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License Violation #264

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orbea opened this Issue Nov 30, 2017 · 48 comments

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orbea commented Nov 30, 2017

I suppose this applies to this repo too so I will share this unfortunate news.

It has become clear that CyberGadget’s RetroFreak is using snes9x code from the libretro cores in their commercial product without permission. I'm not fully aware of what can be done to address this, but informing potentially concerned parties seems like a good first step.

So for further information please view this article.
https://www.libretro.com/index.php/cybergadgets-retrofreak-proven-to-use-snes9x-next2010-code-non-commercial-code-being-sold/

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bearoso Dec 1, 2017

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The best thing you can do is what Squarepusher is doing, call them out in the open and give them bad publicity. They're based in Japan, so I don't even know how the license would work there.

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bearoso commented Dec 1, 2017

The best thing you can do is what Squarepusher is doing, call them out in the open and give them bad publicity. They're based in Japan, so I don't even know how the license would work there.

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orbea Dec 1, 2017

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Yea, that is a good move. I also contacted them and asked them to nicely stop doing so. Hopefully I will get a response.

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orbea commented Dec 1, 2017

Yea, that is a good move. I also contacted them and asked them to nicely stop doing so. Hopefully I will get a response.

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twinaphex Dec 1, 2017

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I am going to fill out the same form, and hopefully @bparker06 can provide a Japanese translation as well. If they will not do anything, I will attempt to assert a takedown of the product they are selling on Amazon, citing copyright infringement. I have already done this with other offenders like Tek Syndicate and it has proven successful.

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twinaphex commented Dec 1, 2017

I am going to fill out the same form, and hopefully @bparker06 can provide a Japanese translation as well. If they will not do anything, I will attempt to assert a takedown of the product they are selling on Amazon, citing copyright infringement. I have already done this with other offenders like Tek Syndicate and it has proven successful.

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orbea Dec 1, 2017

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In case anyone else wants to contact them concerning this issue their contact form can be found here.

http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/contact/inquiry_en.html

I would suggest using nice and polite language as much as possible.

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orbea commented Dec 1, 2017

In case anyone else wants to contact them concerning this issue their contact form can be found here.

http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/contact/inquiry_en.html

I would suggest using nice and polite language as much as possible.

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twinaphex Dec 1, 2017

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I have just done so. They gave me an automated reply saying they will respond to me within a few days (probably need to go get a English to Japanese translator on-site).

I have also contacted an open source advocate in Japan ( https://twitter.com/libretro/status/936420943970390016) to see if we can get more pressure applied to them that way. They might not even care about whatever we write about in English or are mainly concerned only about their domestic market.

If I feel that they are not going to address my issue in a serious manner, I am going to still go the Amazon takedown route.

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twinaphex commented Dec 1, 2017

I have just done so. They gave me an automated reply saying they will respond to me within a few days (probably need to go get a English to Japanese translator on-site).

I have also contacted an open source advocate in Japan ( https://twitter.com/libretro/status/936420943970390016) to see if we can get more pressure applied to them that way. They might not even care about whatever we write about in English or are mainly concerned only about their domestic market.

If I feel that they are not going to address my issue in a serious manner, I am going to still go the Amazon takedown route.

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twinaphex Dec 1, 2017

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Can we get more snes9x copyright holders walking through the same process as me and orbea here? Or are people already setting things into motion here behind the scenes?

This will set a precedent that will curb abuse in the future. If nothing gets done again like in the case of Hyperkin two years ago, more companies will feel compelled to abuse open source, non profit projects like this. It is very important that we put a stop to this now so a line gets drawn in the sand. I am more than willing to keep up the pressure and to fight for you, I just would like getting more participants involved so this company recognizes this isnt just one person they are dealing with.

Oh and BTW, forget about Gary Henderson or Jeremy Koot, don't look to them to get anything done and leave it at that. We went through that last time around two years ago with the Hyperkin situation and from what transpired they continually went behind people's backs and thought they could sign deals or grant permission behind the other copyright holder's backs (unless multiple people like Piko Interactive and others are lying about that). And if they didn't do that and people were just lying about that, well then, they sure as hell did not take any of this seriously, which is why we're in the situation we are in right now. They are not even around anymore, nor do they seem to care, they have barely lifted a finger for 10+ years, nor are they the only copyright holders. It's up to us as a whole to stop all this, the remaining members who still care about this project, and it's not just up to them whether or not people can do this or not. I am personally not going to waive my copyright rights nor am I going to allow them to sell this. I hope others will take a strong stand in this just like me so we can pressure them to finally comply. We should have done this two years ago with Hyperkin, I tried rallying forces then too and everybody just looked the other way, and look how badly things have gotten now.

If we don't take appropriate action, everybody under the sun will start trying to do this, from Youtubers to other lower-rent self-styled 'entrepreneurs'. In fact, I already had to battle such a guy earlier this week and have him pull down products from Amazon. Simply don't let this happen. If people are truly bothered by this, it's time to put an end to this, right here, right now, and I can't do it all by myself, I need you guys involved as well to force compliance with snes9x's license. Your copyright holds power, and this is a clear and shut case where we can order them to remove this software from their commercial boxes. The least one could do is getting this product pulled from online stores. I already did this earlier this week with Tek Syndicate - it is as easy as e-mailing Amazon, filing a takedown report and putting in your name and address, and redirecting them to your copyright. And if they give you a hard time, keep e-mailing, be persistent until they finally are forced to act. That is how I got Tek-Syndicate's box taken down, which was also shipping snes9x. This can totally be done, and it can be done right now. If more people than just me start doing this, we can have this situation rectified in about a week, all it takes is a bit of guts and asserting your own rights and taking the initiative.

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twinaphex commented Dec 1, 2017

Can we get more snes9x copyright holders walking through the same process as me and orbea here? Or are people already setting things into motion here behind the scenes?

This will set a precedent that will curb abuse in the future. If nothing gets done again like in the case of Hyperkin two years ago, more companies will feel compelled to abuse open source, non profit projects like this. It is very important that we put a stop to this now so a line gets drawn in the sand. I am more than willing to keep up the pressure and to fight for you, I just would like getting more participants involved so this company recognizes this isnt just one person they are dealing with.

Oh and BTW, forget about Gary Henderson or Jeremy Koot, don't look to them to get anything done and leave it at that. We went through that last time around two years ago with the Hyperkin situation and from what transpired they continually went behind people's backs and thought they could sign deals or grant permission behind the other copyright holder's backs (unless multiple people like Piko Interactive and others are lying about that). And if they didn't do that and people were just lying about that, well then, they sure as hell did not take any of this seriously, which is why we're in the situation we are in right now. They are not even around anymore, nor do they seem to care, they have barely lifted a finger for 10+ years, nor are they the only copyright holders. It's up to us as a whole to stop all this, the remaining members who still care about this project, and it's not just up to them whether or not people can do this or not. I am personally not going to waive my copyright rights nor am I going to allow them to sell this. I hope others will take a strong stand in this just like me so we can pressure them to finally comply. We should have done this two years ago with Hyperkin, I tried rallying forces then too and everybody just looked the other way, and look how badly things have gotten now.

