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I was wondering if they were illegal because I always hear on YouTube that they're illegal.

asked Oct 20 '10 at 17:18

Kiryu13's gravatar image


since all of you basically had the answers I'm going to give you a thumbs up.

(Oct 20 '10 at 20:46) Kiryu13 Kiryu13's gravatar image

Emulators themselves are not illegal. Neither playing games on the specific emulator is not illegal. However, downloading, and playing games (ROMS) from the internet, without having the original game in your possession for the system that you are emulating, is illegal.

You are also allowed to backup your original gameconsole cd's or cartridges with special hardware, to play (emulate) them on a computer. this only, when you are an owner of the game.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 18:11

Mike_Linux_NL's gravatar image


Finally, a clear definition. I've always wondered myself :D

(Oct 20 '10 at 18:19) Ross Walker Ross%20Walker's gravatar image

You nailed it. Proof that emulators themselves are not illegal: The Xbox 360 plays original Xbox games with a software emulator (Microsoft proprietary and all, but it's an emulator). Some versions of the PS3 (not slim) also did PS2 software emulation. The Virtual Console on the Wii is an emulator.

(Oct 21 '10 at 01:14) Alekz Alekz's gravatar image

The emulators them self are not illegal but the games that you have to download to use the emulators probably are.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 17:26

FilipinoPower's gravatar image


I think this explanation sums it up pretty good, particularly the ending.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 17:26

Alastor%20Moody's gravatar image

Alastor Moody ♦♦

It is not illegal to USE an emulator. It depends on if you have the game or not, and the EULA/agreement the company (like Nintendo) had made.

Nintendo says it's illegal to use an emulator for their games, but copyright laws say you can emulate any game as long as you have it in a physical format (disc, cartridge, etc.)

You can still use emulators to use homebrew ROMs that are available for download. Any commercial homebrew goes under the law, though.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 18:16

Bloxxer's gravatar image


edited Oct 20 '10 at 18:17

The emulators themselves are not illegal, but downloading any ROM IS.

Most people say that if you own the game, it is okay to download the ROM. That's not true. You only paid for your ONE copy. Downloading extra copies is illegal.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 20:34

Justin's gravatar image


edited Oct 21 '10 at 17:06

It isn't illegal to run ROMs on an emulator if you actually own the game that you're emulating. For example, if I own Ocarina of Time, it isn't illegal to emulate it.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 19:08

Angelwork's gravatar image


I know that you can freely download the games for these emulators, that in itself is illegal because they cost money originally. There might be something in a EULA about emulating a game on a non-standard console/system.

answered Oct 20 '10 at 17:21

Alastor%20Moody's gravatar image

Alastor Moody ♦♦

So is the emulator itself Illegal

(Oct 20 '10 at 17:24) Kiryu13 Kiryu13's gravatar image

I heard that emulators are done for recording purposes are not illegal if you have the original game. Machinima uses them a lot!

answered Oct 20 '10 at 22:01

Patxi's gravatar image


Nope, they are completely legal.

answered Oct 21 '10 at 04:52

Viper92Z's gravatar image


Emulators them selfs are in no way illegal. The only thing that may be illegal is what your running in them, such as pirated games and etc.

answered Oct 22 '10 at 15:50

Matthew's gravatar image


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Asked: Oct 20 '10 at 17:18

Seen: 4,616 times

Last updated: Oct 22 '10 at 15:50