Law firm interested in hearing from banned Xbox Live gamers

A US law firm is keen to hear from Xbox gamers recently banned from Microsoft Xbox Live.

A US law firm is keen to hear from Xbox gamers recently banned from Microsoft Xbox Live.

Abington IP has posted the following notice on its website:

An investigation is currently being conducted regarding business practices of Microsoft with respect to its recent cancellation of certain modified Xbox consoles for use with Xbox Live.

As has been reported widely in the media, tens of thousands of Xbox owners have had their modified Xbox consoles banned from Microsoft's online gaming service Xbox Live. Although modification of Xbox consoles is *arguably* against the terms of use for Xbox/Xbox Live, Microsoft "conveniently" timed the Xbox console ban to coincide with the release of the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game and less than two months after the release of the very popular Halo 3: ODST game. This "convenient" timing may have resulted in more Xbox Live subscription revenues for Microsoft than it would have generated had these Xbox console bans taken place at some time before the release of Halo 3: ODST and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Additionally, sales of both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (published by Activision) and Halo 3: ODST (published by Microsoft Game Studios) would likely have been greatly diminished had the Xbox console ban occurred prior to the release of these games.

It's not just bans that the law firm want to hear about either:

Additional *reported* problems resulting from the bans include, but are not necessarily limited to: * Disabling/altering Xbox functionality *NOT* associated with Xbox Live or piracy (HDD functionality for example); * Disabling/altering Xbox functionality *NOT* associated with piracy (Netflix, game add-ons, music, and arcade games for example); * Obtaining information from Xbox consoles without permission of the owner; * Other problems/consequences associated with these bans have been reported here and elsewhere.

The law form does acknowledge that piracy is a problem for Microsoft but feels the software giant was too heavy-handed:

As an aside, PIRACY IS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN for Microsoft and other content producers. HOWEVER, (to use a poor analogy) Microsoft has chosen to use one of the most indiscriminate "weapons" in its arsenal in an effort to combat piracy -- as a result, use of this "weapon" has resulted in a great deal of collateral damage -- many people were affected who had nothing to do with piracy. Furthermore, Xbox console functions that have nothing to do with piracy were also affected or disabled. Details aside, Microsoft's bans could (and should) have been more measured.

Also, if you were banned, did you get a refund for time paid up for Xbox Live?

If you are an Xbox Live subscriber, had your modified Xbox console banned from Xbox Live, were not refunded a prorated sum for the time left on your subscription or have experienced other problems as a result of being banned, and would like to participate in a class action against Microsoft, please submit your information below.

I've heard from a lot of people who claim they were banned for no reason and can't get any help from Microsoft technical staff. Well, now there's someone who will listen to your problems.