Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government News Entertainment Games Hardware

UK High Court Rules Modchips Illegal 987

Posted by timothy
from the perfectly-reasonable-don'tcha-think dept.
PhotoBoy writes "The Register has an article about the UK's High Court ruling PlayStation 2 modchips to be illegal. This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written. Gamers who like to mod their consoles to play games on import early are also out of luck. It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes! Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UK High Court Rules Modchips Illegal

Comments Filter:
  • by stecoop (759508) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:01PM (#9762332) Journal
    Making it is illegal to bypass copy protection mechanisms

    I have a sharpie that could be used to circumvent the copyright protection. My shift key also would be a violation. The courts won't go after Office Depot or Logitech because you want to go after big fish with money but not enough money to properly defend their selves.

    Shouldn't the courts just go after the copyright violators rather than going after all mechanism that could be used to violate copyright? Of course not you know that judge doesn't want to youth playing those nasty region 3+ games; he is doing it for the good of public morals... right?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Having seen modchips in Asia over the past few years surrounded by thousands of illegal copies of copyighted materials makes me draw an association. Call me paranoid, but if you think people use modchips mostly for running custom games you also believe smoking doesn't cause cancer.
      • So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

        Does that mean that you outlaw knifes because they not only cut meat, but they can kill?

        Just because you use mod chips to make illegal copies do not mean that everyone does.

        • A better analogy would be to try to ban guns because they shoot but not do it because they can be hung on a wall as decoration. There are people who do that, but really, their number is slim. To provide security you ALWAYS have to restrict freedoms, when you outlaw stealing you take the thief's right to take what he wants. In this case the desired damage to collateral damage ratio is sufficiently low, therefore a ban doesn't hurt a lot of people.
        • They've been doing this for years with guns.
    • by Nakito (702386) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9762489)
      The Slashdot blurb for this article is wrong and makes an incorrect analogy. The blurb says, "It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!"

      But if you read the article, the description of the decision is substantially different: "The UK High Court has judged that the sale, advertisement, possession for commercial purposes and use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal in this country."

      The distinction is huge. It means that you are allowed to "modify your car" (to use the proposed analogy). You just aren't allowed to commercialize your modifications. You can tinker all you want, but you can't sell the results of your tinkering.

      It's still a significant limitation, but we should at least be arguing about the actual limitation, not the incorrect one.

      • by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:17PM (#9762538)
        There are four violations in the statement:

        1. Sale,
        2. Adverstisement,
        3. Possession for commercial purposes, AND
        4. Use.

        Number 4 is what you are doing if you possess one and use it. So it looks like you are allowed to have one, you just can't legally use it. "Legally" being the operative word.
      • The distinction is huge. It means that you are allowed to "modify your car" (to use the proposed analogy). You just aren't allowed to commercialize your modifications. You can tinker all you want, but you can't sell the results of your tinkering.

        You missed the word "use". It is now illegal to USE modchips in Great Britain.

        To continue your analogy, you can tinker with your car all you want, but once you've done it, you can't drive it any more.
  • It seems the UK court ruled on the basis that modchips can be used to circumvent copy protection by allowing the use of recordable media. However, the other use of modchips is to play purchased import games, and there exist so-called "anti-piracy" modchips that allow the latter, while disallowing the former.

    Bypassing region codes (as opposed to copy protection) is certainly not illegal, at worst, ambiguous under UK law -- for example, the vast majority of DVD players sold in the UK are modded to be region
  • Don't Forget (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FractusMan (711004) * on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:03PM (#9762349)
    While yes, there are people who use modchips to play their own, homebrew games, and play imported games, let's not overlook the obvious. People put modchips in their consoles so they can play stolen (ie, burned) games. If people did NOT use modchips for that purpose, this law wouldn't be necessary. But the fact is that the UK high court is not 'ruining your rights' - it's the people who copy and sell games illegally that ruin the fun for everyone. The UK is merely taking steps to stop that. Whether the steps are too far, I don't know and won't argue. But don't think that this is a cut and dried case of trampling of rights. Go bitch at your friends who have a bunch of "Backup copies" of games.
    • "the abuse of something is never a good argument against the use of something"
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Klar (522420)
      What about backing-up your own games. As long as games are recorded on cd's or dvd's, they will be very easy to be damaged. Shouldn't people have the right to back-up the software they buy?
      • In the entire history of game ownership, I've never managed to damage a single disc to the point where it is no longer playable.

