Home of the Underdogs - Support Letters - Part 2
Below are just some of the letters our visitors wrote to ESA (formerly the IDSA) in response to
to us, demanding the removal of games copyrighted by their
members . We believe the situation has been resolved
by virtue of the fact that the IDSA has not replied to any of our e-mails (except the first one in
which we pointed out that the site does not offer any "illegal sale").
To read some of the earlier letters sent in response to the ESA's earlier notice to our domain registrar, please visit this
This page stands as a "thank you" note to all our visitors who have e-mailed the ESA in support of
our cause. May the underdogs never die!
Browse letter #: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
Dear Robert L. Hunter, et al.
I would like to respectfully request that you focus your anti-piracy efforts on issues that
actually have a bearing on the current software market. Anti-piracy enforcement is important and
vital in the modern economy, as current release software is quickly copied, cracked, and posted to
the internet, sometimes even before a software product begins to ship. It seems to me that the
most revenue is lost when currently marketed software is pirated and traded while original the
original copies are still in stores.
It is therefore very disappointing to learn that you instead focus your attention on sites that
offer 'abandonware' software no longer considered profitable or marketable. I really don't
understand how preventing someone from downloading a copy of Adventure Construction Set
pays your salary. I had a store-bought version of this product back in the 80's, but the ravages
of time, dust, and magnetism have left the original disk set useless. I still have a license to
use this software -- but since Electronic Arts will NOT replace the disks for me because the
product is so old, I have little choice but to look for a copy on the internet. Copyright
protection is important, but when a company no longer chooses to make copyrighted material
available, nobody benefits from efforts to prevent further distribution and support. I'm not
asking you to stop going after web sites that make copyrighted material available. All I'm asking
you to do is try to bust the people posting 0-day warez (who make admittedly much harder targets,
I'll give you that) instead of easy scapegoats like web sites devoted to 'classic' games,
abandonware, or emulators.
Bottom Line: It's not abandonware that's costing the software industry an estimated 3 billion in
revenue. It's piracy of current-release software... and that's where you need to FOCUS.
Anti-piracy is in a sad state these days. The IDSA wastes time and resources trying to shut down
abandonware sites. Computer stores simply do not allow software to be returned once the package
has been opened. The consumer is stuck with the product even if the program doesn't meet the
user's needs, or is defective and won't run at all. Game companies introduce intentional defects
into CD-ROMs to make them copy-proof. One tiny scratch on an original CD and you're out of luck. A
friend of mine recently had to download a "No-CD" crack for a game she purchased, because the
copy-protection scheme caused her CD-ROM drive to try too hard to read the intentional defects on
the disk, which made the game unplayable. When anti-piracy measures begin to have such an impact
that legitimate customers can't return defective products, or need to visit a 'warez' site to make
a game playable, it's time to ask, "How much is too much?"
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Dear IDSA members,
Although I arrived rather late upon this matter due to time restraints, I still feel compelled to
say something about it. I'm sure that the IDSA has already received a good number of like emails
expressing various reasons, but I personally would think that one more can't be of any harm to any
I personally feel that the IDSA has taken this matter more lightly than it would have been wise
to, incurring in painfully evident lacks of understanding; for how much I understand the feel and
need that the IDSA has to protect the rights of their members, I strongly disagree on the way it
has to proceed with such protocols. In this particular issue we were mentioning about electronic
games products which age ranges from 0 to over 25 years since their release, taking off freeware
products, whose copyrights expressely define that they are freely available to public
distribution, the Underdogs is a site dedicated to 'abandonware', a good definition of abandonware
would be exactly what the term insinuates: electronic wares that have been 'abandoned' from their
industries, nowhere to be found any longer and forgotten from everyone but the most dedicated
(and, to a particular extent, old) player. Considering the will that the IDSA has proven to
protect their members like their duty implies, it would be more advisable to avoid enforcing the
legal copyrights held by their members mostly because there is the chance that some or more of
their members could disagree about this enforcement given the situation.
In fact, what was called 'piracy' in the letter posted in the website is something that up to date
has been defined to a certain extent, and that it would be applied in this case only with some
modifications to the concept itself. To give a better explaination of what I'm trying to say, I
would like to remember how european radio stations became legally acknowledged; at least someone
in the IDSA will have at least some vague information about the first radio stations, about 40-50
years ago only state-owned radio stations were allowed, therefore turning every other station into
a 'pirate' station because the music they were transmitting was a challenge to the copyrights held
by the legal owners of the songs themselves. Everyone can tell how this story ended up by making a
count of all non-statal radio stations existing; the issue was resolved by putting a small
'copyright' fee on virgin cassettes that could be used to register songs as they went into the
radios to pay off the copyright owners.
