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UK High Court Rules Modchips Illegal

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the perfectly-reasonable-don'tcha-think dept.

The Courts 987

PhotoBoy writes "The Register has an article about the UK's High Court ruling PlayStation 2 modchips to be illegal. This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written. Gamers who like to mod their consoles to play games on import early are also out of luck. It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes! Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"

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I threw a trident and killed him!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762325)

I love lamp? I love carpet?

So many ways to get it (5, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762332)

Making it is illegal to bypass copy protection mechanisms

I have a sharpie that could be used to circumvent the copyright protection. My shift key also would be a violation. The courts won't go after Office Depot or Logitech because you want to go after big fish with money but not enough money to properly defend their selves.

Shouldn't the courts just go after the copyright violators rather than going after all mechanism that could be used to violate copyright? Of course not you know that judge doesn't want to youth playing those nasty region 3+ games; he is doing it for the good of public morals... right?

Re:So many ways to get it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762396)

Having seen modchips in Asia over the past few years surrounded by thousands of illegal copies of copyighted materials makes me draw an association. Call me paranoid, but if you think people use modchips mostly for running custom games you also believe smoking doesn't cause cancer.

So what? (2, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762425)

Does that mean that you outlaw knifes because they not only cut meat, but they can kill?

Just because you use mod chips to make illegal copies do not mean that everyone does.

Re:So what? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762485)

A better analogy would be to try to ban guns because they shoot but not do it because they can be hung on a wall as decoration. There are people who do that, but really, their number is slim. To provide security you ALWAYS have to restrict freedoms, when you outlaw stealing you take the thief's right to take what he wants. In this case the desired damage to collateral damage ratio is sufficiently low, therefore a ban doesn't hurt a lot of people.

Wait, the description of the decision is wrong (5, Insightful)

Nakito (702386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762489)

The Slashdot blurb for this article is wrong and makes an incorrect analogy. The blurb says, "It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!"

But if you read the article, the description of the decision is substantially different: "The UK High Court has judged that the sale, advertisement, possession for commercial purposes and use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal in this country."

The distinction is huge. It means that you are allowed to "modify your car" (to use the proposed analogy). You just aren't allowed to commercialize your modifications. You can tinker all you want, but you can't sell the results of your tinkering.

It's still a significant limitation, but we should at least be arguing about the actual limitation, not the incorrect one.

Re:Wait, the description of the decision is wrong (5, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762538)

There are four violations in the statement:

1. Sale,
2. Adverstisement,
3. Possession for commercial purposes, AND
4. Use.

Number 4 is what you are doing if you possess one and use it. So it looks like you are allowed to have one, you just can't legally use it. "Legally" being the operative word.

How about "anti-piracy" modchips? (4, Interesting)

Samir Gupta (623651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762337)

It seems the UK court ruled on the basis that modchips can be used to circumvent copy protection by allowing the use of recordable media. However, the other use of modchips is to play purchased import games, and there exist so-called "anti-piracy" modchips that allow the latter, while disallowing the former.

Bypassing region codes (as opposed to copy protection) is certainly not illegal, at worst, ambiguous under UK law -- for example, the vast majority of DVD players sold in the UK are modded to be region free as well.

No. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762339)

"Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"

But the family of the little girl you ran over and killed would. Besides.. It's a Focus.

Re:No. (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762387)

You mean they wouldn't sue you if you just killed their little girl with a regular, unmodded car?

More likely, government will have a beef with you for flunking smog test, noise standards or some safety parameter. Bill Gates had to go through a lot of trouble to import his dream car once.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762424)

Yes, and we all know how evil and wrong smog laws are. Damn them and their wretched love for the environment!

Don't Forget (4, Insightful)

FractusMan (711004) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762349)

While yes, there are people who use modchips to play their own, homebrew games, and play imported games, let's not overlook the obvious. People put modchips in their consoles so they can play stolen (ie, burned) games. If people did NOT use modchips for that purpose, this law wouldn't be necessary. But the fact is that the UK high court is not 'ruining your rights' - it's the people who copy and sell games illegally that ruin the fun for everyone. The UK is merely taking steps to stop that. Whether the steps are too far, I don't know and won't argue. But don't think that this is a cut and dried case of trampling of rights. Go bitch at your friends who have a bunch of "Backup copies" of games.

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762373)

Uhm.. So just because guns can kill people, you dont see anyone outlawing those... do you? Atleast here in the states. I agree, a bit far-fetched, but the same could be said here.

