EA Uses DMCA Takedown on Ultima IV Downloads

In what has been described by some in the Ultima community as a travesty, EA has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down several downloads of Ultima IV. This disruption has affected a number of Ultima IV-related projects including the ultra popular xu4, as well as the Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation from Master System 8 and the IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software.

One of my all-time favorite Ultima sites, Ultima Aiera, also removed links to many Ultima IV-related projects. The move has incensed Ultima IV fans who thought the game was released as freeware a long time ago. While the game was offered for free thanks to some sites getting permission from Origin Systems a long time ago, EA still owns the rights to the game and can do what they want with it.

Ultima Aiera has a great run down of how the game came to be available freely and why EA still has the right to take the game down from web sites that never bothered to secure permission from original creator Origin Systems.

But the most interesting part of the post are the two first paragraphs:

"Observant Dragons and Dragonettes may have noticed that there has been some…disruption in Ultima 4-related projects of late. For example, both the Master System 8 and Phi Psi Software Flash-based remakes of the game have been taken down. Additionally, both Aiera and xu4 have removed their direct download links for the PC version of the game, and Dino has removed his comprehensive listing of other sites that hosted the same download.

Basically, after about fourteen years (since approximately 1997), Electronic Arts is finally cracking down and issuing DMCA notifications to most — not all! — sites that are hosting the PC version of Ultima 4 for download. This move is not being taken well by many, and people are wondering both why EA is wasting time enforcing copyright on an old game like this, and asking “hey, wasn’t it released as freeware?”

Source: /. by way of Uncharted NES.

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  1. 0
    sirdarkat says:

    You know I don’t know enough about copyright but I know in trademark areas if you don’t defend your mark and let it enter the public domain you eventually lose the right to it.  I wonder if they couldn’t argue that Ultima 4 has been left in the public domain for to long for them to suddenly cry foul and demand it to be removed from sites.

    Not that I care, I have the disk version, cd version, nes version, hell you name it I might have it somewhere if its Ultima related.  As long as they don’t kill the upgrade patch for Ultima 4 (I prefer the Ultima 5 look and feel the patch gives over the original).  And hell maybe they are doing it because they saw Lucas make money off of the Monkey Island Upgrade … wouldn’t upset me if they rereleased Ultima 4 with better graphics and sound (as long as they do like Lucas and make sure the gameplay is exactly the same).

  2. 0
    MaskedPixelante says:

    Rumors have been flying around that some group inside EA is in the process of porting the Ultima series to modern systems, like what GOG does.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  3. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    EA’s lawyers must have had a slow day at the office.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  4. 0
    Zen says:

    "EA still owns the rights to the game and can do what they want with it."

    And apparently this means stomping the hopes, dreams, and work of their fans.  Good move.

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Xbox Live Gamertag: "PsychoticZen"
    PSN Gamertag: "Zenspath"
    Wii System Code: "4919 8280 4221 9114"
    3DS System Code: "0860-3238-7260"

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