US: Museums Can Now Legally Preserve Video Games

US: Museums Can Now Legally Preserve Video Games

The US government has passed new exemptions to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which will be effective from October 28, 2018.

For the first time in history, video games preserved for historical purposes will be exempted by the DMCA. What this means is museums, libraries, archives, and “other cultural heritage institutions” are now legally allowed to preserve video games without getting into trouble with the law.

There are, however, a few caveats. The exemption only applies as long as the video game was acquired through legal means, such as downloading the game from the Nintendo eShop or purchasing an authentic physical copy. The game that is preserved must also no longer be reasonably available through the commercial marketplace, and online support for the game must have ceased for at least 6 months.

The exemption also permits museums to copy and modify the game in order to make it return to a playable state on a PC (via emulators) or video game hardware. But this doesn’t permit entities to copy and distribute the game on the Internet.

We feel this is a good move for the preservation of video game history. Hopefully other countries, especially Japan, will follow the US’s lead.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.