Friday, April 22, 2011

Fair Use Fridays: Kinect Hacks - From Forbidden To Encouraged By Microsoft

Software manufacturers usually try to block consumers from modifying or improving their products. This is anticompetitive conduct. Microsoft started out by first blocking hackers on its new Kinect 3d camera, and now it is encouraging them. Story and more hacks on Mashable here. When software encryption stands in the way of innovation, progress favors hackers who promote product improvement and adoption.

It is distressing when copyright owners abuse the monopoly granted by copyright to discourage progress and it is good to see Microsoft embracing change.  Copyright is combined with contract law to defeat the first sale doctrine in an anticompetitive manner. The Kinect technology has so many potential applications, particularly to assist the disabled.

Reverse engineering is addressed by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act 17 USC 1201(f). A good summary of the state of the law from EFF here.

Scary video from University of Southern California Institute of Creative Technologies showing how the Kinect hack will cure childhood obesity and diabetes by exercising kids while they are glued to a television screen for six hours a day.

More on Primesense cameras here.
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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