If Mod Chip Firms Get Fined, Should Pep Boys Start Calling Their Lawyers?

from the analogies dept

Imagine if you bought a car, and you wanted to mess around with it and turn it into a hotrod. While that may not be for everyone, it’s a pretty common practice. Car owners are allowed to modify their cars, as long as it remains road safe. However, when it comes to video game consoles, the same sort of thing gets you in an awful lot of trouble. This isn’t a new issue. Lawsuits against video game mod chip companies have gone on for years. While Italy has realized that mod chipping should be perfectly legal, many other countries still have a problem with it. The issue, is that while there are plenty of legitimate uses for mod chips, they can also be used to run unauthorized (“pirated”) software, and that can violate the ever-infamous anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. Recently, the feds started cracking down on mod chippers, and the news came out that a court has fined one firm over $9 million for selling mod chips and software that could be used to copy a game. Note, of course, that they were just selling the tool. They weren’t the ones actually violating copyright. So why should it be illegal for someone to tinker with their gaming console, even if the tinkering could allow games to be copied? If they actually are copying games, that’s one issue to deal with. But, simply selling a modified version doesn’t seem like it should be illegal. Just imagine the uproar if the same rules applied to automobiles? Of course, with cars becoming increasingly computerized, it’s probably only a matter of time until someone is sued for either modifying their car or selling the tools to do so.


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Comments on “If Mod Chip Firms Get Fined, Should Pep Boys Start Calling Their Lawyers?”

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48 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

same as those useless ipod

they try and just lock you in so you are forced to spend money their way, ignoring a growing industry at large of ecternal companies that cna profit form the lock ups created on the devices, capitalism at its best. make money, make more money off of people trying to make money off of your made money, sue, make more money. great. but i still love capitalism, it brought me my local gangbangers, pimps and walgreens.

Coyote says:

bad analogy.

While I do think modchips should be legal, modchipping a console is not the same as chipping a car.

When you chip a car, you’re pretty much doing the same thing as when you overclock your PC: You reprogram it to operate outside the manufacturer’s specifications. There’s nothing about this activity that would imply an unlawful purpose… aside from perhaps a little speeding 😉

When you chip a console, you do it explicitly to disable the copy-protection. While YOU may not be doing it to play pirated games, the vast majority of people are. In fact, I don’t know of any local modchippers who won’t also try to sell you an HD preloaded with dozens of games. That kind of crap makes it possible for the industry to justify the DMCA!

Even without the DMCA, a product that defeats copy-protection and is mainly used for illicit purposes is a sitting duck for civil action. With the DMCA, it’s explcitly illegal. The DMCA will never affect non-infringing modifications.

bdford says:

Re: bad analogy.

The primary reason that someone chips their car is to make it go faster (break governor restrictions, etc). I don’t know of many people who went through the hassle of reprogramming their car so they could get better gas mileage.

The same holds true for mod chips on consoles… most people do it to copy games. However, there are some perfectly legal reason to mod a system. I modded my xbox because I wanted the media center functionality that is available.

So, while I don’t disagree that most people mod their systems to copy games, I do not agree with your statement.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Tools vs intent

In the examples above, why isn’t the industry going after those who sell pirated games rather than those who make the mod chips?

The problem here is that there is an assumption that all modchips are designed specifically for piracy. Modchips could be – and I believe are – used to store the entire game on a Hard Disk instead of having to root around for the disk.

I don’t have a console, but I do have dozens of no-CD patches for games. In every case I own the game. Would this be a felony under the DMCA? I suspect that it might be.

I watch DVDs – that I own – on my Palm handheld. If the DVD has encryption which I have to break in order to watch my DVD on my handheld, would this be a felony? I believe that it is.

“The DMCA will never affect non-infringing modifications.”

Where does it say that? What are “non-infringing modifications”? How are they defined?

The sooner the existing copyright laws are thrown out and replaced with legislation built around the concept of commercial exploitation – rather than copying – the sooner this mess will be sorted into something that makes sense for non-lawyers.

rahrens says:

bad analogy

You can’t copy software with the modifications you put on your car. That’s the difference.

