Emulator legal?


Oct 14, 2012
are emulators for old consoles and other computers such as the Amiga legal to download?. Its not like these old cosoles such as sega saturn amiga etc will make any money as there not even on sale any more. Ive even asked game companies if they have any spare games what i could have or buy for old computers such as the Amiga or saturn etc and every one has said they dont have any in storage so it it legal to use and play old emulator games such as these?. I no its a gray area but any info would be gratfull.


I think you answered your own question in that last sentence. It's a grey area.

Although most companies don't care, they could still theoretically take legal action against it. Some companies will release old games or emulators, but not many.


Dec 8, 2011
@Kere Nuh-uh...At least, I don't think it is.

Downloading ROMs you don't own is illegal, as is playing them. Already have the disc and the system? Your fine.


Certain emulators require bios roms aswell (MegaCD, PS1, DC, NeoGeo, Amiga, ST ect) so to even use the emulators legally you would need to own the hardware aswell, some old software has become public domain (Beneath a Steel Sky is one I can remeber) so its free to use aslong as you don't profit from them, but the general rule is if you own the software you can use the backup (differs from country to country).


Oct 18, 2012
Its the same thing with torrents : it is not illegal to make a torrent with a movie for example but you can't download the movie unless you have it.You always need the original to be able to make a "safe-guard" copy.
With bios as hairystuff said its a little different.Emulator may need the console bios to work.In order to have the console bios you have to get it off the console which means you need to own the console itself.

But the emulator itself is not legal in anyway,it is replacing the console OS and needs to be tempered with to work,and that alone is illegal.

So as a sum up:
-Games you own you can download and keep one(1) copy as safe guard.
-Emulators are most probably illegal as they emulate the console's OS and change it so it will accept the computer resourses as its own.

heero yuy

Jul 25, 2010
emulation is legal so long as you take the bios from your own system and do not download one
make roms from your own games and not download one
at least i think thats how it works here...