MAME Legal Information

License

Redistribution and use of the MAME code or any derivative works are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  • Redistributions may not be sold, nor may they be used in a commercial product or activity.
  • Redistributions that are modified from the original source must include the complete source code, including the source code for all components used by a binary built from the modified sources. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.
  • Redistributions must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

Trademark

MAME® is a registered trademark of Nicola Salmoria. The "MAME" name and MAME logo may not be used without first obtaining permission of the trademark holder.

Copyright

The code in MAME is the work of hundreds of developers, each of whom owns the copyright to the code they wrote. There is no central copyright authority you can license the code from. The proper way to use the MAME source code is to examine it, using it to understand how the games worked, and then write your own emulation code. Sorry, there is no free lunch here.

Common Questions

Q. Can I include MAME with my product?
A. No. MAME is not licensed for commercial use. Using MAME as a "freebie" or including it at "no cost" with your product still constitutes commerical usage and is forbidden by the license.

Q. Can I sell my product with the MAME logo on it?
A. No. Putting the logo on your product makes it appear that the product is something officially endorsed by Nicola Salmoria, and constitutes trademark infringement.

Q. Can I use the MAME logo to advertise my product?
A. No. Using the logo in your advertising makes it appear that the product is something officially endorsed by Nicola Salmoria, and constitutes trademark infringement.

Q. Can I use the term "MAME" in the name of my software?
A. Generally, no, especially if it is something that is sold. However, if you are producing a free MAME-related piece of software, it is common that permission is granted. Send a query to double- check first, please.

Q. Can I put an arcade cabinet running MAME in a public location?
A. No. This this a commercial use of MAME and is prohibited by the license. Even if you don't charge money, putting a machine in a public location is "operating" an arcade machine and falls under commercial rules in most locations.

Q. Can my non-profit use MAME or an arcade cabinet running MAME to help raise money?
A. No, sorry. Even for the most worthwhile cause, this still is a commercial use of MAME and is prohibited by the license.

Q. How do I obtain a license to the MAME source code?
A. You can't. See the Copyright section above.

Q. Is it legal to download ROMs for a game when I own the PCB?
A. This is unclear and depends on where you live. In most cases you would need to obtain permission from the original manufacturer to do so.

Q. What about the free ROMs on the MAME site? Can I use those with my product?
A. Almost all of the free ROMs on the MAME site are licensed only for non- commercial use, and only for distribution from the MAME site. Just because they are available for "free" here does not grant further redistribution rights, nor does it allow you to treat them as "freebies" for commercial use.

Q. If I obtain a license from an original manufacturer to distribute the ROMs can I use MAME to run them?
A. Generally, no, because it constitutes a commercial use of MAME. However, we have in the past made a couple of exceptions for this particular case. We will not consider making any further exceptions without proof that such a license has already been obtained.

Q. Can I use a PC running MAME to replace a real arcade PCB?
A. In order to do this you would have to use a copy of the original ROMs, which would require obtaining permission from the original manufacturer. Once you had permission from them, if it was used for non-commercial purposes, then you would not technically be violating the MAME license. However we still do not explicitly give permission to use MAME in this way because of the possibility of the game being sold sometime later, which would constitute commercial use of MAME. If you sell your game later you must sell it without MAME included.

Q. Can I ask for donations for the work I did on my port of MAME to platform X?
A. No. You would be earning money from the MAME trademark and copyrights, and that would be a commercial use, which is prohibited by the license. It is our wish that MAME remain free.