There's actually a simple solution to the problem... that would require a large amount of legalwork to hammer things out. Players are free to distribute or utilize dead games so long as they can demonstrate that it is not a business of significant profit. Asking for donations fine so long as the profit is used to cover the costs of the distribution. If they'd like to make profit off of it the owner of the rights can provide a licensing agreement for a modest fee and a share of any profits made (lion's share of profits going to the licensee) but they have a modicum of control regarding what is done to develop the game. This would provide devoted gamers with a small amont of income which we knowthey'd use to buy more games and provide profits for the owners of the intellectual property. It probably would never be significant but it would be less exploitative of the consumer in this situation. There are a sad number of companies that suffer a form of what I believe to be "Investment Fallacy." If people spend money on a game that the industry doesn't produce then there is less money to spend on their products. Thus they must have complete control so that they can ensure that you spend your money properly.