In this video Brad Wheller briefly explains the legal implications when dealing with emulation and ROMs. Brad's advice should not be taken as legal advice.
- [Man] When running emulated video games, you run the risk of entering a legal gray area. I'm not a lawyer, and none of what follows should be taken as legal advice. Many of the relevant laws are untested in court and there are many conflicted opinions about what is and is not illegal. Furthermore, the laws in your jurisdiction may vary, especially if you live outside the US. In the United States, at least, there are a few items that are generally agreed to be true. Emulators are not illegal in of themselves.
In 1999, Bleem! company released software that allowed users to play Sony Playstation disks on their personal computers. Sony sued them in 2000, but the US Ninth Circuit Court found that Bleem!'s reverse engineering of the code necessary to run Playstation games, constituted fair use. Almost all widely available emulators incorporate no actual software code from the consoles that they're emulating and would thus seem to be protected by this precedent. Downloading ROMs of games you do not own is illegal. This is software piracy, plain and simple.
And no one can discuss the ethics of piracy, the law seems to be very settled. This includes so called, "abandon-ware," games that are no longer available for legitimate purchase. Downloading ROMs of games you do own is also illegal. Unauthorized distribution of another's intellectual property is not permitted. Even if you own the game you're downloading, you're still engaged in software piracy. The exception to the above is if the game has been explicitly released under a free software license, or if you're purchasing a license from the game's copyright holder. In many cases, retro video games available on platforms like Steam are actually running in emulators and when you buy the game, you're legally purchasing it's ROM.
Everything else is a gray area, including creating ROMs of games you own yourself.
- Installing RetroPie automatically and manually
- Configuring RetroPie
- Using RetroArch
- Using the EmulationStation front end
- Backing up your settings
- Loading games to your Raspberry Pi
- Configuring a USB controller
- Building an arcade cabinet