A question of legality


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by plasticarmyman » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:31 pm
If i make something using the raspberry pi as the main computer.....like for example the people who have made mini arcade cabinets.....can i resell it (and any more that i make) at a profit without getting in legal trouble from the foundation?
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by joan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:57 pm
Yes, it's like any other component you buy.

What you can't do is use the Raspberry Pi trademarks without permission.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/trademark-rules
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by ksangeelee » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:10 pm
joan wrote:Yes, it's like any other component you buy.


I recently read the licence for the STM32F4DISCOVERY - a board that was being discussed on a thread here. It states that it can't be used for any commercial purpose beyond evaluation and possibly development - I forget the details, but in any case it was very restrictive.

I guess, at the price STMicro sell them, those boards are heavily discounted or maybe even subsidised, but I think when it comes to boards in particular, it would seem wise to check.
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by plasticarmyman » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:32 pm
ksangeelee wrote:
joan wrote:Yes, it's like any other component you buy.


I recently read the licence for the STM32F4DISCOVERY - a board that was being discussed on a thread here. It states that it can't be used for any commercial purpose beyond evaluation and possibly development - I forget the details, but in any case it was very restrictive.

I guess, at the price STMicro sell them, those boards are heavily discounted or maybe even subsidised, but I think when it comes to boards in particular, it would seem wise to check.


Okay, is that a board that is part of the Raspberry Pi itself?....or is that a separate board?...I am just wondering because I am thinking of using the rPi as a component for a project and reselling it for a small profit...and just want to make sure I am in the clear...
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by joan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:33 pm
ksangeelee wrote:
joan wrote:Yes, it's like any other component you buy.


I recently read the licence for the STM32F4DISCOVERY - a board that was being discussed on a thread here. It states that it can't be used for any commercial purpose beyond evaluation and possibly development - I forget the details, but in any case it was very restrictive.

I guess, at the price STMicro sell them, those boards are heavily discounted or maybe even subsidised, but I think when it comes to boards in particular, it would seem wise to check.

That's interesting. I'd hope that was made clear at the point of sale. I've had a quick look at Farnell's site for STM32F4DISCOVERY but didn't notice any product restrictions.
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by plasticarmyman » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:46 pm
and now I feel like a moron :\ I forget to google stuff sometimes....

Anyways, thanks! I appreciate the information! :)
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by ksangeelee » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:44 am
plasticarmyman wrote:
ksangeelee wrote:I recently read the licence for the STM32F4DISCOVERY - a board that was being discussed on a thread here. It states that it can't be used for any commercial purpose beyond evaluation ...


Okay, is that a board that is part of the Raspberry Pi itself?....or is that a separate board?...I am just wondering because I am thinking of using the rPi as a component for a project and reselling it for a small profit...and just want to make sure I am in the clear...


Yes, just to be clear the board I was referring to is completely unrelated to the Raspberry Pi which, as has already been said, can be used without restriction in commercial products.
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by ksangeelee » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:01 am
joan wrote:
ksangeelee wrote:I recently read the licence for the STM32F4DISCOVERY - a board that was being discussed on a thread here. It states that it can't be used for any commercial purpose beyond evaluation and possibly development - I forget the details, but in any case it was very restrictive.

That's interesting. I'd hope that was made clear at the point of sale. I've had a quick look at Farnell's site for STM32F4DISCOVERY but didn't notice any product restrictions.


I just looked up the board on Farnell. The PDF datasheet on Farnell's site links (here), and also contains the line in the "Please Read Carefully" section - "All ST products are sold pursuant to ST’s terms and conditions of sale"

The linked site has the following among the Technical Documentation section of the Design support tab.
EvaluationProductLicenseAgreement.pdf

Quite a lot of digging to get to it, and I don't know how strongly it's enforced, but it seems a lot like a commercial dead-end.
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by cyrano » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:15 am
Take into account that some companies put illegal stuff into their general sales conditions. For instance, a fair number of companies have a clause that their price quotes aren't binding. I'm very certain any court will disagree and declare the entire sales conditions document null and void.

That's why you should pose this kind of a question to a lawyer. Legal issues are seldom simple.
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by rurwin » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:33 am
Well that's ST scratched off my Christmas Present list. :evil:

Saying it's an illegal term does not help much if you are a small company without a few million spare cash to burn on a court case. To my mind it may be illegal as far as it refers to hardware and moot as it refers to documentation, but it may be legal where it refers to software. Such is our messed up world.

(I am not a lawyer; consult one to be sure.)