This all to tell the IDSA that what we call 'piracy' now can become 'legal' in a matter of months,
or even days, if brought up correctly. I do not know what legal means have been mobilitated to
take care of this issue, but frankly considering that some of the copyright owners of some
products are no longer existing, retired or, in the worst case, dead, it would be ridiculous to
make any sort of legal action against the posting of these products, and ridiculous to say the
least. Since, for the sake of both parties, I would strongly advise to avoid making such hazardous
moves, I would personally suggest to effectively contact the copyright owners of these products,
since the matter seems to be peculiar enough to require such attention, and also because, as it
has already been said, most software houses don't even know they hold the copyrights of at least
half the games that are to be found at The Underdogs.
Since The Underdogs explicitly claims that their action is supposed to prevent such games to be
forgotten from the ages, it is rather improper to make an accusation of piracy towards the site; a
more proper solution would be to actually interrogate the copyright owners about their situation
and let them, and them only, decide about what should be made. Since I personally cannot see any
sort of moral or financial loss from the involed parties in having their most abandoned products
to be made available online for free, I am again encouraging the IDSA to make their members
express their very personal opinions about the issue, and I am even open to receive a reply with
the exact counts of the financial loss that could befall on the companies because of this
I, frankly, think that if this matter is taken maturely and seriously, it can be resolved in very
little time without any pain.
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is [name withheld] and I am writing this letter in support of the Home of the Underdogs
site. I would like to point out a few of the areas that your organization (and perhaps some of
your member corporations) may be missing when you assume the site is engaging in software piracy.
Firstly, I know you have recieved many letters pointing out that the site does not offer current
games that are on the market today. These letters have pointed out the archiving function the site
performs, as well as the fact that they provide links to information about the manufacturers and
designers of various titles, including history, trivia and facts about them. Rather then belabour
that point, I would like to turn to another area that may be of interest to both yourselves and
the member corporations you protect.
The online market is a cut throat place. As a web designer and site marketer, I am very aware of
these facts, as is anyone involved in even a marginally successful internet venture today.
Computer games are invariably marketed online, as a major media vector to get the word out about
the latest products and releases. Well and good, however many businesses today are learning that
the net is not like the mass market vectors of yesterday. It is interactive by it's nature and
encourages those who use it to get involved. This makes for a much more vocal and self willed
consumer base. This is a concept that many solid companies can be baffled by, considering that the
mass media of the last century was a largely "one way" channel. A two way channel, as defined by
the net, is coming mean that potential customers can communicate at the speed of thought.
Communities, forums, discussion groups, opt in e-mail lists, these all form the bones of the
structure that ties this network of consumers together.
These are the facts of life in business today. So, how does all of this positively affect both
yourselves and you corporate clients?
Game companies are spending untold amounts of money to get a pre-built fan base for their titles:
Banner ads, online reviews, downloadable demo versions as well as the conventional ads placed in
offline channels such as television and magazines. These methods take money from the bottom line
and force titles to either be hits or failures, often long before they are even released. Many
games which are poorly marketed are not lacking in quality, playability or entertainement.
However, the lack of effective marketing (often due to prioratizing based on the bottom line)
means that they will never be the revenue generators they could be. It is a sad comment on
corporate "best practises" that so many projects that are not marketed effectively will never
achieve the attention, use and ultimately the profits that they deserve.
Sites such as the Home of the Underdogs are actually doing what the original game producers
couldn't - they are marketing the games, the designers and the companies they represent. They are
doing it for free with acknowledgement given to the originators of the titles they make available.
They are also doing something unique to the internet and the cultures that it encompasses:
marketing with integrity and conscience. To online communities and the people who are members of
them, these are expected and demanded qualities.
As for the consumers, what of them? Are they simply "parasites" who want something for nothing?
The answer is a resounding "No!" The people who are downloading yesterday's discontinued hit game
title are the people who will be purchasing tomorrows hit games as well. They are doing so now and
will continue to do so next month, next year and in the next decade. However, they are doing so in
an informed and intelligent manner, based on their previous experiences with a game, designer or
company and Home of the Underdogs is one portion of a vast network of like minded individuals
which is helping them to do so. This trend is reaching out to affect all areas of business today,
not just games or even software. Intelligent companies are coming to see this long term trend and
are getting involved with it as a way of ensuring their business viability for the future.
