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 Post subject: Are famiclones illegal?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:34 pm 
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Now, I know that Chinese famiclone consoles are copyright infringement, but if I found one from a guy making them, would it be illegal to buy it?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:42 pm 
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As far as I'm aware, they're entirely legal in the US. Other countries, couldn't say.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Unless the console actually has the name Nintendo or any registered trademarks on it and as long as the console doesn't come with copyrighted software (i.e. a multi-cartridge with actual games by Nintendo or their third party publishers), you should be fine.

If it wasn't legal, I doubt RetroUSB would get away with this:
www.retrousb.com/product_info.php?cPath ... ucts_id=78

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:57 pm 
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The Famicom was only ever protected by patent law.
The Famicom predates mask protections.
The NES's CIC was additionally protected by copyright law.
Random bits (logo, shape) are protected by trademark and/or trade dress law.
Individual games are protected by copyright law.

There's nothing about a bare famiclone that should infringe, in any way.

Now, if it's one of those ones that come with N games built in, sure, the games infringe copyright.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:47 pm 
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The clone systems themselves are fine, but you'll almost never see them without pirated games.
The only exception I've seen is when they got bundled with original games, including graphical hacks of Somari that removed any traces or Sonic or Mario from the games.

You now have "onebus" versions, which have a flash chip on there too, with pre-burned games. There's integrated CHR-RAM and integrated MMC3.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:55 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
The clone systems themselves are fine, but you'll almost never see them without pirated games.

FC Twin and Super Retro Trio ship without a game, as do AVS and Analogue Nt Mini. Or are these rare enough to count as "almost never"?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:24 pm 
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If say the console did have so and so games built in, would it be illegal for me to buy and own it?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:29 pm 
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You can always claim ignorance, I guess.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:29 am 
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Technically illegal since the games applies to copyright law. But I don't think you will get caught for having a bunch of old pirated games. Some people actively collects old bootlegs.


Last edited by Pokun on Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:03 am 
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Nintendo has gone after shops offering famiclones. I saw this happen at a local mall years ago.

The Coleco Gemini is an example of a perfectly legal system clone (Atari 2600) that still had to deal with litigation and settlement.
http://www.nytimes.com/1982/12/09/busin ... atari.html

So, yeah. You can make compatible hardware. The real trouble started when companies started embedding IP into their devices via firmware/BIOs.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:25 am 
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I remember seeing some famiclones that even didn't have "nintendo compatible" written on the box.
Others just said this on manual, while others had this printed in the box (the image is upside down, though :-) )


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:43 am 
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Fisher wrote:
Others just said this on manual, while others had this printed in the box (the image is upside down, though :-) )

Genesis controller, SMS light gun, NES compatible?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:50 am 
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My guess: Start does Start, A does Select, B does B, and C does A.

Later "PolyStation" famiclones would look like a PlayStation.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:51 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
Genesis controller, SMS light gun, NES compatible?

Don't forget Atari 7800 casing. But yeah, this was indeed the most famous Famiclone in Brazil. The Turbo Game (another very common Famiclone here) also had Genesis styled controllers, but they were upside down: http://www.memoriabit.com.br/cce-turbo-game/


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:56 am 
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tepples wrote:
My guess: Start does Start, A does Select, B does B, and C does A.

Other images from Google suggest that Start does Select and C does Start (and B and A are apparently swapped?): http://www.nesarchive.net/v1/brasil/phantom2.jpg

It's worth noting that these companies (Gradiente and CCE) aren't just random no name pirates, they're big names in consumer electronics in Brazil. I still have a 14" CRT from CCE I use to play old consoles. Gradiente would later form Playtronic to release NES and SNES consoles officially.


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