The US Copyright Office has added an exemption for abandoned online games that will give hope to efforts to archive and preserve these games.
The US Copyright Office routinely adds (prevents the addition of, and removes) exemptions to existing copyright law based on submissions from rights-holders, digital rights groups and other interested parties.
In the latest round of exemptions, the Copyright Office will now give consumers back the "right to repair", meaning they are now allowed to break copyright laws, including circumventing DRM and other copy-protection schemes, in order to fix the devices they own.
The Copyright Office also added exemptions for filmmakers, not just documentary makers, to rip DVDs and Blu-ray to extract clips and footage to use in their own creations.
But perhaps the most interesting new exemption made relates to abandoned online games. While offline games have already received an exemption in the past, the same was not afforded to online games. Those that tried to preserve abandoned online games where unable to do so legally, if they tried to recreate the online servers needed for the game and to bypass any copyright control measure that may be present.
Under this new exemption, this now possible, and organisations such as San Francisco’s Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) can start their efforts to archive these games for posterity.
"We've gained a small victory that will help us save dead MMOs, provided, of course, we have been given the original server code by the owning entity. The exemption allows us to circumvent any DRM or other restrictions included in the game, or around it," MADE founder Alex Handy told TorrentFreak.