A well crafted game, similar to any other well crafted item, be it a book, a car or a website,
becomes a legend to it's fans and supporters. They play it, re-play it, recommend it to friends,
co-workers and family. They look for future titles from the designers and the companies that
employ them. And, most importantly, they buy them. If they really like both the game and it's
desinger and/or company, they will clear the store shelves of the titles in record times. The
people who frequent this site are your consumers. They want quality, even if it is dated and they
are willing to pay for it, if this is possible. They also want quality that is fresh and new and
will happily pay for that as well.
This is a marketing gold mine waiting to be discovered and developed. If one half of the retail
sites that I work to market every day had the kind of online community attached to them that Home
of the Underdogs does, my job would be obsolete. The customers would be marketing each other,
telling stories of their experiences with products, promoting them and, most definitely, buying
There are a few other benefits that go with this type of marketing which I honestly ask you and
your member companies to look at:
Loyalty: People who buy from a company that gets in touch with them, tend to stay with them. If
a company is approachable and responsive, the customers will notice and remember. This means
future sales and a loyalty to brands which is very hard to achieve in this internet age of
Self Policing: Time and again, I have seen fan sites that encourage, promote or simply out right
demand integrity from their communities. They refuse to host illegal or profit reducing
materials and they insist that others do this as well. Peer pressure, when created by peers who
really care about both the product that they promote and the others who may be using it, is the
most effective method of regulation. (As in, "Hey, you ripped the latest copy of XYZ Corp's new
title? That was just released two weeks ago. If we want to see any more like that one, we gotta
pay for this stuff !!! Very not cool, dude.") This too is a trend that companies can benefit
from if they can learn to work with it.
Added value: Value, as a concept, exists in only the perceptions of the human mind. Interaction,
percieved generosity and openess to consumer desires or constructive criticisms add value. Some
of your member companies have begun to put these concepts to work and are making tremendous
profits on their titles as a result. The benefits go far beyond profit, since it affects the
quality of the titles released, and it reinforces self policing and brand loyalty in the
consumers who purchase the titles.
In closing, let me add a final thought. Sites such as Home of the Underdogs will always exist.
Their fan bases will keep them alive in one form or another. The real question is whether or not
you can benefit from their presence and activities. If these sites are driven offline, they will
simply reappear again in another form and under another name. They will also spread into vectors
and channels that cannot be reached by conventional methods, which is a shameful waste considering
the incredible amout of marketing clout they possess. The companies that are the most stringent in
protecting themselves from perceived copyright infingements will often wind up being the phyrric
victors. They may win their court cases but the will lose their market shares and, quite possibly,
their existances as a result. Persecuting a movement will often lend it an underground legitmacy
that can turn it into a behemoth. Why not create a scenario that benefits both sides of the coin
instead? After all, coin is what this is all about.
To Whom it May Concern,
I received my first computer back in 1987. I immediately was an avid fan of computer games, as I
received several to start of my collection. There were a lot of games that, at the time, I
couldn't afford to get. now I have the opportunity to get these games even though they are no
longer available anywhere for sale. At least I use to be able to. I recently read your email sent
to the website Home of the Underdogs (www.theunderdogs.org). I can understand the legal issue that
is being brought forward, but I cannot believe that members of your association would really care
about games that are no longer for sale. If anything, I would think that they would appreciate
that there are fans out there who still love and enjoy these games of old.
This website has allowed me to relive the past. The enjoyment I had growing up playing these
games. I have been able to find games that I had bought before, but had been lost in moves and
just with time. Imagine my joy when I found a game that I have wanted since 1988. It is called
The Prophecy: Fall of Trinadon. A game that I saw advertised in comic books, but I never
did get it. All of a sudden it is available to me on this wonderful web site, but now, it has been
taken off due to it being copyrighted. A game that I have wanted for almost thirteen years and now
I cannot get it again!
As I said before, I have been collecting games since 1987. I have games on 5.25" disk, 3.5" disk,
cd-rom, and dvd. I have accumulated over 300 games that I HAVE BOUGHT over these years. This isn't
all of them, as I said I have lost some over the course of these years. I am not saying that I am
entitled to free games, but I am trying to point out that your members have received a lot of
money from me. I am just asking you to reconsider the removal of these games. They are games of
the past that deserve to be made to the public. Games that are no longer being sold. Games that
,for some, are a remembrance of their gaming past. I would appreciate a response to my email, not
a form letter sent out, but an actual response as to your justification in this matter.