If we don't take appropriate action, everybody under the sun will start trying to do this, from Youtubers to other lower-rent self-styled 'entrepreneurs'. In fact, I already had to battle such a guy earlier this week and have him pull down products from Amazon. Simply don't let this happen. If people are truly bothered by this, it's time to put an end to this, right here, right now, and I can't do it all by myself, I need you guys involved as well to force compliance with snes9x's license. Your copyright holds power, and this is a clear and shut case where we can order them to remove this software from their commercial boxes. The least one could do is getting this product pulled from online stores. I already did this earlier this week with Tek Syndicate - it is as easy as e-mailing Amazon, filing a takedown report and putting in your name and address, and redirecting them to your copyright. And if they give you a hard time, keep e-mailing, be persistent until they finally are forced to act. That is how I got Tek-Syndicate's box taken down, which was also shipping snes9x. This can totally be done, and it can be done right now. If more people than just me start doing this, we can have this situation rectified in about a week, all it takes is a bit of guts and asserting your own rights and taking the initiative.

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meepingsnesroms Dec 1, 2017

If possible would you be interested in getting articles in online news papers stating that these companys are essentially selling stolen goods?

I am willing to contact all major US papers.

meepingsnesroms commented Dec 1, 2017

If possible would you be interested in getting articles in online news papers stating that these companys are essentially selling stolen goods?

I am willing to contact all major US papers.

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qwertymodo Dec 1, 2017

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If they're using the 2010/Next fork, it likely doesn't contain any of my code, so I don't have a basis for filing a claim, but if I'm wrong about that I'll throw my name on the pile.

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qwertymodo commented Dec 1, 2017

If they're using the 2010/Next fork, it likely doesn't contain any of my code, so I don't have a basis for filing a claim, but if I'm wrong about that I'll throw my name on the pile.

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orbea Dec 1, 2017

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Anyone can always send them a friendly message asking them to stop this abuse in the hopes they simply have not realized the issue or the severity.

I do not have much actual code if any in those forks either. That said I think its best for communities to collaborate and help each other when needed and possible.

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orbea commented Dec 1, 2017

Anyone can always send them a friendly message asking them to stop this abuse in the hopes they simply have not realized the issue or the severity.

I do not have much actual code if any in those forks either. That said I think its best for communities to collaborate and help each other when needed and possible.

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twinaphex Dec 1, 2017

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@meepingsnesroms It might be more effective to start first with the gaming news sites since mainstream news papers likely wouldn't know what to do with it since it's a fairly niche market. However, this thing has appeared on plenty of mainstream gaming news sites, so that seems like a more fitting place there.

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twinaphex commented Dec 1, 2017

@meepingsnesroms It might be more effective to start first with the gaming news sites since mainstream news papers likely wouldn't know what to do with it since it's a fairly niche market. However, this thing has appeared on plenty of mainstream gaming news sites, so that seems like a more fitting place there.

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twinaphex Dec 8, 2017

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It's been 7 days since I sent them an e-mail through the automated enquiry, nobody has responded yet.

Is anybody else here planning on doing something about this, or are we once again going to just let it happen?

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twinaphex commented Dec 8, 2017

It's been 7 days since I sent them an e-mail through the automated enquiry, nobody has responded yet.

Is anybody else here planning on doing something about this, or are we once again going to just let it happen?

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bearoso Dec 8, 2017

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Didn't expect they'd respond. I'll file an Amazon take-down notice on their product listings, and if you haven't already done so, too, go ahead.

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bearoso commented Dec 8, 2017

Didn't expect they'd respond. I'll file an Amazon take-down notice on their product listings, and if you haven't already done so, too, go ahead.

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bearoso Dec 8, 2017

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Amazon filing is no good. Keep getting that I'm missing:
"Identification of the intellectual property right asserted, by registration number, if applicable."
Despite quite extensive documentation as to what they're violating. If you got one to go through, I'm interested in what you put in the box.

Of course, they're selling this thing as a retailer themselves, so they probably won't want to remove it and hurt their own profits.

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bearoso commented Dec 8, 2017

Amazon filing is no good. Keep getting that I'm missing:
"Identification of the intellectual property right asserted, by registration number, if applicable."
Despite quite extensive documentation as to what they're violating. If you got one to go through, I'm interested in what you put in the box.

Of course, they're selling this thing as a retailer themselves, so they probably won't want to remove it and hurt their own profits.

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twinaphex Dec 8, 2017

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@bearoso
Oh, I went through that process.

It's a well known 'go away' tactic by them. But I got immediate success by following what the Internet told me -

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=3809624#3809624

Once I did this and once I kept persisting, they finally complied and took down the item. Sometimes it just takes a bit of prodding for them to finally comply.

So follow the advice in that post EXACTLY, send your e-mail exactly to those three e-mail address (yes, including Jeff). Their entire customer support team seems to be set up as follows - normally they tell you in politically correct language to fuck off and not upset their money stream, HOWEVER, if they see you sending it to Jeff as well, all of a sudden they get really scared of any possible repercussions in case they do not act on something that could cause them legal issues. The first couple of mails they will keep yanking your chain, the way I got through it with the previous Amazon seller was to state 'I am reporting copyright infringement'. They will try to go 'oh you do not have a trademark, list your trademark, blabla'. This is either deflection or them not correctly understanding on which grounds you want it taken down for. So repeat to them then 'this is not about a trademark, this is about copyright infringement'. Keep linking back to the source code files, state that if they do not comply you might have to consult legal action, and eventually they will figure it's not worth keeping this up and they will pull it down.

Godspeed, and yes, Amazon is horrible. Probably one of the worst companies I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

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twinaphex commented Dec 8, 2017

@bearoso
Oh, I went through that process.

It's a well known 'go away' tactic by them. But I got immediate success by following what the Internet told me -

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=3809624#3809624

Once I did this and once I kept persisting, they finally complied and took down the item. Sometimes it just takes a bit of prodding for them to finally comply.

So follow the advice in that post EXACTLY, send your e-mail exactly to those three e-mail address (yes, including Jeff). Their entire customer support team seems to be set up as follows - normally they tell you in politically correct language to fuck off and not upset their money stream, HOWEVER, if they see you sending it to Jeff as well, all of a sudden they get really scared of any possible repercussions in case they do not act on something that could cause them legal issues. The first couple of mails they will keep yanking your chain, the way I got through it with the previous Amazon seller was to state 'I am reporting copyright infringement'. They will try to go 'oh you do not have a trademark, list your trademark, blabla'. This is either deflection or them not correctly understanding on which grounds you want it taken down for. So repeat to them then 'this is not about a trademark, this is about copyright infringement'. Keep linking back to the source code files, state that if they do not comply you might have to consult legal action, and eventually they will figure it's not worth keeping this up and they will pull it down.

Godspeed, and yes, Amazon is horrible. Probably one of the worst companies I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

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twinaphex Dec 8, 2017

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Give this a try. If after a good amount of persistence they still keep yanking your chain, let me know, forward me their e-mail responses to libretro@gmail.com. I would also individually start reporting them then and telling them that you are an associate which is also reporting it for intellectual copyright infringement. We can do this and these Amazon guys eventually capitulate once multiple people get involved in the proceedings.

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twinaphex commented Dec 8, 2017

Give this a try. If after a good amount of persistence they still keep yanking your chain, let me know, forward me their e-mail responses to libretro@gmail.com. I would also individually start reporting them then and telling them that you are an associate which is also reporting it for intellectual copyright infringement. We can do this and these Amazon guys eventually capitulate once multiple people get involved in the proceedings.

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twinaphex Dec 16, 2017

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@bearoso Any update?

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twinaphex commented Dec 16, 2017

@bearoso Any update?

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bearoso Dec 16, 2017

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No, I've been preoccupied. I'll give it another go later today. Feel free to try yourself, since it's your repository they directly stole.