What the article didn’t mention is what charge the company that was fined 9 million bucks was convicted of. They couldn’t just fine them; they had to be charged and convicted of a real crime, not some made up BS.

Give us the whole story next time.

Daryl Licked says:

Re: bad analogy

ya both wrong. most car computers today DO run on software. some are even windows based, and i guarantee the people writing this stuff want their money for it. the only difference is, the software currently on the car isnt being copied, its being rejected for the new version. many modified computer applications on cars require you to log in the cars VIN into the chip modder, and you must uninstall it in order to put it in another car. the new software is copy protected that way. It wont be long until laws are passed against modifying the current software in a car computer, but that will be because the information stored in the computer will be easily readable by anyone with a scan tool, and tell exactly where you drove, how fast, when, and what phone calls you made in the process. and thats just what they can do this year.

Whatever says:

Yeah, right!

Oh no! The DMCA will NEVER affect non-infringing modifications! …and the president will NEVER spy innocent civilians without just cause and a warrant! …and we’d NEVER invade a country unless they really DID have WMD’s!

GROW UP! The gov’t does whatever it wants, and since Big Business gives LOTS of money to keep those already in the gov’t IN gov’t, they get to do whatever they want, too! “System of checks and balances,” my @**! When they’re all bought and paid for, there’s no such thing.

This is and has always been about the allmighty dollar. There ARE legitimate uses for a mod chip, and it IS necessary to disable the protection. The DMCA wants to shut down the 9yr old who develops his own games because his company will eventually put them out of business, and they know it. They’re protecting their bottom line just like they always do. It’s much easier to get the gov’t to do the dirty work by suing a rival company into oblivion than it is to acutally make a better product and allow competition and capitalism to do its job by rewarding hard work.

Wyndle says:

Re: Yeah, right!

Oh no! The DMCA will NEVER affect non-infringing modifications! …and the president will NEVER spy innocent civilians without just cause and a warrant! …and we’d NEVER invade a country unless they really DID have WMD’s!

GROW UP! The gov’t does whatever it wants, and since Big Business gives LOTS of money to keep those already in the gov’t IN gov’t, they get to do whatever they want, too! “System of checks and balances,” my @**! When they’re all bought and paid for, there’s no such thing.

This is and has always been about the allmighty dollar. There ARE legitimate uses for a mod chip, and it IS necessary to disable the protection. The DMCA wants to shut down the 9yr old who develops his own games because his company will eventually put them out of business, and they know it. They’re protecting their bottom line just like they always do. It’s much easier to get the gov’t to do the dirty work by suing a rival company into oblivion than it is to acutally make a better product and allow competition and capitalism to do its job by rewarding hard work.

All high and mighty, aren’t we?

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first success for the Game Industry and I couldn’t help but notice that the chip firm in question was specifically providing tools for breaking copyright. IANAL, but that looks like a crime to me with my limited understanding of intent.

Also, to set you straight on a few political issues… The president had extremely just cause for spying on people inside the coutry talking to known terrorists outside the country. Given the circumstances, I fully appreciate that the president circumvented a process that caused us to miss the important calls. Besides, any Joe Criminal with any electrical equipment knowledge can spy on your cell phone calls and I’m pretty sure that they don’t have permission or just cause.

We invaded a country that it was publicly and well known to have WMDs, since we’re the ones who sold to them. We found a lot of containers that were verified to have once contained WMDs. While we did not find the production labs or newer materials, that does not mean that they weren’t shipped across a border to avoid detection.

Andy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Yeah, right!

Speaking of high and mighty… You state:

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first success for the Game Industry and I couldn’t help but notice that the chip firm in question was specifically providing tools for breaking copyright. IANAL, but that looks like a crime to me with my limited understanding of intent.

Thank god you aren’t a lawyer… We’d all be in trouble then. But those tools that they were providing? Sure, they can be used for ill. From TFA:

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 hard drive’s console. Once the entire video game file is on the console’s hard drive it probably isn’t too difficult for a hacker to transfer it to his PC and then illegally distribute it on the web. 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.

