Librarian Of Congress Approves DRM Bypass In The Case Of Old Abandoned Games
Digital Rights Management, more commonly known as DRM, is becoming a common practice by video game publishers these days. While the form it takes has certainly evolved over the years, the practice has been there for quite some time now in the form of services such as Games of Windows Live and the much dreaded SecuROM.
While the main idea behind DRM is to prevent or atleast reduce piracy of products, in most cases all it does is hamper the experience of those who actually paid for the product while those who went for the pirated version (which can sometimes take months to be available or even mere days) end up benefiting more.
Additionally, one major part of DRM functionality is to communicate with servers to authenticate a product. This ends up being a major issue in the long run when after a couple of years, the servers shutdown and make the game completely useless.
To counter this very issue, Electronic Frontier Foundation argued their case “Seeking an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provision, in order to allow gamers to modify their software to disable authentication checks or to connect to third party servers after official support for those games has ended.”
It looks like the ruling has now been made in their favor by the Librarian of Congress which essentially means it is now legal to bypass the DRM of games whose servers have been closed in order to preserve old, abandoned games as well as allow their modding.
However, this ruling clearly specifies that it can only be done in the case of games where total functionality has been lost and not just when multiplayer services go down so bypassing the DRM in that case is still illegal as is in the case of new games.
The Librarian also allowed museums, libraries and archives to jailbreak and modify old game consoles to get the games available on those machines running again.