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XBox (Games) Entertainment Games

Xbox Hacking Book Prepares to Fly Off Shelves 319

SecurityFocus posted an article today about a new book that covers hacking the Xbox. The book's author, Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, reports that it's selling well, even though the release date has not yet arrived. Presumably, this is because the book covers soldering techniques and adding features like blue LEDs and modchips to Xboxes, most of which violate the DMCA. If this stuff is interesting to you, you can order a copy from Huang's site. It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores.
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Xbox Hacking Book Prepares to Fly Off Shelves

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  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:07PM (#5915484) Journal
    I find it amusing that the open source crowd shows such great interest in a closed piece of hardware, hardware that is defended by DMCA-supported lawyer jargon and manufactured by "The Great Satan" of digital freedom. It goes to show you how strong and creative this community is, and highlights upon some of the beneficial fundamental values that the open source crowd holds: freedom and expression in computing. Sappy huh. =)

    At the heart of the modding debate (or very close to it), I think that Microsoft wants to prevent hacking and modding of the Xbox because it reveals to the consumers the true identity of the Xbox: a PC that is being sold far too cheaply; an entry into the console market that would be completely unsustainable if Microsoft were not a monopoly (I.E. able to sustain gross losses in many other markets in order to direct/force attention back to their OS and Office suite).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:16PM (#5915532)
      Dear mao che minh,

      This message serves to notify you of your violation of a Microsoft(r)(c)(TM) trademark ("I.E.") in the previous post. We take infringements on our intellectual property very seriously.

      You may settle this case out of court by agreeing to pay us an unspecified sum of our choosing and signing a non-disclosure, indentured servitude agreement. If you refuse, I remind you that our legal staff is large enough to fill a football stadium but smart enough to know better than to go out in public together.

      We eagerly await your reply.

      Sincerely,
      Microsoft Legal Team
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2003 @11:42PM (#5916217)
        Dear Anonymous Coward,

        This message serves to notify you of your recent attempt to impersonate the Microsoft Legal Team. We take all such infractions seriously and prosecute them to the maximum extent possible under any and all applicable laws, and some that are not applicable too. We urge that you:

        1. Cease and desist from any such attempts at impersonation in the future.

        2. Issue a statement that clearly and unambiguously establishes your comment to be unofficial.

        We eagerly await your compliance.

        Sincerely,
        The real(TM) Microsoft Legal Team.
    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:20PM (#5915548)

      I find it amusing that the open source crowd shows such great interest in a closed piece of hardware, hardware that is defended by DMCA-supported lawyer jargon and manufactured by "The Great Satan" of digital freedom.

      I find it even more amusing that after 5 years under the DMCA, someone still has the cojones to basically thumb his nose at "The Great Satan" of digital freedom.

      I think that this only helps further the idea that if the various media/software companies do not provide what the user wants, the user will figure it out for themselves. When the bottom line of company Y starts to really shrink, they will provide the customer with what they want to maintain the revenue stream on related products (think IBM and SUN selling and supporting Linux so that they can keep selling servers).

    • Microsoft isn't dumb. Hell, before it was released that's what people saw it as, but now the hardware in the Xbox is nothing to write home about (you can getmuch better for about the same price on walmart.com.) Besides, every console since the SNES has been sold at a loss, they make the difference up on the licensing and SDKs. At $99, Sony lost about $17 on each PSX they sold. Ditto for Sega (Saturn and Dreamcast) and Nintendo (GC and N64.) But you buy a few games and they've already made it back. So this r
    • by Anonymous Coward
      No. Fucking no. They want to stop hacking and modding of the XBox because they don't want people pirating games. Clean, simple answer. There's no dramatic conspiracy behind it, they probably don't even care if someone wants to waste their time running Linux on it..they don't want people pirating games. Why? Because the system is cheap. They're losing tons of money on it, and the only money they're gaining back is from deals with companies producing games, and the few people out there buying the machines to
      • by Anonymous Coward
        shovelling hundreds of thousands of dollars building systems directly into the toilet.

