EFF Campaings to Legalize Console Modding

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EFF Campaings to Legalize Console Modding

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling on the U.S. Copyright Office to make console modding legal in the U.S.

You've seen the EFF's name on all those Humble Bundles, but have you ever stopped to think about what it actually does? Stuff like this, for starters: the group is seeking to have the U.S. Copyright Office broaden exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to include "jailbreaking" of tablets and game consoles, allowing them to run whatever operating systems and software their owners choose rather than just what's allowed by the manufacturer.

"The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement. But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators, and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Hobbyists and tinkerers who want to modify their phones or video game consoles to run software programs of their choice deserve protection under the law."

Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office takes submissions for possible new exemptions to the DMCA's restrictions on DRM circumvention, and while changing the collective mind of a bureaucracy sounds like long shot, last year the Copyright Office declared that jailbreaking phones is lawful. "But technology has evolved over the last three years," said Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann, "and so it's important to expand these exemptions to cover the real-world uses of smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, DVDs, and video downloads."

Hearing on the proposed exemptions won't actually take place until the spring of 2012, with a final ruling expected to come in October. To learn more, check out eff.org.

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I can see no way in which this can backfire!

Yep, all those lawsuits already from companies taking people like that guy to cracked the PS3 (can't remember his name) that got so much coverage. I can't see him taking the companies to court and claiming damages or whatnot.

Yep, nothing will go wrong...

Gotta love that someone is standing up for the rights of the consumer!

Hopefully they succeed.

TimeLord:
I can see no way in which this can backfire!

Yep, all those lawsuits already from companies taking people like that guy to cracked the PS3 (can't remember his name) that got so much coverage. I can't see him taking the companies to court and claiming damages or whatnot.

Yep, nothing will go wrong...

Well, Sony should be put in their place for telling him what he can do with something he bought.

its like ford telling you that if you paint your damn car they are going to take you to court.

double post

"Campaings"? :P

I approve of EFF's actions, and I can only hope for their success.

Need more modding! In all seriousness I bought a book that explained on how to jailbreak the first Xbox. Playing Halo 2 online with a gun that fired ragdolls changed my life forever!

but surely if people hack thier console to get free games surely that would damage the industry ?

TimeLord:
I can see no way in which this can backfire!

Yep, all those lawsuits already from companies taking people like that guy to cracked the PS3 (can't remember his name) that got so much coverage. I can't see him taking the companies to court and claiming damages or whatnot.

Yep, nothing will go wrong...

Well if companies want to RENT me something they can tell me what I can and can't do with it. However, when they SELL me something I am free to do whatever I so choose with it. If I want to put custom firmware on it or flash the DVD drive or throw it under a train it is of no tossing concern of theirs. When Sony, M$, Nintendo, and so on want to start letting me take their consoles home for 5 bucks a week or so then they can tell me what I'm allowed to do with it. Until then though they can kindly go bugger each other with sharp rusty objects.

I approve. And maybe then, devs can stop talking with their asses about PC piracy and no profits.

When you buy something, it should truly be yours to do with whatever you want. I mean sure you'll void your warranty... so what? That's reasonable.

On one hand, hell yeah, fight the power, down with the corporations telling us what we can do, etc.

On the other hand, if this passes get ready for a flood of homemade console knock offs and such extreme cheating in online games that it will be impossible to regulate.

Ashistheking:
but surely if people hack thier console to get free games surely that would damage the industry ?

Possible, though I'd be willing to bet that the number who do so would be so insignificant that the industry barely feels it. Moreover, people can already pirate games and get them free on consoles as it is, and with recent reports of crazy record-breaking sales for the likes of MW3, I'd say the industry is fine at the moment.

Xanthious:
Son¥, M$, N¥ntendo

If we're gonna play the currency game, let's be fair about it, aye?

TimeLord:
I can see no way in which this can backfire!

Yep, all those lawsuits already from companies taking people like that guy to cracked the PS3 (can't remember his name) that got so much coverage. I can't see him taking the companies to court and claiming damages or whatnot.

Yep, nothing will go wrong...

He will lose if he does, because at that time he was breaking the law or whatever.

Ordinaryundone:
On one hand, hell yeah, fight the power, down with the corporations telling us what we can do, etc.

On the other hand, if this passes get ready for a flood of homemade console knock offs and such extreme cheating in online games that it will be impossible to regulate.

It shouldn't be up to the consumers to give up their consumer rights just to make sure little Billy isn't cheating at Call of Duty. Valve manages to keep most of their games free of cheats on Steam and god knows there is all kinds of hardware modding going on in the PC community.

As for the flood of console knockoffs I fail to see how people being allowed to modify their legally purchased hardware is going to lead to any kind of rampant counterfeiting at all in the console market. The two are completely separate issues.

Only way I dislike this is how easy it would be to cheat online. It could break multiplayer. Otherwise I wish them the best of luck and hope they succeed.

FUCK YES!

The influx of cheating would be totally worth it.