As everyone has said; there are no such problems with the Raspberry Pi, although the Foundation has said they would appreciate companies doing this to give them an appropriate donation.
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by 2bit » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:32 am
I was thinking of doing something similar. Found out MAME ( arcade emulator of choice ) prohibits commercial use :( . PLUS you have to rip your own roms :oops: . I recommend PROVIDING A SERVICE ( for a fee ) that includes the building of the cabinet AND the setting up of necessary software . 8-) :lol: :twisted: :idea:
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by jamesh » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:10 am
2bit wrote:I was thinking of doing something similar. Found out MAME ( arcade emulator of choice ) prohibits commercial use :( . PLUS you have to rip your own roms :oops: . I recommend PROVIDING A SERVICE ( for a fee ) that includes the building of the cabinet AND the setting up of necessary software . 8-) :lol: :twisted: :idea:


Unfortunately, unless the end user owns the ROMs in question, that service will also be breaking copyright law (if you set up the machine with ROMS). You can do everything else though. For example, charge for the cabinet and Raspi. Then end user can do what they like with it.
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by frizz » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:01 am
2bit wrote:I was thinking of doing something similar. Found out MAME ( arcade emulator of choice ) prohibits commercial use :( . PLUS you have to rip your own roms :oops: . I recommend PROVIDING A SERVICE ( for a fee ) that includes the building of the cabinet AND the setting up of necessary software . 8-) :lol: :twisted: :idea:


Not a bad idea, but I can see a court putting the smack-down on this end-run around the license. Even if you win a case, you still lose. Just consider your legal fees. I understand that in the UK, there is a mechanism for recovering some or all of those fees, consider the value of YOUR time.

I'll add another item to consider, and that is any venue clause. I don't know about MAME, but if I purchase something from NewEgg, part of the sales agreement requires me to bring any action against NewEgg in Los Angeles. I have seen other venue clauses that require the buyer to agree that any suit brought by the seller will be litigated in the courts in its local courts.
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by 2bit » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:03 am
What about all those multi arcade machine's that have replaced all Neo geo MVS cabs at local pizza joints ? I don't see Tony Laquita ( ok so Laquita is not an Italian name and pizza is Chinese food technically ... ) ripping roms off arcade boards in his spare time :oops: :evil: . I mean HE COULD since Papa Laquita bought all those USELESS AND WORTHLESS ( ;) , that's what they think ) Jamma Machines back in the 80s but ... Considering they have Labels that on the side that show multiple games ... from diffrent developers saying stuff like " best 80s arcade games ! " I doubt the roms were acquired legitly . And so they BETTER start enforcing those rom laws ( :idea: why not just do homebrew roms that are distributed free ?!?! :idea: ) any how commercial use of MAME ( even setting one up in a hotel for free play ;) is against the MAME licensing ) is illigal . So coppers , better start bustin' down people's doors to make sure they have ripped their own roms or some folks ( admittedly myself ) may start to " forget " ( should I be posting this?! :oops: ) the laws . I hate to say it but if you don't enforce it who's going to not do it ??? Honestly I'm NOT condoning illigal activity but you MUST enforce if you are going to bother making the law .


The following emoticons have nothing to do with my previous statement . :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :twisted: :twisted:
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by jamesh » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:10 am
2bit wrote:What about all those multi arcade machine's that have replaced all Neo geo MVS cabs at local pizza joints ? I don't see Tony Laquita ( ok so Laquita is not an Italian name and pizza is Chinese food technically ... ) ripping roms off arcade boards in his spare time :oops: :evil: . I mean HE COULD since Papa Laquita bought all those USELESS AND WORTHLESS ( ;) , that's what they think ) Jamma Machines back in the 80s but ... Considering they have Labels that on the side that show multiple games ... from diffrent developers saying stuff like " best 80s arcade games ! " I doubt the roms were acquired legitly . And so they BETTER start enforcing those rom laws ( :idea: why not just do homebrew roms that are distributed free ?!?! :idea: ) any how commercial use of MAME ( even setting one up in a hotel for free play ;) is against the MAME licensing ) is illigal . So coppers , better start bustin' down people's doors to make sure they have ripped their own roms or some folks ( admittedly myself ) may start to " forget " ( should I be posting this?! :oops: ) the laws . I hate to say it but if you don't enforce it who's going to not do it ??? Honestly I'm NOT condoning illigal activity but you MUST enforce if you are going to bother making the law .


The following emoticons have nothing to do with my previous statement . :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :twisted: :twisted:
To all MODERATORS : I *can* be a cynic . And I apologize for it . No sarcasm intended .


I would imagine that those machine you are talking about are indeed fully licenced. The MAME licence is so the authors don't get sued.

And broadcasting you might be doing an illegal act on a public forum might not be the best approach. Note that you don't need to enforce a law all the time. Take speeding. Not every road is monitored all the time, just the occasional one. But people know there is a possibility they could be caught.

