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Mod Chippers Ordered to Pay $9 Million in Fines 94

GameDaily is reporting that that ESA is announcing a major victory against game software piracy in California. A judge has handed down over $9 Million in fines to Divineo Inc., some employees, and international subsidiaries. From the article: "The defendants had apparently violated the DMCA by trafficking mod chips and the HDLoader software application that enables users to copy whole video games to a console's hard drive ... Mod chips then can be used to allow a console to play illegally obtained/pirated games. Both the mod chips and HDLoader application therefore circumvent the copyright protection technology built into video game consoles and video game software and are in direct violation of the DMCA."
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Mod Chippers Ordered to Pay $9 Million in Fines

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  • Re:Reasonable doubt? (Score:3, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @05:20PM (#16341985)
    So the defendants declare bankruptcy and the plaintiffs get what then?

    If the company is liquidated they 1) get the company out out of business and 2) some part of the companies' assets. If the company stays in business they get paid off at some percentage depending on the restructuring.

    To be honest 9 mil isn't that much to a large company. The main thing is getting these mods off the market.

  • by gtmaneki ( 992991 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @05:24PM (#16342035) Journal
    If they'd get rid of region codes on games, a lot of incentive to modify consoles would go away. I modded my PlayStation so I could play some fun games that never made it here, like Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Macross VFX 2, and Gunnm: Martian Memory.

    Nintendo has it right. The GBA and DS are region-free.
  • I'm surprised... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <> on Friday October 06, 2006 @05:29PM (#16342063) Journal
    I'm surprised that no one picked up the fact that it is Japanese company suing French company in US court.

    They won. SFW? How are they going to enforce this ruling in France? From the coverage of this ruling on Ars Technica I know, that the company is still offering those modchips on their web page. And they will. The only thing they can't do now is to visit US. And maybe Iraq or Afghanistan. All of the international treaties about enforcig court rulings abroad have one basic assumption written into them: no party to such treaty shall enforce a court ruling for something that's perfectly legal in the country of residence of defendant party.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Default Judgment? (Score:3, Informative)

    by calbanese ( 169547 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @05:32PM (#16342099) Homepage
    ...damages against corporate defendant Divineo, Inc., and Canadian resident Frederic Legault.
    ...damages against corporate defendants Divineo U.K. and Divineo SARL, and French resident Max Louarn.

    It sounds like the suit wasn't defended. Plus, ESA won't see a dime unless Divineo corporate assets are in the US (which I would doubt). Legault, Lourn, and Divineo UK are not subject to personal jurisdiction in the US, and any judgment against them most likely won't be enforceble in their home countries. I would guess Legault and Lourn didn't appear in the US to defend the suit. If the above is true, this case has absolutely no precedential value, despite what the ESA claims. Plus its a N.D.Ca decision, so even if it was a fully litigated case, this "precedent" is only be binding in that judicial district.
  • Re:informative? (Score:2, Informative)

    by jeaton ( 44965 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @05:44PM (#16342281)
    Do you actually KNOW anyone who has a modded xbox who DOESN'T use it for pirated games?

    Yes. Me.

    I installed a modchip in my XBox specifically so that I could run XBMC. I have used it precisely once to play an XBox game which I ripped from a game I purchased to see how it performed. Since then, I have used it exclusively to stream music to my stereo, as the UI is better than any of the other devices I had tried.

    I only decided to hack my XBox after I realized I hadn't played games on it in several months. All of my gaming now is on my DS.
  • Re:informative? (Score:3, Informative)

    by startled ( 144833 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @06:09PM (#16342591)
    Seconded: I have a modded XBox that has never had a pirated game copied to or played on it. It's a great media box.
  • Re:I have a dream... (Score:3, Informative)

    by grazzy ( 56382 ) <grazzy@quake.sw e . n et> on Friday October 06, 2006 @06:46PM (#16343007) Homepage Journal
    On top of my head: skinhacks, wallhacks, zoomhack.
  • Re:informative? (Score:2, Informative)

    by gamlidek ( 459505 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @07:04PM (#16343187)
    More like speculative. Do you actually KNOW anyone who has a modded xbox who DOESN'T use it for pirated games? Regardless of whether modding HAS to be used for pirating, and regardless of whether pirating is "bad" or whatever, modded xbox systems are for playing pirated software. That's it. If you're going to pick a hole in this argument, this is the wrong one to choose.

    Yes, I know someone. *I* have a modded xbox that I use to play the games that I have purchased so they have a faster load time, you insensitive clod. I also don't like getting up to change the game out, not having to worry about scratching the media, and other benefits of not relying on the physical disc to play my game. In addition, I have all of my CD music ripped to MP3 on the thing and use it as a media center -- CD music that I bought. Your comment is extremely thought provoking, nontheless. Not.

  • Re:Reasonable doubt? (Score:4, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:21PM (#16344181)
    Reasonable doubt?

    The Geek never quite seems to grasp the basic distinctions between civil and criminal law.

    Civil actions are all about the balance of probabilites, what is more likely than not. There is no burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Damages under the DMCA are assessed according to a statutory formula:

    "At any time before final judgment is entered, a complaining party may elect to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation of [17 U.S.C. 1201] in the sum of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per act of circumvention, device, product, component, offer, or performance of service, as the court considers just." Hefty award to Sony in action against seller of PlayStation 2 "mod chips" []

    "The amount of damages was calculated by awarding $800 per mod chip sold before June 12, 2004, and the full amount of $2,500 per mod chip sold after June 12, 2004. On that date, Filipiak had signed a stipulated injunction in which he agreed to discontinue sales of the chips and related software. The court concluded that the sales made after Filipiak signed the agreement constituted a willful violation of the DMCA, thus justifying a higher amount of statutory damages."

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley