Microsoft's Xbox 360 memory card lawsuit disputed by EFF

Microsoft's recent lawsuit against a third party maker of Xbox 360 memory cards is being disputed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Gamasutra reports that in a brief written last week, the EFF stated that Microsoft's legal case against gaming accessory maker Datel, which Microsoft says is about piracy, is in fact about trying to keep third party competition from moving in on Microsoft's Xbox 360 memory card sales.

Microsoft's original lawsuit was filed in May. It states that Datel's SD-card based memory cards for its Xbox 360 console violates the conditions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Microsoft claimed that the memory cards can be used to do things such as changing a players's Xbox Live achievements as well as alter an Xbox 360 player's profile. However the EFF feels differently on the matter.

In their press release explaining their point of view, the EFF states that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is designed to prevent "access to copyrighted material by non-paying customers, not at blocking competitors or policing users' behavior in regards to their own property." According to the EFF's Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Microsoft is misusing the law in order to sell more accessories and control customers' use of the Xbox. The DMCA is supposed to be a shield against piracy, not a weapon to smash competition and consumer choice." The EFF believes that if Microsoft is successful in its lawsuit against Datel, "... it could give the software giant the ability to use the DMCA to prevent competitors from selling Xbox-compatible accessories, like memory cards, controllers, and headsets."

Datel previously filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft claiming that the company updated the Xbox 360's firmware to make Datel-made memory cards incompatible. That lawsuit is still ongoing. Microsoft has also filed a separate lawsuit against Datel, claiming that an Xbox 360 controller made by Datel is too close to Microsoft's own Xbox 360 controller design.

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