According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Microsoft is misusing copyright law in a case involving third-party Xbox 360 memory cards. A brief was filed urging the federal court to block Microsoft’s attempt to stop its competitors from offering memory card products for the Xbox 360.
Microsoft is in the middle of a court battle accusing Datel Holdings, a British company that sells memory cards for the Xbox 360, that gamers are in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) whenever they use third-party memory cards on the Xbox 360. Microsoft is apparently targeting this company to set an example.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that DMCA was created in the 90s to address unauthorized access to copyrighted material by non-paying customers. Apparently, the DEFF thinks Microsoft is using this as a weapon to get rid of competition.
“Microsoft’s section 1201(a) claim against Datel amounts to nothing more than an attack on its own paying customers. Not only is this interpretation inequitable, it contravenes the plain meaning of section 1201(a), ignores Congress’s expressed intent, and runs counter to the long-standing doctrine of intellectual property exhaustion.”
“When correctly interpreted, section 1201(a) prohibits something else altogether: digital trespass upon intellectual property by outsiders who have no authority to ‘unlock’ a copyrighted work without ‘breaking into’ the work through circumvention. In other words, section 1201(a) protects copyright owners’ ability to demand and receive payment before granting the authority to decrypt, descramble, or otherwise circumvent the technological protection measures preventing access to their works.”
If Microsoft wins this case, the company can control the Xbox 360 aftermarket and allow for consumer electronics companies to place technological protection measures. In other words, Microsoft is effectively looking for is the Court to grant it the exclusive rights to sell any Xbox 360 compatible memory card, controllers, and handsets.Further reading: Microsoft, Xbox 360