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October 15, 2019
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Contributing devs up in arms over Capcom's use of the FB Alpha emulator

Contributing devs up in arms over Capcom's use of the FB Alpha emulator

April 19, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

April 19, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: Programming

Licensing can be a complicated beast, something that’s very apparent when looking at reactions to Capcom’s recently announced Capcom Home Arcade.

The announcement for the Koch Media-manufactured plug-n-play arcade system earlier this week said that, in the interest of offering the most authentic arcade emulation possible, the Capcom Home Arcade is powered by an emulator called FB Alpha. 

Now, in a series of comments spotted by Kotaku, developers that have contributed to the open-source emulator and other members of the emulation community are voicing concerns over the deal, with some arguing that FB Alpha can’t be licensed for commercial use. 

Barry Harris, one of the leading devs behind FB Alpha, says that FB Alpha has been licensed for the Capcom Home Arcade, but some are arguing that he doesn’t have the authority to do so due to FB Alpha’s development history.

FB Alpha is an open-source emulator and distributed under a license that specifically notes “You may not sell, lease, rent or otherwise seek to gain monetary profit from FB Alpha.” As outlined later on in that same document, FB Alpha was based on the code of several preceding emulation projects, including emulators like MAME and Final Burn, which each come with their own licensing terms.

The FB Alpha license specifically notes that “due to the use of MAME code in FB Alpha, FB Alpha is also subject to the terms of the MAME license.” A similar disclaimer for Final Burn is found further down on the page.

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