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The Courts Government News Entertainment Games

ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Console Modder 139

Posted by Zonk
from the mebbe-subtlety-would-have-been-a-virtue-here dept.
Donkey Konga writes "A San Diego man was arrested after a raid turned up over a thousand counterfeit games, modded consoles and mod chips. Frederick Brown 'had allegedly built up a thriving business selling counterfeit games and installing mod chips, having advertised his services on Craigslist and other web sites. He allegedly sold pirated games from his Vista, CA residence as well, including both discs and hard drives preloaded with games that he would install into customers' Xboxes and Xbox 360s.' After the ESA learned of his activities, they contacted San Diego law enforcement and the San Diego Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Unit led the raid on his home. '"CATCH was very receptive to the evidence we brought them and were able to put the investigation together in very short order," ESA VP Ric Hirsch told Ars.' Brown now faces 10 felony counts related to selling pirated games and modding consoles."
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ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Console Modder

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  • by matt me (850665) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:38AM (#19651201)
    You can live inside an operating system? Now that's virtualisation. It must be hell.
  • Okay... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 3p1ph4ny (835701)
    I understand the pirated games part, but how can he possibly be charged with anything about modding consoles? Sure, the console manufacturer doesn't want you to do it, and (in the case of the Xbox 360) they'll go to great lengths to prevent you from doing it (that's their "right"). They can't make it illegal though, can they? That's just stupid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pclminion (145572)

      I understand the pirated games part, but how can he possibly be charged with anything about modding consoles? Sure, the console manufacturer doesn't want you to do it, and (in the case of the Xbox 360) they'll go to great lengths to prevent you from doing it (that's their "right"). They can't make it illegal though, can they? That's just stupid.

      Hello, DMCA? The modded console is a copyright circumvention device.

      • by 3p1ph4ny (835701)
        Modded consoles are not only used for copyright circumvention, but to enable the hardware to do other stuff that it couldn't do before. Since I bought the console, I own the hardware, I should be allowed to extract any added value from it I want, right?

        Isn't it kind of like banning all BitTorrent traffic, even though there are legitimate uses?
        • by pclminion (145572)

          Modded consoles are not only used for copyright circumvention, but to enable the hardware to do other stuff that it couldn't do before. Since I bought the console, I own the hardware, I should be allowed to extract any added value from it I want, right?

          I don't disagree. Yet the law is what it is.

        • by iksbob (947407)
          "Since I bought the console, I own the hardware, I should be allowed to extract any added value from it I want, right?"
          IIRC, the DMCA says you can't sell or distribute copyright protection circumvention devices. In that case, you can extract all the value you want from your console, you just can't get anyone else's help in doing so, or help anyone else if you figure out a way to do so.
        • by amuro98 (461673)
          Intent has nothing to do with it, unfortunately.

          Under the DMCA you are legally not allowed modify or reverse engineer hardware, nor bypass copyright protection methods.

          Note that this means if you use a region-free DVD player to play a legitimately purchased, non-region1 DVD, you've just violated the DMCA.

          The DMCA is intentionally overly broad and vague - the best legislation money can buy. Check out the EFF about ways they're trying to not only fight the DMCA, but have it stricken from the books entirely.
          • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Funny)

            by tsa (15680) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @01:05PM (#19652673) Homepage
            So in principle I am not allowed to use a door as a table in the USA. Great law. I'm glad I live in Europe.
            • by Amouth (879122)
              don't worry we already got the Aussies on and soon canada - guess what - your next :)
              • by TeraCo (410407)
                In Australia mod chips are legal provided they don't allow you to play pirated media. So, we have a thriving industry in mod chips that allow us to play imports and install XBMC and what have you.
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "Under the DMCA you are legally not allowed modify or reverse engineer hardware, nor bypass copyright protection methods."

            Actually, I think you are allowed to, in order to support interoperability, and also, for personal usage (fair use). In the latter case, you just aren't allowed to tell anyone else how you did it, nor help them to do so.

          • by FLEB (312391)
            Has this been tested? Region encoding isn't a copy-protection device, it's a market segmentation device.
        • by reub2000 (705806)
          Why do you think we hate the DMCA?
        • by edwdig (47888)
          He was selling modded consoles with pirated games already loaded on the hard disk. There's no doubt about what the intentions were there.
        • by westlake (615356)
          Since I bought the console, I own the hardware, I should be allowed to extract any added value from it I want, right?