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bearoso commented Dec 16, 2017

No, I've been preoccupied. I'll give it another go later today. Feel free to try yourself, since it's your repository they directly stole.

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twinaphex Dec 16, 2017

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Well, I offered before that I'd contact them as well if you could forward me your e-mail correspondence to me at my e-mail address (libretro@gmail.com). I could then contact them as well and mention I am also reporting as another copyright author involved in the same project. This could give it some much-needed credibility.

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twinaphex commented Dec 16, 2017

Well, I offered before that I'd contact them as well if you could forward me your e-mail correspondence to me at my e-mail address (libretro@gmail.com). I could then contact them as well and mention I am also reporting as another copyright author involved in the same project. This could give it some much-needed credibility.

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bearoso Dec 16, 2017

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Ok, I'm trying again. Here's what I wrote:

The product, "Retro Freak," by CYBERGadget contains software from the open-source project, "Snes9x." This is confirmed by CYBERGadget themselves at this URL: ( http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/support/retrofreak/agreement/software.html )

However, the Snes9x license ( https://github.com/libretro/snes9x2010/blob/master/docs/snes9x-license.txt ), only allows for use in non-commercial ventures. As an author of the source code under the pseudonym "BearOso" ( https://github.com/libretro/snes9x2010/blob/master/docs/snes9x-license.txt#L23 ), I have not given a license exception to this company, and without consensus by all copyright holders, CYBERGadget has thus illegally used Snes9x code in its Retro Freak console. CYBERGadget and its partners commit copyright infringement by continued sales through Amazon.

Therefore, I am requesting that the product, "Retro Freak," and similar listings be pulled from sales.

I'll post any results here.

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bearoso commented Dec 16, 2017

Ok, I'm trying again. Here's what I wrote:

The product, "Retro Freak," by CYBERGadget contains software from the open-source project, "Snes9x." This is confirmed by CYBERGadget themselves at this URL: ( http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/support/retrofreak/agreement/software.html )

However, the Snes9x license ( https://github.com/libretro/snes9x2010/blob/master/docs/snes9x-license.txt ), only allows for use in non-commercial ventures. As an author of the source code under the pseudonym "BearOso" ( https://github.com/libretro/snes9x2010/blob/master/docs/snes9x-license.txt#L23 ), I have not given a license exception to this company, and without consensus by all copyright holders, CYBERGadget has thus illegally used Snes9x code in its Retro Freak console. CYBERGadget and its partners commit copyright infringement by continued sales through Amazon.

Therefore, I am requesting that the product, "Retro Freak," and similar listings be pulled from sales.

I'll post any results here.

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twinaphex Dec 17, 2017

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Can you forward me their responses over the mail too? I will ask @bparker06 again what procedures he went through in order to back me up when I shut down another box seller from a Youtuber.

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twinaphex commented Dec 17, 2017

Can you forward me their responses over the mail too? I will ask @bparker06 again what procedures he went through in order to back me up when I shut down another box seller from a Youtuber.

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bearoso Dec 17, 2017

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Nothing yet.

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bearoso commented Dec 17, 2017

Nothing yet.

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twinaphex Dec 18, 2017

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Forward me your entire e-mail correspondence with them to my e-mail address (libretro@gmail.com), so that I have a real name and an e-mail address and can then start doing my own inquiries where I mention your name and mention I am also a copyright author wanting it to be taken down.

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twinaphex commented Dec 18, 2017

Forward me your entire e-mail correspondence with them to my e-mail address (libretro@gmail.com), so that I have a real name and an e-mail address and can then start doing my own inquiries where I mention your name and mention I am also a copyright author wanting it to be taken down.

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Hi there @bearoso, I got an e-mail back from Cybergadget -

they basically contacted their developer (probably that company from Hong Kong), they seem completely confused as to whether the emulator is GPL or non-commercial and they just assume it is GPL and there is no problem. They acknowledge it was my snes9x 2010 repo. I have sent them an e-mail back informing them this is not the case (that snes9x is not GPL, cannot be sold commercially, etc, that we will not waive our rights or give them permission under any circumstance, etc). Basically the whole song and dance

Do me a favor @bearoso. Send me an e-mail to libretro@gmail.com. We can take it from there then. I'd encourage you then to start contacting them as well to up the pressure on them. I encourage as many authors with copyright to do this. In Japan, the stakes are a bit higher when it comes to copyright infringement than say America as I've heard, they would likely figure it is not worth the trouble and drop the offending SNES parts.

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twinaphex commented Dec 18, 2017

Hi there @bearoso, I got an e-mail back from Cybergadget -

they basically contacted their developer (probably that company from Hong Kong), they seem completely confused as to whether the emulator is GPL or non-commercial and they just assume it is GPL and there is no problem. They acknowledge it was my snes9x 2010 repo. I have sent them an e-mail back informing them this is not the case (that snes9x is not GPL, cannot be sold commercially, etc, that we will not waive our rights or give them permission under any circumstance, etc). Basically the whole song and dance

Do me a favor @bearoso. Send me an e-mail to libretro@gmail.com. We can take it from there then. I'd encourage you then to start contacting them as well to up the pressure on them. I encourage as many authors with copyright to do this. In Japan, the stakes are a bit higher when it comes to copyright infringement than say America as I've heard, they would likely figure it is not worth the trouble and drop the offending SNES parts.

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SimplyAustinYT Dec 21, 2017

Good day guys. I was speaking to Daniel the other day about this kind of thing going on. I have to admit I was unaware of some of these consoles and manufacturers doing things such as this. It does indeed seem to be becoming very much the norm.

I hope you do not mind, but I have sent them this email and however this turns out, if you wish, I will cover this to bring it more into the public/mainstream to give you a bigger voice. I do not want to make it a hit piece or too negative to the scene, but if things are not being done I will stand up.

Here is what I sent them. I will give them a few days to respond:

Sir/Ma'am,

Pleasure to meet, my name is Austin. I am a YouTuber and my channel is:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb4RFFBZEztOW77onViqoDA

I have been approached by Libretro (https://www.libretro.com/) in regards to your system, the CyberGadget Retro Freak. I have been notified that this system comes pre-installed with software that is held under copyright and license by the owner/developer. From what they tell me no permission has been granted for this, nor any notification that this is to be used.

Of course, this is free software/code that can be used by any user. But is held under a license that strictly prohibits the use for commercial use (i.e sold standalone or pre-installed on a device for profit). Libretro is a non profit organisation and have been kind enough to port/build/adapt certain emulators and software for use, for us the public.

However, for a company to then use this software in a commercial aspect is both legally and immorally wrong as I am sure you can understand. I am guessing the software side of this (Included in the CyberGadget Retro Freak) was likely contracted out to a 3rd party and that you may be unaware of this. But, as you are the retailer and this is your product, it is your name that will be culpable. I will send a copy of this email to all parties involved so that they understand you are now informed.

I hear that certain members involved from the Libretro community have already reached out to you, but it seems correspondence or reply may have been overlooked or yet to be initiated.

I reach out to you now not only from a personal standpoint, but also a professional one. I will be covering this tale of events in an upcoming scheduled video on my channel, delving into how this mishap came to be. Covering all aspects from the moral and legal standpoint, how this impacts the users buying allegedly illegal consoles and of course harming the retro gaming community. I am sure this is not your intention. Without the correct authorization/licenses it could legally impact 3rd party sellers such as Amazon and smaller businesses involved. Again, I will forward this on to all involved.

