You might want to reach out to similar projects in other MMO game communities which resurect old MMOs that are now defunct. Of the top of my head, the two big communities are the Star Wars: Galaxies (2003-2011) and City of Heroes/Villains (2004-2012). The later uses server source code for the emulation, which was released in 2019 and was widely covered in gaming news.
While it's not a garentee to legal protection from the game's original publisher suing, these games both only accept donations such that they are covering expenses of running servers and maintence. All "new" content is lovingly produced by fans for fans if produced at all (City of Heroes is much more capable of new content production, as it was the first MMO with a player created level designer, which the dev team said at time of release, was largely modeled after their own mission creation tool). The lack of profit means that while legal take down claims are still viable, they aren't attractive to the copyrights holder as lawsuits are expensive and they are suing entities that are not making any money... as lawyers say "You can't get blood from a stone." (That is, you can certainly sue them into the ground, but their not making money so the cost of them folding the legal entity sued... and then starting up elsewhere, is negligable compared to the cost of persuing this.).
Other extant online games have people who use heavily modified servers to let player base play the game with mods and such. One such project is the FiveM/RedM modifications to their base Rockstar Games (GTA V/ RDR2 respectively), specifically the online play versions of both games. These player created servers are more condusive to the Roleplay crowd than the official Rockstar Online Play of the game titles owing to better control over players who join and server access than can be expected from the base games (players normally have to apply with their character's stories and details and prove to the moderation team of a server they can play for story over "winning" through game mechanics.).