          You can own a lot of things, a house, a car, an airplane. That doesn't mean every modification you might want to make will be legal.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by aichpvee (631243)
        Is it illegal under the DMCA to circumvent region locking mechanisms? And if you could prove that the lockout is actually more about locking users out of playing alternate region discs would you still be in violation?

        Not that we shouldn't keep working to get rid of the DMCA since it serves no purpose for the people and is effectively just more corporate welfare on top of that.
        • by BLKMGK (34057)
          Oh, indeed you might be able to fight and claim thjat the region coding is less a copy protection and more a profit mechanism and shouldn't apply. It will only cost you your home and family's income for who knows how long to make the case. Legal abuse at it's very best....

          At least the sheeple are slowly starting to wake up to just how bad things have gotten but it's going to be a VERY long time before we reclaim some of the right's we've lost. Sadly they have only just begun with the anger stage, torches an
      • I believe the important distinction here is that the consoles were modded and still able to execute signed code, copied games. When you modify a console to run unsigned code it is not a DMCA violation since you are not circumventing copyright protection.

        I'm unfamiliar with the XBOX 360 modding specifics, but with the original XBOX there were 2 types of BIOS that could be obtained. The first is a completely legal linux-loader BIOS, the popular one being the Cromwell BIOS. The second being a not exactly leg
        • I thought the key words were 'access control' not copy protected (copy protection schemes are a subset of access controls).

          Mycroft
    • by Shados (741919)
      Im guessing he only was arrested on the piracy (copyright...) things. The rest was just thrown in as a description of his activity.
    • Welcome to the world of the DMCA, where people who think that ownership of hardware means that you can use it like you want to.
    • Re:Okay... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by twistedsymphony (956982) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:09PM (#19651723) Homepage
      The Modchips alone are either just your typical bios chip (like the Xbox and PS2) or they're you're standard PIC/AVR microcontroller (PS1, Wii, Saturn, Dreamcast, etc.)

      The use of modchips is a very gray line and using a modchip in and of itself is not a crime even under DMCA... most are sold blank or with "legal" firmware that does nothing to aid in circumvention of protection mechanisms. Xbox 1 chips specifically come pre-loaded with "Cromwell" bioses that are based on Linux and don't actually allow the playback of backup discs.

      The bioses that do allow the playback of backup discs are hacked version of the original bioses or development bioses, and themselves are considered pirated material (like the Evox and X2 series of hacked bioses for the Xbox 1).

      Seeing as I know someone who was recently arrested for selling pirated Xbox games "and installing modchips" He was only ever charged with the piracy issues... It's my understanding that most of the time they'll report about the installation work in the papers but it's so far over the heads of the police and prosecutors that they don't even try to make a case for the modchip stuff... it's just too much work to make a sound case for it when they've got X hundred counts of piracy that they can easily nail them with.
      • Actually, that's true of modern modchips (PS2,Xbox,etc.), but I've never heard of flashable chips for anything older than that. Even in the case of the PS2 there are still tons of non-flashable chips out there (any of the 10,000 chiwanese clones of the Matrix Infinity chip).

        For myself, I think the most defensible arguments for these chips are that they

        A) allow you to use backup media to play your games (kids+cds=scratches)
        B) allow you to play games from other regions.

        In some cases there are other
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      From the DMCA:
      BR> No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -

      * (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

      * (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls acce
      • The DMCA is kept vague deliberately. For more than one reason.

        You cannot go into much detail unless you're ok with the fact that it will apply in one very special case and not in any other. You can put the crowbar of cracking into many cracks of the system, starting at the system firmware and not even ending in the drive supplying the software (DVD, CD, USB...). And every single device in between usually has firmware, uses drivers and offers hardware points you can solder to if that's the only choice left.

        A
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:39AM (#19651207) Journal
    If he's selling pirated stuff, that's one matter but why should it be illegal to modify your console? If somebody wants to copy their own personal copy of a game onto their hard drive, that should fall under fair use (note I said should, not does). The headline makes it sound like modding consoles is all he's guilty of.
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:47AM (#19651361)
      Maybe you missed the news for quite a while now, but it's illegal to circumvent copyright here now. The chip itself is not illegal, but once you install it, you've broken the law, even if it's not actually ever used.

