Recently, a new copyright directive was adopted by the Librear which adds some overall positive exemptions to the DMCA. One of the changes directly affects the Toontown private server scene as a whole, but the specific changes isn't the change everyone was hoping for.

Many people, when they heard about the ruling that allowed "preservation of online games", thought that running Toontown was completely legal now and that Disney would have no legal right to take down our private servers. However, the DMCA exemption is a little of a let-down in this area. The directive only allows "lawfully acquired server software". From the ruling, the exemption allows:

Video games [...]  that have been lawfully acquired as complete games [...]
“complete games” means video games that can be played by users without accessing or reproducing copyrightable content stored or previously stored on an external computer

All current server software created that works with Toontown, including Astron, have been "reconstructed" or "reproduced" to work with Toontown's existing code. This is expressly forbidden, meaning that you must have the original Toontown server software to legally run a private server.

It only gets worse after this. Later in the exemption, it states where these online games can be played:

[...] and the video game is not distributed or made available outside of the physical premises of the eligible library, archives, or museum.

Even if the exemption is later extended to allow re-creating or reverse engineering the server software, it would only be allowed to be playable in dedicated physical locations. This still leaves Toontown private servers, as well as World of Warcraft and other games that no longer have functional servers, in a legal grey area where its legality is based on whether or not it's considered Fair Use.

So, while this is a step in the right direction for legally running Toontown private servers, it still doesn't provide the necessary protections to server hosts and leaves Disney, Blizzard, etc in a position to send Cease and Desist letters at will.

This post is tagged as "legal". Please read the disclaimer, as I am not a lawyer and my words should not be taken as legal advice.