        That's the whole business plan with the i-loo!
    • I pose a question. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by schappim ( 656944 )
      If I were to buy a whole heap of xboxes and put linux on all of them without putting in a modchip, (using the raincoat hax) and then sold these as internet tv devices with keyboard and mouse, would it be considered illegal?
    • Xbox because it reveals to the consumers the true identity of the Xbox: a PC that is being sold far too cheaply; an entry into the console market that would be completely unsustainable if Microsoft were not a monopoly

      Why would you need to open the Xbox to know this? You've never opened one and yet you know. All of that stuff is public knowlage.

      Xbox because it reveals to the consumers the true identity of the Xbox: a PC that is being sold far too cheaply; an entry into the console market that would b
    • "an entry into the console market that would be completely unsustainable if Microsoft were not a monopoly (I.E. able to sustain gross losses in many other markets in order to direct/force attention back to their OS and Office suite)."

      Um, yeah. Because Sony and Nintendo don't sell their consoles at a loss or anything. Come on dude, look at the Xbox's competition. Whether MS is a monopoly or not is a moot point in this argument - Sony and Nintendo both have other revenue streams to allow them to sell cons

      • Actually, Nintendo has never sold a console at a loss. That is totally anathema to their corporate personality.

        The only companies to have sold consoles at a loss are Sega (and only with the Dreamcast) and Microsoft (only with the Xbox). The PS2 may have been sold at a loss early in its lifespan, but it was a very small loss.

        As consoles continue to be manufactured, the parts get cheaper, and the process gets streamlined. Thus consoles become more and more profitable over their lifetime. Nintendo has th
    • I find it amusing that the home gardening crowed shows such a great interest in inexpensive "bedding plants" that are defended by nursery-supported patents and grown by "The Great Satans" of home lumberyards. It goes to show you how strong and creative this community is, and highlights upon some of the beneficial fundamental values that the gardening crowd holds: freedom of expression in horticulture. Sappy huh. =)

      At the heart of the gardening debate (or very close to it), I think that Big Box Stores w

      • Make it illegal for anyone to sell anything at a loss by default, and require an application for an exception to the law to permit "loss leaders".

        Several years ago, I was suckered into becoming a retailer for ColorCo thermochromatic t-shirts. I paid a lot of money to get a license so I could buy the shirts, then more money on the shirts. I had to buy some large quantity of t-shirts at a time, too. Unfortunatetly, I was unable to sell them, at least not at a profit. Over the years, I managed slowly to whi

        • Good point. This would definitely require some tweaking. For starters, we could try it just with corporations, not individuals, and see how it works. Lotsa luck singling out corps though...

          When it comes to disposing of inventory, I guess the corps could be required to auction it in bulk lots. That way, inventory clearance can't be used to mask anti-competitive pricing practices.

    • by pjt48108 ( 321212 ) <pjt48108 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @11:56PM (#5916297) Homepage
      I do not find it so amusing as all that, simply common sense. It seems to me that a closed-source system, to an open-source zealot, is like an unreachable itch: the longer it itches and the less reachable it is, the more tantalizing it becomes. Also, on a fundamental level, the Xbox is just a fancy-schmancy basic PC with artificial blocks on it to prevent anything but limited use of it. All told, the above adds up to a very enticing temptation to open-source muckers-about.

      What I find amusing at best (and sad at worst) is that the DMCA was passed by our "Elected" representatives in DC. These same people who are telling YOU (and me, actually), the American voter, not to pay "...any attention to the man behind the curtain," are the same ones you BLITHELY allowed to attain their post, either in an act of omission ("I forgot to vote" or "I was too busy") or comission ("I voted for Congressman X, but I didn't know that a kneejerk fundie neoconservative would actually FOLLOW THROUGH on the slow REPEAL of the First Amendment!).

      Suck it up crybabies: you let Congress take away your toys, now you have to play with the leavings.

      Ok... setting cynicism to off...
    • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @12:10AM (#5916368) Homepage
      I find it amusing that the open source crowd shows such great interest in a closed piece of hardware,

      Hi, this is just a reminder that a crowd is, by definition, more than one person. The concept of different people having different opinions must be new to you. Please learn more about this concept. Thank you.

  • Heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) * <(ten.revliskh) (ta) (iksbmun)> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:12PM (#5915511) Homepage Journal
    The only part that violates the DMCA is the part that describes how to circumvent copy protection schemes.

    That's the reason Microsoft will want him to hang over this.

    It's also the reason someone has to do it. Someone has to stand up and show how insane this all is. Too bad someone has to martyr themselves in order to get the point across. This guy will ruin his fiscal life in the united states.
    • uh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:41PM (#5915652) Homepage Journal
      None of it violates the DMCA. Books are not devices. They do not violate the DMCA. Ever.
      • Re:uh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ryanr ( 30917 ) *
        How about if I print a book with copyrighted information that I violated the DMCA to get? How about if I print DeCSS?
        • Re:uh (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pyrote ( 151588 )
          actually I have a stack of papers with decss in barcode... does that count as a digital copy or a print copy?
      • Re:uh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zurab ( 188064 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @10:13PM (#5915799)
        None of it violates the DMCA. Books are not devices. They do not violate the DMCA. Ever.

        It's easy - DMCA - Sec. 1201:

        (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof that--

        `(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological protection measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

        Emphasis mine. Books qualify as products, don't they? I think free speech violates DMCA - that's the problem.
        • (4) Nothing in this section shall enlarge or diminish any rights of free speech or the press for activities using consumer electronics, telecommunications, or computing products.

          In other words, if you could print it before the DMCA was passed, you can print it after the DMCA is passed
          • That's not quite what the section says. It only applies to using consumer electronics, telecom, and computers -- it says nothing about your rights of free speech or the press concerning publishing in a dead-tree format.
            • Re:Read it again (Score:4, Insightful)

              by zenyu ( 248067 ) on Friday May 09, 2003 @12:24AM (#5916426)
              it says nothing about your rights of free speech or the press concerning publishing in a dead-tree format.

              I used to think so too. But then 2600 got blocked from publishing decss, and then even linking to pages publishing decss. There was a reason the new york times spoke up for the magazine, I assume it's the same reason they no longer link to related sites in their stories, but instead inconveniently write out the URL as if it were text. The DMCA ended 'free' speech in the USA. The party is over, all consumers please return to your assigned duties, we've got a war with the Canadian aggressors to organize.
          • He was going to publish a paper on the weaknesses of the SDMI schemes. The SDMI people threatened to prosecute under the DMCA and only backed down when Felten went to the Supreme Court about the whole deal.

            Whether or not part 4 applies, you have to go through the courts to exonerate yourself- and you might not be able to easily do it, having to go through the entire judicial system to do it.
      • Errrmmmm ... well, this was sort of the question that Ed Felten tried to get cleared up when he filed for declaratory judgment that his publication of a paper about how he cracked SDMI lead to C&D letters and threats of litigation under the DMCA. Anybody remember that one? Seems to me that I recall Ed's lawsuit was dismissed by the court ... so this is STILL a live issue to be settled.

        It's also the prime reason that Bruce (Perens) parted company with HP, IIRC. Anybody remember that one?
        • This guy must have grapefruit sized nuts. If they come after him (I'm sure we'd hear it here first), I will contribute to his defense fund. The problem is that the threat of litigation under the DMCA is more effective than the DMCA itself. I'm sure those who paid the lobbyists to get this thing passed don't want to get any of it's nasty fangs knocked out. They'd drop the suit before a judge struck it down. By then, the financial damage to the defendant would already be done anyhow.
      • If I'm not mistaken, the DeCSS t-shirt also got lumped in to the court injuction during the trial. I don't think a T-shirt qualifies as a "device", yet got slapped as infringing by a judge. Not a threatening cease-and-desist notice (which is only one lawyer's opinion on paper), but a real judge's ruling!

  • Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:12PM (#5915515) Journal
    Is the book banned, or the techniques the book describes? There's a big difference.

    Clearly, the book is not banned, since it is being published directly by the author. However, from his site, the book was not picked up by a publisher for fear of lawsuits. That's somewhat alarming, but it's not equivalent to outlawing a book.

