What's the legal status of Doom II ?

As most of you probably know, some time ago archive.org added TONS of DOS games to their library and all those games are playable from their site with a built-in version of the dosbox emulator... but all the original files of those games can also be downloaded. Among those games is Doom II, with doom2.wad in the archive and all.

So my question is - since it wasn't some super secret warez operation, but a widely known event, can Doom II be used legally for free? Is this site as legit as is claimed? Under what license have all those games been released?

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That is interesting that you can download it. I thought it was stream only.

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So, it's not legal.

What's the situation then? I mean, should it be taken down or something?

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I guess it should just be replaced by the shareware version of the first game. I would notify John Romero or someone else behind the game about it and see what they say.

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Shareware Doom is already there.

Zed said:

What's the situation then? I mean, should it be taken down or something?

It's most likely a case of Zenimax not knowing, and it'll most likely remain there until they lodge a takedown request.

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The guy who uploaded most of these DOS games is Jason Scott, whose attitude is basically "screw copyright, preservation is what matters".

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While I'm generally in favor of copyright reform that would make Doom II public domain by now... actively breaking the law isn't a good way to go about it. Especially not when the game is still actively sold by its copyright owners.

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JudgeDeadd said:

The guy who uploaded most of these DOS games is Jason Scott, whose attitude is basically "screw copyright, preservation is what matters".

A noble attitude, but Doom II's preservation status is not in great danger. This approach would be better served on orphaned works that are no longer available elsewhere.

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Aeons ago, there was also a strange "Doom II demo" for Mac OS classic. Almost full story here, which strangely was shrugged off by Activision at the time as "not being the full game, so we don't care", when in fact everything pointed to the fact that it was a full version of Doom 2. FWIW, it seems to have been removed now, after staying online for years.

One major, officially endorsed warez leak. What do you make of that? ;-)

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BlackFish said:

That is interesting that you can download it. I thought it was stream only.



I had thought so too up until yesterday, but then I noticed the download option and my jaw dropped. That's why I decided to post.

JudgeDeadd said:

The guy who uploaded most of these DOS games is Jason Scott, whose attitude is basically "screw copyright, preservation is what matters".



So it has been illegal all the time? I remember even some mainstream media reporting that "all your games from childhood are now available for free" so like I said, it's not like the page has been kept in secret. Hundreds of titles from many developers and not ONE company decided to file a lawsuit even though some of those titles are still being sold? I don't get it...

Maes said:

One major, officially endorsed warez leak. What do you make of that? ;-)



It only adds to the shock. Perhaps Zenimax also knows, but simply doesn't care? Weird...

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I suspect archive/jason/another team member would remove it if it was pointed out to them.

I spotted the 4chan vg/doom FAQ has a link to the IWADs in someone's Dropbox pretty much the first FAQ item which saddened me.

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The game is over 20 years old anyway, they should be cool guys and make it free already.

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To be honest, Doom IWADs have become, in good or bad, the warez equivalent of popcorn: they've never been farther away than a google search, and they have even been bundled with totally unrelated things, like a 0-day Windows Vista Ultimate edition, which also included Ultimate Doom (get it?).

Plus, there are a lot of "standalone" mod packages, which include everything one needs to run Doom in one zip or rar file, including a source port and an IWAD. This even included 90s pre-merged IWADs with custom sprites.

In addition, I'm pretty sure that there are so many ripped IWAD resources scattered around in the archive, that it should be possible to make a tool which examines a random collection of PWADs, checks for the md5 signatures of the contained lumps, and extracts them if they match an IWAD resource, eventually assembling a fully-functional IWAD.

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Haha! Y'know, the same thought occurred to me not too long ago of such a thing being possible, odd that.

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Maes said:

This even included 90s pre-merged IWADs with custom sprites.

I've seen those on some really bad shovelware CDs back then, among broken ZIP files, missing text files, completely broken megawads, viruses etc..
I wonder if any of those distributors got sued.
The better shovelware CDs did care, though, and were in fact a serious alternative to exploding dial up costs.

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Memfis said:

The game is over 20 years old anyway, they should be cool guys and make it free already.


The cool guys aren't in power anymore...

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I think this had a pretty spot-on assessment of this section of archive.org and the things that are wrong with it.



I love archive.org for the Wayback Machine, but it does seem like they're a bit of a sloppy operation in some other areas.

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ID could use this as a promotional opportunity. For instance, they could release Doom 2 for free on their site but only after you watch a promotional trailer for the new Doom game that actually showcases some real game-play footage. If they really are planning to make this new Doom game appealing to old Doom fans, then anyone who goes on their site to get the free Doom 2 might gain some interest in it so it'll help ID in the long term.

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MetroidJunkie said:

ID could use this as a promotional opportunity. For instance, they could release Doom 2 for free on their site but only after you watch a promotional trailer for the new Doom game that actually showcases some real game-play footage. If they really are planning to make this new Doom game appealing to old Doom fans, then anyone who goes on their site to get the free Doom 2 might gain some interest in it so it'll help ID in the long term.

Wouldn't most old Doom fans already have a copy of Doom, being that they're old fans? :)

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Well, apparently there are enough that lost their copies that GOG and Steam are profitable. =S



It could also just be for people who are interested enough in Doom 2 but don't actually have it that they'd jump at the chance to get it for free, then ID can try to interest them in the new Doom. Basically a "Hey, if you decide you really like this game, check out this new one" kind of deal.

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So basically what seems to be missing is somebody having to approve the game being uploaded to be downloaded rather than stream only.

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I don't see how streaming is much better since he's still sharing the game for people to enjoy without paying for it. I guess at least it'll do less harm if the company wants it pulled because then people won't have it on their hard-drives to play forever but it's not like that's any less of a violation.

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There's no difference at all between streaming and downloading. In fact there is no "streaming". The archive.org embedded DOSbox downloads the game so that it can run in your browser.

I dropped Jason Scott a note about Doom II; hopefully he'll take it down.

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Why isn't GTA V there? Its like 2 years old. That's old enough to be free even if the PC version isn't that old. It should be public domain.... enough people own it already. Just make it free on some random website. The people that wanted to buy it would have already. We need to preserve classic PC games like GTA V by making them free for everyone!

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The archive has been around since the dawn of the modern internet, hell i remember using it 11 years ago, and it even existed before that. It is kind of odd of them to endanger their giant archival efforts with such bold moves.

But, ignoring blind retarded kapitalists whom would sell the last tree on the planet... Many old games are nearing their end of life, the cardtridges have bitrot, people threw them onto the dump, rust, or worse are starting to become a common ordeal, so why wouldnt they archive them, even if they added DOOM.

And i pitty the ghouls whom are re-licensing games from 1988 just to earn 10 cents every months based upon works by people that practicaly could have cared less for what they once made.

/ rant.

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The original Doom games aren't some abandonware games from defunct publishers. They are being sold and ports were released for last-gen consoles. Even Doom 3 BFG edition has a port of them, so it's being used as a selling feature of that release.

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