Are Mod Chips Really Illegal?

from the it-depends dept

There was a ton of news in the past month or so about Microsoft and others shutting down Lik Sang for selling mod chips for gaming consoles. The Register has a good look at the various issues involved in determing whether or not mod chips are actually legal under current laws. Of course, the law in question is the DMCA, which many would argue should be thrown out entirely. However, even under its ridiculous anti-circumvention section, mod chips could be considered legal if they're shown to have substantial non-infringing uses. At least, that's what an Australian court has found in dealing with their version of the DMCA. In the US, there's no clear precedent yet, and (unfortunately) US courts have shown an uncanny ability to misunderstand technology issues like this one. While mod chips probably should not be illegal, chances are that they actually are illegal in the US right now. Expect Microsoft and Sony to do everything they can to threaten anyone who makes mod chips out of existence.

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