See http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1220 ... ost/?cs=12

Oh, and too many smilies!
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by 2bit » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:23 am
Actually I have never built a MAME cab . I want too but I don't think I have the funds ( especially the ripping of the roms , cheaper to build a super gun Jamma as by then I'd still have a metric ton of arcade boards ) and as for being fully licsended : I doubt it . Why ? Because couldn't Sega ( perfect example as they are still making arcade games and are not *fully* defunct ) just release their own compilation of Their hits instead of licsencing them out and making Less of a profit ? Plus couldn't they just buy up the copy rights to say ... Outrun ( wait ... Didn't they make outrun ?)
from the senile 85s ( no offense but after the party , party lives of programmers back then in the 80s I think I would be out of it ) who currently own the rights ? Or am I over thinking this ?
That last bit you said : :D :) :D :) :D :) :) :) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :D :) :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :evil: :evil: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :arrow:
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by jamesh » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:14 am
2bit wrote: Because couldn't Sega ( perfect example as they are still making arcade games and are not *fully* defunct ) just release their own compilation of Their hits instead of licsencing them out and making Less of a profit ?


Because in all likelihood they make more money from licensing than making and selling it themselves (as many companies find in many different areas). After all, simply licencing some old games is money for nothing - just a few contracts and the money starts coming in. Making a whole cabinet, requiring R&D, a production line, support staff etc, is much more expensive. Third parties with lower overheads can do it, and have the advantage of being able to licence from more than one manufacturer to make the cabinet more consumer friendly.
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by Rene_is_I » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:55 pm
Interesting topic.

The way I see it is that most of the "donated" roms available for MAME are for private use only,
however there are agents/resellers that legally sell roms for commercial use.
Obviously this should be the first port of call.

These links might prove useful:

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2012/01/turn_your_retro_cartridges_into_roms_legally

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROM_image (See halfway down the page under Copyright)

http://mamedev.org/devwiki/index.php/FAQ:ROMs#But_I.27ve_seen_Ultracade_and_Global_VR_Classics_cabinets_out_in_public_places.3F_Why_can_they_do_it.3F

http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp Again see halfway down the page under Independent Publishers/Licensees/Licensed Property Owners
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by 2bit » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:03 am
Why would someone EVER buy roms ?! :?: Why not rip your own ? The hard part is getting the Equipment to rip roms . Only time I've ever heard of comercial roms is for those iOS ( non jailbreak ) 2600 emulators that obscenely expensive compared to what you COULD pay for a REAL 2600 ( or Sears video arcade if you are lucky and find an idiot who don't know what they're selling ) and a stack of games and those cramp inducing controllers .
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by aTao » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:16 am
2bit wrote:Why would someone EVER buy roms ?! :?: Why not rip your own ? The hard part is getting the Equipment to rip roms .

2bit wrote:Honestly I'm NOT condoning illigal activity but you MUST enforce if you are going to bother making the law .


Honesty not good enough? Aside from the law, hows about if you dont pay, they dont eat, if they dont eat they dont write stuff, if they dont write stuff, you have to, its easier to pay.
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by 2bit » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:24 am
They could become part of an easier industry - iOS/android development . Come up with the next angry birds or world of goo and your set . why Struggle with the law when you only make few cents off doing so ?
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by jamesh » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:47 am
2bit, I think we've said enough on this subject. You obviously don't like people getting paid for their product, that's your prerogative, but I think we can keep it at that. Ripping off ROMS is copyright theft, that's the law, even if people do it.

Angry Birds? Easy? I think you underestimate the complexity of writing a modern application. That took a team of people months to write. There's no such thing as a free lunch. And how many games like that have made any real money? Very few. Which shows how DIFFICULT the industry is, not how easy.
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by 2bit » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:23 am
I give :cry: . But seriously buying roms just ... Messes with me . Selling EQUIPMENT too rip roms doesn't bother my morals at all .
On the subject of games like Angry birds I grabbed that to use as a last resort weapon . I was out of line . I apologize . Just for the bit about Angry birds .
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by jamesh » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:05 am
2bit wrote:I give :cry: . But seriously buying roms just ... Messes with me . Selling EQUIPMENT too rip roms doesn't bother my morals at all .
On the subject of games like Angry birds I grabbed that to use as a last resort weapon . I was out of line . I apologize . Just for the bit about Angry birds .


Well, you should probably apologise for advocating the theft of peoples copyrighted works as well. But I guess your moral compass won't let you do that.
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by 2bit » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:50 am
What ? No that's not what I meant ... I never advocated ( I might have ... Private opinions on the matter of downloading roms from the Internet but what I said ( or at least attempted to say ) was that since the laws governing such practices are very seldom enforced ( at least here , stateside ) it creates a ... area where your moral compass is left to be your guid . Unfortunately on some stuff my moral compass is useless . But I attempt , too stay on the straight and narrow . However when in my previous post I ( unwisely ) teetered on and on about how ridcolously easy it is for someone to go - ok look as you can see I don't really watch what I type . I SHOULD . And apologize for what I am ( which means arguing to the bitter end ) . So with that in mind I will ( try not to post in this ) thread till it is unhijacked ( because I basically hijacked it and turned into 2bit sharing his morals with the world ) .
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