Over four years ago, ICE ran an investigation into mod chip sellers in the US titled "Operation Tangled Web
". During this investigation, ICE agents raided 32 locations in 16 states. Very little information was released at the time regarding who was targeted and if any charges were brought up. Since then, almost no information has been released about the operation. Thankfully, an eagle eyed John Doe found a press release from April 10 that details the names of ten individuals officially indicted on charges of violating the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause
. The charges are as follows:
The indictments generally charge that the defendants knowingly manufactured, imported, offered to the public, or otherwise trafficked in technology, products, services, devices, components or parts thereof, which were primarily designed to circumvent technological measures designed to effectively control access to a work copyrighted under Title 17 of the United States Code, for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.
Other than this information and the list of names, there is no other publicly available information on any of the ten cases. What really makes this announcement interesting is its proximity to the US Copyright Office considering proposals that would provide a jailbreaking exemption
for game consoles. If that proposal is accepted by the Copyright Office, then the actions performed by these ten individuals would be legal for others to perform for the next three years. However, it is unclear how such an exception would effect the charges brought against these individuals. It is really sad to see ten people's lives being dragged through criminal courts for performing an action that should be perfectly legal.