    Actually, there are plenty of "survival" manuals and whatnot [amazon.com] out there that describe all kinds of illegal activities, so I would be surprised if tort law could be used to terminate publication of a book (because if it could, it would have been done already in other contexts). However, this doesn't mean that the threat of lawsuits could not be used as a scare tactic.
    • That's somewhat alarming, but it's not equivalent to outlawing a book.

      Thank you, I was hoping someone would point this out.
    • "Ban" is relative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:37PM (#5915638) Homepage Journal
      Clearly, the book is not banned, since it is being published directly by the author. However, from his site, the book was not picked up by a publisher for fear of lawsuits. That's somewhat alarming, but it's not equivalent to outlawing a book.
      Well, in the strictest sense, there are no book bans in the U.S. The First Amendment doesn't allow them. (Well, mostly. There have always been exceptions. But these have gotten few and farther over the years.) But if you can make it impossible for people to buy something, you've banned that item, no matter how you go about it.

      You refer to tort law. That's certainly a factor. But the DMCA provides for criminal prosecution of violators. If nobody is willing to publish, or even self-publish, books on hacking this or that because they don't want to go to jail -- well then, that kind of book is banned, whatever you call the process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:15PM (#5915526)
    of consumer rights. If i want to buy an XBox and void the warranty, it's my right to do so. On the other hand, if I was being unreasonable, like modding an XBox and then demanding Microsoft provide support for it, the manufacturer would be right.

    Microsoft has every right to void the warranty if I purposely modify the box. What they don't have is the right to demand I don't violate the EULA and void the warranty. I hate to say it, but corporations should be banned from donating money to political parties or candidates. If a company wants to push their own agendas, they shouldn't get a free write off. Instead, they should have to pay their employees, who then donate the money. This means, for every dollar a company spends to buy votes, they have to pay taxes on it. I have no problem with companies like microsoft buying influence in the white house as long as those purchases are taxes at 33%.

  • re: censorship (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <scubacuda&gmail,com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:16PM (#5915534)
    It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores.

    If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all--Noam Chomsk


    Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself--Salman Rushdie

    You can cage the singer but not the song--Harry Belafonte
  • DCMA, what's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deathcloset ( 626704 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:20PM (#5915550) Journal
    How is modding your X-Box illegal under the DCMA? I don't doubt that somehow it is (Frankly I wouldn't be suprised if having a dream with a top 100 song in it is illegal too) but is it only illegal if you actually use it for infringement purposes, or is the modification of the device itself illegal?

    if the actual harware mod is illegal then WTF? I should be able to do whatever I want with my hardware (physically). I bought it, I own it. I can hit it repeatedly with a bat If I wish. I can dunk it in a bathtub full of milk, I can throw it through any window in my house I so choose (That is if I own the house, but If I have enough income to fill a tub with milk then I think I would have enough money own the house (maybe in this example I own a barn)).
    • by Bendy Chief ( 633679 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:27PM (#5915587) Homepage Journal
      Modification of an X-Box, namely, with a modchip, constitutes a form of copy-protection circumvention, which is an offense under the DMCA. By installing your modchip, you circumvent bootup routines contained in the BIOS ROM which prevent you from playing pirated games, installing Linux, etc, etc.

      The proprietary Microsoft BIOS ROM is what this whole DMCA spectre revolves around. You own the box but not the ROM inside. It's not your right to modify it. (As dictated by law. I'm all for mods)

      • If I install the open-source ROM, whose copyright am I violating? How is installing Linux violating copyright?

        AFAIK, there's only a copyright violation if you take a modchip, and put a copy of Microsoft's XBox BIOS on it.
        • by Bendy Chief ( 633679 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @10:06PM (#5915773) Homepage Journal
          IANAL, but as I understand it, any act preventing their BIOS from running in exactly the way they intended is a violation. It doesn't matter what you do afterwards. (Unless that's further criminal activity)

          Furthermore, I am not a US citizen (Canuck), so I haven't researched the DMCA as exhaustively as I might otherwise have. Still, I believe it's as draconian as I implied above.
      • The notion that the restriction of which software you can run on the X-Box is a red herring designed to divert attention from what, in the EU at least, is an illegal restraint of trade. The BIOS protections are there too ensure that no software producer can sell software that runs on the X-Box without handing over a significant proportion of its revenue to Microsoft. By the time the distributor and the retailer have added their markup to this extorted sum the end customer is paying a lot of money for th

