FUSE - Z80 ROM documentation

Paul F. Johnson paul at all-the-johnsons.co.uk
Thu Sep 1 22:06:10 UTC 2005


> On 9/1/05, Paul F. Johnson <paul at all-the-johnsons.co.uk> wrote:
> > Eh? The ROMs are essential for all of the 8 bit machines and the wording
> > from Amstrad is that as long as you're not selling (which we're not),
> > then you have their blessing.  
> That is absolutely not good enough.  At some point in the future...
> there very well maybe be iso images of Extras that we as a project
> will be encouraging vendors to sell.. vendors like cheapbytes for
> example. 

Fair enough - I can understand that. The question is there though is
what is being charged for? If it is to cover the media, then there is no
charge being made for the software. If the cost to also cover cheapbytes
costs (for example), then again, the software is not being charged for.

There is also precedent on this in that the emulator has been published
on the Linux Format July cover CD and DVD. The magazine is available
world wide. There was no charge made for the software.

> Not only that but it has to be clear that such 3rd parties or
> any party who wants to make a fedora based distro can take anything
> from Extras, rebrand the collection of software and "sell" it via
> pressed media or binary downloads as is the case for all other
> projects in Extras.  This isn't a self-serving community, we have to
> think hard about the potential infringement any derivative work might
> run afoul of. 

Again, I can fully understand that. The same point as above though
applies - are they charging for the software or for the media and their
costs? Surely also if someone does rebrand and sell and this breaks the
terms of the package, then it the person who did the alteration who
breaks the licence and not us. IANAL, but that's how it works in the UK.

> If people aren't free to make a derivative work that
> includes these ROM packages and sell that derivative work..then that
> package has no place in Extras.  And frankly its just not clear to me
> that the one group posting provides enough legal cover. Let's put it
> this way.. if they had just said "no commercial use" then the ROMS
> would not be allowable. Instead they say something much more vague
> that may or may not be interpreted as "no commercial use."

The posting was made by one of the "senior" management at Amstrad who
would have had to have had what he said cleared by a lawyer (I would

The wording is certainly not cut and drive. AIUI

1. Anyone can use the ROMS and alter the ROMS
2. No-one can charge for the ROMS, but shareware is fine as long as no
charge is made for the ROMS
3. You can't use them in anything embedded

Now 1 is easy enough as is 3. 2 is the problem as it is a case of having
to prove that no-charge is being made for the ROMS
> > It does get a bit fuzzy in that if you're charging, as long as it's not for the ROMS, they're 
> > cool with it.
> The wording in the groups posting...is extremely vague here. 


> Who
> exactly gets to make the judgement as to whether the cost of a future
> pressed ISO sent to you in the mail or a future binary download you
> paid access for includes a value placed on the ROM packages or not?

Amstrad I would imagine.

> This sounds to me like its open to rather wide interpretation...and
> that could very well mean a lawsuit if the copyrights change hands
> again..or if the company management changes.  

If the copyright changes hands (unlikely as Amstrad are using the
Spectrum ROMS in embedded technologies in the UK and making a fortune
out of it!), then the packages would need reviewing, have the licence
checked and anything else that could be expected. Amstrad is not like a
normal company. Rather like Donald Trump's company, once you get past a
certain point in the company, you never leave. Alan Sugar (head honcho
of Amstrad) has had exactly the same management and legal team (to a
person) for the past 18 years.

> If i generously
> interpret what that group posting said..sure it sounds okay..but
> looking at it from the standpoint of potential legal problems. the one
> phrase "in any sense, charging" is a big red flag to me.

Okay, can one of the RH legal eagles check the legalities on this? The
constant go/no-go is not much fun. We're trying to predict the future
and every eventuality with nothing but conjecture and the insane legal
mentality prevalent in the US.


"A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the
best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Liverpool we always
said we had the best two teams on Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool
Reserves." - Bill Shankly

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