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Legal ownership of games question

post #1 of 2
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First off, this is nothing about pirating or any of that stuff....

Does anyone know how legal status of older games works? Like lets say someone made a dos game in 1992 or something and the companies' that developed and published it are no longer, who owns the ip and rights? How does one then acquire the rights? Can you buy it?
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post #2 of 2
You'd still have to find who own's the IP and buy the rights from them if it's even possible. Even if they went bankrupt someone holds the IP rights. IP rights just aren't thrown into the public domain if the company disbands, shuts down, went bankrupt, dissolved, etc... for whatever reason. Someone holds the rights and the only way to find out is to do a lot of detective work. Of course this would prove very difficult to find who actually owns the IP.

IANAL, so don't take this as legal advice, but you could technically remake the game and sell it and make a profit if you really wanted to. As long as nobody else can legally buy the IP then there's nobody to defend the IP and thus no lawsuit could be filed against you. I'm sure the games you are talking about are probably considered abandonware but just because they are doesn't mean you have the legal right to redistribute them or re-make the game and sell it for a profit.
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