Thank you for listening to my thoughts, and I look forward to your reply.
I am writing to you to ask some advise on the subject of old games.
I have been trying to get hold of a copy of the first version of Falcon, by the now defunct
Spectrum Holobyte. I have contacted Microprose in the past who deny all knowledge of this game,
and also had a look on various web sites trying to find this game.
My conversations with Hasbro who own Microprose have been equally unable to locate the program. As
I have already purchased this program once, since then I have found the disks to be completely
faulty. I would like to ask how I get hold of another copy if the manufacturer does not want to
provide it. I would like to get a copy off of a web site, but according to you this would
constitute piracy, and I would not like to be seen doing this. Could you please advise on how I
get the contactual obligation of the manufacturer you support fulfilled?
My main problem is that if they do not want to provide copies of this software for a fee to a
legitimate user who can I turn to to get a copy.
Another example I have is that I would like to get a lost part of the documentation that
accompanies a software product, but the company that made the game 15 years ago, do not want to
oblige, or help in any way shape or form. Any suggestions.
As the last resort I feel that as you are acting on their behalf, maybe you can act on my behalf
and prod them into producing the goods. I feel that in the end this will be a futile gesture as
these software companies are driven by only one thing, money. As they are in business I accept
that, but if they did not have any customers then they would not be in business, I being one of
the customers have in the past contributed to their financial status.
One last thing, why do you have a problem with software that is 10 to 15 years old being freely
available on the net? If companies do not provide this software then surely the financial losses
you talk about have no substance. The only reason I can see why companies do not want to sell this
software is they do not want the increased cost of supporting it, and other concerns associated
I look forward to your response.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have recently learned of IDSA's demand that the abandonware website http://www.theunderdogs.org
remove the game titles copyrighted by ISDA members that appear on the site. While I can easily
understand why it is necessary for game companies to employ all necessary measures to stop piracy
and protect their copyrights, I think that the ISDA has overshot the mark in this case.
Technically and legally, it is true that theunderdogs.com infringes on the copyrights of several
of your members by providing abandonware for public download on their site. However, the point is
that we are dealing with 'abandon'-ware, game titles more than five years old _and_ no longer
published or supported by their publishers. I find this to be radically different, in a moral
sense, from so-called 'warez'-sites, which offer still-published games for sale, a practice which
is obviously illegal. But since the game titles in question are no longer sold by their
publishers, the game companies do not, in my opinion, suffer any financial losses through the
service offered by theunderdogs.org.
If the companies in question feel that there is still money to be earned on re-issuing old titles,
a feeling that should be supported by the immense success of theunderdogs.org and other sites, I
can only encourage them to do so. If not, I find it difficult to understand why they, through
IDSA, think it necessary to crack down on abandonware-sites, which not only provide a useful
service to game collectors such as myself, but in a sense also to the game companies themselves. I
know that when I finda quality game title on the site, that usually serves as an encouragement to
seek out, and sometimes
buy, other newer titles by that company.
Instead of creating a bad reputation for themselves through desperately clinging to their
copyrights, the game companies should either re-issue the titles in question, or view the
abandonware sites as a convenient source of free advertising.
I have some concerns regarding "Abandonware", it appears that you (the IDSA) seem to want sites
that offer "Classic" and forgotten games to die, taking with them , the classic games.
I have recently, Via a Second hand store, perchased some such classics as X-Com 1, The
Police Quest Series, and RailRoad Tycoon, and ask, Why try to kill these games off.
I have not, in the past few years, seen these products for sale first-hand, so why is it wrong to
get a quasi-legal copy? In that instance we ALL LOSE.
Most abandonware sites offer Games no longer sold, and this is the only chance to see history,
sure, CopyRight lasts for 75(?) years, but unlike Art such as Van Gough or Beethoven,
Video/Computer Games are not as long lasting, and replaced with rather Pathetic attempts that have
good graphics, and no gameplay.
These "abandoned" games are often, much better than the new stuff, are your members afraid that
we'll actually play low-profit good games with little in the graphics department that will load in
seconds, take up little space, and dont need a fancy Computer, instead of their Graphical Beasts
that take up Gigabites of space, while offering little gameplay value.
Most games today are also lacking Storyline, and somehow, your members appear to get away with
this, take Quake for instance, the First installment had a half-Assed attempt at a
storyline (the invaders through the Stargate), wile The Latest installment, is not even given a
soryline, just shoot-up-every-one, gee, I see the whole point, fire the Creativity department and
let the machines design the game.
