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EFF working to make console modding legal


Your Humble Indie Bundle dollars at work! The Copyright Office is taking submissions about possible new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is petitioning the office to protect "jailbreaking" of consoles, tablets, and other devices to run software other than that supported by the manufacturer. A year ago, a similar EFF initiative resulted in an exemption on "jailbreaking" smartphones.

"The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators, and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property." McSherry asserted that "artists and tinkerers" who want to modify their devices to run whatever they want deserve legal protection.

The use of jailbroken consoles -- or any technology -- to violate copyright (by, for example, playing an unauthorized copy of a retail game) would remain illegal. But the act of modding a console itself would no longer be.

The Copyright Office will hold hearings on DMCA extensions in the spring.

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