      Yes, it's a stupid law. But it's still the law, and if you break the law (and get caught!) you get arrested.

      I have to wonder if they guy -wanted- to be arrested, though. Advertising illegal activities on Craig's List? Jeeeez. Maybe he could put posters on the Police Headquarters' doors next time, instead.

      So, WHY would he want to get arrested? There's only 1 way to get a law off the books: Fight it in court. Yes, it's stupid, too. You have to actually break the law you think is unfair, do jailtime, and then beat it in court (probably several courts) before you can get the law removed.

      This is true no matter how stupid the law is, and that's why there's still a law in FL that makes it illegal to blow bubbles underwater, or to lead your elephant down Main Street backwards in Maine. (I may have the places wrong, but they exist.)
      • Yes, it's a stupid law. But it's still the law, and if you break the law (and get caught!) you get arrested.

        There's no need to be patronizing in your replies, it's quite rude. Most everybody here is well aware of copyright law, I wanted to know what law specifically prevents somebody from modding their console?

        So, WHY would he want to get arrested? There's only 1 way to get a law off the books: Fight it in court. Yes, it's stupid, too. You have to actually break the law you think is unfair, do jailtime, and then beat it in court (probably several courts) before you can get the law removed.

        I highly doubt this is a case of Civil Disobedience. If he was only modding boxes, I could maybe see your point, but having thousands of dollars worth of pirated stuff is something different.

        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Maybe you haven't noticed, but not everyone here is a computer science major. Every time I leave some stupid little detail out, not matter how useless, I get 6 replies telling me of my 'mistake', instead of realizing I left it out because 'everyone' already knows it.

          And yes, I realize that he was also doing illegal things that there was no way he could fight in court. I was simply noting that there's only 1 reason he'd want to, no matter how little sense it actually made. The only other reason he'd do th
          • by aichpvee (631243)
            You should just do what I do and wave the Magical Copyright Protection Wand(tm) over all your posts. The Magical Copyright Protection Wand(tm) is a system designed to protect the copyright on my posts and enforce my licensing terms. I happen to only license derivative works of my posts (ie: replies, citations) to those who agree with me 100%. Anyone else is in violation of the DMCA for circumventing the Magical Copyright Protection Wand(tm).
        • by Danse (1026)

          Most everybody here is well aware of copyright law, I wanted to know what law specifically prevents somebody from modding their console?

          I believe the DMCA also prohibits distributing tools or devices designed to circumvent copyright protection schemes.
          • So? The mod chip in my console is in there to allow me to run my own games, games I own the copyright to, not to run pirated stuff. Unfortunately I could not find mod-chips that only allow the one but not the other.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        So, WHY would he want to get arrested? There's only 1 way to get a law off the books: Fight it in court.

        No, I'm sure he was just a stupid criminal, in it only for the money. Why? Because he was committing massive copyright infrigement too. If the whole thing was a ploy to dispute the "circumvention device" parts of the DMCA, he would have only installed modchips, but not distributed games also.

      • by MoHaG (1002926)

        Maybe you missed the news for quite a while now, but it's illegal to circumvent copyright here now. The chip itself is not illegal, but once you install it, you've broken the law, even if it's not actually ever used.

        Yes, it's a stupid law. But it's still the law, and if you break the law (and get caught!) you get arrested.

        What if you used your modchip to run Linux [xbox-linux.org] on the console?

        • What if you used your modchip to run Linux on the console?

          It's not what you do with the modchip, it's the fact that it's there, capable of circumventing copyright. While I do think that all five of the people who installed a modchip in their console solely to run Linux are morally clean, the law disagrees.

          -:sigma.SB

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MBGMorden (803437)
            Most modchips are distributed with BIOS's that only run Linux and the like. Allowing it to circumvent copyright requires further modification to the modchip (ie, reflashing it). If that enables copyright infringement then so does the original device, as it can perfectly well play copied games as soon as someone tinkers with it in the appropriate manner.

