Consumers' Rights Given Little Respect

from the respect-what? dept

Dan Gillmor’s latest column treads familiar ground around here, talking about how ridiculous it is that technology and entertainment companies think it’s okay to tell you it’s not legal to change anything on the box you just bought from them. He points out that if a car manufacturer ever told people that, they would revolt. Yet, people seem to accept it when computer and consumer electronics makers do the exact same thing. As an example, he uses the case against Lik-Sang in Hong Kong for selling mod chips for gaming consoles. I understand that online gamers are annoyed at those who use mod-chipped boxes to cheat, but that doesn’t change the fact that making it illegal to sell a mod-chip seems to go overboard – especially when there are legitimate uses for a mod chip.

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Comments on “Consumers' Rights Given Little Respect”

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mgallagher says:

Let's be clear on our analogies

I?m pretty sure dorpus means tachometer , and VDO can sell you pretty slick replacements for the stock units which have all sorts of do-dads that assist you in doing things that are illegal to do with a car on a public street (such as drag racing). None of these are illegal. Further, I can tamper with my induction, exhaust and engine internals to my heart?s content, so long as I don?t modify the emissions-control systems or I use pieces certified to be functional replacements for them. Also, I can mess about with the interior, add stereo components if I don?t like the manufacturer?s choices, different seats, etc. As long as the safety equipment remains functional, (almost) anything goes, including fuzzy dashboards. I think the original post may have been referring to the odometer, and in most states (I believe) this can be replaced, but not modified. In the case of a replacement or non-functioning odometer, the title needs to indicate that the mileage shown is not actual.

The point of all of this is that NONE of these restrictions is placed on the consumer by a manufacturer. All of the requirements are created by regulations that indicate what is needed to be a ?street legal? vehicle. There is no mandate of a particular manufacturer?s product, or even a technology ? anyone is welcome to create an induction system for any car and get it emissions certified.

I think Gillmor is right on with this one. And, bear in mind that the ramifications of operating a modified game console are trivial compared with those of operating a car with, say, modified brakes.

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