I don't think piracy would be a problem, the console would need to be connected to the internet, and when it is, Microsoft/Sony could monitor them, so people would still need to use the PC, and not directly pirate from console..

If people can mod PC's to death, why not consoles? Doesn't that mean that people can add bigger memory and better graphics cards?

I don't mod myself, but i can see it becoming popular if it was legal.

Ordinaryundone:
On one hand, hell yeah, fight the power, down with the corporations telling us what we can do, etc.

On the other hand, if this passes get ready for a flood of homemade console knock offs and such extreme cheating in online games that it will be impossible to regulate.

Mostly this.

The lack of cheating since the GameShark went out of style makes playing a lot of games a lot more fun. Borderlands being the exception, as my inventory of hacked and glitched weapons from people throwing them around will attest.

But people should be free do what they want with what they purchase. Claiming that you don't own the console, you own the right to use the console is complete BS.

First off, there's already cheating on consoles so I doubt that'll change much, if anything. Secondly, ever heard of PC gaming? Yeah, you can mod the shit out of your PC and yet the devs do a pretty good job of keeping cheaters out so I just don't see cheating as a relevant issue.

AstylahAthrys:
Only way I dislike this is how easy it would be to cheat online. It could break multiplayer. Otherwise I wish them the best of luck and hope they succeed.

As said above, cheating is no more rampant in on-line PC games, even though the hardware system is completely open. This is not a valid reservation.

If jail breaking smart phones is legal, so is jail-breaking consoles, simple as that.

They should be allowed to mod, as long as the modders expect that they'll be removed from any online services offered (keep off PSN or Xbox Live with your modded consoles allowing you to cheat in games, jerks) and lose their warranty.

mjc0961:
They should be allowed to mod, as long as the modders expect that they'll be removed from any online services offered (keep off PSN or Xbox Live with your modded consoles allowing you to cheat in games, jerks) and lose their warranty.

See the comments already posted above as to why cheating should not be any worse due to modding.

I'm all for this, but publishers and developers might be hesitant about the idea. Nintendo's 3DS is a great example of wanting to keep their system non-modded, otherwise they'll brick your device for messing with their "Terms of Service." If people were free to jailbreak the 3DS, the flash cards will just flood back onto the 3DS, possibly.

Ashistheking:
but surely if people hack thier console to get free games surely that would damage the industry ?

No it doesn't and I'll tell you why.
As someone who used to pirate (rather, I used to download pirated games; no I'm not proud of it, I was just poor), I can definitely tell you that if pirating games was somehow made completely impossible to do, most of the people who do it, wouldn't just go out and buy games legitimately. They would find other things to do for free. That's what I would've done and if that was the case I wouldn't be into gaming now and buying new games as I do now. Get my drift? The hardcore gamer userbase would shrink even more than it has this generation.

I fully support this but not so people can pirate more easily. I just want Sony to start making firmware for their products that does more than fend off the latest hacks. The firmware they've given the psp, ps3, and the Vita (which isn't out yet but I have no reason to believe that it will be supported any better) has always just been a huge waste of time and bandwidth for us and a huge waste of time and resources for Sony.

Something like this might force them to get their priorities in order.

Agreed, if they sell us something we have the right to mod it!

Anyone who mentions that people will pirate and it'll damage the industry, just who many of those pirates would buy the games in question?

While this might not be the most graceful way to react to this news I can only think of one way to say it:

They have my support. Power to the modders!

Xanthious:

Ordinaryundone:
On one hand, hell yeah, fight the power, down with the corporations telling us what we can do, etc.

On the other hand, if this passes get ready for a flood of homemade console knock offs and such extreme cheating in online games that it will be impossible to regulate.

It shouldn't be up to the consumers to give up their consumer rights just to make sure little Billy isn't cheating at Call of Duty. Valve manages to keep most of their games free of cheats on Steam and god knows there is all kinds of hardware modding going on in the PC community.

As for the flood of console knockoffs I fail to see how people being allowed to modify their legally purchased hardware is going to lead to any kind of rampant counterfeiting at all in the console market. The two are completely separate issues.

You know how ocassionally you find people online selling hacked consoles or modded controllers, even though it isn't strictly "legal"? This would turn into a real business. You think that the game industry gets up in arms about the used games industry, wait until they get a whiff of the "$150 Xbox 360 that can also play torrented PS3 and Wii games" industry.

As much as I would love this to happen it's not going to because teams of lawyers from every major player in the console market is going to destroy our dreams with unholy legal fire.

TimeLord:
I can see no way in which this can backfire!

Yep, all those lawsuits already from companies taking people like that guy to cracked the PS3 (can't remember his name) that got so much coverage. I can't see him taking the companies to court and claiming damages or whatnot.

Yep, nothing will go wrong...

Law does not work backwards in time, or like friends Romans used to say lex retro non agit. If jailbraking consoles would become legal now, it would have no effect on past cases whatsoever.