Take for example, Police Quest 1, the original text version, Is Sierra going to release
this verson soon? No. They did stick it into a compolation some time ago, but other than that,
nothing. How am I supposed to show people how you can make a great game without fancy 3d Graphics?
Withut a point-and-click interface, without all the Crap your members stick into it, which are
totaly not apart of the Game.
I am a Rather Careless person, and many CDs of games I have have broken, and many 3 1/2 and 5 1/4
disks have earned themselves Bad Sectors, WHat am I supposed to do, call up tech support and ask
for a game they dont even have records of? and in those cases where the COMPANY no longer exists?
I think, however, I have the Ultimate solution, that will allow Us, the Gamers, who acknowledge a
classic when we see it, and your members, actually get some money of a line which is obviously
You Claim that these abandonware sites rob you of income, by Pirated games, yet you no longer have
these games for sale, correct? so, if all people whom want game A are getting Downloads, and your
selling none, lets see, obvious erosion of 100%
Now lets look at your "perfect world" members of the IDSA, No abandonware, I want classic A, Lets
see, ring around Friends, damn, the only one destroyed it too long ago, 2nd hand shop hasnt got
it, cant get it new, No Profit for your Members.
So how about an offical Abandonware Site? Where, the Designers of the game can set a FAIR PRICE
(not like those $80-100 Australian monstrosities your members force down our throats), which can
be let's say, between free and $5 US, Download the manual for Free, and No Support, if the File
Download is corrupted, E-mail it back (to prove it), and send em another copy, simple! hey, why
didnt YOU think of that?
I am, Forwarding this message to a site you currently have in your crosshairs, a site dedicated to
revealing games that have pretty much gone unoticed by the world, isnt it fair enough that we give
these developers, whom have made great games, with little success, a bit of a leg up?
I myself hope to one day be able to sit in the same leauge as Sid Meier, Roberta Williams, Will
Wright and chris Sawer, and, I know, that when I have developed a game, should people judge it to
be a true classic, after an amount of time, I will set it free, for if you keep a butterfly
trapped in your hands, it will certainly die.
What you are doing is like banning any picture that hasnt been painted in the past two years.
[game company name withheld]
To whom it might concern,
I'm writing this one asking you to reconsider your request to shut down the site located at
I do know and understand that you're founding your request on legal issues which, considered in
themselves, are surely true and valid. However I think that in this case you're NOT actually
supporting "...the intellectual property interests of over thirty companies that publish
interactive games for video game consoles, personal computers, handheld devices and the Internet."
As a matter of fact, your support should and must include advertisements policy, which in turn
means NOT to doom to oblivion some among the masterpieces your own members had produced during
time. But that's exactly what you're doing now.
If Underdogs has to close, tons of excellent programs, original ideas, beautiful graphics, etc.
will most likely be lost forever. So, I'd like you would think and consider the following
- as Underdogs is a no-profit "organization", they're not earning any money out of their
- as the legitimate owners of the software available on underdogs' site cannot care a bit - due
to various, mostly commercial/marketing, reasons - of their own past products, this people is
not losing any money.
- on the contrary, due to the "indirect" advertisements campaign Underdogs is providing to your
own members (I daresay providing a better service than yours) the latters are actually "earning
- whenever anyone among your members would like to revive their own past software, he/she can
simply send a notice to Underdogs (and, btw, also provide a way to distribute such software) who
will soon remove any download link.
- as a matter of fact, many Underdogs visitors - including myself - are buying games because
they found them on that site, either as a go-and-buy link or because they downloaded such games
and tried them and liked them.
- increasing interest about past games can only favor a more active environment for game
producers, encouraging them to develop new versions of past games - which IMHO are generally
MUCH better than the games you can find on the market at present days.
All in all, then, why do you want to close Underdogs? please, reply to this, not necessarily
replying to my own mail, of course.
Because Underdogs is stealing money? but they are not.
Because your members are losing money? but, again, they are not.
Because Underdogs is providing negative advertisements? but it is exactly the contrary.
