I Like This Judge

Some poor schmuck is being sent through the legal wringer because it made a side business of modifying Xbox 360 systems. Well the judge in the case isn’t too happy with the government agents who are bring the case out and went on a 30 minute rant against the actions of the government in this case. Here’s my favorite part:

Among the judge’s host of complaints against the government was his alarm that prosecutors would put on two witnesses who may have broken the law.

One is Entertainment Software Association investigator Tony Rosario, who secretly video-recorded defendant Matthew Crippen allegedly performing the Xbox mod in Crippen’s Los Angeles suburban house. The defense argues that making the recording violates California privacy law. The other witness is Microsoft security employee Ken McGrail, who analyzed the two consoles Crippen allegedly altered. McGrail admitted that he himself had modded Xboxes in college.

“Maybe two of the four government witnesses committed crimes,” the judge said from the bench. “I think it is relevant and the jury is going to hear about it –- both crimes.”

The government had fought to keep the witness conduct a secret from the jury.

So the actions of two witnesses may have been criminal and the government wanted to conceal that from the jury. Are they any people remaining who question my distaste of the government?

What I find most interesting is the fact this case exists at all. I understand the actions of the man being prosecuted were in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act but frankly that piece of legislation itself is unlawful. If I purchase a piece of hardware and want to pay somebody to modify it that’s my business, not the governments. My Xbox 360 is mine, I own it. Microsoft succeeded all rights to it upon my legal purchase of the device.

This is where many people will point out the license agreement that appears on the screen when you first power on the Xbox. Guess what? I never agreed to that before purchase and have no recourse should I disagree with the license. Would it be OK if I tossed in a license agreement to a car I sold that only became visible after somebody had purchased the car? “Oh hey I see you’re starting this car for the first time, just an FYI but doing so you agree to give me all the money in your bank account. K THANX BAI!”