DMCA revisions open up DRM cracking on defunct games

Polygon has a new post up covering revisions that have recently been made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office that might help us get some of our delisted games back. It’s a dense 85-page read so I’m going to paraphrase a bit from Polygon.

Along with enabling owners to legally open and repair their consoles, the revisions — which are set to go into effect October 28th — include a section that calls out “instances of DRM where online authentication is required in order to play games.” The ability to circumvent this kind of DRM was originally extended to institutions like libraries and museums but the revision seeks to open it up. In Polygon’s words “once a copyright holder shuts down authentication services, consumers now have the right to break DRM in order to play games.”

It isn’t something that most of us will be able to take advantage of, but rest assured there are smarter people out there ready to take things apart and put them back together again for the benefit of us all. This will most likely start out on PC with titles from digital stores like Steam, the Ubisoft Store, and EA Origin but could extend to consoles in time.

In closing, Polygon advises to maybe not get your hopes up too high just yet. “There are still many variables in play, however. The guidance is new, and has yet to be tested in the courts. Edge cases are likely to arise in the coming months and years. That ambiguity is baked into the process, however, with these triennial revisions. The next update is due out in 2021.”