Just because the can be used the way described doesn’t mean that they are. I chipped my box and use the HDLoader tool as well… ANd I put a huge HD in as well. All my games load from HD. I bought them all too. Why? The read from HD is much faster (about 8x faster!) than read from disc.

Now, are people using them improperly? Sure. But people are using the Internet improperly too. Maybe I should sue Verizon. Oh, wait, they got protection somehow for people using their tubes illegally.

And while you spout the standard right-wing garbage, the rest of us can just go on knowing that what the president was wrong, because the spying was far more widespread than just people talking to known terrorists. As far as the WMDs? The containers found were over 8 years old. Quit hanging on to a failing administration. One day, you’ll look back on your post and laugh, saying “Damn, was I dumb back then.”

Ian says:

Links are their for a reason

Before you say give us the whole story, use the links provided. The whole story is there you just have to click and follow.

“In what has been labeled a “major victory” for the entertainment software industry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that a federal court in California has ordered a group of defendants to pay over $9 million in damages for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”

Trouble Maker says:

two cents worth

I don’t want to go on a rant…Compare it to the Law Makers holding Weapons Manufactures responsible for the products they make because they could be used in a crime or Alcohol makers responsible for the actions of the people that misuse and/or abuse their products.

Wait…every product can be modded so that it does something the manufacture did not intend it to do…A ball point pen can be used to stab someone, a periodical (magazine) could be used as a weapon and someone could be bludgeoned to death with it all for the theft of a pair of brand name athletic shoes.

Look out weedwacker, clothing…NO! I know he isn’t wearing that tie with that shirt, that is a violation of the shirt makers intent….sue, sue, sue America. What ever happened to punish the guilty leave the rest of us alone?

Ask yourself at what level do you want to be regulated, and support that with all your might.

Caution, the thought police could find you guilty because you are thinking outside the accepted parameters.

Evil Bastard says:

Same BS- go after the regular people, leave the cr

I modded my car. I still can’t copy it though.

I think the Mod chips should be legal. Same issue as gun control. Some assholes break the law, the law goes after everyone who is easy to go after, all the women and children are safe from illegal video games and uncle Bob who likes to shoot skeet at the range. Criminals continue doing whatever they want.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t understand why are we not allowed to modify the items we buy? If I buy a mod chip for my X-Box it is my business, no one else’s. To use a very old argument this is like banning the VCR because I can use it to record copywrited shows and movies. Go after the ones committing the crimes not the ones trying to get the best value for their money, or the ones that allow them to do so.

calel says:

Infringing on our rights

Sueing Mod-chip manufacturers is bullshit. They simply enable the functionality that should be available to us by law. We do have the right to make copies of our legally purchased games. And not all mod-chips are made for piracy, there are typically region locks on consoles that people want to override in order to play legally purchased import games.

BoneYard (profile) says:

Re: Stop thinking and STFU.

Yeah?!? How about you go get bent?!? It seems you may have been joking, but you know what?, Most Americans are being told this in an around about way every day when laws are passed which are perported to be in our best interest. Not too unlike most undergrounders, I will tell the government when I think something needs a law, as would most Americans, given the opportunity, however, we are not being given the opportunity, we are being force fed what lawmakers think is best for us. All I can say, is V is for Vendetta, BITCH!!!!

Tige995 says:

Speeding is illegal AND life threating

When you sup up a car to go 100+ mph arent you “modding” it to do somthing that is more illegal AND life threating? They sell parts for cars so you can drag race drift race etc. You dont need to show a licence or anything. So again we are more worried about someone burning Halo then speeding and hitting a van full of kids.

