In what has been described by some in the Ultima community as a travesty, EA has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down several downloads of Ultima IV. This disruption has affected a number of Ultima IV-related projects including the ultra popular xu4, as well as the Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation from Master System 8 and the IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software.
One of my all-time favorite Ultima sites, Ultima Aiera, also removed links to many Ultima IV-related projects. The move has incensed Ultima IV fans who thought the game was released as freeware a long time ago. While the game was offered for free thanks to some sites getting permission from Origin Systems a long time ago, EA still owns the rights to the game and can do what they want with it.
Ultima Aiera has a great run down of how the game came to be available freely and why EA still has the right to take the game down from web sites that never bothered to secure permission from original creator Origin Systems.
But the most interesting part of the post are the two first paragraphs:
"Observant Dragons and Dragonettes may have noticed that there has been some…disruption in Ultima 4-related projects of late. For example, both the Master System 8 and Phi Psi Software Flash-based remakes of the game have been taken down. Additionally, both Aiera and xu4 have removed their direct download links for the PC version of the game, and Dino has removed his comprehensive listing of other sites that hosted the same download.
Basically, after about fourteen years (since approximately 1997), Electronic Arts is finally cracking down and issuing DMCA notifications to most — not all! — sites that are hosting the PC version of Ultima 4 for download. This move is not being taken well by many, and people are wondering both why EA is wasting time enforcing copyright on an old game like this, and asking “hey, wasn’t it released as freeware?”
Source: /. by way of Uncharted NES.