            A simple mod-chip that has not been reflashed can not be considered illegal, even under the DMCA.
            • The chip itself cannot be infringing copyright, the data on it is what determines whether the hardware is "good" or "bad". If it was, the original XBox would have to be classified as a copyright circumvention device, because it can be soft-modded to play copies with the harddrive switch trick, without any alteration of the hardware in the box.
          • by GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) <joeXbanks.hotmail@com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @01:00PM (#19652617)
            And when those folks with mod chips running Linux *and not pirating games* actually are arrested, then I'll get worked up. Yes, the letter of the law might say the mod chips are illegal but I've yet to hear about anyone being arrested for that alone. This guy's only in trouble because he's a large-scale pirate scumbag, and maybe the mod-chip thing adds some flavor to the prosecution's case. It's like how fellatio is illegal in some states, but you'd only get in trouble for it if it was tacked on to some other, much worse situation.

            These stories are always the same: somebody does something irrefutably illegal and is arrested and charged, but one or two details about the case are in a gray area, so everyone goes apeshit about the minor details. Find me a story where someone is charged over ONLY the minor details and I'll stop considering Zonk nothing more than an inflammatory troublemaker.

            [/rant]
      • This is true no matter how stupid the law is, and that's why there's still a law in FL that makes it illegal to blow bubbles underwater, or to lead your elephant down Main Street backwards in Maine. (I may have the places wrong, but they exist.)

        You know what I wonder? Why hasn't anyone ever created a TV show around those insane laws? I could see it well, the show host breaking one of those inane laws and then reports himself to the authorities to see what's gonna happen (if it results just in a fine or some
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Simple: It's not sensational enough. It wouldn't even make a single episode on Law & Order because nobody died, got raped, or violated any other taboo of modern society.

          I had considered starting to watch some of the more popular shows until I saw a CSI commercial that proudly exclaimed how a little girl would get raped on the show. That was it. They said nothing else about the episode.

          I still watch some, like Bones, but the ones that make their episodes/commercials based solely on disgusting crimes
          • I could see it as a comedy-kind show. Not a "to be taken serious" crime show. Make an elaborate story around it and push it to the extreme. A light hearted format that makes it clear the show doesn't take itself too serious.

            The no-donkey-in-the-bathtub law (Maine, I think) would be very suitable for that. Create an elaborate show around getting a donkey into a house, then interview neighbors and have them voice their opinion about the law, create some viewer participation, the whole works.

            I'm pretty sure th
    • by Targon (17348)
      A person is allowed to mod their own console, but to sell a modified console breaks a number of rules, which I can sort of understand. It may also be illegal to sell the service to modify the console of others, since the mods in question really are ONLY intended to encourage software piracy.

      There are similar laws about other products out there when it comes to fair use. Doing a mod to eliminate the copy protection system for VCR tapes and DVDs can't realistically be stopped for many reasons, but the sal
  • by Nighttime (231023) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:41AM (#19651253) Homepage Journal
    In typical /. fashion, headline is designed to get people impassioned about a poor console modder. A fairer headline would be "ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Games Counterfeiter." Yes, it says that in the summary but how many around here even RTFS nevermind RTFA?
    • No doubt. What this guy was doing was definately wrong. Parts of it might have been fine. Really, where is the arguement for this guy? It'd be like saying " The chop shop owner should have gone to jail for procurement of stripped car parts, but it's not illegal to use an air grinder on a Honda"

      WRIGHT, WRONG, and right, (C), and right (the direction).
    • "Counterfeiter" is misleading too. After all, those are the real games; they're just illegally duplicated and distributed. A completely correct title would have to read something more like "ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Copyright-Infringer of Games."

      • by Raphael (18701)

        "Counterfeiter" is misleading too. After all, those are the real games; they're just illegally duplicated and distributed.

        Sorry, but I disagree. "Counterfeiter" is appropriate. When I buy a commercial game, the software is only a part of what I buy. For me, a game is the software and the medium that carries it (CD or DVD), but also the box, the manuals, and any extra goodies included in the box.

        Duplicating the software is a copyright infringment. But what about the box and the other stuff? Until w

        • You are totally right. Counterfit money still buys things. Therefore, it has legal value, and is somewhat "REAL." It's a duplication (even if exactly perfect) that wasn't authorized.

