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Hardware Hacking The Courts Build Games

Mod Chips Legal In the UK 169

Posted by timothy
from the mod-fish-still-under-scrutiny dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Good news out of the UK! Techdirt reports that an appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling and has now said that mod chips do not violate copyright laws. The case involved a mod chip seller, who imported mod chips for the XBox from Hong Kong and would sell the chips or mod the Xbox's himself. He was charged with copyright infringement and found guilty by a lower court. The appeals court has dismissed all charges, however."
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Mod Chips Legal In the UK

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  • by superash (1045796) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:42AM (#23775737)
    After I buy something, it is _mine_ ! Case closed. I can do whatever I want to do with it. If I had stolen it then I am guilty. I don't see a case otherwise.
    • by jamesh (87723) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:00AM (#23775799)
      Unless it's licensed, not sold :)

      Fortunately the 'first sale' principal has held up in most places where it has been tested, so your argument seems to hold true.

      But to stretch your argument until it breaks, if you buy a gun then it's yours, but you still aren't allowed to modify it in such a way that it is illegal (eg upgrade it to semi automatic, saw of the barrel(s) to make it easier to conceal). Likewise if a law is introduced that says you cannot modify your games console to allow it to play illegal games then your argument is incorrect, and I think that is what was being tested here (although I think they were trying to make an existing law apply rather than testing a law brought in to address that problem specifically).
      • by arivanov (12034) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:11AM (#23775857) Homepage
        If it is licensed not sold it is subject to a different taxation regime.

        The vendors and especially the software ones cannot have it both ways. It is either a sale or a rent.

        It it is a sale it is subject to appropriate financial regime for sales (VAT, can be registered as a capital asset, depreciation, etc). Income from sales can be taxed in a different jurisdiction. Even if the sale has taken place in a "nasty taxation" place like UK, Scandinavia, New York, etc, all taxation can be done in a place with lax taxation like Ireland in the EU or Texas in the USA.

        If it is a rent it cannot be depreciated and cannot count for capex. It is opex, period. Similarly, income from rent in nearly all countries in the world must be taxed locally. The usual tax evasion practices of big software and hardware vendors are outright illegal and forbidden by law.

        So frankly, if it is licensed and the licensing contract is valid - come on, try to prove it. All the defendant needs to bring are the taxation statements of company X. If X wins it will lose its taxation regime.

        Lose-lose.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by zappepcs (820751)
          The whole rent thing is just a bit of a bad idea in the case where you get a physical object that cannot be returned, and the leasing company does not ever want it back. If in fact you are leasing it, the repairs of such should be free of charge if they are not due to normal use, and you as a lease holder are due a proper and functioning unit while the lease is current.

          If the cost of an xbox is a lifetime lease, then the product should be accompanied by lifetime warranty, lifetime repair as well. When leasi
          • The whole rent thing is just a bit of a bad idea in the case where you get a physical object that cannot be returned, and the leasing company does not ever want it back.

            Well, that depends. There can be some serious tax advantages to leasing instead of buying.

            This process is not in use for the xbox, indicating that it is NOT a lease, but a sale.

            You don't even need to go that far. Look at your receipt of purchase -- it is a sales receipt, not a lease agreement.

            As far as licensing goes, that's a differe

        • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday June 13, 2008 @08:28AM (#23776545) Journal

          Even if the sale has taken place in a "nasty taxation" place like UK, Scandinavia, New York, etc, all taxation can be done in a place with lax taxation like Ireland in the EU or Texas in the USA.
          False. Ever hear of use tax? If you use the good in NY, and its a taxable good, be prepared to pay use tax is the sales tax paid on the purchase is less than the sales tax in NY.

          If it is a rent it cannot be depreciated and cannot count for capex. It is opex, period.
          You sound pretty confident for someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. Capital leases are very common... that's when you have a lease (rental agreement) and you capitalize the asset. The stream of payments for the lease is amortized, and meanwhile you depreciate the asset and record your depreciation expense.

          The usual tax evasion practices of big software and hardware vendors are outright illegal and forbidden by law
          What are you talking about?

          I'd also add that licensing != leasing, I think you're confused on the topic.