    • well, the issue isn't wether you can mod your xbox, the issue is distributing information about how to bypass copyprotection which is very illigal just ask the poor guy who made decss. You may not agree with the DCMA, but as for now its the law. If you realy want to fight it you have to do it the legal way, telling people how to do it then saying fuck the dcma isn't the way to go
      • well, the issue isn't wether you can mod your Xbox, the issue is distributing information about how to bypass copy protection which is very illegal

        Actually, it's very much legal. But what you're not allowed to do is distribute devices that circumvent copyright protection. The issue in the DeCSS case was weather source code constituted speech or a device (or both).
        • Quoth the poster:

          ... what you're not allowed to do is distribute devices that circumvent ...

          OR products that are PRIMARILY intended to permit circumvention. A book that provides instructions on how to circumvent a "technical means of protection" is, IMHO, IAAL, no different than selling a modchip until the "Felten issue" is settled.

          Personally, I think that both books AND source are protected forms of speech, but Grampa might disagree. (OT sidebar comment: when I was preparing for the Bar exam

      • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:47PM (#5915672) Homepage Journal
        > the issue is distributing information about how to bypass copyprotection which is very illigal just ask the poor guy who made decss.

        No. 2600 got in trouble for distributing the source code for DeCSS because the source code (while information, at some level) is a "circumvention device" (according to the judge). The functional aspect of the code (once run through a compiler) was key to this. It would be difficult to argue that a book is an actual "device," and the DMCA does not ban anything (relevant) other than the act of circumvention and circumvention devices.
      • Quoth the poster:

        You may not agree with the DCMA, but as for now its the law. If you realy want to fight it you have to do it the legal way, telling people how to do it then saying fuck the dcma isn't the way to go.

        Actually, at this juncture, that is the ONLY way to fight it. Congress has been bought and paid for (and we all know that an "honest politician" is one who STAYS bought), so the probability that legislation will seriously change the DMCA's more draconian provisions must be considered va

    • by Tom7 ( 102298 )
      > How is modding your X-Box illegal under the DCMA?

      Well, check it out -- search for 17 USC 1201 on google and read the law. Section c, I think, describes circumvention devices and outlaws them. Also, the act of circumvention is outlawed.

      In this case, circumvention and circumvention device are defined carefully, but I believe that x-box modchips would fall under the definition. Certainly the act of using a modchip to play illegally copied games would be a DMCA violation. If the modding community builds
      • I had that circumvention thing done to me when I was a baby... And *now* they make it illegal?!...

        Damn...
      • by dirk ( 87083 )
        As long as you are not using your X-Box to play pirated games (or access other copyrighted material), you are not using it to circumvent anything. You are free to do anything you want with your X-Box. This includes paint it, put a blue LED in it, or even put a modchip in it. Now if that modchip contains code copyrighted by MS (which they always do as far as I know) then you are violating not only the DMCA, but copyright laws as well. You can freely remove the X-Box chip and place a blank one in (not tha
        • by Klaruz ( 734 )
          Nope, try cromwell.

          http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/download.php

          xbox bios replacement, no microsoft code. I mentioned in another thread that I'm thinking of chiping an xbox to make a mythtv front end. I intend to use cromwell in the chip, and just turn the chip off when I want to play an xbox game.

          No DMCA violation, no copyright violation. Just a dual purpose piece of hardware. Just doing what microsoft wants sometimes, doing what I want other times.

          That sounded almost like a defence of the DMCA, bu
        • by nathanh ( 1214 )
          Now if that modchip contains code copyrighted by MS (which they always do as far as I know)

          Nope. The first modchips contained code owned by Microsoft. There are new modchips which are Microsoft free. They are still illegal under the DMCA. Huzzah for America, the land of the free.