          Google define:

          forge: make a copy of with the intent to deceive; "he faked the signature"; "they counterfeited dollar bills"; "She forged a Green Card"

          imitation: a copy that is represented as the original
          This one here sounds right to me!

          not genuine; imitating something superior; "counterfeit emotion"; "counterfeit money"; "cou
          • He's not creating new commercial packaging and passing these off as if he were authorized to manufacture them; his presenting them as files on a hard drive! Therefore, this fails the "represented as the original" portion of your cited definition and does not qualify as "counterfeiting."

            • That depends on what the original "ITEM" is defined as being... the physical CD or the Game. If it's the game, it looks like counterfeit to me. If it's the CD, well then the *.AA doesn't have a case at all. I am pretty sure it's the IP that they are defining as "THE ORIGINAL" and not the medium for which that product is on.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrchaotica (681592) *

          Duplicating the software is a copyright infringment. But what about the box and the other stuff?

          What about it, indeed? He didn't copy it! If he had, then he would possibly be "counterfeiting" the item, because he would have been trying to pass it off as the original. However, he was instead providing these games as files on a hard disk, making no attempt to disguise the fact that they were unauthorized copies, presented in (explicitly) a different form than the original thing. That's why I say it doesn't q

      • Maybe I'm getting too old, but the last time I checked somebody like this is called a bootlegger.

        "ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Games Bootlegger"

        And then everybody would have gotten the correct mental image of a guy who was copying and selling copied video games.
    • The difference is that a counterfeiter tries to pass off fake goods as the real thing. From dictionary.com: "Counterfeit: made in imitation so as to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively as genuine". I sincerely doubt this guy's customers were convinced they were buying official Microsoft products.

      Not that I have a huge amount of sympathy for anyone who does for-profit pirating (much less advertises his services in a public venue), but it's a real stretch to call him a counterfeiter.
    • A fairer headline would be "ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Games Counterfeiter."

      That depends on whether he is being charged for the modding. If not, then you are 100% right.

      (And it also depends on whether the modding had anything to do with initiating the investigation. If the investigation was begun only over piracy of the games that's one thing. But if they began the investigation *because* he's a modder, and then happened to find game piracy in the process, that's another thing.)

      I didn't RTFA enoug

  • Stupid... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by T_ConX (783573)
    ...advertised his services on Craigslist and other web sites.

    Why don't you just go ahead and put a sign on you lawn proclaiming your ill-goten warez? I'm all for Mod-chips (for import gaming) and pirating games off BitTorrent (if a game is hard to find), but when you make a business out of it, then you've just crossed the line.
    • If by "hard to find" you mean won't be in stores for two weeks, I'm right there with you ;)
    • People are making a business out of all sorts of 'corrupt' shit in the USA. Face it, this guy was pursuing the American dream just like everyone else here. Stop bitching that he was making a living off of it.
  • by Red Mage 13 (791885) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:44AM (#19651313)
    Will take note of this, and start raiding Autozone. Although on the plus side, if they started going after modders, there would be fewer cars with really unnecessary spoilers...
    • They should have to put up a spoiler warning.
    • must..resist...joke..about..spoiler..tags...

      In soviet russia spoilers tag you!

      Aw, man you just gave away the ending to the Autozone game! For shame!

      (damn, oh well)
  • by PorkNutz (730601) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:48AM (#19651391) Homepage
    IMHO, Mod chips are like guns. If a person buys a gun and kills someone with it, is the gun dealer held responsible? If I buy a mod chip and use it to play games I haven't paid for, should the mod chip dealer be held responsible?

    I understand that this guy was also selling unauthorized copies of games and HDDs preloaded with games, and he should have to face penalties for that, but why should I be disallowed to by a mod chip simply because I "could" pirate games with it? Should I be disallowed from buying a computer simply because I could copy music, games, or applications with it? I have two Xboxes in my house that are modded, but only so I can use them as media centers and to let me and my daugter play games we own without risking damage to the original DVDs.

    The DMCA sucks nuts.

    -----
    Police State T-Shirt [prostoner.com]
    Funny Shirts @ ProStoner.com

    • by neersign (956437)

      I am all for guns and modchips (XBMC is the only reason I bought a Xbox), but let me offer this: Should a drug dealer be arrested for selling drugs? Sure, we have laws that say it is illegal to sell drugs, but the logic is to go after the source to cut off the supply.

