The U.S. Copyright Office grants the right to repair video game consoles, but only for optical drives
According to Techspot, this week, the US Copyright Office passed a new rule that recognizes the Right to Repair (R2R) movement.The regulation created an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), allowing consumers to repair the equipment they own. However, it severely limits users’ repairs to video game consoles.
The US Copyright Office stated that consumers should now be allowed to repair software-controlled devices, as long as they do not modify their original specifications. In other words, if it is a product purchased by consumers legally, as long as their repair does not include a modification that bypasses copyright protection, the product can be repaired without sending it to the manufacturer.
“Computer programs that are contained in legally acquired devices that are primarily intended for consumer use and control their functions, when circumvention is a necessary step to allow the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of such devices, and not to gain access to other copyrighted works The purpose of access.”
The wording of the clause makes it broad enough to cover any modification, but it clearly points to modifications that allow piracy or misappropriation on the device. However, the wording of the ruling specifically limited the maintenance of video game consoles to optical drives.
The U.S. Copyright Office stated:
“The’repair’ of the device refers to the restoration of the device to working condition in accordance with the original specifications of the device and any changes to these specifications authorized for the device. For video game consoles,’repair’ is limited to repairing or replacing the optical drive of the game console , And request the restoration of any technical protection measures that have been circumvented or disabled.”
So in essence,NintendoSwitch, PS5 digital version andXboxProducts such as Series S are forbidden to be repaired because they do not have an optical drive. In addition, other common repairs, such as storage or screen failure, can only be performed by OEMs or authorized third-party repair shops, regardless of whether the game console has an optical drive.
Despite these restrictions, this rule is an important step towards R2R reform. The DMCA, especially Article 1201, has been abused by manufacturers to a large extent, limiting the ability of consumers to repair their own equipment or choose a competitive repair shop. Supporters like the consumer rights protection organization Public Knowledge claim that the company abused Article 1201 only to enrich their first-party repair services.
Kathleen Burke, policy adviser to the Public Knowledge Organization, said on Wednesday: “The Copyright Office’s recommendation to allow consumers to repair consumer devices that support software and repair optical drives on video game consoles is a victory for consumers, public knowledge organizations, and maintenance rights advocates.” Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is often used as a legal stepping stone to prevent consumers from repairing their own equipment and greatly restrict the independent repair services available to consumers.”
Burke pointed out that more work needs to be done, especially with regard to Article 1201. However, this is only the current situation, because the Copyright Office only reviews DMCA exemption requests every three years.