    • Frankly I wouldn't be suprised if having a dream with a top 100 song in it is illegal too

      It would be under DMCA if it was Bender having the dream.
  • Auto Makers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kUnGf00m45t3r ( 628515 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:25PM (#5915573)
    Just wait, pretty soon automakers will start using the DMCA to keep you from repairing your car yourself. That way you have to take it to an "authorized repair center".
    • Re:Auto Makers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shogun ( 657 )
      Just wait, pretty soon automakers will start using the DMCA to keep you from repairing your car yourself. That way you have to take it to an "authorized repair center".

      I thought they already did that, well not via the DMCA as yet, but by keeping proprietry engine computer management data out of the hands of the 'unauthorized service centres'.
    • Re:Auto Makers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 )
      I saw on TV a few weeks ago where a car shop somewhere installs MOD chips that turns kittens into tigers.

      The chips apparently modify the fuel injection system, pollution control, timing, etc.

      It used to be to hot rod a car you installed goodies like NOS injectors, turbo chargers, Holly four barrel, etc..
      Now you replace the factory chip with a "HOT" mod chip..

      I don't see the car companies invoking DMCA to stop that..
      What the hell is the difference?? mod chipping a car to run better vs. mod chipping the xbo
    • Yep - what is it, OBD3? The one that transmits data back to the manufacturer/world? Whee.
    • Re:Auto Makers (Score:2, Informative)

      by Geekbot ( 641878 )
      I believe they already do this, or are at least planning to. I believe this was brought up on here before. ....
      Basically, to service your vehicle, a repair shop needs the help of the car's computer. The car's computer gives the repairman certain diagnostic codes. By deciphering these codes, the repairman can figure out what the computer already knows is wrong with the vehicle.
      However, since this information could be considered "encoded" then the automakers can give the codes only to those authori
    • Re:Auto Makers (Score:3, Informative)

      by moankey ( 142715 )
      As someone already said they do this with the cars ECU or computer. People can get a scanner to get codes from the more popular cars but there are cars out there that only a dealer can work on.
      But then we also have modders there are garages that can modify the ECU for better fuel economy, more horsepower, or adjust it for optimal settings for whatever modifications you may have chose to make.
      Although now I hear many manufacturers have what they call learning ECU's. They sell it to the consumer as a way to
  • Bans and Stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:27PM (#5915586) Homepage Journal
    It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores.
    If GM or Ford had an automotive equivalent of the DMCA, they certainly could ban service manuals. The fact that they don't have oen and don't want one should be a lesson for media and software companies.

    American auto manufacturing started out as a small, boutique industry. Henry Ford changed all that by assuming (correctly, as it happened) that ordinary people would buy cars if he made it practical for them to own them. Part of this was inventing more efficient manufacturing techniques, so he could sell cars more cheaply. But he also specifically encouraged the aftermarket car parts industry, even going so far as to choosing his own manufacturing techniques so that they'd be easy to copy. Thus somebody with a broken Model T didn't have to send away to Michigan for parts. This relationship extends to this day.

    • MONOPOLY

      There are no "good" multinational corporations.

      Its about the money and if Ford, or GM had a monopoly they'd do it. Lucky for us they make horrible cars compared to Toyota and Honda.

      Henry Ford primed the economic pump by paying his workers more than they deserved so that they would be able to afford his product. It was economic genius.
      But these are the days of the Microsoft monopoly.
    • Re:Bans and Stuff (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Siniset ( 615925 )
      Unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder for people to mod their cars, what with chips and other electronics in the car. You need diagnostic software now to diagnose and fix most problems on modern cars. Which increases the efficiency of a car, but decreases the ability of the weekend mechanic from fixing a car. Oh well.
    • Ford is Dead (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      Henry Ford ... made it practical for them to own them. ... he also specifically encouraged the aftermarket car parts industry, even going so far as to choosing his own manufacturing techniques so that they'd be easy to copy. Thus somebody with a broken Model T didn't have to send away to Michigan for parts. This relationship extends to this day.

      Do you think for one instant this spirit survives? Detroit, at great costs, changes their body styles yearly and supports a far greater than needed diversity of

  • Nope! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:31PM (#5915607)
    "It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores."

    I'd argue this is more like a book about how to defeat car alarm systems. If it was "how to repair your X-Box", I don't think we'd see this controversy.

    -Erwos
    • I would consider installing Linux onto an XBox akin to repairing it.

