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XBox (Games) Games Your Rights Online

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."
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Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service

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  • Re:anything goes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ( 1195047 ) <philip DOT paradis AT palegray DOT net> on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:36AM (#30321178) Homepage Journal
    Rights? What "rights" do you have here aside from choosing whether or not to give a company money? Your basic human rights aren't being violated here, and I don't see anything illegal happening with respect to a company's right to set terms of service for the use of their network.
  • by Snatch422 ( 896695 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:41AM (#30321202)
    I think Microsoft is being aggressive in it's strategy. Warnings, even many warnings and second chances, third chances, etc should be utilized before doing something irreversible like this (also an appeals process would be in order). It certainly is their right to ban people from their network based on a written policy but psychologically speaking they are angering a great many customers. By taking such extreme action, they are encouraging better hacks and workarounds in the future. Plenty of computer software is much more graceful and works well on a positive reinforcement encouragement system. Even Microsoft Windows and Office handle these types of situations much better. There will always be piracy but it should be discouraged and not challenged for the truly best end results. A lot less music is pirated now simply by offering it for sale in MP3 form and encouraging people to do the right thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:23AM (#30321362)

    When I installed it, it popped up an EULA that stated that the company reserved the right to modify the agreement from time to time (changes to be posted to their website) and that my continued use of the software 30 days after these changes constitutes my acceptance of said changes.

    I should mention, this is a retail boxed version of a game that doesn't require any online service to run.

    Then there's Windows 7. Bought the upgrade to put a legit copy on a new system. But apparently, and this was stated nowhere online at the time of purchase (including Microsoft's site, and I checked thoroughly), this upgrade is only properly licensed if I put it on the computer that had the OEM version of XP on it. Impossible, as its motherboard died, and even the OEM XP had no mention on its packaging or on the website that it would only be valid on the first system it was installed on (as indicated by the motherboard in said computer, even if the motherboard needs replacement).

    You really are treated worse than a pirate when you pay for your software. You can't even properly lend or swap games with friends anymore, even on consoles like the Xbox 360 because of DLC.

  • wat? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:17AM (#30321604)

    if you are going to step foot in my house you will not shit on my kitchen floor
    if you do, you will be made to leave.
    how is this any different?

    if you don't like the rules then don't agree to them. if you agree to them and break them then, tough for you.

  • Buy a second box (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baby Duck ( 176251 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:06AM (#30321760) Homepage

    If you really, really, really care THAT DAMN MUCH about modding your XBox, you'd buy 2 -- one for online play on XBL, the other for souped-up media center purposes. Can't afford a second XBox? Then maybe modding and/or XBL isn't for you.

    A modded XBox increases the probability the end user has a cheat enabled to give you an unfair advantage in an online competitive game. I applaud any service that wants to preserve purity in a competitive arena. It's just like every major competitive sport having regulations over the specifications of all equipment used in all games.

  • It's a net loss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @06:34AM (#30322242)

    My console was banned for being modded. The thing is, it was modded because the DVD drive died and I replaced it... the only way I could do this "legitimately" was to buy a whole new console, since MS claimed it was no longer under warranty. I wasn't about to spend $250 or whatever it was at the time (this was a couple years ago) to buy a whole new console when I could buy a new drive online for less than $60.

    So I had a modded console... I played exactly 2 games that entire time, Rock Band and Rock Band 2. The original of Rock Band worked perfectly and when Rock Band 2 came out, I purchased it... well the original had trouble playing in the console, so I used a burned copy, which ironically played fine. During that time, I purchased nearly 100 songs for RB and RB2 and maintained a Live Gold subscription. My gamer profile confirms that I haven't played any other games than RB and RB2 since I replaced the drive.

    So my console is banned. I will cancel my Live Gold account ($50+ a year or something) and I will no longer be able to purchase songs for RB2 or future RB games that come out. So by banning me, they've lost a continual revenue stream that has exceeded the purchase price of a console. Sure, they already have my money for the RB2 songs I bought, but they aren't able to get more, even if I wanted to pay them money.

    What kind of stupid idea is this? Unilaterally cut off your customers who pay you money regularly and prevent them from being able to pay you any more money. Wow. What a brilliant business move.


  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @12:43PM (#30325112)

    I would never agree to such a thing. But, Windows is required in order to work.

    I've been in that situation. Where Windows is required, I've requested that my employer provide me with a fully configured PC/laptop to their specifications. If the damned thing prompts me for any sort of agreement, I'd just bring it back to the IT department and tell them, "Its broke. Give me another one."

    I don't think an employer can make an employee enter into a contract with a third party as a condition of their employment. The coercive nature of such an arrangement would probably be basis for having the contract thrown out. So I, as a frequent party presenting such contracts to potential customers, avoid entering into them with individuals if I believe that my product/service is being required by an employer.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.