          I guess, to sum up, I'd say that gettig accounting/finance advice on slashdot is like getting legal advice on slashdot. Some of it seems to make sense, but I'd rather have duct tape ripped from my scrotum than have to go before the courts or the IRS using advice from slashdot as my only source of information.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by reddburn (1109121)

          The usual tax evasion practices of big software and hardware vendors are outright illegal and forbidden by law.
          At the same time? Is THAT legal?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by harry666t (1062422)
        What if I modify my own brain to play illegal games without use of any external devices? Will I be a criminal charged for copyright infringement? Will I have my brain removed? How do they know what could be there in my brain?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Vectronic (1221470)
          They wouldnt know, but if you started cutting out pieces of your own brain and selling it at the street corner, its likely it would raise some eyebrows, and thats what this guy was doing, selling the mod chips.
      • Likewise if a law is introduced that says you cannot modify your games console to allow it to play illegal games then your argument is incorrect
        Does something like XBMC count as "illegal games"?
      • by Hells (1166547) on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:55AM (#23776315)
        Mod chips dont pirate games, people do.
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        You are allowed to modify it in any way you want. You are not allowed to possess an easily concealable weapon in that gauge nor a semi-automatic one.

        Law would have to be introduced that prohibits you from having the console mods required to play pirated console games.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Law would have to be introduced that prohibits you from having the console mods required to play pirated console games.
          Nobody seems to have heard you, brother.You may have to say it a little louder.

          Are we so desperately addicted to our little consumer fantasies that we'll allow absolutely any insult from the corporate/legal molochs?
          • by rbanffy (584143)
            Actually modding is legal in Brazil. This specific problem is already solved for me.

            BTW, piracy is also rampant, but, at least, police seems to go after the pirates.
      • by sqldr (838964) on Friday June 13, 2008 @08:23AM (#23776493)
        I once saw a conference with bill gates, where a child popped his hand up to ask a question. We never got to hear the question. He got as far as "my dad bought me a copy of windows". He interrupted to say "he didn't buy it, he /licensed/ it" before going off on a diatribe that instead of owning a tangible object (a CD with windows on it), you are licensing the 1s and 0s on it. He was about 12 years old. What a cunt.
        • by tehcyder (746570) on Friday June 13, 2008 @09:59AM (#23777525) Journal

          I once saw a conference with bill gates, where a child popped his hand up to ask a question. We never got to hear the question. He got as far as "my dad bought me a copy of windows". He interrupted to say "he didn't buy it, he /licensed/ it" before going off on a diatribe that instead of owning a tangible object (a CD with windows on it), you are licensing the 1s and 0s on it. He was about 12 years old. What a cunt.
          Hey, the child was only asking a question...
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            I once saw a conference with bill gates, where a child popped his hand up to ask a question. We never got to hear the question. He got as far as "my dad bought me a copy of windows". He interrupted to say "he didn't buy it, he /licensed/ it" before going off on a diatribe that instead of owning a tangible object (a CD with windows on it), you are licensing the 1s and 0s on it. He was about 12 years old. What a cunt.

            Hey, the child was only asking a question...

            'Course, some people might assume that this referred to Bill Gates. However, I'd cut Gates some slack- it's mighty impressive that he was conducting press conferences when he was just 12 years old.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spokehedz (599285)
        Mod chips should not be illegal because of the 'might do' senario. A modchip can't play illegal games all by itself. It takes at least three steps in order to make it play stolen games:

        1. Download it
        2. Burn it
        3. Put it in the console

        Otherwise, it is just a chip with code on it. Nothing more. YOU have to make the decision to play a game that you do not legally own. Not the console or the modchip.

        To continue your gun example... I might go out and kill someone with my gun.

        Would making my gun fire faster want t
      • HEY! (Score:3, Funny)

        by reddburn (1109121)

        Unless it's licensed, not sold :)
        Don't copy that floppy.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Unless it's licensed, not sold :)
        "Licensed" is bullshit.

        If I leave the store after having exchanged my money for an object, which I carry away in a nice plastic bag, I bought it. "License" my ass.

        How badly are we consumers going to let corporations abuse us before we decide that they are not simply amoral entities for accumulating wealth, but rather bad actors who will gladly hurt us if it means a bump in their stock price?
      • by guruevi (827432)
        You're wrong. If you buy a gun and modify it in a way you're still allowed to have that gun, you just can't use it anymore or brandish it in public (depending on your locality). You can still own it and store it in your gun cabinet since in the USA you're still allowed to own guns (it's in the constitution somewhere), usually the use, transportation and places of use is regulated by state or local laws (like you can't shoot within 300 ft of any houses or in the direction of animals or people).