Anonymous Coward says:

the issue with gun makers and ciggeratte makers is their marketing. it’s not the fact that they made the product. it’s the fact that they enticed sales of the product in illegal ways, targeting kids, selling easyly modded guns, rewarding “high sellers” things of that nature. sure they make dangerous products, but do they really try to make them safe? no. car makers do, shoe makers do, pen makers do…

that’s that.

now with mod chips…
i believe they should be legal. however, if the company specifically states opening up the unit and making modifications is illegal, then, well you broke their agreement. making the chip is aiding and abeting (can’t spell)
these mod chips are used for both “fair use” and illegal practices. just like everything else. turbo chargers/nos are added to street cars to make them faster (break speed limits) car mods can be used to enhance the performance to get better gas mileage, run cleaner, and the like.

with a mod chip,i can play copied games, imported games, or backups of my own games. coppied games are illegal, and backups are protected under fair use still? right? now imports i’m iffy on. i’m sure, that they are illegal because they aren’t licensed for the particular country. however, must we restrict fair use on eveything to protect the copyrights of a small portion of people?

Angry says:

Courts have too much power

What is up with the court system lately? A single judge has way too much power. It is too easy to pursuade (buy) one or a few people. They are suppose to uphold the law, but too many times they are at a point in which they feel they must “interpret” the law. If there is no law for a particular offense then it should go to the people for a vote to make it a law. Its just ridiculous that a company should get sued for something someone might do with their new purchase.

Nipponese says:

Daryl & #8, I think you are getting confused. The Car software that is discussed here is about the software in the ECU, which regulates the timing, fuel regulation, oxygen sensing and whatnot and it is perfectly legal to have it modded to your liking. If you for example, get an aftermarket turbo kit for your car, you definitely need to get a remapped ECU for it to function properly.

I think this analogy makes perfect sense. Modding your car to disable the top speed cut-off is legal but that doesn’t make you a criminal unless you are actually going above the posted speed limit. I chipped my PS2 so I can play a copy of the original (which I purchased) so I can keep it in a safe location (toddlers have ways to get to ANYTHING).

Superhero04 says:

Get over it!

The companies have every right to make the chips, just as consumers have the right to alter anything they buy. I’m not saying illegally copying games, movies, etc is right. I am just saying this isn’t where the gov’t has the right to step in. This is part of having a free economy. You can’t blame colt that some place get shot up with an AR-15. People are ALWAYS going to find a way to make it happen! Businesses just need to up their research dept. and find ways to outsmart the pirates. It sucks for them, but it is NOT at all something the gov’t should be touching.

Jack.B.Nimble - The Loophole Jumping Lawyer says:

HA HA

Just remember guys, I tell this to my clients as well; It’s not illegal if you don’t get caught.

Just dont get caught. I have a modded XBOX. If you hit either the power, or cd tray button seperately, it just boots up the microsoft OS. But, press both buttons at the same time, and voila! you have a modded XBOX and modded OS. This option still allows me to get online with XBOX Live! undetected (which M$ says should not be possible) and play games with the joy of knowing that I have over 100 games on my XBOX for easy access makes my Pee Pee happy. Now granted, I own all of these games, but I will have a friend or two over, and they might bring over some games that allow network play, and dont you know it, we just happen to mysteriously have a copy of that game on my XBOX. When they leave, it dissappears…

Its kinda like bondage, as long as its done in the privacy of your own home, know one will know about it. Until you receive a 20 page document about the user rights to buying an XBOX that have to be read, signed, and noterized before you purchase, use, or open the box for the first time then dont worry.

O M G says:

If Carlos Mencia was here, alot of you would be De

Wow. We really have some tards in the country. Sure the common thought that 80% of all people are stupid was proved true with these posts Im seeing. I know that Jack B. Nimble guy was right though, it is only illegal if you get caught. This is why such items as cable blackboxes are legal to sell, cause if you get caught, its your ass. Besides, if you want to make an xbox that is not able to be modded, you simply need to build them in a way that they can be thrown away when they break. This would allow you to warn people no to open up an xbox, and rig it to break when it does. But then, this would cause Milllions of dollars to be lost in profit due to no one wanting to buy these items. You think Microsoft has not thought about these steps? If so, you are a dee dee dee.

Just remember that to almost everything corporate, money is god, not protection of your product.

