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Copyright law is bricking your game console. Time to fix that


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SOURCE: https://www.wired.com/story/copyright-law-is-bricking-your-game-console-time-to-fix-that/
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Summary

Kyle Wiens is the cofounder and CEO of iFixit, an online repair community and parts retailer internationally renowned for its open source repair manuals and product teardowns.But if you talk with expert repair technicians like Bryan Harwell, they’ll tell you that significant obstacles stand in the way.At Replay’d, Harwell’s Boston repair and game shop, one out of every 10 customers brings in a console with a broken optical drive. Next week, with the help of Public Knowledge and our fellow advocates for Right to Repair, iFixit will ask the US Copyright Office to make fixing consoles, along with other software-enabled devices, legal.Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by Congress in 1998, makes it illegal to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work.” In Harwell’s case, the copyrighted work is the firmware on the optical drive.Manufacturers, and the Copyright Office, have interpreted this to mean that maneuvering around the digital locks on your own devices in order to fix them is against the law. But when I logged in to Microsoft.com to see what it would cost to fix the drive in my Xbox One, they told me “there are no service options available.”If the manufacturers won’t fix them, then consumers and repair shops will have to maintain their consoles themselves. Sadly, the new Xbox also pairs its optical drive and motherboard.That leaves gamers stuck with a catch-22: The manufacturers won’t fix their consoles, and it’s illegal for them to do it themselves. But an exemption for gaming consoles will help people and repair shops get consoles working again, save more circuit boards from clogging waste streams, and get you back to playing your favorite games.Even though manufacturers keep releasing new consoles, repair shops are seeing real demand to keep older game consoles running. Harwell knows there are some customers who—out of nostalgia, frugality, or a desire to appease the kids—want to fire up an earlier Xbox or PlayStation and jam with some old favorites.But the inability to fix consoles without a new motherboard or time-consuming soldering work make repairs more expensive than they need to be.

As said here by Kyle Wiens, iFixit