03
Aug
07

Is fair use still legal?

Given what the big entertainment companies are being allowed to do nowadays, as well as the actions of US government agencies, it makes me wonder. Consider this article:

U.S. customs agents raided 32 homes and businesses early Wednesday, searching for hardware that allows pirated video games to play on the popular PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Wii consoles.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, the search warrants were served in 16 states, including California, Illinois, New York, and Texas as agents looked for evidence of the importation, sale, and distribution of the modification devices made overseas and smuggled into the country.

The so-called “mod chips” and “swap discs” targeted by the searches let gamers play pirated titles or counterfeit copies on Sony’s PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s Wii video game machines. – [InfoWorld]

Now there is another possible reason to have a modded console system that the big entertainment companies, (and apparently, U.S. Customs officials) have conveniently (or intentionally) ignored. The ability to play backup copies of games you already own on your modded console station.

I find it irritating that if we legally and legitimately buy, say, a game for a console system. we cannot copy it store the original and play the backup in order to protect the original from wear, tear and other miscellaneous abuse. In other words, if the disc becomes scratched or damaged beyond repair, we are forced to buy a new copy of the game in order to play. I’m sure this works out great for game and console manufacturers, but the consumers are getting the shaft.

Why have the big entertainment industries been allowed to deny the consumers the right to engage in a common sense action that allow the consumer to protect their investment? Because of piracy? Why must the consumers be the one to bear the cost of piracy? The business is the one that is supposed to bear the risks of being in business, not the consumers.

Instead, they have become ever more restrictive and inflexible and blame piracy for their rigidity when any thinking human being can easily ascertain that there is no simple objective correlation between piracy and business losses. Piracy (even of the rampant variety) does not equate to lost sales. Pirates are not guaranteed to (and in many cases cannot afford to) buy the products they pirate, and to stipulate otherwise is simply faulty logic and wishful thinking.

And yet they get away with more and more infringements upon the fair use of their products by their legitimate consumers in the name of piracy. Where does their tyranny end, and the rights of legitimate consumers begin? That’s what I’d like to know.

Feds raid video-game ‘modders’ in 16 states – [InfoWorld]

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