EFF stands behind Datel in Microsoft suit over third-party 360 memory cards

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 21 June 2011 14:19 GMT

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has spoken out against Microsoft due to its suit with Datel over the UK firm’s third-party memory cards for Xbox 360.

The suit, has Microsoft accusing Datel of selling cards which it claims causes Xbox users to violate the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and US federal law should they use the third-party cards in their system.

However, the EFF said the DMCA was instilled to prevent “access to copyrighted material by non-paying customers,”not created to block “competitors or policing users’ behavior in regards to their own property.”

“Letting Xbox owners use a third-party memory card does not put Microsoft at risk of copyright infringement,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “Microsoft is misusing the law in order to sell more accessories and control customers’ use of the Xbox. The DMCA is supposed to be a shield against piracy, not a weapon to smash competition and consumer choice.

“If Microsoft were to prevail on this point, it could give the software giant the ability to use the DMCA to prevent competitors from selling Xbox-compatible accessories, like memory cards, controllers, and headsets. Such a ruling would have wide-ranging ramifications for hundreds of other consumer products where content such as computer code or users’ game play progress is involved.”

“Congress did not intend to grant manufacturers the power to eliminate competition for replacement parts, accessories, or repair services,” added EFF Senior Staff Attorney Abigail Phillips. “That’s bad for consumers and bad for innovation.”

You can read the full EFF statement here, and look over the court documents here.

Thanks, Spong.

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