I think you will see game costs rising, while mod chip prices go up and the easy of modding a game console with become easier. Shoot, when will MS and Sony, and Nintendo just start selling their modchips? They already lose money on the consoles… why not patent several versions of ways to mod your own console, then sell them so that other modchips cannot be created or sold? this would drop the price for people who do not want to mod their console, and then those modders could get all the goodies they wanted. This gives all the big corps room for selling the programs for these modded boxes. People simply look too much at the problem, and not enough at the obvious solution. If you dont like mice in your house, dont just put out traps, clean the house and bring in some cats.

Out play the pirates, and make them want to work for you, not against you.

Mod ular Tuner says:

Principles of modding a car do apply

When you mod a vehicle, you are changing parameters outside of the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. By doing so, you can and will change the emissions of the vehicle(even if slightly), have more power to speed, possibly void your warranty, and the list could go on and on. This in itself does not create a crime unless the vehicle is driven on the road and you are caught doing so.

The same apply’s for modding the game console. You do have the ability to copy games, etc. However, you are not committing a crime unless you are doing so. I guess you could possibly be using backup versions of your games.

Shogo says:

Re: If Mod Chip Firms Get Fined, Should Pep Boys S

Modding a chip in a car is no where similar to modding a console, this is a stupid analogy. So let me get this right if I Mod my car do I get to have every type of engine that Ford makes? Say for instance if I feel like driving cross country make a simple Mod and now I have a 4CYL to save gas, or when I feel like cruising the town on Saturday night I slap in a V-8 from the Ford-GT! I am not a fan of DMCA I do feel the main and only reason people mod is to play burned CD’s. I play copied games on a PC so I am no saint but to say that they might start targeting mod makers for cars is silly you cannot get free engines by adding a mod chip. That is THE main reason they exist for consoles. Do you think those companies would exist if you could only have access to the Media center or boot Linux on them but not play burned games?

If the mod chips for consoles added performance only when they first started then it may have come out differently. But now even if a mod chip came out to boost performance only it would still be banned because of all the others that came before it which circumvented the protection.

Tin Ear says:

There is a reason...

There is a reason that I drive a 1983 air-cooled normally aspirated VW van. I can work on it. I can set the fuel adjustments with a simple screwdriver. I can adjust the timing to the point of optimum performance. I can put performance parts on it to make it run better, smoother and faster.

With an automotive computer in your engine compartment, no matter what you do, you will always be hampered by the limitations of that computer. Modding a car’s computer is completely within the rights of the owner, but it usually takes very specific tools and procedures. Screw it up and the car won’t run right. I’ll stick with my old analog engine/system.

On the other hand, modding a game console is also completely within the owner’s rights, but doing so includes the option of ‘pre-supposed suspicious behavior’. If you mod your game system, people are going to assume that you are doing it for something of questionalble legality.

Wyndle says:

Yeah, right!

Thank god you aren’t a lawyer… We’d all be in trouble then. But those tools that they were providing? Sure, they can be used for ill.

Sorry, I used the wrong term before, its not intent its inducement. I too have a modded Xbox with a big HD with all of my legal games on it to keep my kids from destroying any more games. I know that the software is capable of illegal use but the fact that my modchip was sold without any software other than a legal bios I’d have to say that the software is what lost the case for the modchip firm in TFA. Without some sort of software the modchip is next to useless. They could have bundled a bootable Xbox Linux DVD instead of the software designed to copy copyrighted material. In other words, modchips themselves are legal. Its the software that the modchips allow to run being bundled with the chips that cause the problem.

It is legal to own a radar/laser detector anywhere in the US, but many states have laws against actually using them. People may look at you funny if you have a detector hanging in you home/room but there is nothing illegal happening there. The instant you apply power to the device while in a vehicle, moving or not, you are using a device intended to circumvent traffic laws by allowing you to know when you are being checked for speed.

I don’t care what you think about the current administration and I personally don’t agree with everything done, but I feel much less secure knowing that several top secret programs that were measurably thwarting terrorists were illegally leaked and then published publicly. I am somewhat familiar with the laws that pertain to leaking classified information that posses a serious and very real threat to national security. Once the leak is routed out they will make an example of him/her/them. It is fully within current standing federal law for the leak and the publishers of the information to be executed for treason during a time of war. I doubt they will be though, its far more likely they will be living it up in a cushy Fed Pen for 20 to 40 years each.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yeah, right!

