Does the new law that the U.S. Government passed (where it is legal to hack or put custom firmware/run homebrew) only apply to mobile devices? I just wondering because someone wants to trade me an non banned xbox with custom firmware.
It wasn't a new U.S. law that was passed, but simply a court opinion. I forgot which court it was, but I believe it was a federal one. That court opinion is old news, though.
Here is a common confusion / pet peeve of mine, so here goes:
It's never been illegal to mod your console or do anything else against that appears in the EULA. It is perfectly legal, for instance, to install Mac OS X on your PC. However, it breaks the EULA, which is a contract..
Misinformation by confusion.
It's perfectly "legal" to hack or modify any console system you own, period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is flat out wrong.
On the same token, that legally changed firmware on the xbox could get you legally banned from xbox live.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to circumvent means of copyright protection even if you don't violate the actual copyright on the content. Exemptions are granted, such as the new mobile phone jailbrake one, in order to allow people and organizations fair access to the hardware/copyrighted material.
So yes, it is illegal to hack your console because there is no exemption for it (to the best of my knowledge). So: IF somebody reports you to the government AND the government decides to pursue you THEN you could be arrested. The odds of this happening are extremely low, and you'd probably end up winning in court based on fair-use principals.
A nice summary
If you want to read the whole thing
I wasn't talking about hacking your console to play "backups." I was talking about cracking firmware in general. Sometimes people hack their consoles to cheat in online games. These hacks are legal. Obviously anything which goes against the DMCA is illegal, but not all hacks do this.