IT dept. chief
[company name withheld]
To whom it may concern,
I find it highly distasteful the actions of this "IDSA". First of all you people didn't even get
the letter/complaint correct, claiming that these people who were offering a free service were in
fact selling illegal copies of software. Considering the fact that they actually help advertise
many games -- and urge people to purchase those they can -- they act often as a free means of
If you further consider what is in reality "fair use" you would further take into consideration
that many of the titles you claimed to be infringing upon the rights of others, in fact cannot be
purchased through any retail channels, nor private ones for that matter. If the work isn't being
sold, how does it take anything from anyone? The copyright holder isn't making any money off the
titles, nor are they losing any as in the case of pirating. One would even go so far as to say the
people providing the downloads are stirring up interest in these games via their free
advertising/reviewing, to perhaps make it a viable option to bring the titles out of locked dusty
file cabinets, and begin selling them again.
Instead of looking at the fair use, and positive side, you choose to turn the whole thing into a
negative issue, and an erroneous one at that. It would seem the only thing you people are
interested in is trashing anyone else's rights that aren't making you money.
When the companies you claim to be defending use companies like the IDSA to hinder other people's
rights without looking at a compromise or the benefit these others provide, it makes me seriously
rethink ever supporting them further. That means more or less a boycott of their products in the
future. No more will I spend the $40-50 on a new game, or on an older game that I happen to find.
I would even go so far as to urge all my friends and family to do likewise. If the consumers and
fans of these game companies aren't treated with the due respect they deserve, or allowed to hold
onto their rights as well (Because obviously the client's rights are more important, even when
they aren't being infringed upon) then we have no obligation what so ever to support them in any
way, and we should actively hinder anyone that is trying to step on our rights. I value my rights
highly and will do anything I can to protect them. I work hard for my money, and refuse to waste
it on the ignorant.
Since I actually know my facts behind this matter, and looked at the things that my letter is in
response to, I can actually say (unlike you folks) I believe this letter is "accurate and
correctly describes the infringing nature" of the IDSA.
Furthermore, [you quote the following]
"The unauthorized copies of such game product[s] appearing on, or made available through, such
site are listed and/or identified on such Internet site by their titles, variations thereof or
depictions of associated artwork (any such game titles, copies, listings and/or other depictions
of, or references to, any contents of such game product, are hereinafter referred to as
Do you really think you have a leg to stand on here? They can reference anything they want to as
free press. They do in fact review games. Nothing written is libelous so there is no recourse that
way. Again this falls under fair use. If you continue to try to stomp on people's rights, you may
find yourself in court dealing with harassment and other civil suits. Your clients aren't the only
ones with rights. We have them as well, and we deserve to have them protected as much, if not
moreso because you are actually trying to oppress them.
I simply ask that you reconsider your actions, and attempt a compromise in the situation. As the
underdogs have done on many occasion, when something isn't abandon-ware, they are happy to link to
a place that sells the software in question at the request of the copyright holder. If the
software isn't available for purchase though, why not allow them to continue what they do?
Dear sir or madam,
I am writing to you in protest of action you have recently undertaken against a website -
www.theunderdogs.org - you have accused the administrators of this site of infringment of
copyright and insisted that they remove some links to games however if your department had taken
the time to properly check the situation they would have found that the site is not a "warez" site
and nor does it provide copies of games still currently being sold. What it does do is provide an
"abandonware" service, this concept is a grey area in this new field and it concerns games or
other software that can no longer be bought at any retail outlet, either separately or as part of
a compilation. You begin to speak of money lost and yet - it is impossible for your members to
lose money, many of the games mentioned are over 10 years old and have not been available for
retail for roughly seven years - in fact your members are in fact receiving free advertising for
themselves and their companies in a way that no other ad campaign could deliver. None of the games
offered for download are commercially viable and none have been available for retail for years and
yet you continue to harass the administrators of this site with letters such as this. Consider the
case of a second hand bookstore - most books have quite clearly printed on the inside cover "Not
for Resale" but many second hand book stores exist reselling those same books, and book companies
do not object... why? it is simple economics, once the book has been sold they are not going to
recieve any more profit from it, so they allow them to be resold, getting an entirely new audience
for no extra cost. An audience that may be influenced to buy more of their new books because they
like those that they bought at the second hand bookstore, this is exactly the same situation as
with www.theunderdogs.org you are receiving an entirely new audience for an economically inviable
product at no extra cost, thus providing you with - as you are so interested in monetary aspects -
roughly $200,000 - the price of a small ad campaign - of advertising for free. By continuing to
insist that these games be removed you are losing business, money, customers and respect.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to you with regards to your recent proposed legal action against the website
I have one very big question for you which is, "What do you hope to gain from this?".