    • I'd argue this is more like a book about how to defeat car alarm systems.
      Only if by "car alarm systems" you mean "a system that alerts the manufacturer when you install a 3rd-party product and tries to disable the car".
  • Illegal Acts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:34PM (#5915622) Homepage
    I own several books that give step-by-step instructions on how to commit acts that are felonies under federal law. The authors and publishers have a first amendment right to publish this information, even if acting upon it would be a crime. Why should a book on hacking the xbox be any different?
    • Re:Illegal Acts (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom7 ( 102298 )
      It's not. This is just typical slashdot DMCA alarmism!

      The only thing I can think of that would reasonably make people think that a book describing circumvention would be illegal is the threats that Ed Felten received about his watermarking paper. However, I don't see any reasonable argument (or any actual caselaw) that would indicate that such a thing is banned by the DMCA.
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <research@aceretail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:34PM (#5915623)
    that he makes his $ on the games not the box. He loses money on the box, and he's not going to lose $ so some hacker can build a Beowolf cluster of cheap Linux boxes.

    BUT he's going about it the wrong way. The RIGHT way to do this is make it a physical bitch to modify the box, not to get lawyers involved.

    • BUT he's going about it the wrong way. The RIGHT way to do this is make it a physical bitch to modify the box, not to get lawyers involved.

      But then he's getting into a technical pissing contest with a couple of million geeks 'n' hackers: I know who my money would be on :-)
  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:35PM (#5915628) Homepage Journal
    God damnit people, if you're going to rail against something, you should at least learn what it actually is. The DMCA explicitly excludes speech from being outlawed. The issue with DeCSS was wether source code should be considered 'speech' or a 'device'

    A book is obviously not a device, and it is protected by both the 1st amendment and the DMCA itself!
    • The reason DeCSS violates the DMCA is that allows people to circumvent copy protection mechanisims. If a book explains how to circumvent a copy right protection mechanism THAT IT DOES VIOLATE THE DMCA. The real question is whether moding an xbox can be considered circumvention.
    • So, how about a web page pointing to DeCSS? Can that violate the DMCA or is it "protected" by it? You blew that one out of your ass.
  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:43PM (#5915662)
    Flying off shelves? How can it fly off shelves if it's being sold direct by the author? Wouldn't it need to be sold in bookstores to be capable of flying off of shelves?
  • Freenet (Score:3, Funny)

    by someguy456 ( 607900 ) <someguy456@phreaker.net> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:48PM (#5915680) Homepage Journal
    So how long before it appears on freenet? Not only would it be pirated, but it's content might not even be illegal (sorry, no time to read article). This would be a perfect opportunity to use freenet. Free speech! Free Books!
  • Mr. Huong will do just fine with his book. That the publishers he's contacted won't publish is a roll. I think they just don't want to deal with such a limited printing, and the fear of lawsuit is a good excuse.

    While the DMCA makes it easy to shut down a web site, the US Judiciary is VERY leary about restraint of dead tree writing and publishing. IMO, Mr. Huong getting a pro-bono defence would be easy, since any attorney should/would know that a form letter with a law office header is about all that's needed to fend off anything short of a libel suit or national security issues.

    For instance, printing and selling a magazine with DeCSS source code is no big deal, but if the same people put links to the electronic version on their web site, it is. As long as the "Anarchist's Cookbook" is still on the shelves, "Hacking the Xbox: an Introduction to Reverse Engineering" hasn't got a problem.

  • by saihung ( 19097 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:55PM (#5915717)
    It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores.

    What the...no! No! I was only adjusting the carburetors! Nooooo!!!!!

  • by bagofbeans ( 567926 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @09:56PM (#5915723)
    "It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores."

    Not really. The Haynes manual for my Chevy Malibu does not even admit there's a harness for the seatbelt alarm (and other alarms), so I can't disable it without trial and error.
  • Banned books... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @10:11PM (#5915790)
    It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned,

    I guess you're too green to remember Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book"... [eriswerks.org]...and a bit too charming to know that this kind of 'publicity' helps to sell such books.

    "Laugh while you're faking it and smile while you're taking it."
  • "It amazes me that a book such as this could be banned, yet car service manuals can be sold in most bookstores."

