Bunnie "Chumby" Huang, whose Hacking the Xbox is a reverse-engineer's bible, has been asked to testify at the trial of Anaheim's Matthew Crippen, who faces three years in prison for jailbreaking Xbox 360s (that is, modding them so that they could run software that Microsoft hadn't authorized). But federal prosecutors have asked the judge to prevent Bunnie from testifying.
The 35-year-old Huang argues that mod-chipping is not a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it unlawful to circumvent technology designed to prevent copyright infringement. He said he hopes to prove that point to jurors via a step-by-step tutorial.
"Basically, what he did was insufficient on his own to violate anything," Huang said in a recent telephone interview from Singapore, where he serves as vice president of hardware and general manager for Chumby's operations in Asia.
Additionally, Huang said, the DMCA should be interpreted to allow for "fair use" exemptions, so chipping a console for legitimate purposes would be permitted, even if it is found to be a circumvention.
The U.S. Copyright Office, he noted, just granted an exception to the DMCA to allow the jailbreaking of cellphones, and the iPhone in particular, allowing the iPhone to run third-party apps not approved by Apple. Modding a game console should be treated the same way, he said.
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