I would be grateful if you could shed some light on this so I can have your say/side in all of this. I am sure this is all just a misunderstanding and maybe an oversight somewhere along the way that can be easily rectified before this goes further. This is not a witch-hunt, but this needs to be dealt with swiftly before it impacts negatively anyone embroidered, culpable or not. Being as fair as possible in my investigation it would be great to have your side of events and hopefully a statement to clear this up on your side. Again, I am not wanting to paint any of this negatively, if anything it would be great to take something positive from all of this.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Regards,

Austin

SimplyAustinYT commented Dec 21, 2017

Good day guys. I was speaking to Daniel the other day about this kind of thing going on. I have to admit I was unaware of some of these consoles and manufacturers doing things such as this. It does indeed seem to be becoming very much the norm.

I hope you do not mind, but I have sent them this email and however this turns out, if you wish, I will cover this to bring it more into the public/mainstream to give you a bigger voice. I do not want to make it a hit piece or too negative to the scene, but if things are not being done I will stand up.

Here is what I sent them. I will give them a few days to respond:

Sir/Ma'am,

Pleasure to meet, my name is Austin. I am a YouTuber and my channel is:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb4RFFBZEztOW77onViqoDA

I have been approached by Libretro (https://www.libretro.com/) in regards to your system, the CyberGadget Retro Freak. I have been notified that this system comes pre-installed with software that is held under copyright and license by the owner/developer. From what they tell me no permission has been granted for this, nor any notification that this is to be used.

Of course, this is free software/code that can be used by any user. But is held under a license that strictly prohibits the use for commercial use (i.e sold standalone or pre-installed on a device for profit). Libretro is a non profit organisation and have been kind enough to port/build/adapt certain emulators and software for use, for us the public.

However, for a company to then use this software in a commercial aspect is both legally and immorally wrong as I am sure you can understand. I am guessing the software side of this (Included in the CyberGadget Retro Freak) was likely contracted out to a 3rd party and that you may be unaware of this. But, as you are the retailer and this is your product, it is your name that will be culpable. I will send a copy of this email to all parties involved so that they understand you are now informed.

I hear that certain members involved from the Libretro community have already reached out to you, but it seems correspondence or reply may have been overlooked or yet to be initiated.

I reach out to you now not only from a personal standpoint, but also a professional one. I will be covering this tale of events in an upcoming scheduled video on my channel, delving into how this mishap came to be. Covering all aspects from the moral and legal standpoint, how this impacts the users buying allegedly illegal consoles and of course harming the retro gaming community. I am sure this is not your intention. Without the correct authorization/licenses it could legally impact 3rd party sellers such as Amazon and smaller businesses involved. Again, I will forward this on to all involved.

I would be grateful if you could shed some light on this so I can have your say/side in all of this. I am sure this is all just a misunderstanding and maybe an oversight somewhere along the way that can be easily rectified before this goes further. This is not a witch-hunt, but this needs to be dealt with swiftly before it impacts negatively anyone embroidered, culpable or not. Being as fair as possible in my investigation it would be great to have your side of events and hopefully a statement to clear this up on your side. Again, I am not wanting to paint any of this negatively, if anything it would be great to take something positive from all of this.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Regards,

Austin

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twinaphex Dec 21, 2017

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Hi @SimplyAustinYT ,

thanks for your interest. E-mail me at libretro@gmail.com and I will provide you with more information. I agree that we need to up the pressure on these guys and keep contacting them. The weasely response they have given me so far is completely insufficient, betrays a complete lack of understanding of open source licenses, and seems to basically amount to 'we won't pull it from our product' in polite terms. They obviously believe they can just tell me to go away and that will resolve things, feeling confident that since they are in Japan, it will have no consequences.

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twinaphex commented Dec 21, 2017

Hi @SimplyAustinYT ,

thanks for your interest. E-mail me at libretro@gmail.com and I will provide you with more information. I agree that we need to up the pressure on these guys and keep contacting them. The weasely response they have given me so far is completely insufficient, betrays a complete lack of understanding of open source licenses, and seems to basically amount to 'we won't pull it from our product' in polite terms. They obviously believe they can just tell me to go away and that will resolve things, feeling confident that since they are in Japan, it will have no consequences.

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twinaphex Dec 21, 2017

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Also, it took them over two weeks or more to respond to me. I guess they had to scramble for an English to Japanese translator, check back with their (presumably Hong Kong) outsourcing developer who cobbled together this mess, then get back to us and write a Japanese to English translation of their response to me.

Anyway, what the (presumably Hong Kong) contractor developer is providing them is obviously illegal to be sold, they just don't care and want to fall back on 'oh they told us it's OK, that makes it OK'.

I think this is the same contractor developer BTW that made the software for Hyperkin BTW, because the sourcecode is identical, it even includes references to 'for Retron', which kinda gives one the sense that some Hong Kong developer is sublicensing this stuff to any random company that wants to buy it, then they make it for client X and client Y.

I think Hyperkin did a Youtube interview with some guy called RetroRGB and in that interview they said (paraphrasing here) that they had this outsourcing developer (whom they won't name by name) sign a contract stating that any legal damages they might suffer as a result of this venture, this contractor would be liable for. Try to look into this interview as well, you could add it to some story you decide to run.

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twinaphex commented Dec 21, 2017

Also, it took them over two weeks or more to respond to me. I guess they had to scramble for an English to Japanese translator, check back with their (presumably Hong Kong) outsourcing developer who cobbled together this mess, then get back to us and write a Japanese to English translation of their response to me.

Anyway, what the (presumably Hong Kong) contractor developer is providing them is obviously illegal to be sold, they just don't care and want to fall back on 'oh they told us it's OK, that makes it OK'.

I think this is the same contractor developer BTW that made the software for Hyperkin BTW, because the sourcecode is identical, it even includes references to 'for Retron', which kinda gives one the sense that some Hong Kong developer is sublicensing this stuff to any random company that wants to buy it, then they make it for client X and client Y.

I think Hyperkin did a Youtube interview with some guy called RetroRGB and in that interview they said (paraphrasing here) that they had this outsourcing developer (whom they won't name by name) sign a contract stating that any legal damages they might suffer as a result of this venture, this contractor would be liable for. Try to look into this interview as well, you could add it to some story you decide to run.

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bearoso Dec 21, 2017

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I've still not heard from Amazon. Presumably the complaint went through this time, but I haven't seen the sales pages come down yet.

twinaphex, I noticed the same thing with the "retron" API being reused here, and my thoughts were identical. It definitely seems like they're trying to peg the blame on this nameless contractor but continue business as usual.

BTW, you can check gtk/AUTHORS in this repository for my email if you need it.

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bearoso commented Dec 21, 2017

I've still not heard from Amazon. Presumably the complaint went through this time, but I haven't seen the sales pages come down yet.

twinaphex, I noticed the same thing with the "retron" API being reused here, and my thoughts were identical. It definitely seems like they're trying to peg the blame on this nameless contractor but continue business as usual.

BTW, you can check gtk/AUTHORS in this repository for my email if you need it.

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SimplyAustinYT Dec 21, 2017

I know what you mean about the ignore thing, seen it time and time again from these kind of devs and to be honest even myself was ignorant to the license thing, knowing the difference between what emu devs want with their work and of course those who dont mind.

A while back I used to use 3rd party builds of emus thinking there was no harm as they was showing more performance. But then when the devs opened my eyes to licenses and the bigger picture. I could see that sometimes these builds can be abusing their work and me promoting that kind of thing was not helping. Hopefully now I walk the fine line or the best I can. Every day is a school day in emulation.