        Your argument
        • by jamesh (87723)

          Your argument doesn't match the exact circumstances either

          It doesn't, but I was responding to a comment that stated 'if I bought it then I can do anything I want to it'. I wasn't aware of the US gun laws, but certainly here in Australia we have very strict rules for anything with more power than a pea shooter. I think semi-automatic weapons are a big no-no, it's even illegal to have one in your possession.
      • "But to stretch your argument until it breaks, if you buy a gun then it's yours, but you still aren't allowed to modify it in such a way that it is illegal"

        No you're not, but it's not because you don't own the gun. Rather it's because owning a modified gun is illegal.

        In other words, to get really nitpicky, it's not the modification of the gun that is illegal, it's the modified gun itself (and the parts in many areas). As long as I don't modify my gun in a way to make it illegal, I can keep on modding it all
        • by jamesh (87723)

          No you're not, but it's not because you don't own the gun.

          I'm not sure that the legal system would differentiate much between 'own' and 'you have it in your possession and behave as if you owned it'.
      • Likewise if a law is introduced that says you cannot modify your games console to allow it to play illegal games then your argument is incorrect

        Fortunately that law doesn't exist! While I do have a modded XBox (original) it's only used for the excellent XBMC [xbmc.org]. Such a law wouldn't just 'hurt' pirates, it would also hurt actual legitimate enthusiasts (XBMC is coming out for Linux soon though soon, so it will be time to retire it! :)

        --
        Order free Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii [free-toys.co.uk]

      • but you still aren't allowed to modify it in such a way that it is illegal (eg upgrade it to semi automatic...

        "semi automatic" actually isn't illegal. It's also mostly impossible to convert a non-semi-auto to semi-auto. Not entirely, but mostly. Perhaps you meant "fully automatic"? Semi-autos can be converted to full auto, though it's not so trivial as an amateur might think.

        Though I used to own a rifle that would go full-auto if I let too much gunk build up around the firing pin. Very annoying to ha

    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:11AM (#23775863) Homepage Journal

      After I buy something, it is _mine_ ! Case closed.
      Nope, I'm pretty certain you have to open it to put the new chip in.
    • After I buy something, it is _mine_ ! Case closed. I can do whatever I want to do with it.

      I hope you don't buy a gun.
    • by Taulin (569009)
      The reason this is a copyright law is due to the chip modifying the hardware, and actually changing the unit. I don't think it really is about being able to play illegal games, which I also think should be a reason.

      A true case in point: a guy made a statue for a high school that was displayed out front. The school put clothes and stuff on it, and he said take them off. They wouldn't, the artists sued the school and won. Why? It modified his original design which he owns the copyright on.

      Same for th

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:45AM (#23775753) Homepage
    Don't expect them to give up. Just like Bush was recently lost his third case in the US supreme court for the third time over Gitmo prisoners, they keep coming back and is considering new legislation to "solve" the problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thermian (1267986)
      That's because the view (which is, to their mind, legitimate), is not that modding isn't illegal, its just that the law hasn't caught up with the requirements of modern technology.

      There are situations where this viewpoint is entirely valid, and some where it is not. Thats why we have the judiciary in the first place.
      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:19AM (#23776131) Homepage
        In general, I think they're far too trigger-happy on creating new laws because it happens to be an old crime using new technology. Like the law a little while back on "cyberbulling", isn't harassment already a crime? Fraud? Theft? Blackmail? If i blocked the door to your brick-and-mortar store, they'd certainly find a way to prosecute my "denial-of-service" attack. Yes, there are probably a few crimes that really are new, but most aren't. Sometimes they don't make sense like we go from big industrial pirate industry to smalltime individual pirates, then the penalites should go up, up and away. Cyber-something is most an excuse to push new laws going in the direction they want.
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        The law doesn't need to do any catching up. They should go after the people who copy the games, the people who import the pirated games, not the mod chip makers (who do things like allow you to run homebrew software). If modchips were widespread, you would see a lot more of those nice homebrew titles.

        Oh... It's hard go go after the bad guys? They shoot back?! Too bad. Live with it.

        I bet nobody would seriously consider introducing new legislation just to make my job easier. Laws are not for that.
    • by drsquare (530038) on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:31AM (#23776201)
      And the best part is, under new legislation, mod-chip sellers can be held for 42 days without charge.
  • by apathy maybe (922212) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:46AM (#23775755) Homepage Journal
    At least, not by any sensible person's definition or understanding of the term "copyright". That is, there may be some legal jurisdictions where a piece of hardware can be considered a violation of copyright law, even if that hardware is not in and off itself a violation. (If you know what I mean.) However, in no sensible place could it be considered to break copyright, anymore then region free DVD players could be considered tools to break copyright.