        What the hell are you other people doing with yours?
      • I've been playing "cd based" games for many years now, including computer games. I think I have dammaged one CD by rolling over it with an office chair, and one from water dammage. Both were replaced by the company for the cost of shipping when I sent in the dammaged CD.
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:3, Informative)

      by ViolentGreen (704134)
      I don't know for certain but I would assume the Plastation's terms of use would have something about only using their official games. If that is the case, I can understand the ruling.
      • I don't know for certain but I would assume the Plastation's terms of use would have something about only using their official games. If that is the case, I can understand the ruling.

        Which opens up a whole new can of worms... to use the analogy above, that would be like Ford including a "terms of use" with your car saying you can only install Ford parts in it. Would you understand the ruling in that case?

    • By this logic, all devices that could possibly be used for malicious purposes should be illegal.

      It should be a crime to own a car, you could use it to run someone over.
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Erick the Red (684990) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:10PM (#9762443)

      Cars are used in bank robberies, but they are still legal.

      Knives are used in murders, but they are still legal.

      Computers are used for vandalism and fraud, but they are still legal.

      Almost anything has an illegitimate use, but we don't outlaw the thing, we outlaw the use.

      • "Computers are used for vandalism and fraud, but they are still legal."

        Orrin Hatch I'm SURE will fix that loophole in the law soon enough.

      • Re:Don't Forget (Score:5, Insightful)

        by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:50PM (#9762939) Homepage
        If cars were used 99% of the time to run over people, they probably would be illegal.

        If knives were used 99% of the time to murder people, they probably would be illegal.

        If computers were used 99% of the time for vandalism and fraud, they probably would be illegal.

        Suggesting that these mod chips are used primarily by "hobbiests" is proof that Slashdotters cannot honestly look this problem in the eye.
        • Re:Don't Forget (Score:4, Insightful)

          by drwav (577314) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @03:28PM (#9763379)
          So what you are saying is that it is OK to make law outlawing something as long as it only adversely affects a minority of people.

          Let's say that 99% of people use mod chips to play copies of games that they didn't pay for (I just made that stat up to work with your argument), thus the 1% that use mod chips for legitimate uses must sacrifice their rights for the greater good.

          Sure it sounds reasonable at first, because chances are very good that it won't affect you in the slightest. However, if you sit and think about it for a minute and wonder how those few people who are being punished for the actions of other people might feel, you might start to realize that maybe this law isn't reasonable at all.

          If everyone practiced a little empathy before making broad judgements like this the world would be a much more pleasant place to live in.
        • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @04:42PM (#9764221) Journal
          While I don't know a lot of people using modchips in order to play customized or homebrew games, there are quite a few that use them for copied games of owned originals.

          I myself just finished dumping a bunch of my old PS1 games to ISO images. The images will go on a single DVD, and I can use them on my emulators etc without the original. I still own the original so I haven't deprived anyone of a sale (and no bitching about legality of emulators, I have a PS2 it's just not as portable as a laptop).

          Unfortunately, I'm too late for two of the disks as a few bad sectors bork the extraction on them - however I'm getting a copy of those off emule.

          Gee, look at that. I'm downloading copyrighted material, ripping copyrighted material, using an emulator... I could even use a modchip for that - and ya know what NO "PIRACY" HAS OCCURED because I bought and paid for the original media.

