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kingmohd84

Older videogame magazines

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Hello,

I like to read in retro pop culture but I have to ask, are magazines hosted on this site in the public domain?

Is it ok to download them?

Because I know of no other way to purchase or read these magazine

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Nothing scanned at this nor any other retro-magazine website is legal unless the publishers have given permission to do so. There are some instances where this has happened. Some off hand are:

Antic - Atari magazine where permission obtained by another site a long time ago.

Analog - permission received

Newsfield computing magazines - Roger Kean gave permission however this has been thrown into confusion by someone selling Imagine the rights to Crash and Zzap!64 of which he wasn't aware or privy to so not sure what gives with those titles at present.

Computer Gaming World - permission received and a lot scanned by original staff members I believe

Almost everything else has not had permission. That may be because the publishing companies don't know what we are doing, or don't care because most titles are old and the systems are now ancient, or because we are not materially affecting their profits scanning such old magazines anyway so turn a blind eye. In some cases it may even help sell current titles when people read the older issues scanned on sites like this, decide they like the title and end up subscribing in which case it is a win-win for everyone. Then there are publishers who folded years ago and who may have sold their IP to another company or may not as well.

So we scan magazines but put measures in place so that if a publisher requests us to stop making their content available we do so without hesitation. Such products not scanned as a result of this include Diehard GameFan and Game Informer

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Also to note, the site uses a policy of I believe, 15 year cutoff for actively published magazines, and 10 years? for dufunct magazines. Also you can get actual issues on eBay. And there are a slew of issues uploaded to archive.org, although most of them are from this site from what I've found. And they host them based on historical preservation as a library so the legal issues are somewhat different.

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I think you will that hiding behind an arbitrary cut-off date or adopting a "we only host content so many years behind the current date" limitation actually has no actual legal dispensation weight whatsoever. There is some dispensation around content that is 75 years past it's publication but even then only if the rights have not been taken up again during that time but I have only really seen that with novels ala Gutenberg and not our type of content which obviously is nowhere near old enough at this point in time.

This site adopting a 15 or 10 year rule is no different in the eyes of the law than my site using a 7 year cut-off date. Or any for that matter. Even if the content is not available legitimately we have no right to actually scan content that we have not explicitly been given permission to do so. End of story.

Oh yeah. Archive.org. They don't do their homework that well as last year you could get issues of Retro Gamer, a title that is sold via iTunes/Zinio etc, off their site. I think they must have had a C&D as it has since been pulled. Good job too. Publishers should be able to make a living off their IP if they are providing the means to obtain it legitimately.

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I think you will that hiding behind an arbitrary cut-off date or adopting a "we only host content so many years behind the current date" limitation actually has no actual legal dispensation weight whatsoever. There is some dispensation around content that is 75 years past it's publication but even then only if the rights have not been taken up again during that time but I have only really seen that with novels ala Gutenberg and not our type of content which obviously is nowhere near old enough at this point in time.

This site adopting a 15 or 10 year rule is no different in the eyes of the law than my site using a 7 year cut-off date. Or any for that matter. Even if the content is not available legitimately we have no right to actually scan content that we have not explicitly been given permission to do so. End of story.

Oh yeah. Archive.org. They don't do their homework that well as last year you could get issues of Retro Gamer, a title that is sold via iTunes/Zinio etc, off their site. I think they must have had a C&D as it has since been pulled. Good job too. Publishers should be able to make a living off their IP if they are providing the means to obtain it legitimately.

i agree with everything here, but i believe the 15 year cut off is mainly for the publishers to see what is going on. Sure, we have no right to scan and share these magazines as if they are our own.

However, between the "we only scan mags 15+ years old" and "we'll take it down if the publisher asks us to" attitude, the site is quite likely to avoid any legal complications.

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I don't disagree with you but in realistic terms even five years is a long time in this industry with realistically not much chance of a publisher generating income on titles that old, let alone older. I believe that is the reason Future PLC only have digital issues of Edge on iTunes back to Dec 2009. Same for Games Master and most all of their other gaming titles. My guess is that these older issues generate very little income or they would have gone even further back.

I am basing my sites limits on the lines that as long as we don't intrude into those dates where they do have digital content then they hopefully will turn a blind eye. Of course if someone in their organization does give us a C&D we will comply immediately. Additionally, if we monitor what becomes available, e.g., if they do release older content as they did with Edge issue 01 we will take those issues down as well as I did on OGM. It's in everyone's interest that they can make a living or we'll end up with no new mags.

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Not sure why publishers do not put their magazines online for sale. If we can do it with off shelf-scanners, I am pretty sure they can do too.

Its a source of extra revenue, and it can't hurt.

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I subscribed to the EGM digital version for a few years before I let my subscription lapse. It was on a proprietary PC reader, and the scans were generally horrible. Of course that was probrably 8-10 years ago. Bandwidth and high res devices are more prevalent now. I know with EGM the original archive was supposedly taken away in the era of Ziff Davis closure by Jeremy Parish? I could be wrong. And donated to eigther the strong museum of play of a video game museum. It's quite possible that many of these magazines don't even have the original archives or they are long gone to some employees house. That's why to me this site is so important.

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I don't even think they would need to scan their magazines. They should have electronic copies already that they created and sent to be printed out.

From my understanding, listening to various podcast and people who worked for Videogame mags, none of that stuff was ever saved for older magazines. We're lucky if even physical copy's were saved. And in most cases they disappeared when the magazines went under. Frank Cifaldi proprably knows a lot of history on this. Not dissimilar to most older Videogame companies, where whole retail games never had their source code archived, and there is no reliable source to reprint them. I've read a lot of company's havie had to resort to ROMS for retro releases for their games.

