Freespace 2 Legal Status

I heard a rumour that this is now legal abandonware, if that makes sense, but it seems too good to be true and google doesn’t back it up. does anyone have any information?


That’s probably crap, but Underdogs has it up for download.

This is the Software License Agreement you have to agree to when you install the original game.

This software product, FreeSpace 2 (the “Software”), is
intended solely for your personal noncommercial home entertainment
use. You may not decompile, reverse engineer, or disassemble the
Software, except as permitted by law. Interplay Productions and
Volition, Inc. retain all rights and title in the Software including
all intellectual property rights embodied therein and derivatives
thereof. You are granted a revocable, nonassignable limited license
to create derivative works of this Software solely for your own
personal noncommercial home entertainment use and may publicly
display such derivative works to the extent specifically
authorized by Interplay in writing. A copy of this authorization, if
any, will be provided on Interplay’s World Wide Web site, located at, or by contacting the legal department of
Interplay Productions in the US at (949) 553-6655. The Software,
including, without limitation, all code, data structures, characters,
images, sounds, text, screens, game play, derivative works and all
other elements of the Software may not be copied (except as provided
below), resold, rented, leased, distributed (electronically or
otherwise), used on pay-per-play, coin-op or other for-charge basis,
or for any commercial purpose. [size=6]You may make copies of the Software
for your personal noncommercial home entertainment use and to give to
friends and acquaintances on a no cost noncommercial basis. This
limited right to copy the Software expressly excludes any copying or
distribution of the Software on a commercial basis, including,
without limitation, bundling the product with any other product or
service and any give away of the Software in connection with another
product or service.
[/size] Any permissions granted herein are provided on a
temporary basis and can be withdrawn by Interplay Productions at any
time. All rights not expressly granted are reserved.

Modem and Network Play. If the Software contains modem or network
play, you may play the Software via modem transmission with another
person or persons directly without transmission through a third party
service or indirectly through a third party service only if such
service is an authorized licensee of Interplay. For the purposes of
this license, a third party service refers to any third party service
which provides a connection between two or more users of the
Software, manages, organizes, or facilitates game play, translates
protocols, or otherwise provides a service which commercially
exploits the Software, but does not include a third party service
which merely provides a telephonic connection (and nothing more) for
modem or network play. Authorized licensee services are listed on
the Interplay Productions World Wide Web Site located at This limited right to transmit the Software
expressly excludes any transmission of the Software or any data
streams thereof on a commercial basis, including, without limitation,
transmitting the Software by way of a commercial service (excepting
those specific commercial services licensed by Interplay) which
translates the protocols or manages or organizes game play sessions.
If you would like information about obtaining a pay-for-play or
commercial license to the Software, please contact Interplay
Productions in the US at +(949) 553-6655. Nothing in this paragraph
is intended to prevent you from downloading the Software from
Interplay’s Web site or from commercial service providers authorized
by Interplay to provide the Software to you.

Acceptance of License Terms. By downloading or acquiring and then
retaining this Software, you assent to the terms and restrictions of
this limited license. If you acquired the Software and do not accept
the terms of this limited license, you must return the Software
together with all packaging, manuals and other material contained
therein to the store where you acquired the Software for a full
refund and if you downloaded the Software, you must delete it.

Trademark and copyright (c) 1999 Volition, Inc. All rights reserved.

So my understanding is that a lot of people have mis-interpreted the “You can make software copies” bit to say “hey its legal abandonware!”, which it isn’t but since Interplay haven’t asked Underdogs to remove their lite - “no movies version” from their website its pretty much a moot point.

Its the only software license agreement where I have ever seen a clause like that… :)

Additionally the original source code for the game was also given to the mod community but that action doesn’t make it legal abandonware either.

Theres some people working on a Babylon 5 mod for Freespace 2 which is worth checking out.

That license just says “give me away!”

I understand why the underdogs might not be allowed (commercialism, ie, they run banners on the site), but the license does allow burning and giving away of copies.

Given the length of copyrights and the age of the computer gaming industry, I’m fairly certain there’s no such thing as “legal abandonware.”

There are certainly cases where companies have gone under and nobody has purchased their intellectual property, but I don’t believe that situation puts the software in the public domain. (Our lawyerly readers are welcome and encouraged to correct me or elaborate here…)

And even if a company doesn’t enforce its IP rights for its old DOS and C64 programs, it’s still not “legal abandonware.” Unless the company gives permission for copies to be distributed, it’s still technically a copyright violation.

As I understand it, unless a company explicitely says “this software is in the public domain, enjoy!”, it still belongs to that company. Even if the company says the program is free to copy.

Where I think you are confused is that they did release the source code to Freespace 2, presumably under some form of open source license. The game asset data, however, was not covered under that release.

Right you are; there isn’t. Unless the owner specifically states that he/she is giving the game/code/whatever into the public domain, the rights maintain.

Where does that particular case place the software, though? How do you infringe on copyright when there’s no holder?

I’d venture in most cases there’s a creditor somewhere who owns the rights. (Even if they don’t know/care.)

Oh lawyerly types? I’m curious about this one too.

I love Freespace 2. I especially love the FS2 source code. That, along with a copy of “Physics for Game Developers”, are invaluable resources for the space-sim I’m writing.



scharmers is writing a game?

Let it be known that all of us were here on the day that the being that would succeed Derek Smart and Cleve Blakemore arrived on the boards and took firm grasp of his destiny with a simple post.

Or he could be the next Linus Torvalds. Who knows. The future has many paths.

Let it be known that all of us were here on the day that the being that would succeed Derek Smart and Cleve Blakemore arrived on the boards and took firm grasp of his destiny with a simple post.

Then let’s start it off on the right foot then.

You HAVE NO IDEA what you’re talking about, you fucking idiot. That is because you are too stupid to understand the most simple truth, you filthy felcher. MY GAME is the GREATEST EVAR, even though at the moment it is nothing but a simple rigid body mechanics sim. I control when it will be released, and even though A MILLION publishers will be BEATING DOWN MY DOOR for the right, I – and not some dastardly, sneaking, backstabbing coke machine of a detractor – will release it ONLY when MY GAME !!! has achieved pure, uh, pure, well – GREATNESS OR SOMETHING. There will be NO POSTING of garbage IN MY FORUMS, and NOT READING THE MANUAL WILL BE CAUSE FOR IMMEDIATE BANNING. No, fuck it. I’M PROACTIVELY BANNING YOU ALL!!! FROM MY FORUMS. Ok, I will BAN YOU when I have forums up. SO LET IT BE WRITTEN, SO LET IT BE DONE!

Chase “scharmers” Dahl, Ph.D. cubed



Hey, don’t be dissing Scharmers. You obviously never played “Mega Jumpguy,” his Klik n’ Play classic!

Hey, don’t be dissing Scharmers. You obviously never played “Mega Jumpguy,” his Klik n’ Play classic!


KnP was the best games creator EVAR … especially if you liked cranking out “games” over the time it takes to drink a couple of cases of beer :lol:


(ok that was paraphrased)

But yeah, looking good there. I think you’ve got what it takes. If you ever need a apologist, give me a call. My rates are cheap.

So does this mean you’ll be writing Space Sim Follies now?

Yeah…the only thing better than me writing one column on a dead genre is me writing TWO columns on two dead genres :shock:


Obligatory Holy Grail quote

Dead: I’m not dead!

Wheelbarrow Man: Hey, he says he’s not dead!

Client: Yes he is

Dead: I’m not!

Wheelbarrow Man: He isn’t?

Client: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill…

Dead: I’m getting better!

Client: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.