          If half the people with modchips do any of the above, I'd say there are a lot of legitimate cases of use. So unless you've got proof that everyone using these is definately pirating, I'd suggest that your eyes might be clearer if your head wasn't up your rear end.
        • *ring* *ring* (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fortyseven (240736)
          While you were out, Jack Valenti called from 1982. He said he wants his argument back [google.com].

          He's also wants to hire you as his star witness against the VCR.

          Go get 'em, Tiger!
    • Lots of things can be used for nefarious purposes. It tends to be only those things which elderly legislators and justices are unfamiliar with and for which they have no personal use that get outlawed.

      I, for one, would rather live in a world where one is responsible for one's behavior, rather than a world in which one is responsible for everything anyone else has ever done with anything one has produced.
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shawn(at)fsu (447153)
      This story has the typical /. slant. I wonder what the numbers are for people who use a mod chip to develop homebrew games vs. those who use it to pirate games. I'd be willing to bet that the percentage has to be very very small. I already see the replies about "just because it can be used to do something illegal doesn't mean that it should be illegal to own"

      I think we need to face the facts many people use mod chips to pirate software, as the law stands right now pirating software is wrong and IMHO right
      • Re:Don't Forget (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Reapy (688651) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:35PM (#9762770)
        People may not be hunting deer with ak-47's, but they might be collecting them, or firing them at the range, or both. There are legitimate uses. There are illegal uses. I don't believe it is fair to ban the product because it may be used illegally.

        It doesn't matter that the majority of people who purchase the chips are using them illegally. It is the people who make the decision to break the law, not the mod chip creators. Remember that t-shirt, "Guns don't kill people, I kill people?" Same thing, mod chips don't make me illegally copy games, I illegally copy games.

        Anyway, when I eventually have children, I fully intend to back up all of my games and only keep the backups out for use. At 50 a pop, a 60 dollar mod chip and some hard drive space is well worth the investment.
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:3, Insightful)

      by minion (162631)
      let's not overlook the obvious. People put modchips in their consoles so they can play stolen (ie, burned) games.

      People use cars to get away from cops.

      People use fertilizer to blow up buildings.

      People use gasoline for arsen.

      People use (insert item here) for (insert action here).

      By your reasoning, everything should be illegal, because you plainly state: If people did NOT use modchips for that purpose, this law wouldn't be necessary.

      So, because everything can be used illegally, everything shou
      • Re:Don't Forget (Score:3, Insightful)

        While I fundamentally agree with what you are saying, here's the flaw:

        99.999% of the people that use cars are not fleeing from prosecution

        99.999% of the fertilizer that is produced is not used in the manufacture of explosives

        99.999% of the gasoline that comes from the hydrocarbon cracker is not used to burn down buildings

        99.999% of the modchips ARE used for playing illegal copies of games.

        Not flaming here, just pointing out something that is somewhat obvious to me. I hate the erosion of rights as much
    • Re:Don't Forget (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9762694) Homepage
      Okay...

      1) If I purchase a piece of equipment, it is my right as the owner of that equipment to do what I please with it. This includes bashing it with a baseball bat, ripping it apart for it's components, or chipping it.

      2) The people who are distributing these games, and the people who are downloading them, are breaking the law. Your average homebrewer is not. Otherwise, why not outlaw the Internet for making distribution of these games possible? Or CD burners for making it possible to play these games? Hell, why not outlaw VCRs for making movie piracy possible?

      3) Despite the use of baseball bats in crimes, they are not illegal. Why? Because, like the Internet, CD burners, and VCRs, they have substantial, non-infringing uses. Making "backup copies" of games is, in fact, an excellent example of non-infringing use. I can't tell you how often I've scratched a CD beyond playability. The ability to reburn that CD (whether it be a game, music, etc) is invaluable to many people. And that doesn't include all the other things a modchip can be used for.
    • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:37PM (#9762789) Homepage
      Emphasis mine...