BUT, seeing things like this when people are actually profiting directly from their code, its just blatantly wrong. I mean if a dev releases a emulator for free or even paid for, helping the community and giving people what they always dreamed of, its amazing. Then to see someone rip that work straight off and SELL it as a product.... nah, its not right. If money ever was involved it should be directly to the emu dev or at least follow his wishes, its his/her work to do with as he/she pleases.... its their baby!

I will give them a few days to see if they reply. If not then I will hit them where it hurts showing their customers what this product really is. If they want to have a reputation of a shady company selling bootleg gear then that is what they will get. Hopefully they will open their eyes to it and it wont go that far, but as Im guessing their product is already manufactured, they will hope the wind takes this somewhere else. Or they will have to foot the cost of editing the FW/SW on each and every box. Im hoping for even a token effort to make this right so I can put a positive spin on it. I dont care about the actual company, but I do care about the reputation of Emulation and RetroGaming. Seeing a dodgy box being sold is not ideal for anyone and only sets a open gate for the next bright idea for cashing in on others work.

The way I see it is that if they did contract this out to that 3rd party firm, then it is up to them to put it right. Im sure CyberGadget didnt sign a contract for bootleg software, so if they have some balls they should demand a build that is at the very least legal. But, if anyones reputation and in legal hot water it is CyberGadget as its their name on the box.

After a couple of days of waiting, I will go digging and make a feature on some of the escapades thats been going on with these and others. Throw in some name drops of Amazon and reputable sellers being mixed up in this and watch the doors start closing on them. I will also drop some info on some other sellers/bootleggers who have been doing the same thing. But again, the last thing I want to do is harm the community.

If you or anyone needs me or want to chat out of public, my email is austin@simplyaustin.club. Im more than happy to help anyone in any way I can. If anyone ever sees me crossing that line, gimmie a kick in the ass.. Im still learning! (But I aint selling anything hehehe) Its much better to see more perspective to see things like this done right.

SimplyAustinYT commented Dec 21, 2017

I know what you mean about the ignore thing, seen it time and time again from these kind of devs and to be honest even myself was ignorant to the license thing, knowing the difference between what emu devs want with their work and of course those who dont mind.

A while back I used to use 3rd party builds of emus thinking there was no harm as they was showing more performance. But then when the devs opened my eyes to licenses and the bigger picture. I could see that sometimes these builds can be abusing their work and me promoting that kind of thing was not helping. Hopefully now I walk the fine line or the best I can. Every day is a school day in emulation.

BUT, seeing things like this when people are actually profiting directly from their code, its just blatantly wrong. I mean if a dev releases a emulator for free or even paid for, helping the community and giving people what they always dreamed of, its amazing. Then to see someone rip that work straight off and SELL it as a product.... nah, its not right. If money ever was involved it should be directly to the emu dev or at least follow his wishes, its his/her work to do with as he/she pleases.... its their baby!

I will give them a few days to see if they reply. If not then I will hit them where it hurts showing their customers what this product really is. If they want to have a reputation of a shady company selling bootleg gear then that is what they will get. Hopefully they will open their eyes to it and it wont go that far, but as Im guessing their product is already manufactured, they will hope the wind takes this somewhere else. Or they will have to foot the cost of editing the FW/SW on each and every box. Im hoping for even a token effort to make this right so I can put a positive spin on it. I dont care about the actual company, but I do care about the reputation of Emulation and RetroGaming. Seeing a dodgy box being sold is not ideal for anyone and only sets a open gate for the next bright idea for cashing in on others work.

The way I see it is that if they did contract this out to that 3rd party firm, then it is up to them to put it right. Im sure CyberGadget didnt sign a contract for bootleg software, so if they have some balls they should demand a build that is at the very least legal. But, if anyones reputation and in legal hot water it is CyberGadget as its their name on the box.

After a couple of days of waiting, I will go digging and make a feature on some of the escapades thats been going on with these and others. Throw in some name drops of Amazon and reputable sellers being mixed up in this and watch the doors start closing on them. I will also drop some info on some other sellers/bootleggers who have been doing the same thing. But again, the last thing I want to do is harm the community.

If you or anyone needs me or want to chat out of public, my email is austin@simplyaustin.club. Im more than happy to help anyone in any way I can. If anyone ever sees me crossing that line, gimmie a kick in the ass.. Im still learning! (But I aint selling anything hehehe) Its much better to see more perspective to see things like this done right.

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vanfanel Dec 25, 2017

I am very sad after reading what happened to Byuu. I find all this intolerable, and it must be stopped.
I have created a thread in the most important emulation forum in spanish, so people stop buying from these ***holes around here too:
https://www.elotrolado.net/hilo_el-equipo-de-retroarch-libretro-y-los-autores-de-emuladores-piden-ayuda-para-parar-esto_2264877_s10#p1745063269

vanfanel commented Dec 25, 2017

I am very sad after reading what happened to Byuu. I find all this intolerable, and it must be stopped.
I have created a thread in the most important emulation forum in spanish, so people stop buying from these ***holes around here too:
https://www.elotrolado.net/hilo_el-equipo-de-retroarch-libretro-y-los-autores-de-emuladores-piden-ayuda-para-parar-esto_2264877_s10#p1745063269

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bearoso Jan 10, 2018

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Someone should tell them that all they have to do to circumvent the license is provide a separate downloadable core, compilable from source, that can be used with the system. That, and remove any advertisement of SNES compatibility through Snes9x as being a selling point. Unless they license higan, have its core built in, and advertise SNES compatibility through that, and if it's too slow for their hardware, provide the alternative Snes9x downloadable core on their website. Problem solved!

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bearoso commented Jan 10, 2018

Someone should tell them that all they have to do to circumvent the license is provide a separate downloadable core, compilable from source, that can be used with the system. That, and remove any advertisement of SNES compatibility through Snes9x as being a selling point. Unless they license higan, have its core built in, and advertise SNES compatibility through that, and if it's too slow for their hardware, provide the alternative Snes9x downloadable core on their website. Problem solved!

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twinaphex Jan 10, 2018

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@bearoso Are you going to be pressuring Amazon now to take this down again? You should have all the ammunition you need now to do this. I can forward you e-mails if you'd like and they would likely cut their losses.

Also, let's not really give them any ideas here at this point. The last thing we should do here is to give them even more hints to make ill-begotten money off the backs of volunteer coders.

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twinaphex commented Jan 10, 2018

@bearoso Are you going to be pressuring Amazon now to take this down again? You should have all the ammunition you need now to do this. I can forward you e-mails if you'd like and they would likely cut their losses.

Also, let's not really give them any ideas here at this point. The last thing we should do here is to give them even more hints to make ill-begotten money off the backs of volunteer coders.

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bearoso Jan 10, 2018

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Yeah, I'll resubmit with the additional information. I haven't heard back from my last attempt, and I haven't been too involved because I have some other stuff going on.

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bearoso commented Jan 10, 2018

Yeah, I'll resubmit with the additional information. I haven't heard back from my last attempt, and I haven't been too involved because I have some other stuff going on.

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PyroSamurai Jan 20, 2018

I just happened across this issue, and I am not a lawyer, but I know how to read:

  1. You only have a strong case against the dev who sold your software. Your license has the same problem as the (L)GPLv2, it can be TiVo-ized as long as they provide your code free-of-charge and don't use any of the software names to sell their product. In other words sell the hardware which your software just happens to be in.

  2. You should probably remove that LGPLv2 license from your code if it doesn't apply to any of it, and if it does, you should make it clear which.

