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Re: Bug#168589: ITP: xfuse - a ZX Spectrum and TC2048 emulator

On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 08:42:12AM +0000, Jules Bean wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 09:27:15AM +0100, Radovan Garabik wrote:
> > On Sun, Nov 10, 2002 at 08:49:21PM +0000, Darren Salt wrote:
> > > It depends on spectrum-roms and must therefore go in contrib.
> > 
> > We had a discussion abour ZX ROMS some time ago.
> > Amstrad allows the ROMs i(at least the Spectrum ones) to 
> > be freely used in emulators, therefore there is no need 
> > for this to go to contrib.
> If amstrad allows them to be freely used, (only) then they are
> non-free.
> If Amstrad includes source code, and allows modification and
> redistribution etc, and all the other things we ask for in the DFSG,
> only then are they free.

Here is a quote from /usr/share/doc/spectrum-roms/copyright (further
comments below):

  From: Cliff Lawson (clawson@amstrad.com)
  Subject: Amstrad ROM permissions
  Newsgroups: comp.sys.sinclair, comp.sys.amstrad.8bit


  1) What exactly do you have to do to use Sinclair ROMs in an emulator, such
  as acknowledgements etc?"

  Amstrad are happy for emulator writers to include images of our copyrighted
  code as long as the (c)opyright messages are not altered and we appreciate
  it if the program/manual includes a note to the effect that "Amstrad have
  kindly given their permission for the redistribution of their copyrighted
  material but retain that copyright".

  "2) Can you charge a shareware fee for an emulator that uses the Sinclair

  No. No one should be charging for the ROM code because (as a result of the
  point above) there are loads of freely available images anyway. If I ever
  thought someone was charging for the ROM images then I'd make them available
  as a free download on the www.amstrad.com web site. Naturally I imagine that
  some emulator writers want to charge a shareware fee for the code they have
  written and we have absolutely no problem with that as long as they aren't,
  in any sense, charging for the parts of the code that are (c)Amstrad and (c)

  "3) Can you modify the ROMs, for instance to enable tape loading and saving,
  and if so what are the requirements?"

  The ROM code is simply a tool to let the emulator writers make a program
  that works as close to the original machine as possible. If they choose to
  modify the behaviour in any way then that's entirely up to them (I guess you
  could say that that is exactly what an emulator IS doing (ie modifying the
  screen output and keyboard input to go via the PC bits)!!)

  "4) Can you distribute modified ROMs?"

  If you like (with that (c) proviso).


  Cliff Lawson,
  Amstrad plc

Hm, it seems that we're actually a surprisingly large part of the way to
being DFSG-free here. There are two stumbling blocks:

  * There's no explicit permission to distribute as part of things that
    aren't emulators. This is more serious than it looks:


    This is what actually prompted creating spectrom-roms in non-free:
    "but I have correspondence from Amstrad which clears up the fact -
    ROMs can only be distributed for use with emulators, not actual
    hardware." Presumably this fails DFSG 6 as I originally thought?

  * The charging thing. Upon further examination of DFSG 1, I observe
    that it doesn't necessarily matter that Amstrad do not allow us to
    sell the ROMs in themselves; they're happy for people to sell
    emulators which embed the ROMs, i.e. "an aggregate software
    distribution". Is this good enough?

Assuming my understanding is correct, what would be the best strategy
for approaching Amstrad to make the minimal change in order to have
Spectrum ROMs in main?

[Please follow up to -legal, but in that case please cc me because I'm
not subscribed.]

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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