      "This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written, and criminals who violate copywrite laws can no longer play the games they illegally downloaded and burned ."

      We all know that these mod chips have limited legitimate uses, but it is intellectually dishonest of the Slashdot crowd to intentionally ignore the primary purpose of these chips.

      • by Ogerman (136333) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @07:58PM (#9765811)
        We all know that these mod chips have limited legitimate uses, but it is intellectually dishonest of the Slashdot crowd to intentionally ignore the primary purpose of these chips.

        It is intellectually dishonest of you to make claims that you cannot back up -- such as that most modchips are used primarily for warez and not imports, backup copies, and 'homebrews.' Realistically it's probably about 70/30 or so. And neither is very significant in any regard.
  • Isn't it the case? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:04PM (#9762372)
    'It's like saying you can't modify your car...'

    I believe that there are jurisdictions in which car mods (or some kinds) are illegal. (California comes to mind).

    • Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

      Maybe not but you could get pulled over for having illegal modifications (neon lights, colored headlights, etc.) on your Focus.
    • I believe that there are jurisdictions in which car mods (or some kinds) are illegal.

      Yes. In Germany. You have to have your mods to be approved, usually done by an organisation named TÜV. If you do not comply and drive with then illegal mods, your operating license for the vehicle is void, which in turn means that insurance will not pay in case.

      CC.
    • Of course, said modifications (say, a full-blown race suspension, blower, nitrous, etc.) might make your vehicle into something which cannot legally be driven on state roads, but there's nothing inherently illegal about the vehicle itself, or owning it, or indeed using it at a properly equipped racing facility.
    • California's law on most car modifications is "within allowed parameters". This means CARB-certified parts can be installed, as well as pretty much any modifications that do not violate other oridinances (like ride height, noise level, etc.).

      In Texas, all vehicles 25 years or newer must have the 'original' emissions equipment. This means no headers, no removing the cat converters, but you could add a turbo/supercharger if all the original equipment could be incorporated.
    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:24PM (#9762624) Journal
      Most of the limits in California apply to things like lowering cars below a certain level, exceeding noise or pollution limits, or blatant safety violations. So far as I know, there are few, if any, that require any kind of review before they can be used on the road.

      For example, they cannot be driven on public roads unless they have a certain amount of clearance from the road, meaning that air suspension units are allowed as long as they're not lowered completely while driving. But you have to be caught by law enforcement driving a vehicle set too low to be cited for it.

      One friend has two cars that have been ongoing projects for ten and six years, respectively. Some of them are very minor -- like adding a multiple CD player to the center console -- and some of them have been more significant -- like rewiring the cruise control to control his radio (he hates cruise control, but it came with the options package). Other changes have included alterations to the exhaust system, new suspensions, new headers (I think), ceramic brakes, and additional changes to the electrical system. One day, he might even complete his projects.
  • by kingLatency (624983) <.alex.kahn. .at. .comcast.net.> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9762376) Homepage
    "Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"

    No, Ford wouldn't, but this comparison doesn't work. We all know that one of the main uses (I couldn't say the main for sure) for mod chipping is piracy. Theft of intellectual property is rarely, if ever, part of modifying one's car, clothing or house.
    • We all know that one of the main uses (I couldn't say the main for sure) for mod chipping is piracy. Theft of intellectual property is rarely, if ever, part of modifying one's car, clothing or house.

      We have laws that forbid intellectual property theft, and Sony is free to go after anyone who copies games using those existing laws without needing draconian legislation like the DMCA.

