The legal aspects of free distribution of Spectrum software
Although you may think differently, ZX Spectrum commercial software is still protected by the copyrights of its producers and so it cannot be freely distributed on the net. Yes, it's 10/15 years old stuff, no more sold in any shops and not causing any money loss to anybody, but the law applies anyway.
The IDSA (Interactive Digital Software Association), who represent many software houses, has recently announced to enforce the copyrights owned by their members. This means that they can force the closure of all the Internet sites that contain copyrighted material, such as games. The only way to make things right is get the necessary permissions from the involved companies.
At the moment, some ex-Spectrum software houses gave the explicit permission to distribute their games on the net, but the vast majority did not respond, leaving the whole matter into a grey zone. Damien Burke maintains a list of these software houses who allow free distribution, you can find it at the following URL: http://www.jetman.dircon.co.uk/speccy/permits.html.
A very well documented and constantly updated list is available from World Of Spectrum permissions page, where a proper discussion of the problem is also available.
A task force has been created, named CLEAR, whose intent is contact IDSA and ask them to allow software distribution for old hardware platform that are out of the market since several years.
For even more information, another recommended source is Philip Kendall's emulation pages.
For copyright holders: we fully respect the intellectual and artistic property of the software, so if you do not allow free distribution of the material, just write us and it will be immediately and permanently removed from this site. This site does not contain any material whose free distribution has been explicitly denied by the legitimate copyright holders.