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Question about legality of vgm rips


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Hello, I hope this is the proper forum section, and if it's not, I apologise. I just need an advice since I know there are people who knows many things around here.

I was wondering, how legal is it to host vgm rips on a website? I'm thinking something like project2612. How much of a gray area is it? If I start a website and I put vgm rips (not .mp3, but .vgm) on it, can I be sued by Sega and Nintendo for stealing their music? I think, since project2612 survives since years ago, it's somehow safe, but I want to be sure about it.

Thanks again in advance.

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Is the music / are the files copyrighted? Has it been ripped from a ROM? Can others download it for personal use, private or otherwise? If so, it's illegal, and you can get sued for it.

Now, WILL you get sued? Most likely not; yes, OCR hosts game file rips, as do many other sites, and there's never been a court case about it so far. But... that's not what you asked. It is technically illegal (at least, if you don't own the original files already, such as a legit copy of the game in question). Most people just don't care.

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Thanks for the answers, people. Like I assumed, it is illegal, but nobody cares.

I wonder if I can still get in trouble if the hosting service explicitly says to not upload copyrighted material. As, maybe Sega and Nintendo won't sue me, but my host might delete my account as per terms of service.

Semi-related: any recommendation for hosts who don't care very much about this?

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People post links to YouTube hosting video game rips, do yep nobody really cares. It really depends on the website for how they handle old video game material.

One game development website had someone pull down the entire disassembly to the Pac-Man game (basically a ROM dump) since Namco apparently enforces their copyrights aggressively. But the copyright only lasts for 95 years, so in 2075 you can freely post the code and music to Pac-Man :-D

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I don't know why you'd necessarily want to host rips, rather than link to 2612 or SNESmusic, etc. - or us, for that matter.

Because the source material is impossible to commercially obtain in the same format as the chiptune/mod/rip, and because these formats are more valuable to artists looking to transcribe, arrange, or remix VGM, we view them as rather necessary to our mission statement. That being said:

  • We're an actual LLC
  • We specifically try to stay within the umbrella of Fair Use in everything that we do
  • We have a clear DMCA takedown policy should the need arise.

If you're in a different situation, I'd think twice, and just link to OCR (or 2612, or SNESmusic, etc.)...

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