      If the only possible purpose of these chips was to facilitate IP violations then they might be on the right track...
  • car safety (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gears5665 (699068) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9762377)
    well, modifying a car involves the safety of the people around you and should be illegal if this is illegal. The problem always lies in enforcement. So many stupid laws aren't enforeced as it is. Why not just add another.
    • Car mods that moves its safety parameters beyond legally defined boundaries are already illegal. The actual modification itself historically has not been illegal but the end product certainly is. I haven't read the ruling or the article for that matter but from the write up it's not clear if the chip is illegal or modified boxes are illegal.
  • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9762379)
    Since region free and Macrovision free players are so plentiful in Europe that they are sold in supermarkets I wonder what would happen if this logic were applied to DVD players?
  • fair and balanced? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deft (253558) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9762380) Homepage
    "This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written."

    I think if you'd like the slashdot community to discuss this intelligently, the article needs to have both sides. It would have been just as easy to say "while this certainly is a big blow to piracy, the rights of other citizens, while a very small population, are being infringed upon.

    All to often the submitters skewed view steers the conversation in only one way.
    • the solution is simple - do not buy playstations or games any more.

      piracy isn't always a bad thing for companies. the day MS puts effective anti-piracy into Windows is the beginning of their end. music sharing leads to discovering new bands.

      people will now have to ask, is it really worth hundreds and hundreds of $currency just to play a few games? for many the answer will be no.
    • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:32PM (#9762743)
      Except your revision is incorrect. The rights of all citizens are being infringed upon.

      Rights are innate even when they are not being acted upon. A monk who has taken a vow of silence still retains whatever rights to speak any citizen has and a law forbiding speech, even though he has already chosen not to, infringes his rights.

      KFG
    • by runderwo (609077) <`gro.niw.liam' `ta' `owrednur'> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:38PM (#9762805)
      How is this a big blow to piracy? Piracy was _already_ illegal. What does making a potential piracy tool illegal accomplish? Is piracy somehow now "more" illegal now that the digital equivalent of a lockpick has been outlawed?

      • by MacGod (320762) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @03:19PM (#9763277)

        How is this a big blow to piracy? Piracy was _already_ illegal. What does making a potential piracy tool illegal accomplish? Is piracy somehow now "more" illegal now that the digital equivalent of a lockpick has been outlawed?

        It doesn't make it "more" illegal, but I'll bet it makes the mod chips much harder to find, thus making the illegally-burned games that much more difficult to play.

        It also means that careful pirates, who keep their bootlegs hidden, can still be busted just for owning a modchipped console. To use your analogy, if you're caught with a lockpick, you can still be arrested, even if you're not breaking into a house at the time.

        And those who get caught with the games can have an additional charge added on (posession of the modchip). So while it isn't more illegal, it might mean stiffer fines for those caught.

  • Regionalization (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scowling (215030)
    Much of the rationalization (not from this case, but speakign generally) against mod-chipping game consoles and DVD players is to protect regionalization. That is, to enure that only Japanese PS2 owners can play Japanese-only games and that European DVD owners can only play European region DVDs.

    The salient argument to me appears to be: what has ethical precedence? The right of the company to sell two boxes to one person who wants to use media from different regions, or the right of the consumer to make mod
    • Much of the rationalization (not from this case, but speakign generally) against mod-chipping game consoles and DVD players is to protect regionalization.

      Disagree on the DVD player argument. I believe that in most of Western Europe it's common to buy and sell region-free DVD players, as well as VCRs that play both PAL (European) and NTSC (American) formats. Laws against modchipping, at least in the UK, are there to prevent piracy only.
  • Different analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nulltransfer (725809) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#9762389)
    Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

    Not that I agree with this law, but lawmakers probably see mod chips as analogous to mounting guns on your car. There are many legitimate uses for mod chips, but since they don't want to deal with the exceptions, they probably want to completely illegalize the usage.

    Earlier this year, the Italian court ruled that mod chips are legal on the basis that it's up to the user, not Sony, how they use their PS2. It even went so far as to name mod chips as crucial tools to "avoid monopolistic positions".

    Thumbs up to the Italians, though :)

  • by MooseByte (751829) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#9762395)

    From TFA: "The UK High Court has judged that the sale, advertisement, possession for commercial purposes and use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal in this country."

