Feeds

Xbox modder can't claim fair use, says judge

'FU' gets new meaning

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A California man facing criminal charges for modifying his Xbox 360 will not be allowed to use fair use grounds to defend himself at a trial scheduled for next week, the judge hearing the case said in a ruling that could have profound consequences for other hardware hackers.

Matthew Crippen of Anaheim, California, was arrested in August 2009 on charges related to modifications he made to the optical disc drives of two Xbox 360 game consoles. The related two-count indictment alleges he violated a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that bars the circumvention of technology designed to prevent access to copyrighted material.

Crippen's attorneys have argued that his tampering is protected by fair use exceptions, which permits certain uses of otherwise protected works when, for instance, the use is for nonprofit educational purposes or only a small portion of the overall work is used.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of Los Angeles, effectively pulled the rug out from underneath that planned defense, arguing that fair use is “irrelevant” to violations of section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the DMCA, under which Crippen is charged.

“The DMCA only requires a showing that the technological measure was related to a valid copyright interest, not that any infringement actually occurred,” Gutierrez wrote in a ruling granting federal prosecutors' request that Crippen be barred from presenting fair-use evidence at trial. “Moreover, although the government will have to establish that the technological measure that Mr. Crippen allegedly circumvented was used to control access to copyrighted work, the government need not show that the modified Xbox's were actually used for infringing purposes.”

The saga of 28-year-old Crippen is a familiar one to many hackers, whose modifications to hardware including game consoles, and even calculators sometimes puts them on the receiving end of legal threats. One of their strongest defenses for tinkering with gear they legally own is fair use.

Crippen, who if convicted faces a maximum three years in prison for selling modded Xboxes, isn't the first hacker under prosecution to be barred from using the defense. Wired.com has much more here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.