I hear a lot about how emulation is not illegal or that downloading ROMs is legal in some circumstances and I would really like to know the truth about emulators and ROMs in relation to the law.
For instance, I've heard that downloading emulators is fine, but downloading ROMs is not. If this is true, that seems a bit contrived (who would download an emulator just to have it sit there? Doesn't seem realistic).
Another rumor I heard is that you can download ROMs for a 24/48 hour period, and then must delete them after unless you own the game physically. True or not? If it's true this also doesn't seem realistic. But even so, why hasn't someone created a service that allows you to download ROMs and they automatically expire after 24/48 hours, which you would then have to purchase to continue playing? Seems workable yet I've seen no such service available.
There are other things I'd like to know too, like whether or not one could get in trouble for downloading ROMs of games no longer being sold, or for hosting emulators or ROMs on a website (perhaps for personal use only), or what the law differences might be between different generations of consoles, etc.