    An important distinction. It still sucks and I think it's a boneheaded decision, but the true hobbyist remains safe.

    For the moment....

    • I agree, the true hobbyist should be okay. But I wonder if the distribution of hobbyist created mod chip schematics will be legal. Since these would likely show up on websites, I don't see how they could really stop that anyway.

      In any case, I guess this will drive the mod business further underground in UK. Piracy, like pr0n is pretty hard to stop since there's a lot of money to be made.

    • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:34PM (#9762755)
      The sentence is ambiguous. Does it mean "commercial use" is illegal, or does it mean "use" is illegal?
    • So where are you going to get your modchips from, except from someone selling them? Unless someone starts a modchip charity, you'll have to get your modchips from overseas.
  • Bad analogy. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801)
    "Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"
    They might if doing so allowed you to more easily infringe on their IP.

    I'm not in agreement that modchips should be illegal, but comparing a mod chip to car parts is somewhat dishonest.

  • It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

    Modchips serve one purpose: to circumvent technology designed to keep your box from playing pirated or otherwise illegal software. So it's really more like saying you can't modify your car to violate local pollution laws, or that you can't modify your house to violate zoning regulations.
    • My memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I distinctly remember paying quite a bit of money for legit import games. A modchip is the only reasonably way for me to play these games that I legally purchased.

      I guess finding a way to play game software I purchased makes me a criminal! (Well, it would if I were in the UK.)
    • This is the same uninformed response the courts must have had. Obviously, you are not well versed in modern day game systems and mod-chips.

      I'm not sure about the PS2, as I haven't modded mine, but at least on the xbox, I rarely even run games anymore. Linux and a variety of other software are available as homebrew (some legally compiled and some not), so I fail to see your logic as valid.

      Why should I and the authors of those software packages not be able to use the xbox for that reason? This isn't stre
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06NO@SPAMemail.com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:08PM (#9762421)
    It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

    You modify your clothes?!? You kids today. In my day, that was a hanging offense. Why the whole Vietnam conflict can be traced to it's root clothing modification basis, essentially.

    And as for this house modification notion, I understand that you kids hang out at that "Home Depot" head shop. There are still some people who respect the original conception of the builders and wouldn't think of altering it. I'm proud to be one of them.

    Modifying a car? How would one even do that, what with the hood welded shut at the factory, like it is? That's just nonsense.

  • by flossie (135232) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:09PM (#9762426) Homepage
    Given that the judge ruled that mod chips are illegal due to the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) and that other EU nations (Italy, Spain) have already ruled the chips to be legal, is there any scope for this ruling to be challenged in a higher court because of misinterpretation of the directive?
    • Given that the judge ruled that mod chips are illegal due to the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) and that other EU nations (Italy, Spain) have already ruled the chips to be legal, is there any scope for this ruling to be challenged in a higher court because of misinterpretation of the directive?

      While an appeal might be possible, the fact that mod chips are legal in other countries doesn't tell much about the chances. The EU directives aren't directly applicable, and it is common that laws in di
  • Is that PS2 only? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:09PM (#9762431)
    I wonder if this ruling also affects Gamecube modchips? After all, the GC copy protection hasn't been cracked by modchips and the only thing the chips do is circumvent the region lockout (can be done with a certain disk too). I wonder if region lockout is also considered a "copy protection" under the EUCD.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cK-Gunslinger (443452) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:09PM (#9762436) Journal
    It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

    No it's not! You can still paint your car, add a garage to your house, and rip holes your clothes. But you can't put missle launchers on your car, coat your house with crack cocaine, or staple dead babies to your shirt.

