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Microsoft's bricking of modified Xbox 360 consoles may bring the company its latest class action suit. Microsoft tells the over 1 million banned customers to buy a new Xbox 360 or deal with their crippled unit.
Legal firm is looking for banned Xbox owners to participate in suit

Gamers are really into tweaking their gear for fun and to achieve the best performance during gameplay. PC gamers overclock their hardware to get more performance for less money and console gamers have modded their Xbox 360 consoles for many reasons (some for innocent reasons, some for nefarious reasons).

Microsoft appears to feel that the only reason to mod an Xbox 360 is to allow the console to play pirated download software. A law firm based in Texas that specializes in IP has launched a new website to gather Xbox 360 users who have been banned for modding their consoles. The main goal of the firm is to find out whether there are enough console owners that were banned to start a class action suit against Microsoft.

The law firm wrote on its website, "Microsoft has chosen to use one of the most indiscriminate "weapons" in its arsenal in an effort to combat piracy -- as a result, use of this "weapon" has resulted in a great deal of collateral damage -- many people were affected who had nothing to do with piracy."

According to the law firm, AbingtonIP, the bans were strategically timed so that they didn’t interfere with the sales and new Xbox Live registrations that were seen around the launch of HALO ODST and the recent launch of Modern Warfare 2. AbingtonIP states that had the bans happened before the launch of these games the profits reaped by Microsoft would have been diminished.

So far the Xbox 360 ban has led to more than 1 million consoles being banned from the network with the official recourse for the banned players being to buy a new console and not mod it this time around. A potential fix for banned consoles that doesn't involve buying a new Xbox 360 surfaced. The workaround is called iXtreme LT and the goal of the workaround is to provide a minimum amount of security checks and make the firmware as close to stock as possible to avoid detection and the resulting ban.

The fix arrived but was rather complex and required that the Xbox 360 not have been updated or the player to have access to the CPU key of the console. DailyTech has also spoke with an attorney -- Jeffrey Johnson -- about the banning of Xbox 360 console form the Xbox Live network.

Microsoft's official statement on the banning of certain consoles reads, "Our commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of our Xbox Live community remains a top priority,” he wrote. “All consumers should know that piracy is illegal, and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs, violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live."

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Bricking Consoles
By Leper Messiah on 11/23/2009 11:39:00 AM , Rating: 5
Man, some of you guys have reading comprehension issues. I don't think anyone is complaining about Microsoft's right to prevent modded/hacked consoles from playing online. It's the other features that they've disabled that are the problem. Does the EULA give microsoft the right to disable features that aren't related to xbox live?

RE: Bricking Consoles
By drzoo2 on 11/23/2009 12:13:21 PM , Rating: 4
ding ding.....we have a winner

RE: Bricking Consoles
By Janooo on 11/23/2009 1:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
It is unfortunate but it does. The majority of mods are related to the DVD firmware.
EULA is written in accordance with DCMA. When DVD firmware is modded then the Xbox does not comply with DCMA.
You brake DCMA you break EULA.

It's disappointing but I don't think they have a chance against MS (backed by DCMA) on this one.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By nevermore781 on 11/23/2009 4:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
Well my 360 is banned (yes my firmware is modified and i knew the risks). I never really played any online multiplayer through xbl as i only had a silver account. I knew that some day my console could be banned from connecting to XBL, but i never thought they would resort to disabling the installation of media/games to the HDD (yep i got forza and dead rising installed there and they are legal disks that i purchased), or the WMP streaming from my legal Windows 7 PC. My only beef is the bricking done to my offline (non-XBL) features. Granted ive owned this 360 since 2005 and never had a RROD (knock on wood) so i really dont care overall, just think its kind of pointless to disable those features that have nothing to do with their XBL service especially if their main goal here was to prevent modified/pirated games from being played on their service. To me it sounds like their main goal was to disable the hardware as much as possible and force people to buy a new console as their only option.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By InternetGeek on 11/23/2009 5:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it does. I read the entire thing in, but here's the section (#16) that I think deals with your question:

Microsoft reserves complete and sole discretion with respect to the operation of the Service. Microsoft may, among other things: (a) restrict or limit access to the Service; (b) retrieve information from the original Xbox, Xbox 360 console, personal computer, and any connected peripheral device used to log onto the Service as necessary to operate and protect the security of the Service, and to enforce this contract; and (c) upgrade, modify, withdraw, suspend, or discontinue any functionality or feature of the Service, any game or other content available or accessible through the Service, or any hardware or software associated with the Service or with an original Xbox or Xbox 360 console, or personal computer, from time to time without notice, which may involve the automatic download of related software directly to your original Xbox, Xbox 360 console, or personal computer, including software that prevents you from accessing the Service, playing pirated games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.

The are other sections that limit what you can do to, with, in or on the console. However, if you used the console to create a mod, if you modded it, or later moded it again to try to get into the service again they can ban you from the service or limit the functionality of the console (Media center, HDD access, etc). In fact, based on the EULA, MS is giving you the benefit of the doubt by still letting you buy a new console and game on. If you're playing copied games you can still play them, just not online.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By phattyboombatty on 11/23/2009 6:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
Based on the portion of the EULA that you quoted above, Microsoft can brick all consoles for any or no reason whatsoever:

Microsoft reserves complete and sole discretion with respect to the operation of the Service. Microsoft may, among other things ... discontinue any functionality or feature ... of any hardware or software associated with ... an original Xbox or Xbox 360 console, or personal computer, from time to time without notice.

So even people that never modded their Xbox 360 could have their consoles bricked by Microsoft under the EULA.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By InternetGeek on 11/23/2009 7:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think thats how they ban people when they are reported and such.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By dark matter on 11/24/2009 5:16:11 AM , Rating: 4
Actually MS claim they can brick consoles for any reason but that is not cast in stone. Just because it is in the EULA does not make it legally enforceable. The EULA has to abide by the laws of the land. The EULA is not above the law.

A contract can be deemed unfair by a court of law even if it was signed willingly by both parties.

Just so you know MS do not make laws.

RE: Bricking Consoles
By Janooo on 11/24/2009 10:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
MS will claim that any modded Xbox breaks DRM protection.
DCMA empowers MS in their actions.
It's very disappointing but that how it is.

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