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I own a Wii Console as well as peripheral parts such as the Wiimote, the Nunchuck and even the Wii board as well as some games in form of physical in store bought disks.

I would like to play those games on my PC using an emulator (dolphin, I suppose) without downloading ROMs from the internet which is obviously illegal.

So I would like to somehow play the games using my already owned disks. I read about programs called rawdump to extract the ISO from the Disk using a special drive.

I also read about CleanRip to extract ISOs using your Wii and the disks directly over a SD Card or USB-Stick.

But I am concerned about legality. This seems to be a grey area. Just the fact that it is called CleanRIP implies its not intended and could potentially violate copyright laws.

What approach should I take? Or does it straight up not matter? Or can I play the games without extracting the ISOs at all? Like just plugging in my Wii or the optical drive and have my pc directly read it off of the disk?

Thank you in advance I hope the question was clear.

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    I think this question could get better answers on Law instead. You might want to mention where you live, as laws differ by country.
    – Nolonar
    Dec 23, 2021 at 21:41
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    Oh yeah I forgot to mention where I live. Sorry. I am in germany. I will also have a look at the law stackexchange thank you. I just thought the people here could know if they did do it themselves as well
    – rafe
    Dec 23, 2021 at 23:10
  • I asked a similar question some time ago: law.stackexchange.com/q/41874/26083 // TLDR: Not a lawyer, but more likely yes, but still not completely certain nor tested in court.
    – plu
    Dec 24, 2021 at 21:07
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    I’m voting to close this question because, per the tag wiki of the legal tag, "Questions asking if something is (il)legal are off topic here"
    – pppery
    Dec 26, 2021 at 1:01
  • Oh sorry. Didnt see that. And i totally have no excuse why not haha. Feel free to close this.
    – rafe
    Dec 26, 2021 at 13:27

2 Answers 2

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I am not a lawyer. But it is the general understanding across the internet that your approach of "I'll rip the game myself rather than downloading it" is valid, and is in fact the preferred way to emulate games without running into legal problems. As you noted, downloading ROMs from the internet is the illegal part - it is perfectly fine to rip the game, store the files on your personal computer, and do whatever you want with them (such as using an emulator to access them) as long are you aren't redistributing them.

This Wikipedia article seems to agree with me, at least in the context of USA law.

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  • Thank you. From what i learned now is that it should be fine if you just down redistribute it. I read even on big german tech magazines how to do that without giving legal disclaimers so I think it should be fine. Thank you for your effort!
    – rafe
    Dec 24, 2021 at 17:04
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I am also not a lawyer, but my understanding is that, in the US, this has been a hotly contested legal topic for years.

While the "right to backup" is often considered fair use, under the DMCA it's illegal to break copyright protection (DRM) for any reason. Since Wii discs have DRM, it's not possible to back them up without breaking the law.

I believe EU laws are much more lenient.

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  • Thank you for your effort!
    – rafe
    Dec 24, 2021 at 17:05
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    i'm no lawyer, but copyright is made to prevent redistribution, and has nothing to do with copying files from a disc. Companies will try to scare you as much as possible because they want the disc to break and you to buy another one. IMHO, ripping a disc does not break copyright. If I bought a sheet of music, I could scan it and put it in a 3 ring binder as a backup without breaking the law, however if I gave that 3 ring binder to a friend, then I would be breaking the law, because I copied and redistributed. Just my thoughts, anyway, it's a controversial topic.
    – Millard
    Dec 24, 2021 at 17:51

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