Hack for Me - OK; Hack for You - Jail Time?

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A man gets arrested for “jailbreaking” video game consoles.

Specifically this guy was arrested for selling his services to crack Wii, Playstation and Xbox consoles so that users could ostensibly use back-up copies of their games. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is pretty specific on this point:

“(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that—

(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;
(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or
(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title”

Source: US Code: Para 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

Note that this relates to anyone making a profit from hacking a device. If someone wants to crack his own device, good luck and hope you don’t brick it. Once you get into buying pirated software for a hacked unit, that’s also another story – shades of the RIAA which has lately been successful in winning convictions for ridiculous amounts of money against downloaders. In this case the indictment is very specific (Copy HERE) in alleging these actions for financial gain.

You can take issue with the law, but it is quite clear that it applies to this case and the alleged actions are in violation. Whether or not the law is to our liking is quite another issue, which seems to be the basis for almost all the comments I’ve seen on this issue. My take is that what you do with stuff you’ve bought is your ticket, but crossing the line by doing it for others can get you into some hot water. Folks are jailbreaking iPhones and the like but at their own peril – if it bricks, it’s on your watch.

Serendipitously Maximum PC just happened to run a series of hacking articles today:

Many of our readers are tinkerers – I know many of you have probably helped a friend to build an overclocked PC or two and might find these articles interesting. Knowing where to draw the line is just the smart thing to do.

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