I filed a DMCA 1201 exemption proposal with the EFF on Monday.

Section 1201 was passed as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and makes it illegal to circumvent access controls to copyrighted works, even when the underlying use is fair. It has hit security researchers and the reverse-engineering community especially hard, as companies often use it to threaten legitimate disclosures of technical information.

It also means that reverse-engineering or modifying server protocols in order to run third party servers for video games occupies a strange legal space - on the one hand, there are some projects that do it, on the other, under the reasoning used by the court in the bnetd (Davidson Associates v. Jung) case, it may be illegal.

This exemption aims to fix that problem, and if granted, will reduce the legal uncertainty surrounding format-shifting archived games. It’s been amazing to talk to the folks in this community that care deeply about preserving the cultural heritage of video games, and I really hope the Copyright Office sees how valuable this exemption could be.

You can read the full thing here, or the Ars Technica coverage, which sums up a lot of the key points, here.