Copyright length on electronic designs?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Nicholas, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Nicholas

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 24, 2005
    Hi all!

    Maybe a strange question, but are there a set amount of time for
    copyright on electronic designs? For example, could an Atari 2600 or
    NES be freely reproduced after a set number of years?

    Thanks :)
  2. toffee_pie

    Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    i doubt it very much
  3. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    If I knew about copyrights and patents, I'd be too busy counting my money to hang out at this site:D
  4. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    You can make anything that is copy righted or patented for yourself. Just can't make it to sell to any one.
  5. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    You can sell a Replika.

    The OS ROM and the custom chips are licensed, copyrighted and or monopolized.

    They may not exist anymore on the market.
    and they may be so primitive you can emulate them in software.

    This is the usual way how this really gets done.
    And you can sell that, as for home computers.
  6. nigelwright7557

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 10, 2008
    Some of those personal computers had in ULA chips so they would be hard if not impossible to copy.
    The Sinclair Spectrum definitely did and I think the Commodore 64 did.
  7. vpoko

    Active Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is no way legal advice.

    It's pretty confusing since copyrights have been extended by legislation. Depending on when it was published, it's usually life of the author + 70 years, 95 years from the date of publication, or 120 years from the date of creation (in the US).

    Copyrights don't prevent someone from recreating something on their own (like Compaq did for the IBM BIOS, using clean room engineering - where people poring over designs and creating specifications have only controlled contact with people implementing the specifications). Patents would, but they have a shorter lifespan.

    Unfortunately, intellectual property laws are very complicated. If you're looking to commercialize something, you would really want to consult an attorney specializing in these issues.