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gameonWe headed into town this morning to see the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s GameOn Exhibition at Federation Square. The exhibition highlights the history of computer gaming, with displays from various eras and plenty of actual games to play.

Figuring that given it’s nothing more than a big collection of arcade games I took my camera to get some pics, only to be told AFTER I checked the bag that I couldn’t take pics (I was holding my camera…go figure). I grumbled about the insanity of copyright as I usually do, and went into the exhibition.

About 5 minutes in there’s a huge arcade game on a projector wall which you could play. Great, hit the start button, it gives me a list of games to play. Click pacman….and then get a Mame screen telling me that it’s the Z80 version of Pacman. Yep, a display that won’t let people take pictures was using downloaded and arguably illegal ROM’s on a local copy of MAME.

Now to be fair they may have gotten permission from every single publisher of the various ROM’s they were using, but it’s unlikely.

skitched-20080601-142012.jpgPersonally I have zero issue with them doing what they did, but to say that I can’t take pictures due to copyright when they were breaching copyright themselves: FAIL.

Of course the other stupid thing: people were walking around taking pictures with their mobile phones anyway. My iPhone takes poor pics so I didn’t get any good ones, it would appear the ban due to copyright was for dedicated cameras only.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this: copyright has ruined the tourist experience in so many walks of life now. When I was a kid you could go to an exhibition and they’d want you to take photos, now it’s all about control and prevention. The saddest part is this is the world my son will grow up in; and yes, he had his camera with him today as well. Apparently a 5 year old with a Fisher Price digital camera presents a clear and present copyright danger. 🙁