Legal barriers to emulation
A colleague pointed me to this article over the weekend offering an interesting look at the legal barriers to preservation by emulation: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/04/22/saving-the-game-why-preserving-video-games-is-illegal/. The article also mentions the EU funded Keeping Emulation Environments Portable (KEEP), which Tessella was involved in. There was an entire work package in KEEP dedicated to the legal issues mentioned here. They produced, among others, recommendations of where legislation needs to be changed to make progress.
The KEEP legal studies threw up two important issues: making copies of digital materials (media transfer) and making these copies available to users. Libraries and archives have no general right of reproduction but may reproduce (or transfer) digital material only in certain specified cases. The exemptions which libraries enjoy are sufficient to permit at least some of the activities necessary for preservation. However the inconsistency between national and Community laws and the lack of clarity on key terms (eg., multimedia works) give rise to confusion at the margins. There is a tendency for national legislation to be both more permissive than Community law, and for it to provide a greater degree of detailed governance. Unfortunately this leads both to inconsistency between member states, and to national regulation which is, in certain key areas, almost certainly incompatible with Community law.
The full report is available here