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That's correct.

Prior to the mid 80's and the introduction of the Macintosh/ Quark Express/Pagemaker suite pretty much all content was created manually. There was no desktop publishing at the time so content like the early CVG, Computer Gamer etc were all typeset layout creations. In this situation unless they kept physical copies or the prepress plates/templates etc there would be no other means of recreating these older magazines. Given they sold out of back issues on a consistent basis I'm pretty sure they didn't retain these after printing.

Companies like Argus Press disappeared and there's no mention on the web of where their IP ended up but I guarantee nothing exists of their magazines other than whatever you or I own in our collections today. That's why it really is important that people contribute their magazines or time to scan and preserve content, especially the older content.

Regarding companies scanning their older magazines and making money off them:

  1. Many publishing companies who made older content no longer exist
  2. Companies who purchased their IP probably aren't even in the game of making money off their titles. Many likely purchased companies for physical assets more so than an old Amstrad magazine or did so to shut down competition
  3. The cost of someone sitting down and scanning 100+ page magazine is still a cost to the company. If they don't have an A3 document scanner and don't want to pay the costs (brand new my scanner is $4400US) and only have a flatbed scanner someone in the office is going to spend 2 - 4 hours scanning depending on scanning speed before editing the content. Let's say it takes a day to scan, cleanup and produce a PDF. In New Zealand the minimum hourly rate is $14.50 so assuming you used a casual it will cost $114 per issue (likely more if you use a trained staff member). Amiga Format ran 136 issues so the all up cost just to scan and edit them in labour costs alone is $15500 give or take. Then there's the cost of packaging it into the digital platform etc. At a realistic price to sell them given their age how long will it take to recoup the costs of providing them? That's the problem facing publishers today in regards to their older content and I think that's the very reason companies like Future PLC are so hesitant to provide back issues other than as one-off specials like they did with Edge #1

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I subscribed to the EGM digital version for a few years before I let my subscription lapse. It was on a proprietary PC reader, and the scans were generally horrible. Of course that was probrably 8-10 years ago. Bandwidth and high res devices are more prevalent now. I know with EGM the original archive was supposedly taken away in the era of Ziff Davis closure by Jeremy Parish? I could be wrong. And donated to eigther the strong museum of play of a video game museum. It's quite possible that many of these magazines don't even have the original archives or they are long gone to some employees house. That's why to me this site is so important.

I'm pretty sure Jeremy took home the physical issues of EGM (there was only one of each of the Sendai years, and it was missing two issues), but I don't know what he did with them. I'd guess he still has them.

I think you're conflating stories: while working at 1UP, I/we sent the Computer Gaming World archive to The Strong.

I think I posted here my mental inventory of where all the archives are for old magazines ended up but, really, the short version is they don't exist.

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I'm pretty sure Jeremy took home the physical issues of EGM (there was only one of each of the Sendai years, and it was missing two issues), but I don't know what he did with them. I'd guess he still has them.

I think you're conflating stories: while working at 1UP, I/we sent the Computer Gaming World archive to The Strong.

I think I posted here my mental inventory of where all the archives are for old magazines ended up but, really, the short version is they don't exist.

Didn't you get a ton of GamePro stuff a year or two ago, including computer files that you were unable to open? Did you ever find out what you needed to open them?

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@KiwiArcader

1) If they are not going to care about the IP, why not make it public domain?

2) Lets suppose they do scan the complete set issues at $15500, I see that as a very small number. They only need 310 subscribers at $50 per year to cover the cost. Second year subscribers will be profits.

3) Why does your scanner cost $4400? thats like the price of a used car

This is out of topic but I might as well ask. Before computers and desktop publishing, how did they included pictures into printed materials? A lot of movies/stage-plays had posters with hand illustrations. My only explanation is that it was expensive or not possible to scan images of actors?

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Hmmm .... re your questions:

1) Why not make it public domain - You'd have to ask the publisher that question but likely it relates to their IP. If you put it in the public domain you cannot remove it again if suddenly you decide you do want to make money of it at a later date as the horse has effectively bolted. Then there is the fact you likely no longer can sell that IP as part of your assets if you sell out.

2) Not all companies sell a base package on a yearly basis for older content. I know of only one title where digital back issues are available right back to issue 1 and that's Retro Gamer. That's it. You would think if they were making plenty of money out of it Imagine would have done the same for their other titles. They haven't which indicates it is not as simple as thinking do it and subscribers will flock to it. Future PLC don't do it for ANY magazine at all. You'd think that Edge, their premium title at least, would be a goer but no dice.....

3) Ask Fujitsu why they charge so much for a scanner. I do know it does 112 pages per minute scanning and it is far better with color fidelity than most every other scanner I have used so some things are worth it.

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Haha ...yes indeed ....

Seriously though, I think Fujitsu have never targeted the consumer space in regard to document scanners, especially A3 scanners where the prices go insanely crazy. And when they charge like crazy for the hardware the software makers decide to do the same, especially for ISIS driver compatible software.

I have scanned a few Amiga Format issues with fluro covers recently and it's a cool feeling when your scans look like the original compared to everyone else's :-)

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No color correction that I can recall. In fact if anything the left side might be the one that was played around with on the original scan when I was trying to sort out the fluro issue. Pain in the ass that was .... why do you ask?

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It's those hot vivid in your face pink, green, orange or yellow colors that you often see on gym leotards. They put them on Magazine Covers, usually text but sometimes as background colors and scanners have a hard time dealing with them. Generally they can't handle the color at all and end up outputting them as a pink color. Go and look over at my site where you will see some Amiga Format issues with them.

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