In other words, modchips themselves are legal.

No, modchips all but require copyright violations. The XBox comes with a licensing agreement which I’m sure prohibits you from (1) altering the software, (2) reverse engineering the software, or (3) separating the software from the hardware. You can’t install a modchip without separating the software from the hardware, but that probably doesn’t give MS the right to go after the modchip producers.

However, you can bet money that the modchip authors produced their mod chips by either (1) modifying the code from an original ROM or (2) reverse engineering the contents of the original ROM, both of which would also violate the license. (It is possible that the license is written to prevent you from reverse engineering the hardware as well, but that might be a tougher legal issue.) If Microsoft can show either violation–which wouldn’t be tough, after discovery–it can argue that the modchip companies have broken copyright and are in effect distributing derivative works.

Now, if I were MS, I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about non-infringing home use. However, there really isn’t anything MS can do to enable the non-infringers while going after the infringers. On top of that, the X-Box was historically sold at a loss that MS intended to recoup selling games. Since modchips have the ability to turn the units into non-gaming devices, MS has every reason to keep the units locked so that they cannot be used to build cheap Beowulf clusters or the like.

While the modchip makers aren’t responsible for the violators that MS worries about most, taking them out of the equation is a simple way to limit the worrying violations. And, since the modchip makers have violated the law themselves, MS is within their rights to go after them in any case.

I feel much less secure knowing that several top secret programs that were measurably thwarting terrorists were illegally leaked and then published publicly.

It is fully within current standing federal law for the leak and the publishers of the information to be executed for treason during a time of war.

“Measurably thwating terrorists” is a bunch of baloney, as far as the public should be concerned. To my knowledge, the administration has never given anyone outside the government enough access for to allow them to make a reasonable conclusion as to the success of these programs. The only thing the public has to indicate that the progams are a success are the assurances of the administration. Many in the public rightfully demand more.

And, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re not fighting a war. Wars are declared by Congress, and Congress hasn’t declared one in quite some time. Congress has for the most part agreed not to deny funding for many of the administration’s military activities, but that does not make a war.

Last, but not least, we are foolish not to require the administration to get warrants to listen in on US citizens. The Constitution requires due process for the government to impede our rights, which include our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and siezure. While I agree the government should be able to listen in on calls between US citizens and foriegn terrorists, the Constitution requires that the US government *demonstrate* (ideally, to the courts) that it has good reason to believe that the foriegners on the other end of the call are, in fact terrorists. Allowing agencies to listen in at their own discretion does not constitute due process. What is to prevent someone from listening in at will and then just saying, “Oh, I thought a terrorist was on the other end,” when discovered. And what oversight is there to even allow the discovery and punishment of abuse? The administration is rightly opposed on many of its survielance programs.

chris (profile) says:

re: two cents worth

Compare it to the Law Makers holding Weapons Manufactures responsible for the products they make because they could be used in a crime or Alcohol makers responsible for the actions of the people that misuse and/or abuse their products

the problem with that line of reasoning is that guns are protected by a huge lobby, the NRA. alchohol is a huge source of taxes for the federal govt. which is why it’s legal despite all of the damage it does. it’s the same story with cigarettes and gasoline.

the reason that mod-chips are illegal is that there is no lobby protecting the mod-chip industry. also, guns and booze (and cars for that matter) are sold at a profit, consoles are not.

game companies’ problem isn’t game piracy. the gaming industry has grown up with piracy and it’s just a part of the price of doing business. the problem with modchips is that most consoles are sold at up to a 50% loss, with the hope that companies will make more money on games. if you buy the console, then mod it and don’t buy games, then the companies are out the %50 loss they took and won’t make it back from games that you never buy.

i purchased my xbox with the express intent of modding it so it would be a media center. i put a bigger HDD in it to accomodate movies, music, and a ton of emulators and it has the one feature that even the sexiest HTPC doesn’t: the ability to play xbox games.