To elaborate, I am really at a loss to understand what your motives are for your proposed legal
action. If you cared to actually investigate the site thoroughly (an action which you clearly did
not perform, jusging by some of the critical errors in your first letter), you would realise that
www.theunderdogs.org is a law abiding site which means no malicious intent.
The term "Abandonware" is generally used to refer to any game which has been discontinued or
abandoned by it's publishers. Such games will NEVER be re-released and the publisher will make
absolutely NO more money out of selling the game. Therefore, How are gamers like myself meant to
obtain such classics if they are not for sale?
I thoroughly understand that games that are still in production, even on a budget scale should not
under any circumstances be classified as "Abandonware", no matter how old they are. Such games are
classified as "Warez" and not "Abandonware" and no such games exist on www.theunderdogs.org.
To recap, www.theunderdogs.org is used primarily and only as an archive of discontinued games. It
acts more beneficially to the publishers than anything as their works are still being protrayed
and their company name is being shown.
I myself have downloaded several abandonware games before. I recently downloaded Dungeon Keeper
1 (NOT from www.theunderdogs.org however), mainly because I had played the demo from an
ancient magazine disk, and I was unable to find the game in my local Electronics Boutique. After
becoming thorougly addicted to the game, I then was so impressed, I went out and bought a copy of
Dungeon Keeper 2. This is something that would have not happened had I not played Dungeon
Keeper 1 first and become so enthralled with it.
To round off this letter, Please think REALLY hard about what you are hoping to achieve by
shutting down www.theunderdogs.org. Do you think that your members will see their profits rise?
Will they gain more publicity? No. They will lose publicity and will see no change what so ever in
their financial side of their business.
I know full well that STRICTLY speaking, www.theunderdogs.org is illegal, but ethically, it is
aiding the game industry and not hindering it. If you are not too high and mighty to have got to
this part without deleting and pooh poohing my letter, please think about what I have said and you
should realise that, whatever the legal arguments, I have a point.
COPY OF E-MAIL:
To: DMCA Enforcement
1211 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
From: [name withheld]
(private person with NO connection to the mentioned site below)
It was with great surprise I just learnt that IDSA want the website known as "home of the
underdogs" (www.theunderdogs.org) closed. I have visited quite a lot of game sites from the
straight legal shareware scene to the darkest hacker scene and seen a lot of illegal things going
on out there. However, I draw a line between what I consider legal/honest and illegal/dishonest.
As far as I am concerned, Home of the underdogs falls in the first category. They have a lot of
old games which can be downloaded for free, but whenever the game is for sale somewhere/anywhere
the download link is cunningly replaced with a link to the store where the game can be bought!
That's what I call an honest gamesite manager. He has showed during the last two years I have
watched his site grow, that he will remove any game if a copyright-holder wants him to do so. So
the site should not be a problem for the gaming industry, just give hime a list of games you want
removed and he will do it. Rather than damaging the industry I would say he is making people more
interested in playing games, all kinds of games. And after all there are games which are
impossible to find for sale anywhere, so why not make them available for those who still love
I sincerely believe that what IDSA is doing is a justified attempt to stop software piracy, but in
their eager to do so fail to realize that when they target "home of the underdogs" they are
basically shooting at the piano player. They are trying to remove one of the most
business-friendly and honest gamesites of all. I could think of a thousand sites that rather
deserve the label "piracy" than this particular site. I believe that one member of IDSA is the
Disney concern. In the spirit of our dear, beloved Walt: It can't be right to shoot at the piano
player, can it?
[name & e-mail withheld]
Re: www.theunderdogs.org and copyright infringements
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing to you to convey my dismay at the course of action you are taking against the
afforementioned site. It is sad time when a resource such as the afforementioned site is seen as a
threat to an industry it so clearly supports and endorses.
