James ?Ender? Brown, Project Leader on ScummVM
, received a request
from LucasArts Legal Affairs earlier today asking that he close his site by July 1st.
ScummVM, in case you don?t know, allows some of the old LucasArts adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island
and Sam and Max Hit the Road
to run on a variety of operating systems. For example, you can faithfully play these older products under Windows XP or even different platforms like Sega Dreamcast using ScummVM.
In the e-mail to Ender, LucasArts defended their actions. ?We are grateful when fans take such strong interests in our games,? the letter said. ?In order to protect our intellectual property interests, we must ask you to take down your site as it infringes on LucasArts's intellectual property ownership interests.?<:MORENEWS:>
LucasArts also points out that the SCUMM engine is ?still proprietary to LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC (?LucasArts?) and is not released under general public license as referenced in the FAQ section
on your site.?
Ender replied to LucasArts, discussing the very nature of his project. ?ScummVM is NOT the SPU [Script Presentation Utility] engine as used internally by LEC,? Ender said. ?ScummVM is a valid clone of the SPU engine, designed to facilitate the playing of LucasArts adventures on modern machines and operating systems. ScummVM allows the data from LEC adventures to be played on many platforms (Intel, PocketPC, etc) and operating systems (Linux, Windows 2000, etc) which are not supported by your own SPU engine.?
ScummVM, as described by its project leader, is the product of reverse engineering without using any information from LucasArts itself. ?The [reverse engineering] techniques used are generally protected in most states under what is generally known as the 'compatibility' clause,? Ender said.
At this point, Ender has informed LucasArts that he will not be taking down the site. ?We are distributing our own software designed to mimic the functionality of the SPU(tm) engine, which we have licensed under the GPL (General Public License),? he said. ?We are not distributing proprietary LucasArts software itself.?
Most fans would argue that ScummVM has done nothing but support the classic adventure games of LucasArts rather than damage them. However, it is interesting that LucasArts? lawyers took this opportunity to attempt the shutdown of ScummVM, which has existed for almost a year. Speculation has been made that these actions could have ties to the comment LEC President Simon Jeffery recently made
to Mixnmojo concerning the update of its older graphic adventures. Mr. Jeffery discussed the ?streaming? delivery of these games over the Internet, which would require that they actually work on Windows 2000 and XP.
We will be sure to keep you posted on these matters, and hopefully a favorable resolution will be reached soon.