In this Boing Boing story on successful efforts to hack the Nintendo Wii – allowing independent, non-sanctioned games to work on the Wii – Cory Doctorow writes:
Incredible as it may seem, there are still companies that think that they should have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do with your hardware after you pay for it.
They have such a right. It’s called a contract. The customer agrees to it, admittedly without negotiation, when he buys the hardware.
I agree that companies who insist on this are stupid. I wouldn’t run the business that way. But Nintendo’s executives run the company, not outsiders seeking to impose a different set of decisions. If the consumer doesn’t like the terms attached to the hardware, he should refrain from buying the product until the terms change. Anything else is insolent whining.
5 thoughts on “Wii have a disagreement, but only one side is correct.”
And it’s often misguided libertarians who are first to fall into this trap.
The best example is Homeowner Associations that supposedly “censor” flag displays, lawn signs, etc., when in fact they are merely exercising authority specifically stipulated in the sale contract.
Many libertarians, for some reason, find HOAs abhorrent.
I haven’t gotten a Wii yet, but that’s not why.
However, I think the pro-hacking argument is that the contract is unconscionable, not that there isn’t a contract.
Besides, this seems like some pretty good marketing for Wii. They’ll see another spike in sales (right after the xmas spike) because of this crack.
They’ll come out with a new version before next xmas I bet, so… they’re really just getting the most sales possible, marketing it towards more sophisticated users now too.
Eh, but what the hell do I know? I’m not a gamer or a hacker or a marketer…
I disagree to a point. When you buy a system like the Wii, you are not licensing it from Nintendo (like when purchase MS Windows for your computer). There is also the other school of thought, that if Nintendo doesn’t want their systems to be hacked, they should build more robust systems to begin with, and not try to rely on some silly adhesion contract of dubious enforceability.
I think the contract is “bad” and Nintendo would be stupid to enforce it on the individual user. But it is what it is. The only recourse for the buyer is not to buy. In volume, that can help.
But it’s impossible to build a completely hack-proof system. How far should companies go, when inevitably each new effort just raises the price for the majority of users who don’t know what hacking is, much less possess a desire to do so?
Is there a license agreement on the outside of a Wii box? I don’t know, never bought one, but where is this “contract” and when is the purchaser supposed to review it? License agreements are generally clearly spelled out for software. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one for consumer hardware though…certainly there are “warranty voided” stickers. Similar, I suppose.
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