Legal to hack?

overlord20

Gawd
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Messages
623
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.
 

Dreaz

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
1,656
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.
 

PWMK2

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
3,032
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.

Against the law = cops can show up at your door and bust your ass for it.

Breach of contract = the company would have a sound legal basis to sue you if they really wanted.

In order for it to ever have been illegal to mod your console, there had to have been a law passed that says, "It is illegal to modify the firmware on your Xbox 360." It's even crazier when you realize that in order for installing Mac OS X on your PC to be illegal, there would have to be a law that says, "It is illegal to install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware." Big brother Steve indeed.

Also, laws passed in this country don't ever regulate behavior you can do. They simply regulate behavior you can't do. For instance, there isn't a law that says you can chew bubblegum in public. And there isn't a law that says you can mod your firmware either.

Microsoft could potentially sue you if you hack your 360, but nobody's going to show up at your door for it. It's never been like that. The court opinion was kind of a "duh" statement, but since there has been a lot of confusion over it maybe it's not really a duh statement.
 

theNoid

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2003
Messages
7,441
When you sign into Xbox Live you agree to a EULA, which is completely separate from any governing law. Break the EULA, you get banned from their service and additional features that are listed in the EULA (ie. signed content)
 

Mozex

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
1,319
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..

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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millenium_Copyright_Act

If you want to read the whole thing
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:H.R.2281:
 
Last edited:

munkle

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
11,800
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.

Actually you are quite wrong, you cannot hack something that you have to use code that is copyrighted to hack it. That was the problem with the original xbox the modded bios was based off of code that was copyrighted by microsoft. Also most of the original xbox mods were built of stolen software, the xbox development software. There are legal ways to hack stuff and there are illegal ways. The iphone just uses exploits which is why it isn't illegal.
 

aaronearles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
2,016
who gives a shit? do what you want, just don't be surprised if you get banned from xbl
 

quimby999

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
460
legal in most cases but the manfacturers arewithin thier rights to enforce terms of serviceeand ban you for modifying the system
 

overlord20

Gawd
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Messages
623
Thanks to everyone that helped.

No thanks to aaronearles. It was a legitimate question that I did not know or could find nothing on. Don't be a dick and quit trolling. If you didn't give a shit why did you waste your time posting?.

For everyone else, Great information. Definitely an area which I believe a lot of people don't really know or understand including myself.
 

RanceJustice

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Messages
6,229
There as been good info so far, but I feel compelled to tell you all that if the ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) passes, the issues of the DMCA will seem like just a drop in the bucket. This is a serious internet freedom kind of thing - for instance, they could seize your laptop or PSP as you board an aircraft simply because they decided that you looked too smart for your own good and if they find you installed custom firmware on said PSP, you'll be looking at Al Capone-level charges because you were "knowing and willingly using technology that is intended to break the law". They see a torrent client on your PC, even if all you're seeding is Linux and other FOSS ISOs? Welcome to a holding cell, while they search your laptop and confiscate it if they find...well...whatever they want. That underpaid TSA goon is going home with a new laptop tonight because you have a DRM-free MP3 on your HDD!

http://www.anti-acta.com/
 

PWMK2

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
3,032
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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millenium_Copyright_Act

If you want to read the whole thing
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:H.R.2281:

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.
 
Last edited:

Mozex

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
1,319
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.

If you're cheating in an online game through a hack then you are running non-authorized software on the device and would be violating the DMCA since you had to break the copyright protection mechanism to run your hacked code. Same goes for alternate OS's, media player programs etc.

Installing a packet sniffer/modifier between an xbox and the internet would probably be legal so long as you were able to modify the game traffic without modifying any authentication information being sent to microsoft and/or the game manufacturer.
 

Mozex

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
1,319
There as been good info so far, but I feel compelled to tell you all that if the ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) passes, the issues of the DMCA will seem like just a drop in the bucket.

http://www.anti-acta.com/

I'll put on my tinfoil hat and read this later tonight, thanks for the heads up. (serious about reading but not the hat :D)

I may come off as a little paranoid in this thread, but I think people should be aware of the tools that could be used against them if their government wanted to. There are lots of legal ways that people can be screwed and there are lots of harmless things that are illegal. Just keep in mind "right and wrong" is not the same thing as "allowed and forbidden".
 
Top