Nintendo 3DS DRM License Too Extreme?

May 17, 2011
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In the wake of the Sony PlayStation Network debacle and the earlier Sony vs. GeoHot saga, you would think that Nintendo would have learned something from its competitor's mistakes. Instead, the Nintendo 3DS is now facing a major campaign against its absurdly restrictive DRM.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has rallied against the Nintendo 3DS saying that its Terms of Service are ridiculous, basically allowing Nintendo to freely update and even brick your device at anytime, collect your personal data, and own anything that you put into the 3DS, including your personal photos.

"The Nintendo 3DS comes with Terms of Service (TOS) that should not be accepted," wrote FSF campaign manager Joshua Gay in a recent blog post. FSF points out that Nintendo collects not only any personal data such as age, gender, geographic area, game play data, online status, serial and device IDs, cookies, Friend Codes, IP addresses, and more, but they also collect "User Content." This user content is defined as all "comments, messages, images, photos, movies, information, data, and other content."

But Nintendo doesn't stop there. They also say that 3DS users "grant to Nintendo a worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display your User Content in whole or in part and to incorporate your User Content in other works, in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, including for promotional or marketing purposes."

The post is quite lengthy, but perhaps John from FSF best summarizes it with the following:

From reading the Nintendo 3DS Terms of Service, one could be forgiven for thinking that Nintendo is exiting the video game console business and entering the brick-making business.

The 3DS Terms are a perfect storm of 1) Updates will happen automatically without your specific permission any time the device connects to wifi 2) The device will constantly try to connect to wifi 3) Updates will specifically disable devices found to have modified software or unauthorized peripherals.

On top of that, Nintendo claims a license to photos and other user-generated material on the devices -- and those things are also automatically uploaded, along with user location data gleaned from wifi network proximity.

DRM prevents users from disabling any of these antifeatures, which is why DefectiveByDesign.org has taken an interest, encouraging people to send cardboard bricks to Nintendo. In the wake of all the Sony PS3 news, is this really the direction Nintendo wants to take things?

FSF started the campaign just last week and has been asking supporters to send cardboard bricks to Nintendo as a way to protest. You can do this on your own or via the FSF page setup for bricking Nintendo where $10 will send one brick, while $45 will lot you five bricks.

[via BoingBoing]


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