    (I believe in Australia both are perfectly legal.)

    Of course, what the law says, and what a sensible person would expect the law to say are often two completely different things. Where the law is too complex for the average person to understand, then there is something wrong with it. (Resists temptation to explain why all laws are wrong, complex or not.)
    • by kramulous (977841) *

      (I believe in Australia both are perfectly legal.)

      Just keeping my great, great grandparents proud. History is a bitch to live with, you know.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)
        So kick her out.

        That is, after all, what most people choose to do.
    • (Resists temptation to explain why all laws are wrong, complex or not.)

      Unsuccessfully resists temptation, perhaps.
    • by teh kurisu (701097) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:10AM (#23775855) Homepage

      Of course, what the law says, and what a sensible person would expect the law to say are often two completely different things.

      I understand why copyright infringement is illegal. What I don't understand is why facilitating copyright infringement is illegal. It's conceivable that somebody is coming to harm when copyright infringement occurs, but nobody necessarily comes to harm when facilitation occurs. If I'm not mistaken, mod chips potentially fall under the

      I say potentially because mod chips can be used to play import games, which is a legal activity (the fact that Sony somehow managed to shut down Lik-Sang notwithstanding). I've long held the (totally unsubstantiated) belief that games console manufacturers deliberately tie together their region encoding and copy protection functions, where disabling one disables both, so that they can cry copyright infringement whenever somebody mods their console for the purpose of playing imports.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:44AM (#23776247)

        I understand why copyright infringement is illegal. What I don't understand is why facilitating copyright infringement is illegal.
        Well, I assume it's the obvious:

        (1) We want to prevent copyright infringement (see why copyright infringement is illegal).
        (2) Banning possession of mod chips will help achieve (1) as pirated games cannot be played.
        (3) Banning sale of mod chips is easier than (2) as it is easier to prosecute ten distributors than a thousand consumers.
        (4) Politicians decide, rightly or wrongly, "allowing import games and backup copies" is wanted only by a small fraction of people.
        (5) Politicians judge that our collective desire from (1) to prevent copyright infringement, scaled by the effectiveness of (2) and (3), is greater than our desire from (4) for the non-piracy benefits of mod chips.

        There are other examples of laws like this; driving fast doesn't harm people, vehicle/vehicle and vehicle/pedestrian collisions harm people. But we regulate vehicle speed to achieve the goal of regulating vehicle/vehicle and vehicle/pedestrian collisions because vehicle speed is easier to regulate.
        • by ady1 (873490)
          I was under the impression that issuing tickets is a profitable business for govt so even if someone comes up with a way to increase the overall speed limits (or abandon them altogether) while still keeping the driving safe, govt wouldn't budge.

          Silly me
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oliverthered (187439)
      More over,
      DRM isn't copy protection, any one (with the tech) can copy/clone the disk physically and it will work just fine. It's playback protection.
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:35AM (#23775949)
        It's playback prevention.

        Nobody protects my playback. Actually, the opposite takes place.
        • by dave420 (699308)
          Actually, that's not exactly true. I'm not saying I agree with it, but they are making sure the disc you buy is an actual real disc, and not some knock-off that might have undesired consequences for your system and their support lines. So by having copy protection, they are (or claim to be) protecting the buyers of their games, and their copies of said games, specifically.
          • Well, Sony already proved that I don't have to go to shady deals to buy discs that have undesired consequences for my system.
    • by SkunkPussy (85271) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:24AM (#23775903) Journal
      "Where the law is too complex for the average person to understand, then there is something wrong with it."
      great point. I have been saying for some time, that as there are so many laws that its impossible for any individual to be aware of all legislation that pertains to them, how can it be possible for a well-meaning individual to obey said laws? Therefore how can this legislation be valid?
      • by EveLibertine (847955) on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:10AM (#23776087)
        Ignorantia legis non excusat
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tepples (727027)

          Ignorantia legis non excusat
          Could you translate all statutes that apply in your jurisdiction into similar Latin by this time next year?
        • Fine,
          Please tell me where I can find a record of all the laws I need to follow. As far as I can tell, there is no actual law of the land - there's any number of laws unintelligibly recorded in a thousand conflicting laws hodgepode enacted over the course of centuries. And then there's just the statutes of civil law which even students of law cannot be aware of all of.
          If it's not possible for me be able to remove my ignorance of the law, then ignorance of the law is a valid excuse.