  3. @twinaphex stop going on and on about open-source, your license isn't even open-source. https://opensource.org/osd It violates requirement 1, so you don't have to read very far. There is no such thing as "non-commercially licensed open source" anything.

Side-note: You all made some great software. Good job. :)

PyroSamurai commented Jan 20, 2018

I just happened across this issue, and I am not a lawyer, but I know how to read:

  1. You only have a strong case against the dev who sold your software. Your license has the same problem as the (L)GPLv2, it can be TiVo-ized as long as they provide your code free-of-charge and don't use any of the software names to sell their product. In other words sell the hardware which your software just happens to be in.

  2. You should probably remove that LGPLv2 license from your code if it doesn't apply to any of it, and if it does, you should make it clear which.

  3. @twinaphex stop going on and on about open-source, your license isn't even open-source. https://opensource.org/osd It violates requirement 1, so you don't have to read very far. There is no such thing as "non-commercially licensed open source" anything.

Side-note: You all made some great software. Good job. :)

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twinaphex Jan 20, 2018

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@bearoso One Retro Freak ASIN got pulled from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Retro-Freak-Japan/dp/B00ZZ70JX6

This no longer exists. Unfortunately, there are more items still remaining pertaining to Retro Freak. However, as you can see, Amazon is now listening and starting to do the right thing.

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twinaphex commented Jan 20, 2018

@bearoso One Retro Freak ASIN got pulled from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Retro-Freak-Japan/dp/B00ZZ70JX6

This no longer exists. Unfortunately, there are more items still remaining pertaining to Retro Freak. However, as you can see, Amazon is now listening and starting to do the right thing.

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bearoso Jan 27, 2018

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I've noticed I can't find the Retro Freak on Amazon at all now. Whether that was because of my complaint or Cyber Gadget pulling it on their own I don't know.

I don't understand why these companies don't just make these boxes as "hardware you can run RetroArch on." One would think that would still get them sales, given the value of the custom enclosures and cartridge adapters. They could still provide their 3rd party UI, just not including any cores in it. With the number of single-board-computers that are bought solely for emulation, they would still have a market.

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bearoso commented Jan 27, 2018

I've noticed I can't find the Retro Freak on Amazon at all now. Whether that was because of my complaint or Cyber Gadget pulling it on their own I don't know.

I don't understand why these companies don't just make these boxes as "hardware you can run RetroArch on." One would think that would still get them sales, given the value of the custom enclosures and cartridge adapters. They could still provide their 3rd party UI, just not including any cores in it. With the number of single-board-computers that are bought solely for emulation, they would still have a market.

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twinaphex Feb 18, 2018

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@bearoso and others involved -

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-02-09-the-retro-gaming-industry-could-be-killing-video-game-preservation

This should break our continuing struggles with these violators into the mainstream now. Hope things turn out for the better now and they will think twice before continuing to attempt to violate the license of this emulator, both according to the letter and spirit of the law.

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twinaphex commented Feb 18, 2018

@bearoso and others involved -

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-02-09-the-retro-gaming-industry-could-be-killing-video-game-preservation

This should break our continuing struggles with these violators into the mainstream now. Hope things turn out for the better now and they will think twice before continuing to attempt to violate the license of this emulator, both according to the letter and spirit of the law.

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This contractor sent a letter to me today -

Dear Mr Matteis,

My name is Wayne H Beckett of Datapower Development Limited, we develop innovative products for the video games industry.

It has come to our attention that you have been contacting our distributor in Japan and making various threats and claims in reference to the RetroFreak product and the Snes9x project.  Some of your claims are clearly meant to mislead our customer by referencing files which simply are not contained within the Snes9x project, more on this later. The other claims in your document we have put to our lawyers and have since had a detailed response from them.


As we have stated previously, we only use the core. You also state that you downloaded the code from our customers web site which was obtained from the Snes9x repository back in May 2015. You will see that that a copy of the Lesser GPL appears in each of the directories named “core-snes” and “core-snes2”.

I refer you to the terms of the Lesser GPL v 2.1. It says at:

paragraph 0:

“This License Agreement applies to any software library or other program which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder or other authorized party saying it may be distributed under the terms of this Lesser General Public License (also called "this License"). Each licensee is addressed as ‘you’.”

paragraph 1:

“You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Library's complete source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and distribute a copy of this License along with the Library.”

I have also seen the file named “snes9x-license.txt” which contains some copyright notices. I notice that this file does not refer to you at all! Pointing at files on the internet that you claim are your copyright do not make them part of Snes9x.

The terms of the Lesser GPL are pretty clear. By placing a copy of the Lesser GPL in that directory, the copyright owners have licensed it under the Lesser GPL.

As you know, the terms of the licence in snes9x-license.txt are inconsistent with the terms of licences granted under the Lesser GPL. You cannot have it both ways – you cannot licence software using the GPL licenses and then restrict it contrary to those terms. See paragraph 6 of each of the GPL and Lesser GPL. It says:

You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

By inserting a copy of snes9x-license.txt you were offering licences under completely different terms, completely separate and independent of the Lesser GPL – see paragraphs 0 and 1 of the Lesser GPL set out above. Furthermore it is common knowledge that you cannot retrospectively revoke licenses previously granted under any of the GPL licences – under the GPL or Lesser GPL.

Perhaps this would explain why you removed the copy of the Lesser GPL v2.1 from the repository for snes9x2010 on 22 December 2017 – you realised after you wrote to Cybergadget on 1 December 2017 that the presence of the Lesser GPL in the code base of itself grants a licence under those terms, regardless of what you say in your file named snes9x-license.txt.

To the extent that it is relevant, you only added the notice “(c) Copyright 2010 - 2016 Daniel De Matteis. (UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL COMMERCIAL RIGHTS EVER BE APPROPRIATED TO ANY PARTY)” to the snes9x2010 on 15 October 2016 (on GitHub), long after we obtained our copies of snes9x 1.53 and snes9x-next.

Anyway, if you look through the codebase at http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/assets/files/download/RetroFreakSource-20151031.zip (which you already have) and the date stamps on the files, you will see that we have not updated it since 2015. Accordingly, we were properly licensed at the time, and continue to be properly licensed now.

Even now a copy of the GPL and Lesser GPL appears in the snes9x repository on GitHub. That grants a licence to use the entire package on the terms of the GPL. Notice paragraph 3 of the Lesser GPL. Looks like the licence is really granted on the terms of the GPL, and not the Lesser GPL.

Based on the above we therefore believe that we were and still are entirely within the terms of the GPL license allowed to use the code. The fact that you may have added code to a GPL project still means it is bound by the GPL license. You appear to be the self elected representative of Snes9x! We think it unlikely that you represent the dozens if not hundreds of programmers involved in this project and I personally suspect you have a financial interest in preventing us from using Snes9x code. The entire purpose of open source software is the re-use of commonly used code, what you are doing is attempting to Hijack an open source project and use it for your own purposes. For example we would have been quite happy to develop a commercial SNES emulator, however the existence of Snes9x renders this impossible as such a product would have no value as it is available free. Should you be able to enforce your “Not available for commercial use” would practically render it impossible to produce a product such as RetroFreak, as there is clearly no financial loss to the Snes9x product then no court would be likely to find in favour of removing a product from the market and creating a loss of business, jobs etc. based on the whim of one small contributor to an open source project.

In your continuous monolog about copyright not once have you mentioned that the project is used to infringe the copyright of Nintendo! There is no way to avoid this fact that people that use Snes9x invariably do not have the original games. Bizarrely one of the very few ways user can actually pay the original games legally is by using RetroFreak! Furthermore even if we were not within the framework of the GPL license, which we still maintain we are, in order for you to claim copyright over Snes9x (even though it seems to be you only that is claiming copyright) then you would have to demonstrate ‘clean hands’ i.e. that the software cannot be used for nefarious purposes. As its primary use is the infringement of Nintendo’s copyright then this is simply not likely to happen. No one like the

Even if by some miracle you get through all these legal obstacles, and let's face it there are many, then you would need to prove that RetroFreak had done some kind of damage. As the code is available free of charge, then there can be no financial damage, and that would be the best possible outcome in a legal challenge that you could possibly hope for!

With the fact that damages would, in any event, be zero one cannot help but wonder what purpose you have in attempting to prevent the sale of RetroFreak!  Do you have a particular dislike of the Japanese video game buying public?  One can only speculate what the reason is, I believe I have touched on it myself in that you make money, however indirectly from Video Game emulation software and, by hijacking Open Source emulation projects by contributing some little code to them and then claiming copyright you are attempting to control the market. This too is illegal.


You stated in one of your previous emails that Cybergadget are responsible for any damages. We would like to remind you of the same. Our customer suspended sales because they were misled by your claims of copyright. Notice we hold you legally responsible for this loss of sales. If you make any further representations to our customer either directly or online that are not backed up by facts and not half truths, lies and a rather vivid imagination then we will have no option but to take action in court and request injunctive relief. This action would be taken both inside and outside of Japan.

Should you wish to publish this email then I ask only that you publish it in its entirety so that people can get a more balanced view or your inane rantings!

Finally Cybergadget has requested that we no longer use Snes9x in the RetroFreak. In the near future we will be removing it and use an alternate emulator, not that this is any business of yours however.

Wayne H Beckett

Datapower Development Limited'

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twinaphex commented Mar 9, 2018

This contractor sent a letter to me today -

Dear Mr Matteis,

My name is Wayne H Beckett of Datapower Development Limited, we develop innovative products for the video games industry.

It has come to our attention that you have been contacting our distributor in Japan and making various threats and claims in reference to the RetroFreak product and the Snes9x project.  Some of your claims are clearly meant to mislead our customer by referencing files which simply are not contained within the Snes9x project, more on this later. The other claims in your document we have put to our lawyers and have since had a detailed response from them.


As we have stated previously, we only use the core. You also state that you downloaded the code from our customers web site which was obtained from the Snes9x repository back in May 2015. You will see that that a copy of the Lesser GPL appears in each of the directories named “core-snes” and “core-snes2”.

I refer you to the terms of the Lesser GPL v 2.1. It says at:

paragraph 0:

“This License Agreement applies to any software library or other program which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder or other authorized party saying it may be distributed under the terms of this Lesser General Public License (also called "this License"). Each licensee is addressed as ‘you’.”

paragraph 1:

“You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Library's complete source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and distribute a copy of this License along with the Library.”

I have also seen the file named “snes9x-license.txt” which contains some copyright notices. I notice that this file does not refer to you at all! Pointing at files on the internet that you claim are your copyright do not make them part of Snes9x.

The terms of the Lesser GPL are pretty clear. By placing a copy of the Lesser GPL in that directory, the copyright owners have licensed it under the Lesser GPL.

As you know, the terms of the licence in snes9x-license.txt are inconsistent with the terms of licences granted under the Lesser GPL. You cannot have it both ways – you cannot licence software using the GPL licenses and then restrict it contrary to those terms. See paragraph 6 of each of the GPL and Lesser GPL. It says:

You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

By inserting a copy of snes9x-license.txt you were offering licences under completely different terms, completely separate and independent of the Lesser GPL – see paragraphs 0 and 1 of the Lesser GPL set out above. Furthermore it is common knowledge that you cannot retrospectively revoke licenses previously granted under any of the GPL licences – under the GPL or Lesser GPL.

Perhaps this would explain why you removed the copy of the Lesser GPL v2.1 from the repository for snes9x2010 on 22 December 2017 – you realised after you wrote to Cybergadget on 1 December 2017 that the presence of the Lesser GPL in the code base of itself grants a licence under those terms, regardless of what you say in your file named snes9x-license.txt.

To the extent that it is relevant, you only added the notice “(c) Copyright 2010 - 2016 Daniel De Matteis. (UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL COMMERCIAL RIGHTS EVER BE APPROPRIATED TO ANY PARTY)” to the snes9x2010 on 15 October 2016 (on GitHub), long after we obtained our copies of snes9x 1.53 and snes9x-next.

Anyway, if you look through the codebase at http://www.cybergadget.co.jp/assets/files/download/RetroFreakSource-20151031.zip (which you already have) and the date stamps on the files, you will see that we have not updated it since 2015. Accordingly, we were properly licensed at the time, and continue to be properly licensed now.

Even now a copy of the GPL and Lesser GPL appears in the snes9x repository on GitHub. That grants a licence to use the entire package on the terms of the GPL. Notice paragraph 3 of the Lesser GPL. Looks like the licence is really granted on the terms of the GPL, and not the Lesser GPL.

Based on the above we therefore believe that we were and still are entirely within the terms of the GPL license allowed to use the code. The fact that you may have added code to a GPL project still means it is bound by the GPL license. You appear to be the self elected representative of Snes9x! We think it unlikely that you represent the dozens if not hundreds of programmers involved in this project and I personally suspect you have a financial interest in preventing us from using Snes9x code. The entire purpose of open source software is the re-use of commonly used code, what you are doing is attempting to Hijack an open source project and use it for your own purposes. For example we would have been quite happy to develop a commercial SNES emulator, however the existence of Snes9x renders this impossible as such a product would have no value as it is available free. Should you be able to enforce your “Not available for commercial use” would practically render it impossible to produce a product such as RetroFreak, as there is clearly no financial loss to the Snes9x product then no court would be likely to find in favour of removing a product from the market and creating a loss of business, jobs etc. based on the whim of one small contributor to an open source project.

In your continuous monolog about copyright not once have you mentioned that the project is used to infringe the copyright of Nintendo! There is no way to avoid this fact that people that use Snes9x invariably do not have the original games. Bizarrely one of the very few ways user can actually pay the original games legally is by using RetroFreak! Furthermore even if we were not within the framework of the GPL license, which we still maintain we are, in order for you to claim copyright over Snes9x (even though it seems to be you only that is claiming copyright) then you would have to demonstrate ‘clean hands’ i.e. that the software cannot be used for nefarious purposes. As its primary use is the infringement of Nintendo’s copyright then this is simply not likely to happen. No one like the

Even if by some miracle you get through all these legal obstacles, and let's face it there are many, then you would need to prove that RetroFreak had done some kind of damage. As the code is available free of charge, then there can be no financial damage, and that would be the best possible outcome in a legal challenge that you could possibly hope for!

With the fact that damages would, in any event, be zero one cannot help but wonder what purpose you have in attempting to prevent the sale of RetroFreak!  Do you have a particular dislike of the Japanese video game buying public?  One can only speculate what the reason is, I believe I have touched on it myself in that you make money, however indirectly from Video Game emulation software and, by hijacking Open Source emulation projects by contributing some little code to them and then claiming copyright you are attempting to control the market. This too is illegal.


