This document attempts to help those who either haven't used a C64 before, or who are new to operating an emulated C64.
This FAQ will explain the basic operations of playing C64 games and getting them to the Emulator formats (i.e. The D64/T64/P?? Images) on a PC, although for Amiga users, there's Arc64 which (I think!) is on Aminet (can anyone confirm this!), and users on other platforms, will have equivilant programs, and of course, operating a C64 is the same, whatever platform you're running an emulator on.
If you have experience in using similar kind of utilities for these kinds of operations on any other platform, I wouldn't mind having getting some notes to put up here, because, not everyone uses a PC to run this kind of software.
The games which are provided for download, can be done so with no legal problem. The game demos, can be freely spread, as this is done in order to generate interest for a title; which some full games are provided free, with the blessing of the original author, as in the case of Elite Co-author Ian Bell, and also Jeff Minter. In addition, a couple of the titles have also been released into the Public Domain (which is when there are no restrictions on the distributions on the titles at all (except copyright)), such as Terminal City.
Since the ISDA began their crackdown on emulation sites in November 1998, the supporters of emulation have been in an uproar. The major reason for this is that the ISDA strongly believe that emulation of any form is simply wrong.
The major reason for which they believe this is that the distributions of old software affect the potential sales for new software, and also that by running a title developed for a specific operating system, on another OS, you are creating a derivative work, and also that it is a simple law-breaking act, due to the element of unauthorised copying.
While techincally, there is some merit to their points, such as the copying is still breaking the law, which is the legal case, but until this blew up, people didn't mind. However, techincally, you can legally use a backup copy (running on your emulator) legally, due to the copyright law. The most well known example of archives, was for several years, the many archives of Arcade game ROMS, which, due to the fact that the machines used standard chips, but added the game/OS code to them, that the contents of the chips could be backed up (and uploaded), and if the owner of one of these boards required to replace a chip, he/she could just download the ROM set, and with an EPROM burner, copy the individual ROM code to the chips. However, since the ISDA crackdown, these legal users are in danger of losing a legal resource.
But the points made about derivative works and harming potential sales, are complete junk. Why??
Their claims of derivative works, because you are running the software under another OS are stupid. In a C64 case, compare this to running a game (designed for Commodore's Kernal and DOS) and then run it with Creative Micro Design's JiffyDOS (which is able to bring speedups to the C64, due to updating the DOS and having a fastloader as standard), or in the case of running an old IBM PC game, written for DOS under Windows.
A derivative work is technically, when an object is sold to one party, but is then repackaged and resold to another, but this isn't the case, as the software isn't repackaged, but simply transferred. In either of the above cases, you are still using your legitamently purchased software, but are just running it on another platform, therefore, you haven't infringed any laws by doing so.
Their other arguement about how the distribution of old titles affects potential sales of remakes, again is crap. This is because, if a software company didn't release a demo of a title, and because this title was a remake of an earlier title, you could download the original title, and see if it is worth buying. Also, it can also be good publicity, which is what Activision did with the recent remake of Asteroids, by putting a little teaser of the original shortly before release, which would have sparked interest in the title.
An interesting view on this is that the ISDA have also claimed that the distribution has harmed the sales of other current releases, which, is interesting, because, for 1998, a record profit for the game industry was reported by them.
In order to prevent these classic titles from dissappearing, the only things which can be done, are to support CLEAR (The Campaign to Leave Emulation Alone, who's homepage is at http://ds.dial.pipex.com/town/estate/dh69/clear/) which is concerned with keeping up to date with the attempts to have the ISDA stop this stupidity.
Also, you could also find authors of old titles, and ask them if they would support the distribution of their old 8 bit stuff. Surprisingly, there are some companies which have said yes, all which makes it worthwhile, and if you do, send a nice thank-you their way!
Lastly, if you are the original copyright holder of any of the other titles, and are concerned at me having these available for download, or are a supporter of emulation, and allow the distribution of your old stuff please mail me.