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In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Electronics Is Legal (vice.com)
924 points by jbegley 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments



Comments moved to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18303560, where the article has more background info.


I swear I misread this for a moment as "In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds say Hacking DRM to Fix ELECTIONS Is Legal" and I actually said "what the fuck" out-loud.

This is a good first step, but I think it has to go even further. Once a system is no longer officially supported you really should be able to do whatever you want with it.

I wonder how supporting certain features plays into this. For example, I own a WiiU, which was officially declared to be at its end of life in 2017 [0]. Although they still support its online features, that will only continue on for a few years. Once they shut down online services I won't be able to use it to play online. At that point I think I should be able to legally hack the device to setup my own server in order to continue playing online.

In fact, we've already seen this play out before: Nintendo killed off online support for the Wii a few years back and a community-supported solution sprung up to take its place [1]. I have no idea of its legality, but I think it's perfectly reasonable. There's actually a surprisingly vibrant online community of people still regularly playing Mario Kart Wii. Even cooler, there have been hundreds of custom tracks [2] created by passionate users that love the game.

Our current copyright laws are too focused on benefiting our corporate overlords and maximizing profits, usually at the peril of regular users. This might seem like a joke but I assure you I'm quite serious: I think internet memes give us a glimpse of what an ecosystem with fewer restrictions could look like. Everyone pretty much ignores copyright associated with memes and can create their own variations. That means there's a lot of crappy memes, but sometimes you get hilarious outcomes. I love Pepe The Frog, because he's taken on a life of his own, which is completely different from what the original creator intended. Its creator even tried to kill it off because he didn't like what it had become (and to be fair he has been depicted doing some incredibly horrible things), but the fans rejected his murder and continued to keep him alive.

Once something has been around long enough it becomes part of our culture, at which point I think the creator or copyright holder should no longer have exclusive control over it. Right now copyright lasts for way too long and I genuinely believe it's harmful for our society. If you're a really big fan of a series and you don't like the direction it's being taken in you should be able to fork off your own story. For example, I've read that Star Wars killed off its extended universe, to the dismay of many lifelong fans. Imagine if fans could fork off from the "official" story to keep the extended universe alive through their own content.

Forking a story to add you own twists or variations isn't anything new either. I've read tons of book which mix in aspects of historical mythology. There's no difference between historical myths and modern stories, except we've arbitrarily decided that we one is off limits until the author is dead.

[0] https://www.polygon.com/2017/1/19/14313914/legend-of-zelda-b...

[1] https://www.polygon.com/2014/6/20/5775924/how-to-get-ds-wii-...

[2] http://wiki.tockdom.com/wiki/List_of_Custom_Tracks




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