I Saw this question today: How do I get ribbons in Pokemon Vortex?

and I agree with DisgruntledGoat

Pokemon Vortex isn't a real Pokemon game, just an illegal fan-made game. Don't think we should be having questions here for it. Why don't you just go ask them about it?

I was thinking in cast a close vote for this, but, should I ? I looked in the FAQ and couldn't find a good solution for it.

Can someone explain how should I (we) procedure in cases like this ?

  • 6
    I'm not sure I see the problem in answering questions about a fan-made game as long as we're not encouraging illegal activity like actually using Intellectual Property inappropriately or telling people where to find it. How you do X in a game is simple mechanics, beating the game isn't illegal, even if producing or obtaining it is
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 11, 2012 at 16:03
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    For the benefit of search engines: This question affects the topicality of Pokémon for Famicom, Final Fantasy VII for Famicom, Tetris by Tengen, Uniracers aka Unirally, In the Groove, Klax and other Tengen games for NES, Action 52, Syobon Action, and Chrono Trigger (for Robo's Rickroll). Aug 6, 2015 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


When it comes to legality, we tend to err on the side of assuming good faith here, and only prohibit questions that are clearly on the wrong side of the law, the terms of service, or the EULA for the software in question. (Do note that we specifically prohibit things that ask "is X legal?" as we are not lawyers/law experts and can't provide legal advice.)

This means that outright discussions of piracy, EULA/TOS violations (multiplayer game hacks, MMO gold cheats, lagswitching, etc) are off topic, but most of the rest of the legal questions surrounding gaming we leave alone. For instance, emulation and issues with emulators are considered fine and on-topic. We're even allowed to link to abandonware sites.

I'd say the fundamental difference between something like "person pirates game" and "this game may contain unlicensed copyrighted content" is that while we can sometimes easily determine if an action a gamer can take is or is not in violation of an agreement/law, there's no way for us to say that a particular game is following the law or not, or even what laws apply to it.

For instance, if it's determined that Minecraft is using a patented algorithm that they didn't license in Estonia, should we disallow any Minecraft questions? It might be against the law in Estonia for Mojang to distribute it there.

When Mirror's Edge was released, a trademark lawsuit was brought by Tim Langdell of Edge Games, alleging that EA's use of the name was infringing. Should we then have disallowed any questions about Mirror's Edge until the suit is settled? It was possible that EA was breaking the law by calling the game Mirror's Edge. It could be argued that by bringing attention to (and potentially causing sales of) Mirror's Edge, we were encouraging this potential infringement.

We're gamers and we answer questions about games. While we don't want to become a place that encourages illegal activities among its members, we also shouldn't be concerning ourselves with whether or not the game publishers/designers/coders/etc have followed the letter of the law.

  • 6
    By the way, we need to codify questions about TOS and EULA violations in the FAQ. Right now, it only mentions piracy.
    – MBraedley
    Apr 11, 2012 at 16:15
  • 3
    Definately agreed. Many legitimate games may well contain "improper copyrighted content" simply due to the nature of IP law.
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 11, 2012 at 16:21
  • Agree that this should be clarified in the FAQ. I originally attempted to answer this question: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/61268/… with a link to a quasi abandonware site (delisted games), but the bridge chat response quickly showed that this was frowned upon so I deleted it. I did check Meta before posting, and I would not have done so if there was a clear rule against it.
    – EBongo
    Apr 12, 2012 at 1:55
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    There seems to be some confusion regarding the interpretation of my answer and this question which talks about a modification to a single player game. I don't consider that to be the same as a "game hack" - I've clarified here, and the edit should bump it in case people now want to downvote me instead ;)
    – agent86
    Jul 1, 2013 at 16:50
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    @agent86 That question is not about a grey area. There can be no good faith assumed. It is a clear copyright/trademark violation. I agree that we can't disallow every potential legal conundrum, but this is a blatant example.
    – user9983
    Jul 1, 2013 at 17:05
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    @OrigamiRobot, from what I gather it's a patch for a game ROM. If possessing the game ROM is illegal, then emulation as a whole needs to go. I'm not clear on whether or not the patch itself is illegal, but I'm inclined to say it's an unauthorized game mod (like a trainer in a single player game) as opposed to something flat-out illegal. I don't see a strong dividing line between this instance and the question referenced in this meta question.
    – agent86
    Jul 1, 2013 at 17:23
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    From what I gather, it is a repackaged distribution of the game itself. I personally don't see any difference in that and piracy.
    – user9983
    Jul 1, 2013 at 17:36
  • 1
    @OrigamiRobot, the official thread is here and if you scroll the first post all the way to the bottom you can find it. It's a 1.6MB IPS patch.
    – agent86
    Jul 1, 2013 at 17:42
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    In that case, I was mistaken. I'll just go over here now.
    – user9983
    Jul 1, 2013 at 17:45
  • @OrigamiRobot - for reference, I did try and clear it beforehand. (Marked as dupe of this question)
    – Robotnik Mod
    Jul 1, 2013 at 22:46

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