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Chipping away at our fun..
July 4, 2005 10:53 AM   Subscribe

To chip or not to chip? Fresh from the BBC - the first UK conviction for chipping a games console. Admittedly he was selling modified X-Boxes, but how will this affect those who chip for fun or for friends?
posted by Nugget (18 comments total)

 
"The man, who has not yet been named, was selling modified Xbox consoles, fitted with a 200GB hard drive and 80 pre-installed games, via his website for £380."

Selling a modded Xbox with games on the HD? That's just asking for it.
posted by Jairus at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2005


I was wondering if the games were MAME-style ROMS or full-priced games. It seems a bit vague on that area.

Not that it makes it alright, but it is something that I was wondering.
posted by Navek Rednam at 11:04 AM on July 4, 2005


I'm a Formula 1 racing fan in North America. Sony distributes the F1 2005 game in Europe and Japan, but has steadfastly refused to sell the game in North America (even though they sell EA's Rugby 2005, which seems a lot more out of step with the NA audience). Is it still wrong for me to get a mod chip and download the Japanese version of the game (which is NTSC) if that, because of a decision by Sony, is my only option?
posted by clevershark at 11:15 AM on July 4, 2005


I know a guy who got busted for chipping systems out of his dorm room. He had advertizements for the service on his door.
posted by delmoi at 11:21 AM on July 4, 2005


In the case of an xbox, I'd suggest not at all? There are several very simple ways to modify an xbox that does not require a chip at all, and other ways that only require you to have a chip in one xbox for a short amount of time. From then on, you can modify an infinite number of unopened xboxes without installing chips in them.

Anyway, like Jairus said, this really isn't about the chip – it's about a guy selling 80 illegal copies of retail games with each xbox.
posted by odinsdream at 12:09 PM on July 4, 2005


Also interesting to note: The Cambridge graduate was sentenced at Caerphilly Magistrates Court in Wales to 140 hours of community service.

Rather than 10 years in prison like we have here in the good old freedom-loving U.S.A.
posted by odinsdream at 12:17 PM on July 4, 2005


Hmm.. While chipping is heavily mentioned in the article it seems what he was busted for was piracy and copyright infringement. ie reselling games.

It doesn't sound like the chip is really an issue here outside of a means to an end.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:29 PM on July 4, 2005


clevershark: you can buy it here. You'll still have to chip your PS2 -- or put on a flip lid and use a boot disc -- but you'll have a legal copy of the game. Despite Sony's attempts to make importing "illegal", too...
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:31 PM on July 4, 2005


It has already been said: this has almost nothing to do with modding, it's a piracy issue. Notice though, the differences in the British and American legal systems on the piracy issue. The wording of this post made me fear the worst: a harsh punishment for a complete (in my opinion) non-crime (modding hardware). In fact, the opposite is the case. Whatever my opinions on piracy, it is a crime; but it is refreshing and gratifying to see the British system handle the issue with some degree of context.
posted by nthdegx at 1:17 PM on July 4, 2005


I'm generally in favour of ignoring copyright for personal use and in favour of prosecuting people who infringe copyright for financial gain. As such, I'm glad that this guy got busted for selling hard drives full of pirated games.

That said, the idea that applying a modchip to a console should be illegal just boggles me. That'd be like criminalizing the act of modifying your car to run on diesel instead of gasoline. Sure, you'd then be able to use farm diesel in your vehicle (illegally), but that would be the choice of the person with the modified vehicle. Simply modifying a console does not imply that it will be used to infringe copyright; many people use modded consoles to play Japanese games which they purchased legally.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:27 PM on July 4, 2005


ArmyOfKittens writes "clevershark: you can buy it here."

I really doubt that a Japanese version of the game would actually work in an un-modded PS2; they're region-coded like DVDs (not necessarily the same technology though). I think the link you gave me is more of a testament to how many serious gamers have a modded console to begin with.
posted by clevershark at 1:33 PM on July 4, 2005


D'oh! It's just as AOK said...
posted by clevershark at 1:34 PM on July 4, 2005


Chipping! Bah! It's not like there's a glut of psx torrents out there. And most games are five bucks on Ebay. Benefits of being 10 years behind the console curve and inheriting my little brother's psx, chipped.

/old fart
posted by craniac at 2:05 PM on July 4, 2005


Modding an X-BOX is completely legal (well, as long as you're not in France). Running a non-MS bios is completely legal, in fact the Cromwell BIOS is (IIRC) open-source, as is the popular XBOX Media Center.

The problem is that to get the majority if "fun" stuff working on your x-box, it requires software to be compiled with MS's XBOX SDK, and the licensing restrictions don't allow people to just distribute compiled stuff willy-nilly. That's why most sites selling XBOX-related mod-stuffs put in big, bright letters "DON'T ASK US WHERE TO GET COMPILED SOFTWARE" to stay legal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:10 PM on July 4, 2005


In light of Grokster Vs MGM surely these chips are of dubious legality, at least stateside? The very raison d'etre of the X-Box Media Centre is to rip games and DVDs to the hard disc, as well as allowing you to play downloaded games/music/movies. I can't think of any significant use for it, that isn't about infringing copyright, unless you really really want RSS weather reports on your x-box.
posted by roofus at 2:12 AM on July 5, 2005


I can't think of any significant use for it, that isn't about infringing copyright

Since the xbox is a very inexpensive computer, complete with a decent video card and an ethernet cable, with built-in NTSC-out, all in a handy-dandy little box, there's an excellent reason why you wouldn't want to run MS's xbox-OS... to use it as a computer/media center.

I don't use my xbox for games, for example, because xbox games suck ass compared to PC versions. Mine is used solely as a media station to stream videos and music to my main entertainment center from my server.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:41 AM on July 5, 2005


Jairus writes "80 pre-installed games"

This is why he got busted.

roofus writes "The very raison d'etre of the X-Box Media Centre is to rip games and DVDs to the hard disc"

If you own the originals this is not illegal, even in the USA, which means there is significant non-infringing use. If you don't allow for this you don't allow for VCRs either. Now whether DMCA rules apply to the mod chip is something I'd like to see a ruling on.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 AM on July 5, 2005


I must say I'm hoping the Xbox 360 is much more difficult to mod than the Xbox. Not because I don't want people to be able to do those extra things on their console, but because of the fact that some of the people that do those things have to use it to hack their games and find means to cheat.

Another one of those cases where the idiots come along and demonstrate why we can't have nice things... (such as open game consoles)
posted by evilangela at 11:40 AM on July 5, 2005


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