Three people sued for XBox mod

Written by Brett Thomas

December 20, 2005 | 17:12

Tags: #console #copyright #court #infringement #modify #piracy #sued

Companies: #microsoft #mod

Two store owners and one other man were indicted for conspiracy to commit piracy yesterday afternoon in the start of a court case that is sure to turn the heads of XBox chip modders.

According to InformationWeek:

The game consoles were modified with a new control chip and a 250 gigabyte hard drive. The embedded software on the chip creates a new start menu. "Turn on the Xbox, and the software comes up with the name of the modification chip," said Thomas Loeser, assistant United States attorney in Los Angeles. "You'll page through a menu similar to Windows browser to select any internal game to play it."

A criminal complaint filed in a Los Angeles federal court accuses Jason Jones, 34, Jonathan Bryant, 44, both of Los Angeles, and Pei "Patrick" Cai, 32, of Pico Rivera, Calif., of conspiring to traffic technology used to outwit a copyright protection system and conspire to commit criminal copyright infringement.

Apparently, people paid between $225 and $500 for the modified boxes, depending on the extent of modification and the number of pirated games already on it.

It's no surprise that this case has ended up in the courts, being as the owners of the store clearly condoned selling pirated material. But what is interesting is the implication that this could have on modification of consoles in general, as the hardware modification is a big part of the suit. Apparently, it is illegal to modify the console in any way that can allow copyright infringement. Certainly there are some useful modifications that are not illegal...

What do you think? Is it a clear-cut case of sending some pirates to jail, or is there a slippery slope about who owns the hardware? Mod a post in our forums to suit your needs...or, better yet, just make a new one of your own.
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