Mr. Modchip Ruling Released

In an unexpected development, [Neil Stanley Higgs], aka Mr. Modchips, was cleared of his previous convictions in British courts for selling modchips for the Xbox 360 as well as modded consoles.

Notably, the prosecution did not argue that he infringed copyrights, but merely facilitated copyright infringement by selling modchips that circumvent the Xbox’s ETM. Since the copyright infringement argument was not made, existing law continues to hold sellers of pirated games and owners of modded consoles responsible for infringing the copyrights of game developers, as they are the ones who illegally copy the software. Pirated game sellers’ violation of the law is plain to see, but owners are still held responsible the moment they place the pirated disc into the loading tray and boot it up. The infringement in these cases occurs exactly when any part of the pirated game is loaded onto the console’s RAM, as this is considered another illegal copy.

[Higgs]’s charges hinged on whether the Xbox’s piracy prevention methods were intended to completely prevent pirated games from being played or merely act as a hindrance. The court felt it was the latter, and so they reversed the charges.

[via Xbox-Scene via Team Xecuter]
[photo: Raybdbomb]

6 thoughts on “Mr. Modchip Ruling Released

  1. The right decision for the wrong reasons. The court ruled that the protection in the console was merely a hindrance–which doesn’t make much sense–and furthermore pretty much threatened the defendant: “[Mr Higgs] may also be fortunate that, at least this far, he has not been sued in the civil courts. There…technical slip-ups in evidence can generally be readily cured before final judgment and the remedies of damages…are readily obtainable. Breach of an injunction, if serious, can of course itself lead to imprisonment.”

    It sounds like they’re saying they’d have happily thrown him in PMITA prison–if only there hadn’t been a small technicality.

  2. finally, the court system sees sense. The TPMs in consoles also block homebrew, effectively blocking users from using the consoles for any purpose other than playing games.

    I’d like to see someone release useful applications for the XBOX so that those who have upgraded to the 360 can at least use it rather than scrapping the console- the environmental benefits alone are obvious. (WEEE, yadayada)

    It would seem obvious to anyone that reuse of old hardware for another purpose makes more sense than scrapping it- perhaps a variant of the OLPC project that allows you to run Linux on an XBOX with a special cable, Wi-Fi add-on and a cheap surplus monitor. Ideal for the Third World, and could save many lives in Africa and elsewhere by furthering education.

  3. This page causes my Firefox browser to use 100% of CPU time!

    I regularly have open 40-60 tabs, but today CPU went to 100% so I systematically closed each tab until the problem was resolved. Repeated loads of this page caused the same problem.

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