I have been a proponent of Abandonware for four years now and despite the end of the name being
�ware� it has nothing what so ever to do with �warez� and the illegal distribution of in-print
software. Abandonware is the same noble quest for preservation which founded such great
institution as the British Museum and the Great Library but in a digital age. It seeks to preserve
great pieces of software which otherwise would be lost in the sands of time. The Underdogs does
not and has never knowingly put up software which is still in print and sold. It instead unlike
the �warez� community seeks to actively protect the memory and code of software. It not only
serves as a memorial to old forgotten games but in print games, it does not post this software
however but directs the public who have such a hard time finding this software to the apporiate
Your letter to the webmaster of the site was ill-conceived, amateurish and badly researched. It
seems as if you did not even properly look over the site, citing �illegal sales� which you have
now change- after having this brought to your attention- to �illegal downloads�. Who wrote this
letter? Are they still employed? I know if an employee in my company wrote an official notice that
was not one hundred percent factually accurate given the resources open to them and not properly
researched I would seriously reconsider their employment within my firm. It is to be blunt
disgraceful. Have you consulted your members to see what they feel in the matter? The law is their
to protect but it is not there to be partisanly enforced without context. I am sure most of your
clients are not even aware of the games being their intellectual property but more so I believe
most would have no problem with them being made freely available. The fact that they are not
freeware is most likely clerical and because they would have to offer support for games which are
old and therefore could not be supported. Games such as Covert Action which you cite in
your letter have not been distributed in at least five years and their is no way for an avid fan
of the game and/or company or genre to obtain these games. I personally believe and I believe the
majority of the gaming public would agree that making these games freely available- without
technical support- on a central server-in a sense a library for which the internet was originally
intended- would not only boost current sales of other products but allow companies to revamp those
license, to produce sequels and therefore increase their revenues. Several examples of this have
been seen in the industry and for the most part have been successful.
The Underdogs is not another site trading in illegal warez to make a profit, it is there so others
may enjoy the richness of these forgotten classics as I am sure you would agree is a noble
endeavour. Where would we be if books such as Shakespeare�s work were not so readily available? If
they were in fact fanatically protected from the public domain which they now reside? How much
less enriched would our society be without them? How many children around the English speaking
world would go without one of the greatest literary minds the world has ever witnessed? The same
can be said of forgotten out of print masterpiece games. Whereas a book has such instituitons such
as public libraries to keep them alive, where does the electronic medium go? It has no other
option. It has no other recourse and shutting someone down or demanding they stop distributing
these said pieces is ludicrous. It shows contempt to the gaming public, it shows contempt to the
game and it�s memory. It is the same as burning books, and it is spiteful.
You have also shown no respect for the way this law is prosecuted. It is to be first taken to the
webmaster/owner of the site and the request made to them them first. Not trying to shut them down
with no forewarning of their mistake, that is putting the proverbial cart before the proverbial
horse. Your first course of action was underhanded and with the result that came of it made you
Reconsider your actions, it is in the best interests of you, your members and the public. This
course of action benefits no one. No revenues will be made from these items of software and
therefore I am sure your members are indifferent as to what happens to these games, but would be
pleased and flattered to know that their games are remembered. Shutting down the site or removing
the listed materials will serve no purpose but alienating law abiding citizens from your cause. I
whole heartly disagree with piracy, but this is not piracy and I am sure if you had properly
reviewed the site you would not have taken the poorly executed course of the action that you did.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter,
Dear Sir or Madam,
I protest your request made to TheUnderdogs.org on June 14th, 2001, to have certain games removed
for download from that site.
First of all there is no money being made from the games downloads. Second of all the games are no
longer available for sale.
I am a student who is currently learning the art of creating games. I view TheUnderdogs.org as a
library where I can find old out of date games. And by playing these old and out of date games I
have been getting ideas to make new games. TheUnderdogs.org has been an invaluable source to my
learning experience. By forcing them to remove those games that are not available for sale you
will be stifling the creative input of not only me, but others like me as well.
I will be making games one day. Once my games are too old for sale and not being sold anymore, I
should hope that TheUnderdogs.org is still around so that others may be given the opportunity to
experience my game.
I do applaud your actions so far against the bigger threat to the industry, the warez sites, and I
pray that you continue the good work. After all I will be making games very shortly, so I agree
you must do all you can to stop that menace. But I wish that you would please reconsider your
actions against TheUnderdogs.org.
Thank you for your time,
Regarding copyright control of www.theunderdogs.org, there are plenty of "warez" sites out there
offering new titles which can be freely downloaded - these sites are also easy to find and also a
REAL threat to your members sales figures. Most of the people who download games from
www.theunderdogs.org are genuine oldie games enthusiasts and are usually from the previous
generation of computer gamers.
Why not do something POSITIVE for the games community? It would improve your PR instead of
damaging it and alienating you members' potential customers. In other words, you really pissed me
off by hammering them, as you did many others.
I buy circa 10 games a year. I think I DESERVE to be able to download old, unused and mostly
unwanted games that are not going to sell a single copy these days anyway (even if they could be
found in stores).
Get yer priorities right!! Hammer the bloody warez sites instead!