it does everything the 360 does but play 360 games. i wanted to buy and mod a PSP, but thanks to sony’s anti-homebrew stunts, i won’t buy one at all.

anytime a new cool gadget is released, it gets modded. if the mod community likes your gadget enough enought to take it apart, then you know you made a good one. before the PSP was the xbox, before the xbox was the iOpener. companies fight the mod community and it does nothing but hurt the product. that’s why the iOpeners don’t exist anymore.

people aren’t stupid, if you build a computer out of computer parts, disable some of the computer features and sell it for less than the price of a cheap computer, someone is going to turn it back into a computer.

if you want to stop losing money on consoles that people mod, stop selling them at a loss. if you don’t lose money on the console you can sell your games for cheaper as well. sell the console at cost and embrace the hardware mod community to the fullest extent, and then take the cool things they come up with and sell your own branded mods that don’t void the warranty. but hey, why change business models now, when things are working out so well for you the way that they are?

Wyndle says:

Re: Re:

did anyone pirate old NES/super nintendo/sega genesis games?

they were [cartridges], right? not so easily copied?

but i [guess] that was before computers, where roms could be made. go to propiratery data storage? something no one could really mess with?

Actually, all the ROMs that people play on current consoles as well as PCs were ripped from carts, and most of the time it was with a set of Gator Clips (there were cart copying machines around as well). The practice of ripping games from carts goes all the way back to the first console.

So it would be accurate to say that the industry has lived with piracy from day one. It looks like it has thrived in spite of the piracy but I’m more inclined to think that mods (think game genie/shark) and piracy made up half of the appeal for the building up of the gaming industry beyond just the hardcore gamers.

Anon post 39, I think you’re a little out of focus on the issue. Monetary loss was never part of the issue as discussed on this thread. The legality of using certain electronic components that cause certain objects to function outside the range of the manufacturer’s intent was the issue at hand. And by that train of thought, the comparison is legit.

A quick recap:

Adding a chip to a propriatary computer to make it work other than the way the manufacturer intended is illegal. On consoles it is illegal under the DMCA if you install software capable of copying the copyrighted games, on cars it is illegal under the emmission laws and most likely you will get caught breaking traffic laws (speeding) unless you are using a radar detector (illegal in many states). We’re fooq’d!

Anonymous Coward says:

You can’t compare the modding of a car and modding a game console. A car is a one item solution, the business model is selling the car, so once you’ve bought the car, by modding it you aren’t taking money away from any other business. The car company made its money off of you when you bought the car.

A game console is a 2 item solution, the console is the 1st item, by itself is almost useless, its purpose is to play games that you buy which is the 2nd item of the solution. The game industry is powered by game sales, console sales either lose money or at best have a low profit margin. So by modding your console to play pirated games, you’re stealing money out of the industry and the game makers.

By modding your car, you aren’t stealing any money from the car makers. They already made their money when you bought the car. That is why they don’t care if you mod your car and game makers do care if you mod your console.

It’s not rocket science.

chris (profile) says:

re: cartidges

did anyone pirate old NES/super nintendo/sega genesis games?

they were cardridges, right? not so easily copied?

cartridges cost more to produce. that’s why the CD was such a revolution, it’s cheap to produce, meaning greater profits. besides, buying DMCA legislation, and pushing it in court, is *WAY* cheaper than retooling your manufacturing process.

libertarianguy says:

One on hand.. on the other

On the one hand, there exists a platform that fully satisfies a users desire to tinker, modify, and essentially do whatever the hell one wants with. It’s called a computer, and since it can do everything a console can do, its an effective substitute.

No one forces people to buy products that companies produce that the companies intend on being protected (to protect revenue in this sense), so in that case, one libertarian side of me says these guys are just pirates and deserve punishment.

My other side says the courts have so much better things to be doing, and if they don’t, we need fewer courts.

Either way, considering their is a comparable good that people could get in which they know modding would be legal (but not piracy, which is universally criminal), then I dont see how blame can be shifted.

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