    Similarly, you can paint your PS2, add NO2 stickers, and attach a bobble-head doll on it. But you can't purchase MOD chips. See? =P

    Anyway, I was just pointing out that the submitter got a little carried away with his/her outrage and over-generalization...
  • by cheeseSource (605209) <snailbarn@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:09PM (#9762437) Journal
    I have a Focus. How do I get rid of the rev limiter?
  • Ford would probably sue you because you decided to modify your Focus for speed. Are people ever going to learn that everyday drivers are not muscle, sport, and race cars? With regard to this subject, I think an obligatory link [xmission.com] to Maddox is necessary.
  • Swap Disks..? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I have a flip-top case on my PS2, so I can pop it open, drop in a swap disc, and play my imported games. It can also be used for "back-ups", though (never tried it, personally). Would such a system also be ruled illegal? I'd assume so, but there's no physical "modification" except for replacing the case.

    There's also another little swap disk solution which involves removing the CD cover and using a little plastik hook to force the drive open. No "modification" there, just a bit of removal. Still illega
  • They take away the licensing fees that they negotiated for that particular region, they also fuck with distribution rights for some games, and they also allow for pirated (and completely unpaid for) games to be played.

    Would ford sue you for fucking with your focus? No.. but they would sue the pants off of you if you took a truck load 20 year old Yugos and put focus badges on them just to sell them to the masses. Essentially thats what this judgement defends against. Selling a product that cheats a lic
  • by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#9762458) Homepage
    The Messiah chips were offered as a way to allow UK PS2s not only to play legitimate US and Japanese games, but pirated titles and back-up copies made by users, which Sony forbids in the UK.

    What the hell? Does Sony allow this kind of crap anywhere else? I suppose they don't forbid this kind of use in Japan, eh? Don't want to piss off the local markets.....

    Rant aside, I don't see the problem with modchips. People still buy the games, and no one really loses out at all. If you like screwing over your customers, I guess this is a surefire way to go....
  • Modchips don't kill people , people kill people with modchipped PS2's and a copy of GTA:Vice City

  • bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:12PM (#9762480) Homepage
    Once I buy something, it's mine. Oh wait! So not true anymore; now I don't buy, I *lease* under whatever terms my corporate and government masters deign to grant me. God forbid that I should actually *own* something to be used in whatever fashion I see fit. Oh no, I'm just a consumer peon, I can't possibly be allowed such a right!

    Max
    • Re:bah (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maximilln (654768)
      Once I buy something, it's mine

      I didn't want to get into the argument about what mod chips are used for, or the argument about rights of companies vs. rights of consumers, or the argument about whose best interest copyright laws are really in. It all really boils down to this point.

      Is it really ethical for Company A to lobby for legislation which prevents any anonymous consumer from purchasing Product B? Is it really ethical for Company A to lobby for legislation to prevent any anonymous consumer from
  • not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EZmagz (538905) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:17PM (#9762544) Homepage
    Granted I didn't RTFA, but just reading the headline I'm not surprised. The funny thing (to me, at least) is that YES, a mod chip will allow you to technically play copied games, who really cares? What percentage of the general population has a modded PS2 or XBox? Definitely a small, small minority. Of all people I know who have consoles (from little kids to grandparents), I can only think of one or two people who have modded thier equipment.

    If so few people do it, why does the government care? Because big companies put big pressure on the gov't to make sure nothing inteferes with their buisness model. And if that means squashing a 1% minority group who decided to make changes to their PS2 or XBox THAT THEY'RE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO DO UNDER FAIR USE, then so be it. "Fuck 'em", the company says. It's their way or the highway.


  • Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

    Yes, if removing the rev limiter allowed you to distributed an unlimited number of duplicates of your Focus.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:21PM (#9762595) Homepage Journal
    Realtor: "This is a modern luxory home built by Home2.0. Pricing for Family Unit Licenses vary based upon geographic location, Regional Demographics, size of Family Unit and estiamted annual income for the course of your License. Base Per Family Unit Licenses start at $750,000.00 in the California Bay Area."

    Home Buyer: "Base Per Family Unit License????"