    Well you see, car manuals don't deal with the black arts of technology that need be kept secreted away to protect the sanctity of Licensing Agreements.

    In order to insure this sanctity, you must command total control. Which of course requires that you exclusively own that property so that you may unleash a horde of briefcase toting henchman to act as enforcers across the land.

    So, when you pur
    • So, when you purchase an "Xbox" or other such item you actually only purchase a license to use it but not actual ownership of that physical unit. And of course, not being a property owner, you have no rights other than the right to use as the License states.

      Since I have not purchased an X-Box, I might be wrong... but I'm sure that Microsoft lets you know of the fact that they consider your X-Box THEIR property AFTER you open the box.
  • by bear_phillips ( 165929 ) * on Thursday May 08, 2003 @10:35PM (#5915895) Homepage
    The car service manual analogy is interesting. I wonder how the public would react if Ford sued Chilton, using the DMCA? There are plenty of aftermarket carbs, cam shafts, mod chips etc for cars. What would prevent Ford or GM from applying the DMCA on aftermarket parts manufacturers?

    Ford has a copyright on the engine design and wants to control access to the design. By taking an engine apart you can thwart their control and get the engine design. They bolt the engine togther pretty tight, so that is their copyright protection.
  • by diabolus_in_america ( 159981 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @10:38PM (#5915908) Journal
    I've seriously considered buying an X-BOX, and I almost did on a couple of occasions, but I've decided against it for now. Here's my reasoning.

    I am not an open source zealot, but I do have serious concerns about many of the projects that Microsoft has on the horizon, such as Palladium, the whole Trustyworthy Computing scheme, and Microsoft's push toward their proprietary Windows Media format. I see the purchase of an X-BOX as a $200 endorsement of Microsoft. And that's not something I am comfortable doing.

    The whole DCMA debate leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I follow most of the discussions pertaining to the DCMA on Slashdot. In fact, it seems like the X-BOX is the focal point of much of the DCMA debate on this site. And while I agree that the DCMA is a terrible piece of legislation, I don't see the logic of buying and modding an X-BOX to protest the DCMA. It seems like the easiest thing to do is to avoid the DCMA entirely, or at least, to avoid the corporations that use the DCMA to prosecute consumers. I can render Microsoft's enforcement of the DCMA moot by not purchasing an X-BOX. If I want to hack around on a console, I think the best choice is a Dreamcast. I can run NetBSD on it, and since it is no longer a revenue stream for Sega, they are not going to go to legal expense of throwing the DCMA at enthusiasts who hack around on it.

    Microsoft is making it difficult to buy an X-BOX without also making additional purchases, namely X-BOX Live! Some of the newer games, and especially many games on the horizon and in development, will simply not be playable without an X-BOX Live subscription. There is also at least one game out now for the X-BOX that virutally requires the purchase of an additional controller which costs nearly $100.00. It seems that this is a trend that Microsoft will continue. And it's a trend I have no desire to endorse.

    Simply, I can write all of the vehement arguments I want against Microsoft and the DCMA. But if I were to open my wallet and plunk down the cash to buy one, I'd feel very hypocritical because the best way for me to protest the DCMA is to avoid the X-BOX altogether.

  • Okay, so the guy is publishing his own book and he got it posted on Slashdot. A lot of people here claim to be interested in these topics, but how many are willing to put their money where their mouth is and order a copy of the book? And how many are just going to take advantage of the Creative Commons license and download it in a couple of months?

    Note: I just preordered one via Paypal. Even if I don't use it to help me hack my Xbox, I think this guy deserves support.
  • by hargreavesd ( 603904 ) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @11:47PM (#5916239)
    Xbox hacking is funny, but it just shows microsoft how to make the secure PC truly secure - the Xbox hackers are gradually teaching them about all the glitches, so they can produces something uncrackable in the future.
  • What about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent AT stone ... intclark DOT net> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @11:56PM (#5916295) Journal
    If you unsoldered the bios chip that contains the boot code and mailed it back to MS. Does that mean you have the legal right to do anything you want with it at that point? Since there is no licensed software in it?

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