News And The Internet

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #52

The Men Who Wouldn't Give Up

More developments on the Superior copyright internet feud appear to have resulted in David Bradforth licking his wounds after trifling with 'Dr Beeb' of the Only The Best BBC Micro Games web site. (See EUG #50 and visit

Bradforth's now standardised request for the removal of a small number of games (copyrighted not to him but to Steve Hanson of Superior) was met with an open letter reply asking not only "Where is your sense of fair play?" and "What is the URL of your web site where people can purchase these games?" but also the rights-conscious American's knowledge of American law.

Whether his argument holds weight that "USA law allows a backup copy of anything copyrighted to be taken for your own use" holds up is speculative at its widest as new software plus, for instance, video cassettes are most certainly protected in the same way as in Europe. In relation to "15-20 year old software for a 20 year old microcomputer" though, he knows his stuff in that he "merely provides a service for people who once owned the game" and "litigation or damages would be hard to obtain in the USA".

As 'Dr Beeb' also pointed out, neither Bradforth's company ProAction nor Superior have set up a web site to sell their games - and only 15% of the total games ever released by Superior are downloadable through his web site. He therefore stresses that he is not "competing against a product being currently sold". Yet as each company does offer a mail order service and, as the title of his page suggests, he has the best of the bunch on offer, whether he is "competing" or not is a difficult question. Although he states he would be happy to set up a link to a URL where Superior had their games on offer, he has not, as yet, incorporated Superior's UK address or answer machine hotline onto his page. If this were done, he may be able to claim the page does more good than harm to them (although, as he also states, it probably "does no harm to Superior" at all).

Whether he has correctly stated the law or not, it would be indeed surprising for Superior to initiate legal action (ProAction cannot!) in the USA over what is a trifling matter in real terms. As with EUG, Superior did refute his open letter but, while maintaining the Superior library, 'Dr Beeb' has respected their wish not to publish their response on his web page. Bradforth has evidently left the picture.

All this begs the question why Dave M's Stairway To Hell web site, with its full library of Superior BBC titles has escaped the Bradford "alert" treatment - or as Dave M himself put it, "Why hasn't he got round to bothering me yet?"

Race To Electron Emulation Begins

Although Bryan McPhail assures EUG that his Acorn Electron emulator on the PC project is plodding on each moment of his spare time, it will not have escaped the notice of those surfing the net that his web page has not been updated for a considerable amount of time.

Whether or not he will be the first to implement full emulation is now becoming doubtful with the arrival of an unconnected new web page claiming not only that "Electron Emulation Is The Future" but also that its author too has accomplished a great deal in a very short space of time.

The man Thomas Harte is quoted as "aiming for a mid-level Pentium as the target machine" and would appear to have been as successful as Bryan in emulating classic arcade games such as Chuckie Egg. Indeed, there are a great many similarities between the two sites, both of which are linked to The BBC Lives emulation page.

The race is therefore well and truly on and to get straight to this new innovation, direct your browser to go to:

Work In Progress - Electron X*L*C*R

Michael Grant is hard at work on converting his BBC masterpiece X*L*C*R, which actually made it onto ProAction's Play It Again Sam 19 compilation in 1992, down to the Acorn Electron. Admitting that the original code does "a couple of illegal things" and that "the sheet giving the label and variable meanings is back in Newcastle" he is nevertheless working on a version with comparable speed and stripping down the introductory music to the one-channel maximum.

Currently stuck wondering why the BBC code:

      .ff0:DEY:LDAfnf,Y:STAsnd+4:STY&6E:LDX#snd MOD 26:LDY #snd MOD 25

converted to:

      DEY:LDAfnf,Y:STAsnd+4:STY&6E:LDX#snd MOD 26:LDY#snd MOD 25

doesn't cut the congratulatory Wave 20 fanfare down to one channel, he anticipates problems with the reading in of keypresses on the Electron due to not using OSWORD 0 but reading in internal key codes straight from BBC locations &EC and &ED. His fears were somewhat borne out by the prototype Electron version sent to EUG in which everything moved apart from Yu. (Not an error. Yu is your box-character! See the review this issue for further details.)

Check out the following web site though for a taste of what will come to the Elk in time: