5 months in prison, $28500 fine for selling X-Box mod chips

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MickeS, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content...e=pub&aid=1502

    "so far, the attempts of the US Department of Justice to extend the reach of the DMCA beyond its borders have - thankfully - been a failure"

    Going to jail for selling hardware to people who want to modify THEIR OWN equipment? Makes me want to throw up. The next time someone says this is "the land of the free", I think I'm going to get into a seriuosly heated debate...

    /Mike
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Well, if someone would just bother to come up with non-bootleg playing modchips, it wouldn't be an issue, like they did for PSX
     
  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Next thing you know, people will be sent to jail for correcting the gray scale on their TVs and projectors. Imagine ISF calibrators being sent to prison because of the DMCA...
     
  4. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  5. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    The modchips he was selling were pre-blown with illegally modified BIOS code.

    The modchips themselves wern't, and aren't, illegal. The modified XBOX bios that must be programmed into said modchips, however, is illegal.
     
  6. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I agree, a standard DVD player is already capable of playing bootlegged DVDs from china or where ever without any mods. The simple act of owning or selling something that is capable of being used for illegal activites should NOT be punishable.
     
  7. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    It really seems like the modification itself is illegal, even if it used original code, not the BIOS hack.
     
  8. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  9. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    It sounds like patent royalties, fair and square. Someone invented something and patented it for use. If they didn't want to pay the royalties, they could develop their own decryption code and try to get the industry to standardize on it.

    I think I'm fairly confident in saying that the majority of the mod chip users utilize them for illegal copies. Not to say all. There is clearly a thriving interest in playing overseas titles as well as Linux applications. But I can't see anyone saying that the majority of the mod chip usage is for benign reasons.

    That said, you either prosecute the suppliers or the users. In this case, they aren't targeting the people making copies of the games but instead those who are making the use of those copied games possible (for people without the knowledge to modify the XBox itself).

    Now, if they busted people for making a mod chip that only allowed the use of Linux on the box, then it would be something to be up in arms about. But I really can't see how this is the case.
     
  10. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    Why would someone put Linux on an xbox in the first place? Thats what computers are for.
     
  11. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    It's called "Intellectual Property Rights".
     
  13. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Like I said above, it seems, based on what I've read, that even the act of creating all new code and implementing it in a machine I own would be a crime, if that code could be used for playing pirated games. I don't see what Intellectual Property I'm violating by implementing that code, if I don't play pirated games (these mods can usually, as has been pointed out, be used for a whole lot of other things too).

    /Mike
     
  14. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Actually, Mike, it has little to do with the pirated game bit, and everything to do with circumventing a copy control mechanism. In order to boot a machine such as the XBOX, there is specific code on a chip in the system. You have to, essentially, hack that code and modify it. So not only are you circumventing their "security" (DMCA violation), you're also copying parts of their boot loader code (copyright violation). All this even without touching a pirated game. [​IMG]

     
  15. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    N/M
     
  16. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Its the DMCA that is the major problem here. It makes it illegal for people to do things with the hardware they own. Digital Convergence tried to use the DMCA to stop people from using the CueCat for their own purposes. Its ridiculous what people can do with this.

    DeCSS is primarily meant to play DVDs. If you own the DVD, and you own the DVD-ROM drive, why can't you use them together? You don't even need DeCSS to copy DVDs, unless you are trying to compress the movie more.

    Max, you bring up an interesting point. What if Mits decides to claim that their red push is to give their TV a signature image and they don't want us messing with it? You already have to reverse engineer their software to change some of these settings, how is that not circumvention? If they wanted you to change it, they would have made it accessible.
     
  17. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    An analogy comes to mind:

    You can buy a new (stock) Xbox and play on XBL. If you mod that Xbox, MS will (hopefully) detect it and prevent you from using the XBL service, as decreed in their TOS.

    You can buy a new (stock) car and drive it on the public roads. If you mod that car (put some ridiculously large engine in it, or exchange the rubber tires for ones made of wood), the police will (hopefully) see that your car is not safe for the other drivers and will prevent you from using the public roads, as decreed in laws pertaining to public streets.

    You can do whatever the hell you want to your new car, as long as you do it on your own terms and don't endanger the safe driving conditions of the controlled streets (although safe is arguable here). Likewise, you should be able to do whatever the hell you want to your new Xbox, as long as you don't expect to play online with other XBL users who follow the TOS.
     
  18. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    the true analogy of this utterly ridiculous fine and jail sentence is that if you really think about it, a Linux based computer could be ruled to be in violation of the DMCA and anyone using one could be charged since most Linux machine will operate MS software without windows

    DeCSS was needed to play DVD's on Linux machines early on that is why it was written, because none of the mainstream software companies's or the hardware makers would provide "legal" software so Linux users could play their DVD's on their Linux machines
     
  19. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Daren, your analogy only holds if using a modded Xbox on XBL is somehow dangerous to the other users. A heavily modded car may not meet safety or emissions requirements. If a modded Xbox could allow one to cheat, or perhaps cause problems for the servers, then it would be a good analogy.
     
  20. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I agree with Keith, your analogy doesnt hold. What makes an X-box "heavily modified" What if your car was just lowered and had larger rims. It wouldnt be breaking any laws, and it wouldnt be dangerous at all. So that would be the best analogy, and that analogy would support the right to modify your X-Box.
     

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