And yes, modding a piece of hardware You legally own should not be considered a crime, and it being illegal is mostly dead law anyway. You only hear about big cases when one or the other hardware hacker does something newsworthy and the big companies go into damage control mode.
It wouldn't change anything in terms of piracy, because whoever wants to pirate on their console does it already, without any real threat from the law-system.

It does, however, stop people who want to tinker with stuff however, because the moment They go public with their fancy inventions they put themselves at risk of lawsuits from the manufacturers.

i dont mind if they hack consoles or phones. or anything else, for that matter. what i do care about is that now, with multiplayer being an internet thing, their cheating could break great experiences. so i say; allow mods. but if they are found to be using them for competitive play, and therefore ruining the experience of everyone else in game, ban hammer time. oh, and take away achievements if your going to be doing that. that way i wont feel cheated out of my 53k g score that i toiled all day for.

As a Canadian I gotta say please let this succeed. Seems like every year we get a 'made in Hollywood' piece of DMC legislation placed in the hands of our government, but so far through popular public protest, petition, and consumer interest groups (as well as having a minority government... which we don't anymore) we've been able to shoot it down. It's not like we don't need to update our laws, but the key sticking point always comes down to making it illegal to alter digital locks and/or provide knowledge instruction & software to do so. We tell them this is unacceptable, they so okay let us take it back and revise it... next year there will be a few small changes but the digital locks caveat always remains.

So it would be nice if my neighbours to the south can clean up their own laws before 'trickle up' politics takes effect on this matter.

The title is misspelt, "campaings"?

So every game played online will be as fucked over as Modern Warfare 2? Awesome.

Ordinaryundone:

Xanthious:

Ordinaryundone:
On one hand, hell yeah, fight the power, down with the corporations telling us what we can do, etc.

On the other hand, if this passes get ready for a flood of homemade console knock offs and such extreme cheating in online games that it will be impossible to regulate.

It shouldn't be up to the consumers to give up their consumer rights just to make sure little Billy isn't cheating at Call of Duty. Valve manages to keep most of their games free of cheats on Steam and god knows there is all kinds of hardware modding going on in the PC community.

As for the flood of console knockoffs I fail to see how people being allowed to modify their legally purchased hardware is going to lead to any kind of rampant counterfeiting at all in the console market. The two are completely separate issues.

You know how ocassionally you find people online selling hacked consoles or modded controllers, even though it isn't strictly "legal"? This would turn into a real business. You think that the game industry gets up in arms about the used games industry, wait until they get a whiff of the "$150 Xbox 360 that can also play torrented PS3 and Wii games" industry.

Ok sure, people sell modded consoles that can play pirated games. Hell in my area on craigslist there is a game shop that advertises it can mod your 360 while you wait for the bargain price of a twenty spot.

However, (and here is where you jumped right off the ledge of reason into the olympic size swimming pool o' nonsense), the presumption that modded systems are magically going to be able to play any current gen games other than those already made for the system at hand after this law is passed it totally and utterly rubbish.

First off we've pretty much reached the peak of what can be done with modded systems right now. The fact it's illegal means fuck all to the people doing it. It's not as if once this law is passed somehow the systems are going to somehow be able to do more. Furthermore it's not as if once modding becomes legal you will all of a sudden just be able to mozy on over to the local electronics hut pick up a basket of parts and turn them into an PS3.

Secondly, and most importantly, the industry's opinion on this matter means fuck all. Again, they are SELLING these consoles. Not renting them. Once you sell something you lose the right to decide what gets done with it. I couldn't be paid to care about their opinion if I were to ever mod one of my own consoles (although I'd nevvverrrr do that nope not me that's just wrong. No sir I don't have a J-Tagged Xbox 360 with a terabyte hard drive thats filled to bursting (with public access ebooks) . . . nope I sure don't). When they want to start renting their systems out to people for a few quid a week then I will start to care about their opinions on how I should operate the hardware. However, while they are still SELLING it they can go bugger each other with broken bottles for all I care about their opinion on the matter.

Even if the laws made it legal, it'd still be breaking TOS's from consoles, phones, whatever you bought that were already in effect.

Also you'll see game developers coding as much as possible to make sure their games Only run on official firmware.

Ashistheking:
but surely if people hack thier console to get free games surely that would damage the industry ?

You are thinking about this the wrong way. They are not making a case for people to be allowed to steal games. They are simply making a case that people should be allowed to use the consoles as they see fit, which includes things like Homebrew.

GreatTeacherCAW:
So every game played online will be as fucked over as Modern Warfare 2? Awesome.

The EFF is not making a case that says this is ok.

OT: Everyone looks at the worst possible outcomes of these types of things. A modded console can do things a restricted console cannot. Which could include alternate OS's, homebrew, user made content. Imagine being able to download player made mods for Skyrim. Get your heads strait. Will people use this illegally. Yes. Can this be used in a legal manner to enhance the lives of gamers who aren't interested in cheating or pirating? Hell yes!

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