You stated in one of your previous emails that Cybergadget are responsible for any damages. We would like to remind you of the same. Our customer suspended sales because they were misled by your claims of copyright. Notice we hold you legally responsible for this loss of sales. If you make any further representations to our customer either directly or online that are not backed up by facts and not half truths, lies and a rather vivid imagination then we will have no option but to take action in court and request injunctive relief. This action would be taken both inside and outside of Japan.

Should you wish to publish this email then I ask only that you publish it in its entirety so that people can get a more balanced view or your inane rantings!

Finally Cybergadget has requested that we no longer use Snes9x in the RetroFreak. In the near future we will be removing it and use an alternate emulator, not that this is any business of yours however.

Wayne H Beckett

Datapower Development Limited'

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twinaphex Mar 9, 2018

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Obviously this dude is feeling emboldened now and just creating straight and utter crap about Snes9x's license being LGPL.

Anyway, I am not intimidated by this guy, neither should anybody else. What is right is right.

'Finally Cybergadget has requested that we no longer use Snes9x in the RetroFreak. In the near future we will be removing it and use an alternate emulator, not that this is any business of yours however.'

He doesn't tell the truth there either. He was forced to drop usage of Snes9x because byuu forced that in his contract with him as part of a Higan license sale, which I strongly implored him to do if he were to even consider still selling him a license after all that was said and done.

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twinaphex commented Mar 9, 2018

Obviously this dude is feeling emboldened now and just creating straight and utter crap about Snes9x's license being LGPL.

Anyway, I am not intimidated by this guy, neither should anybody else. What is right is right.

'Finally Cybergadget has requested that we no longer use Snes9x in the RetroFreak. In the near future we will be removing it and use an alternate emulator, not that this is any business of yours however.'

He doesn't tell the truth there either. He was forced to drop usage of Snes9x because byuu forced that in his contract with him as part of a Higan license sale, which I strongly implored him to do if he were to even consider still selling him a license after all that was said and done.

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Japanese netizens actually raised this issue before anybody else did - that the Snes9x license had been violated since at least 2015 -

https://srad.jp/story/15/11/02/0630236/

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twinaphex commented Mar 9, 2018

Japanese netizens actually raised this issue before anybody else did - that the Snes9x license had been violated since at least 2015 -

https://srad.jp/story/15/11/02/0630236/

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bearoso Mar 9, 2018

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Ugh. What an ass. He's feigning stupidity on claiming the whole thing is LGPL-licensed, and just because your name preemptively prevents commercial use doesn't mean any of the other contributors have allowed it.

At least the problem is partially fixed by removing Snes9x. That doesn't fix their Genesis Plus problem, though.

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bearoso commented Mar 9, 2018

Ugh. What an ass. He's feigning stupidity on claiming the whole thing is LGPL-licensed, and just because your name preemptively prevents commercial use doesn't mean any of the other contributors have allowed it.

At least the problem is partially fixed by removing Snes9x. That doesn't fix their Genesis Plus problem, though.

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I think the Genesis Plus GX authors contacted Hyperkin around the time when this story first broke in 2014/2015. I am not sure what came out of it but I think I recall Eke and Charles McDonald both feeling pretty bad about it. At a certain point though I heard nothing about it anymore. I might not be sure about this but they might have gone back to a previous version that was still GPL, although I cannot be sure of this.

Not sure if Mr. Datapower Development guy ever followed suit though. A Hong Kong LLC BTW started by a British dude, probably wonderful place there to skirt IP laws. I bet these two companies we know of that he sold this stuff to were not the only ones, and he probably put all these companies in similar legal jeopardy through his shenanigans. Honestly, that Hyperkin and Cybergadget have both not disassociated from him by now speaks to their character (or lack thereof) as well.

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twinaphex commented Mar 9, 2018

I think the Genesis Plus GX authors contacted Hyperkin around the time when this story first broke in 2014/2015. I am not sure what came out of it but I think I recall Eke and Charles McDonald both feeling pretty bad about it. At a certain point though I heard nothing about it anymore. I might not be sure about this but they might have gone back to a previous version that was still GPL, although I cannot be sure of this.

Not sure if Mr. Datapower Development guy ever followed suit though. A Hong Kong LLC BTW started by a British dude, probably wonderful place there to skirt IP laws. I bet these two companies we know of that he sold this stuff to were not the only ones, and he probably put all these companies in similar legal jeopardy through his shenanigans. Honestly, that Hyperkin and Cybergadget have both not disassociated from him by now speaks to their character (or lack thereof) as well.

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fr500 Mar 9, 2018

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By his logic, a LGPL license file in my windows desktop makes all the files on my windows desktop LGPL

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fr500 commented Mar 9, 2018

By his logic, a LGPL license file in my windows desktop makes all the files on my windows desktop LGPL

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Rareitor Mar 9, 2018

Sorry to intrude, and I dunno if it helps, but the Software Freedom Law Center might have some info on how to deal with people like this?
https://softwarefreedom.org/

I believe their services may not be necessarily required or applicable, but it's something.

Rareitor commented Mar 9, 2018

Sorry to intrude, and I dunno if it helps, but the Software Freedom Law Center might have some info on how to deal with people like this?
https://softwarefreedom.org/

I believe their services may not be necessarily required or applicable, but it's something.

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I don't know how ideologically wedded the Software Freedom Law Center is to GPL and whether or not they would reject helping based on the kind of non-commercial custom licenses that Snes9x uses.

For the record, I see both sides, both the side that wants their work covered under noncommercial licenses, and the side that goes with GPL, and even the side that goes with MIT/BSD. We don't have an absolutist stance on this. It's ultimately up to the creator.

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twinaphex commented Mar 9, 2018

I don't know how ideologically wedded the Software Freedom Law Center is to GPL and whether or not they would reject helping based on the kind of non-commercial custom licenses that Snes9x uses.

For the record, I see both sides, both the side that wants their work covered under noncommercial licenses, and the side that goes with GPL, and even the side that goes with MIT/BSD. We don't have an absolutist stance on this. It's ultimately up to the creator.

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Rareitor Mar 10, 2018

It doesn't hurt to present your case to them I don't think. If they say they can't help, fine, but why not ask anyway?

Rareitor commented Mar 10, 2018

It doesn't hurt to present your case to them I don't think. If they say they can't help, fine, but why not ask anyway?

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"The Software Freedom Law Center provides pro-bono legal services to developers of Free, Libre, and Open Source Software."

Anything that self-styles itself as Free, Libre, and Open Source Software we have found won't help out with non-OSI approved licenses like Snes9x's. It's just petty politics at this point, they want to promote their licenses, their ecosystem of code under that license, etc, and even in the case where we had an issue with RetroArch's code being used against its license (which is GPLv3 licensed), FSF and the EFF just shrugged it off.

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twinaphex commented Mar 13, 2018

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"The Software Freedom Law Center provides pro-bono legal services to developers of Free, Libre, and Open Source Software."

Anything that self-styles itself as Free, Libre, and Open Source Software we have found won't help out with non-OSI approved licenses like Snes9x's. It's just petty politics at this point, they want to promote their licenses, their ecosystem of code under that license, etc, and even in the case where we had an issue with RetroArch's code being used against its license (which is GPLv3 licensed), FSF and the EFF just shrugged it off.

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hadess May 22, 2018

It's just petty politics at this point, they want to promote their licenses, their ecosystem of code under that license, etc

Or it's what they know inside out and can easily help with because they dealt with it a million times.

hadess commented May 22, 2018

It's just petty politics at this point, they want to promote their licenses, their ecosystem of code under that license, etc

Or it's what they know inside out and can easily help with because they dealt with it a million times.

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