First off I'd like to begin with the fact that Apple has not, at any point, approached us and asked us to discontinue making vMac. We know Apple is aware of our activities, and we're not trying to keep it secret. We've been involved in terse talks with Apple at the beginning of the project, where we requested license to include Macintosh Plus ROM technology for use in our Freeware emulator. This request was denied, needless to say.
So, people have to find other ways of securing a ROM, because we can't include it with the emulator. Our recommendation currently is to buy a Mac Plus, and use our provided CopyROM utility to get a legal (according to Apple's license agreement) copy of the ROM. We also recommend only having your MacPlus or the emulator running at any given time.
Side Note: We have in no way violated ANY of Apple's copyrights (a completely separate issue from license compliance). People stating that we have are incorrect, and/or are incorrectly using the word copyright to include license compliance, which it doesn't. We address the issue of license compliance below.
Apple's MacOS License agreement:
Now lets take a spy at Apple's license for the MacOS.
"This License allows you to install and use the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled or Apple-licensed computer at a time. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only. The backup copy must include all copyright information contained on the original." (From Section 2)
"This License allows you to install and use the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled or Apple-licensed computer at a time." I know for sure that the emulator isn't an Apple-licensed computer, but what's an Apple-labeled computer? Seems open enough to me. I just slap an Apple sicker on my PC, and there it is, Apple-labeled. You might say that's goofy, and I'd agree, it is. But Apple doesn't define an "Apple-labeled" computer anywhere in the agreement, so its your (the user) call.
I'd also like to make the observation that the two statements "This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time." And "You may make one copy of the Apple Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only" are seemingly contradictory. If you have a backup, it's existing in two places, or is it? Now we get into the fun part, interpretation. Apple seems to define "Existing" as "Running on a machine" (this is the way it can be interpreted so the statements are not contradicting each other). So, as long as you don't have the Emulator and your MacPlus running at the same time (which would mean you'd be running two copies on one license), you are in compliance with Apple's MacOS license agreement.
Illegal ROM distribution:
It is our policy that the vMac team or any of its members will NOT "police" sites for illegal ROM use or distribution. We trust the users of vMac like any operating system company trusts its users not to pirate software to run on it. We aren't reporting people who illegally use vMac, or pirate ROMs. That isn't our job. However, we do not condone the use of pirated ROMs in any way. We do not have any pirated Apple software (including ROMs) on our web site or mailing lists. We keep ourselves clean, and trust the user to do the same.
Illegal ROM use with vMac:
I'd now like to bring your attention to the vMac EULA (End User License Agreement).
"UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE, SHALL VMAC BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OR LEGAL ACTION ARISING OUT OF, RELATING TO THIS LICENSE, OR USE OF THE VMAC SOFTWARE IN VIOLATING OTHER COPYRIGHTS OR PATENTS."
That says it all. By downloading and using the vMac software, you agree that its your responsibility, not ours. Don't think that'll cut it in court?
If someone goes to Joe's Guns and buys himself a Colt .45 and kills someone, who is at fault? Could the gun maker or the gun seller be held responsible? Nope. ROM pirating is the same situation. They got the gun, THEY pulled the trigger. The person got vMac, and they used an illegal ROM.
People say that vMac creates a demand for illegal ROMs (How that is a crime is beyond me). Look at this parallel:
Someone buys a car, it doesn't come with a battery. So they decide to steal a car battery from a local store. Could the car seller be held responsible? Get real. The person stole the battery. The person stole the ROM.
I'd like to end this with the statement that this is our policy and views on the issues as a whole. If you don't agree with it, that is fine, don't use vMac. And by the same token, don't make posts to Usenet groups or mailing lists trying to "open up" our team policy for discussion by the general public. It's not open for discussion by the public and making posts and statements contrary to this fact is wildly inappropriate.