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Video game czar: More countries need a DMCA

Entertainment Software Association chief endorses controversial U.S. law, which generally frowns upon cracking DRM, as vital to the industry's success.

WASHINGTON--The controversial U.S. law that generally bars people from tampering with copy-protection features drew accolades on Wednesday from the video game industry's chief executive.

Entertainment Software Association chief Mike Gallagher U.S. Department of Commerce

Mike Gallagher, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, applauded the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act as "vitally important" for video game and console makers seeking to stomp out unauthorized copies of their wares.

Thanks to digital-rights management mechanisms, Gallagher claimed unauthorized copies of popular video games like Halo 3 that users download from file-sharing networks won't play on XBox 360, ensuring "the full value of the product is received throughout the chain." (In case you were wondering, the worldwide video game industry pulls in $31 billion in revenue per year today and expects to see that figure grow to $50 billion by 2011, he said.)

The problem is, "very few countries follow the path of the DMCA," Gallagher said at an antipiracy summit here hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It's very important (that) we see that extended."

Gallagher went on to declare the United States the "beacon of intellectual property protection in the world."

And just to toot America's horn a bit more, the former Bush administration Commerce Department official lamented that European regulators are going after companies like Microsoft (an ESA member), Qualcomm and Intel because of what he called their "strength and genius and know-how." He suggested those proceedings pose a challenge "to all of us who would see ourselves as becoming successful."