    Realtor: "Yes, your mortgage provides you a Family Unit License authorizing you use of the Home2.0 product for 1 Family Unit until transferance of that license to another Family Unit."

    Home Buyer: "Use? But I'm here to buy, not rent."

    Realtor: "But, you do buy! You buy the Family Unit License to use the Home2.0 product for your Family Unit."

    Home Buyer: "So if I'm buying only a license, who owns the home?"

    Realtor: "Home2.0 of course. They retain the exclusive right to monitor your home usage and make regular maintenance inspections and install upgrades as needed to insure standards of living compliance."

    Home Buyer: "And I always modded those "1984" Posts on /. down as trolls." *sigh*
  • Legitimate uses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xian97 (714198) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:24PM (#9762638)
    As the father of two young children, I took what I thought was adequate precautions to protect my game collection. I placed the PS2 games up on a shelf out of their reach and changed the disk for them when they wanted to play. One day a friend was over and while I was out of the room he gets a game down off the shelf to look at the cover art or manual and places it on the coffee table. In a matter of minutes the toddler is attracted to the bright, shiny packaging and the even brighter, shinier game DVD inside. Almost instantly a $50 disk is scratched and unplayable in spite of all the precautions I had taken. I contacted the company to see if I could get a replacment disk for a discounted price and was told that I would have to buy the whole package again for full price. After that I made DVDR backups of the games I had bought and modified the PS2 to play the backups. While I am sure many use modchips to copy games they do not own, don't condemn the technology when it has legitimate uses as well.
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:50PM (#9762948)
    "This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written."

    Eh? You do realize that those people represent a very MINUTE portion of modchip users. Let's be blunt and to the point: modchips exist so one can copy and own PS2 games without paying for them. Flat out, that's what they're made for. That's what I use it for as well as almost every other modchip owner.

    In any case, this law doesn't matter much. This is just another one of those laws that people make a big stink about that turn out to be nothing to worry about, and rightfully so because if it affects you, just order a pre-modded PS2 from a shop overseas. Problem solved. It's not like they're gonna scan mail and see a PS2 and decide to open it up.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @03:07PM (#9763155) Homepage
    It does not matter if every single mod chip was used to play ripped games. The issue is whether we own what we buy. It appears that consumers in the UK do not.

  • by kaybee (101750) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @03:11PM (#9763199) Homepage

    Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?
    I wouldn't give them any ideas -- I'm sure they would like to... and I wouldn't be surprised if it became illegal to do so one day...

  • by rapiddescent (572442) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @04:22PM (#9763995)
    Well this is very interesting because Sony got away with a punitive tax levy on the PS2 being imported to the UK because Sony proved that the PS2 was a customisable computer that could run user programs (not limited to Sony approved games). Thats why the UK versions came with PS2 Basic - to essentially make the console a home computer rather than a games console.

    One of the main differentiations between a game console and a home computer is that a game console has a restriction on the software installed on it.

    Games consoles imported into the UK from outside the euro zone attract a large import duty. I hope that Customs and Excise will now be retrospectively collecting import duty for every PS2 sold in the UK and interest on the late payment of that duty going back over time.

    rd

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @09:08PM (#9766176) Journal
    Most of the people posting here are unqualified simply because their American. Americans aren't adversely affected by these types of laws as THEIR playstation can play any game they want (most games are in NTSC format).

    The people who this law does affect are adversely affected* are having our fair use rights infringed upon. I don't care that the majority of people use it for illegal purposes. Make the selling of copied games illegal, not the tool to use it. It's like banning blank videos. A lot of the use for them is to illegally copy videos.

    A lot of people DO import copied games. We might be a minority, but I don't see why we should have our fair use trampled on when we have done nothing wrong. Punish those who commit the crimes.

    * Fortunately I'm not a UKian, but if a similar law was brought out in Australia I would be as we use PAL.

"How to make a million dollars: First, get a million dollars." -- Steve Martin

Working...