      Personally, I think that as soon as the hardware is purchased it should no longer be controlled by MS. I own the hardware, I can do what I want with it. Since it is currently legal to buy modchips, it should be legal to own modchips, it sho

      • by Joshwaa (1103819)
        The difference is that drugs have /no/ legitimate use, as opposed to guns and modchips, which can at least be argued to be used for legitimate purposes.
        • Some would argue that their drugs do have legitimate uses, like curing headaches, or relieving pressure in the eye, etc. I think getting ripped though, is as legitimate as it gets.
        • by neersign (956437)
          that is just your opinion. some people argue that guns and modchips have no legitimate purpose, too. the question is, where do you draw the line.
    • by BUL2294 (1081735)

      should I be disallowed to by a mod chip simply because I "could" pirate games with it?
      Should I be disallowed from buying alcohol because I "could" get into a drunken bar fight? Should I be disallowed from buying a car because I "could" hit an old lady crossing the street? Honestly, I don't see the difference...
    • by dasOp (781405)
      This sort of implies that either guns have no use at all except breaking the law (and a fair amount of people hold that opinion) or that modchips have a wide range of use besides breaking the law.

      /me waits for the mod-chip addendum to the castle doctrine
  • by despisethesun (880261) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:11PM (#19651781)
    I might be reading a little too much into the summary, but can you run 360 games from the hard drive now? I haven't really been following the XBox 360 mod "scene", but that was one of my favourite things about my modded XBox. It's incredibly convenient.
    • No, it's not possible to run unsigned code or homebrew on the 360. It hasn't been, and probably won't ever be possible until we can find a way to break the keys, or the dependence on the cryptographic keys contained within the 360. Pretty much all that the mods are doing is spoofing the PFI (Physical Format Information), DMI (Disc Manufacturer Information, SS (Stealth Sectors), and video.iso (a short video) to the original information that's offset to a different spot on the disc. In layman's terms, it p
      • by BLKMGK (34057)
        And you would be INCORRECT. It is currently not possible to run unsigned homebrew within the VM however it IS possible to break the VM and run *native* Linux if you have an older firmware flash. Efforts are underway to further break the platform and while it's got a ways to go it's slowly getting there - yeah I bought a couple of 360 with the old flash just for this but I'll admit I've not done much with them. I actually updated one but the other is being reserved for whatever hacking trouble I can get into
      • I was actually aware of all that, but the wording of the summary had me wondering if it had moved past that point yet.
  • Have to nip these little hooligans in the bud! One day they're modding consoles, the next they're building suicide vests for bombers. It's a slippery slope, I tell you!
  • by Jaqenn (996058) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#19651931)
    Advertising on Craigs list is pretty dumb. I have a story that may match it:

    In my little college town, there was a guy who owned his own small business, doing mostly PC repairs / upgrades. He acquired a reputation in my geeky-friend circle as being a little shady and a lot overpriced.

    Apparently he also started modding XBoxes on the side. I met a neighbor that had one that he'd worked on, and as a result of the mod you'd get an extra splash screen when booting your XBox. I'm futzing the details, but the splash screen said something like this:

    This console modded by Bob's Smalltown PC Shop!
    I'll mod your console too for $35!
    Contact me at 1234 Main St, (999)-999-9999.


    I was dumbfounded that he'd leave such evidence on something that he had to have known was illegal. It made me want to buy one and forward it to Microsoft just for spite, because it seemed a tragic injustice that someone could do something so stupid and never have to deal with the results.

    I never got around to it, though, because then he skipped town without paying the last X weeks of back wages to his employees. As far as I know no-one ever found him, but I didn't pay much attention after the first bit of news.
  • ESA?! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by rbanffy (584143)
    For a second, I wondered what the hell the European Space Agency had against a console modder...
  • Where I live in Edmonton Canada you can get mod chips at a local asian supermarket. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
  • 10 felony counts related to selling pirated games and modding consoles."

    Yeah, but will it earn him the respect of rapists and murderers who might only have four or five felony counts.
  • Anyone here thinks they'd have been after that guy if he just modded consoles? He advertised game copies publically, that was what led to the raid.

    Use a little common sense. Ok, it ain't that common but I'd assume it is here.

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