A quick background to my project (it's essential to the question, as you'll see later): My project offers a multiplayer server platform for server listings for a game (Crysis Wars), allowing players to connect to these servers (note that it's not a gameserver); the online platform (called GameSpy) went bankrupt and closed down in 2014, leaving the game (and many others) without any multiplayer capability.
The project has a fair few users, and now I'm looking to expand. I am considering advertising on a well-known gaming website, and offer a copy of the game for download from the project's website to enable people who don't have the game to play.
I'm questioning the legality of this since the game can still be purchased from online retailers (but not from the publisher's own store), however it should be noted that the game is abandoned:
- No updates in almost six years;
- Not possible to verify whether a copy is genuine or not (no way to verify the serial keys);
- I'm pretty certain that almost 100% of copies using my system are pirated/non-genuine (I can't verify this of course, but as 44.8% of users are Russian this is probably the case)
If I do offer a copy of the game (clean, no modifications) for download on the project's website, how legal is this? Should I obtain written permission from the game's developer first?
I acknowledge that I could potentially be sued by the game developer/publisher for 'financial loss', however this is questionable since the game is abandoned (I'll be surprised if they've made any money from it in the past two years!).
If it matters, I'm located in Guernsey with the service (and the project's website) running from Ireland.