          Strangely of all the textbo
        • by vertinox (846076)
          Ignorantia legis non excusat

          True, but chances are your jury won't know how to speak Latin or know about the law either.
      • by WK2 (1072560)
        Wow, SkunkPusssy, that's exactly what I say. It's impossible for even a lawyer to know all of the laws. Even lawyers frequently have to look stuff up. "Ignorance is no excuse" my ass. Like most catchy sayings, it is complete bunk. How about, "If the law doesn't respect me, I don't respect the law." Making arbitrary rules for other people to follow, and punishing them for not following them, even when they never agreed to it or even knew about it in the first place, is wrong. This whole society thing is stil
    • by einzi (1306993)
      I believe that this technology by it self is not breaking copyright since it allows me to use backup copies, that is legal to do in Iceland and is even noted in copyright laws. Don't know how it is in the UK.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 13, 2008 @07:07AM (#23776079) Homepage

      Of course, what the law says, and what a sensible person would expect the law to say are often two completely different things. Where the law is too complex for the average person to understand, then there is something wrong with it.

      I think you're mixing two different things here:
      1. The person has never read the law, only guessing on what he expects.
      2. The person has read the law, but still don't get what it's saying.

      The first one usually happens because there's a lot more cases to cover than what can be briefly summarized. For example you'd naturally assume copyright has to do with copying, yet for example public display doesn't involve copying at all yet it's one of the exclusive rights. I think it's rather presumptious to think that a person should be able to think up everything by themselves. Or if you want an example that something is legal instead of what's expected many people think the exclusive right to copy is absolute and final, not thinking up any "fair use" unless it's pointed out to them.

      Neither of these are really a big problem with the law, it's rather that most people don't have time to be familiar with the entire body of law. Nor do you really have to be, I need to know stealing is illegal but not every detail about what's petty theft, armed theft, grand theft, robbery, armed robbery and so on. Nor to I need to know things like building codes unless I intend to build a building. The actual level of detail required to function like a normal citizen isn't that high.

      The other issue can be a big problem, but usually it happens because the law is trying to be very, very precise which makes it full of definitions, enumerations and whatnot that reference each other and are made up of very awkward English. And that's just when they don't use terms with a specific legal meaning, which happens in all professional fields. Often it ends up being close to what the public expects, but it's hard to understand. It leads to gems like this (from the defintion of "Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works"):

      "Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article."

      Do you understand what it's trying to say? It's trying to deal with for example an engraved sword, and isn't unreasonable. I can understand people completely mind blanking when they hit a sentence like that though. Obtuse laws are actually a greater danger IMO than over-detailed laws. If a law leaves great room for interpretation, it will almost certainly be bent to be used in the most unreasonable ways. There's been quite a few examples of that pointed out there where "terrorism" laws are being used to deal with people that in no way are, or could even reasonably suspected to be terrorists.

      If the law was to be easy tor the average person to understand, I don't think it could deal with the corner cases. In a court case, people don't sit together and reasonably discuss what a natural interpretation of the law is, it's one party bent on conviction and one party bent on not getting convicted. It won't be an academic discussion, it'll be SCOs legal theories and they need to be refuted point by point using precise definitions, which are inherently hard to understand.

      I think the biggest issue is the distance between recognizing that a law is bad and being able to do something about it. Not many are going to flip-flop between democrats and republicans over single laws? In europe it's generally a litle better since you have more parties so with public pressure people move to "adjacent" parties, but then there's other concerns. For example, there have

  • MrModChips (Score:5, Informative)

    by niceone (992278) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:10AM (#23775849) Journal
    I couldn't find anything on a news site I trust yet, but from the defendants front page [mrmodchips.co.uk] it looks like they are happy! Not that I don't trust slashdot or anything, but a little confirmation is nice...
    • by Alsee (515537)
      It's great to see that victory logo on MrModchip's front page [mrmodchips.co.uk], but what the heck is that timer countdown about? If I have my time zones right, it runs out at midnight their local time, a week from now.

      -
  • Wider relevance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:13AM (#23775869)

    Does this establish that the whole idea of it being a crime to provide a service that allows others to circumvent copyright is going to fall apart?

    i.e. will they still be shutting down sites like tv-links.co.uk which was only linking to copyright infringing material, not providing it?

    • by julesh (229690)
      Does this establish that the whole idea of it being a crime to provide a service that allows others to circumvent copyright is going to fall apart?

