Posted by Chris Scott Barr on Jun 22, 2011

EFF Accuses Microsoft Of Abusing DMCA To Sell More Xbox 360 Accessories

I think that most gamers (or consumers of any digital media, for that matter) are familiar with the letter DMCA. They, of course, stand for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is an attempt by the government to thwart piracy. Now, in theory, it isn’t such a horrible thing. It’s understandable that companies want to profit from the content that they have created. However, many companies take this entirely too far.

Take Microsoft, for example. Last year they brought a suit against Datel, citing the DMCA as a reason why they should not be allowed to manufacture and sell memory cards for the Xbox 360. They argue that the cards can be used to alter gamer profiles and achievements, which should fall under the protection of the DMCA. The EFF disagrees.

The EFF has filed a brief that accuses Microsoft of abusing the act for the sole purpose of eliminating competition and selling more accessories. Corynne McSherry of the EFF stated “Microsoft is misusing the law in order to sell more accessories and control customers’ use of the Xbox. The DMCA is supposed to be a shield against piracy, not a weapon to smash competition and consumer choice.”

So which is it? Is Microsoft really just trying its best to prevent piracy on their console, or are they attempting to eliminate any competition in the accessory market? Judging from how difficult the company is to work with to actually create accessories for the console, I’d  be inclined to think that it is the latter. Of course, the real question is how the courts will rule on this one.


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