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ESA Initiates Police Raid Against Console Modder 139

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 XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:39PM (#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.
  • Re:Okay... (Score:3, Informative)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:40PM (#19651235)

    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 Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @12:47PM (#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.)
  • Re:Okay... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @04:20PM (#19654615) Homepage
    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 access to a work protected under this title; or

    * (C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    I always thought mod-chips were legal based on this. As long as the "primary purpose" was to use homebrew software. Or, in the case of the action replay or game-shark (which is apparently legal but can be used to circumvent copy protection), to modify parts of the systems memory for cheating purposes.

    But, now that I read it again, it is quite vague. I guess it depends if the "work" being protected is the console or the disc that goes in it.

Air is water with holes in it.