      I doubt it. Unfortunately the case doesn't seem to have made it to BAILII [bailii.org], but I suspect the ruling was on the grounds that there are commercially relevant and legal purposes for a modchip (e.g. personal backups, grey imports, custom software) and therefore the relevant legislation does not apply in this case.
  • So modifying hardware that you own is legal.

    It is probably still illegal to modify it to do something illegal. I suspect if I modify my car to fire rockets that even though I may never do it I would probably fall foul of the police.

    I guess dual purpose (back-ups/pirate copies) gets around this though?
    • Funny enough, if the launch facility for rockets alone does not pose a significant threat to traffic or make your car a safety risk (e.g. in an accident), I could see it as perfectly legal. It's legal (in most states) to have a gun mount on the back of your pickup. At least as long as there is no .50 mounted on top of it.

      The interesting part is that there is no other place other than the internet where making a crime possible carries such insane punishments. We do a lot of things every day that could be con
    • by FinchWorld (845331) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:43AM (#23775977) Homepage
      Generally the modchip itself is not illegal (Well, me being in UK), but often to play copied games they use a modified version of the original bios/software/whatever which is the illegal part. As far as xbox modchips go I saw a general trend for them to be sold with the cromwell bios, which contained no proprietary code, and allowed various linux distributions to be used, but would not allow for the running of copied games (or even genuine if memory serves correctly). They also came with a simple way to reflash the chip and often instructions on how to obtain these other bioses from various sources.
    • You wouldn't be modifying your car, you would be adding something that is possibly illegal. It would be the possession of the rocket launcher that is the problem, not the bolting of it to the car.

      Copyright is different. A photocopier, a camera, a computer and in fact a brain,hand and piece of paper are all that are needed to violate copyright. These are all long established to be legal pieces of equipment. The same applies to contract law. If it was illegal to possess a piece of equipment that facilitated a

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      I suspect if I modify my car to fire rockets that even though I may never do it I would probably fall foul of the police.
      Depends. My (completely legal) SKS has a grenade launcher system though I'm 99% sure it's illegal to fire a grenade from it :).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, if you look at it, the only thing modding does is well, modifying hardware you personally own which noone can say is wrong in any way. It is as if it was illegal to change the fuel-injection system in your car so it would be able to run on a different fuel (well maybe slightly illegal fuel). Now this case is not related to software copyright in any way and to sentence this man for copyright infraction (is it the right word?) is laughable.

    And i don't say this to upset anyone, it's my personal opinion.
  • ... or WILL, when it comes to all this "copyright stuff".

    The EU is just preparing more and more ridiculous legislation. Prepare for impact :(
  • by GNUPublicLicense (1242094) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:52AM (#23776009)
    It's overboard to dissalow GNU/Linux to fully use the hardware you bought by default. Mod chips are here to insure proper balance. Actually, I think explicit locking of hardware with an OS is illegal in many countries. Maybe mod chips are part of their business model: they say mod chips are bad, but behind the scene if you look carefully, they actually sell them! Because at the end, that makes people spending more money on their hardware...
  • Don't abuse labels (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ccguy (1116865) on Friday June 13, 2008 @09:19AM (#23777063) Homepage
    Who's the idiot that labels everything 'suddenoutbreakofcommonsense'?

    Maybe it was funny a year ago (to him at least), but come on...stop abusing labels, they aren't that useful to begin with, don't make it even worse!
  • when you buy something, you own it and can modify it or pay to have it modified. Unlike in the USA where if you buy something the company that made it owns it and takes away your freedom to modify it or have it modified.
  • This may be good for Psystar Corporation with there open mac as they are use a software like mod to make osx work on there systems.
  • The Atari ST line died a nice death due to the lack of software, which in turn was due to the lack of copy protection;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_ST#Software_2 [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.mevagissey.net/atariads.htm [mevagissey.net]

    It is in the best interests of game consoles to protect their copy protection so that their content creators will continue to support the console. If they get scared off by a large mod chip community, they might quit making products for that console.

    So Microsoft, Sony, et al will fight this. As they shou
    • Some of the nastiest copy protection was for software on the Atari ST - much worse than the 680xx machine that won the battle, the Mac.

      Great machine, excellent price, but except for music and maybe games, you are right that there was never enough software for it. But it had NOTHING to do with copy protection or the lack of it - just that there wasn't room for 3 680xx machines and the hardware/software geeks preferred Amigas and Macs...

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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