etc.

Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 12:55:36 AM »
@helvetica: All of the games mentioned in this thread were free. Nobody was requesting for this site to be turned into another "abandonware" repository, that would benefit nobody.
Piracy is piracy, and there are hundreds of sites dedicated to that sort of stuff. There are already plenty of places where people can find and post ""preserved"" doujin and other japanese computer games.

Many other sites and forums have strict anti-piracy rules. It's already hard enough to find an opportunity to link to this forum elsewhere. I would greatly appreciate if this wasn't made even harder by the risk of us getting warned or even banned from such places for trying to promote this community.


As for the original topic on free games, one of the reasons why rehosting is frowned upon is because of page views and download numbers.
By keeping track of these, you can have a rough idea of how many people are interested on your game and/or enjoy your work. For many, this serves as a major source of motivation to continue making things, even if nobody comments on them! For this reason, rehosting should be avoided unless it's absolutely necessary.

If the author's site or the game files don't mention redistribution, I think rehosting is fine if the site dies (or if they don't have a site, if their download links stop working), specially if the files were hosted on a free host. In this case nobody should care since the views can't be tracked anymore, unless the author decides to complain.

I remember the UTG Software site went offline because he didn't want to pay for the server bills (?). He actually made an announcement before it went offline. Redistribution of his games was originally forbidden, but I think he decided to allow redistribution when he made this announcement for as long as the contents of the ZIP files are left intact.

The Phantasmagoria Trues files don't forbid redistribution.

If the author tells you to ask for permission before redistributing, you should obviously try to do that. If they don't reply or if they forbid redistribution but their site/download links have been dead for a long time, it's really up to you to decide what to do. Not redistributing is the right thing to do, but at the same time the author may never come back, and well, this is MotK, we've had rips of ZUN's resources and danmakufu scripts using them since forever even though his guidelines have been translated for about 10 years...


I strongly recommend against contacting people about doujin games and music that were sold. If they aren't already available for free to the japanese it's extremely unlikely that they'll be made available to the side of the community that's infamous for piracy and not respecting anything. Plus if a game hasn't been sold for a while (not even at Comiket), there's a good chance that the authors simply don't care about (or want, for whatever reason) people playing these old games anymore.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 01:01:20 AM by Romantique Tp »

Arcorann

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 01:10:33 AM »
Information that may be relevant to this discussion:

* The official download for Phantasmagoria Trues went down with its file-hosting website around 2014-2015. Due to popular demand I posted a mirror to the (unmodified) download, but this was intended to be temporary until Len was able to re-upload the file, and stopped working when Bitcasa closed its free service in 2016. On at least one occasion Len has responded to a subsequent request for a download link with my mirror. Ideally I would like to see Len repost it on their Bulletforge account, but I am willing to re-upload it again if there is enough demand and no response.
* UTG Software officially shut down at the end of February. A cursory Google Translate suggests that there is no issue with re-hosting the site's downloads as long as they are the unmodified packages.

helvetica

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Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 03:57:28 PM »
-snip-

I understand such and I'm not like, proposing anything, just that I'd be open to the idea. I'm definitely a big proponent of historical archiving and preservation and you're right, that isn't the right scope for MotK nor should it be. If anything I'd be doing this on my own on a separate site (that's an if I even).

I don't want to enable piracy either, I'm mostly just interested in preserving games and such so that they can be enjoyed. I'm interested in talking to doujin authors and such not in terms of their acceptance of piracy, but in terms of how they feel about preserving doujin works in general, and how one can do one without enabling the other. I'm more interested in how they feel about the lifespan of their works.

Like I understand the topic at hand was about works that were released intentionally as free. For those there's no argument from me as long as there's at least some effort in showing the original distribution channels are gone and author sanctioned alternatives don't exist.

Please don't misunderstand me. The anti-piracy rules exist to respect the authors and they're not going away. I don't care as much about the opinions of other communities. How they view us or western Touhou fans in general doesn't matter and this isn't to try to convince the world not all western fans are self-entitled leeches. These rules don't exist to try to prove to others we're respectable. They exist out of respect of the authors themselves.

Do I want MotK to be a respected community? Of course I do, but our governance shouldn't be decided on trying to earn the respect of others.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 04:05:55 PM by helvetica »


Twitter: @hipsterfont | Discord: helvetica#0573 | LINE: hipsterfont

He thought that on that same day he was to take the city of Priam, but he little knew what was in the mind of Jove, who had many another hard-fought fight in store alike for Danaans and Trojans."


Re: Games that can't be found any more
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 08:02:25 PM »
When something that used to be available isn't anymore the first place I look is The Internet Archive. In most cases they have the most recent version of what I'm looking for and everything's good. On some occasions the website owner explicitly prevents such archival, and that's when I scour other archives. Chances are if what you're looking for was free it'll be available somewhere.

I agree that preservation of content no matter what it is is important, but at the same time it's just as important to make sure you aren't doing anything against the will of its creators. Since we're talking about something that used to be distributed free of charge, I feel that as long as you preserve the content in its original, unmodified form and give all due respect to the authors it should be okay.

I'm interested in talking to doujin authors and such not in terms of their acceptance of piracy, but in terms of how they feel about preserving doujin works in general, and how one can do one without enabling the other. I'm more interested in how they feel about the lifespan of their works.
This is something I'm interested in as well. Unlike more widespread works that tend to be sold either directly or through second-hand channels and are easily obtainable by legal means doujin works have a relatively high potential of "disappearing" after a certain amount of time. Many people have differing opinions on this subject, so I'll just say that it really depends on whether one is okay with losing certain things to time forever. I mean, look at the PC98 Touhou floppy disks going for outrageous prices that may or may not work due to all those years in storage. At some point they will be completely inaccessible unless it is archived somewhere.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 08:12:43 PM by aUsernameIsFineToo »