Re:Don't Forget (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762451)

I agree with your premise, but (except for folks in rural areas), UKians can't own firearms. Even the cops on the street have to call in an Armed Response Team if they need guns.

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762452)

a) There are plenty of people that would like to, but we have the Bill of Rights.

b) You need a license to own a gun -- there are measures in place to help prevent, or at least track, crime (granted this doesn't always work). Would you like to have a license to buy a mod chip?

Re:Don't Forget (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762469)

Yeah - if guns were popular only because they were being used to kill people, then guns would probably be outlawed.

Mod chips are popular because they are used for piracy. Kazaa is popular because it's used for piracy.

There are all kinds of "good" uses for items that are illegal. I don't hear you complaining that brass knuckles are illegal, though.

Of course, there are some people who do complain [donrearic.com].

Re:Don't Forget (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762509)

Uhm.. So just because guns can kill people, you dont see anyone outlawing those... do you? Atleast here in the states.

In a heartbeat they would. That's why the FF made sure to make the second amendment. If the FF had the foresight to include hacking...

Re:Don't Forget (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762520)

Just because nuclear warheads can kill people that doesn't mean we need to ban those, right? I mean, how many nuclear warheads have been used to kill people? Why not let law-abiding citizens decorate their room with nuclear warheads? If you outlaw nukes only outlaws will have nukes!

as my dad always says (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762378)

"the abuse of something is never a good argument against the use of something"

Re:as my dad always says (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762444)

The thing is, mod chips are not being abused. they are being used for exactly what they were designed for, for playing copied games.

Re:as my dad always says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762503)

And for circumventing the region restrictions.

Re:Don't Forget (2, Insightful)

Klar (522420) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762388)

What about backing-up your own games. As long as games are recorded on cd's or dvd's, they will be very easy to be damaged. Shouldn't people have the right to back-up the software they buy?

Re:Don't Forget (1)

furball (2853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762420)

In the entire history of game ownership, I've never managed to damage a single disc to the point where it is no longer playable.

What the hell are you other people doing with yours?

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762448)

So, you've been playing games for two months?

Re:Don't Forget (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762463)

For every anecdote, there's an equal and opposite anecdote.

I have a now useless copy of Fantavision that I managed to spill lacquer on (or, it seems to be lacquer). Wish I had made a backup copy of it.


I DID! /me slaps forehead.

Re:Don't Forget (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762486)

I've been playing "cd based" games for many years now, including computer games. I think I have dammaged one CD by rolling over it with an office chair, and one from water dammage. Both were replaced by the company for the cost of shipping when I sent in the dammaged CD.

Re:Don't Forget (2, Informative)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762403)

I don't know for certain but I would assume the Plastation's terms of use would have something about only using their official games. If that is the case, I can understand the ruling.

Re:Don't Forget (1)

David_W (35680) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762537)

I don't know for certain but I would assume the Plastation's terms of use would have something about only using their official games. If that is the case, I can understand the ruling.

Which opens up a whole new can of worms... to use the analogy above, that would be like Ford including a "terms of use" with your car saying you can only install Ford parts in it. Would you understand the ruling in that case?

Re:Don't Forget (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762412)

By this logic, all devices that could possibly be used for malicious purposes should be illegal.

It should be a crime to own a car, you could use it to run someone over.

Re:Don't Forget (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762413)

>People put modchips in their consoles so they can play stolen (ie, burned) games.

So, this is "stolen" in the same way taking a picture of the Mona Lisa is "stealing", right?

Use the correct words. It's "pirated".

>The UK is merely taking steps to stop that.

The "guaranteed" solution is to stop selling hard drives and writeable media. Why just stop at modchips?

>Go bitch at your friends who have a bunch of "Backup copies" of games.

OH NO! They like to make backups of stuff that costs $80! *AMAZING*!

I bet you leave your car unlocked, too...

Re:Don't Forget (4, Insightful)

Erick the Red (684990) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762443)

Cars are used in bank robberies, but they are still legal.

Knives are used in murders, but they are still legal.

Computers are used for vandalism and fraud, but they are still legal.

Almost anything has an illegitimate use, but we don't outlaw the thing, we outlaw the use.

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762464)

I agree. You cannot compare the car case with the game consoles in this case. In this case a MODchip is being used for illegal purposes and to rip off the game/console/hardware makers, vendors, programmers etc etc. And it doesn't cost the price of a car. Plus we do not go to our friends house and ask to borrow his BMWs engine and put it into our Ford for the day either, because of a *MODCHip you found for cars*. Try to do that and see how fast car companies will send you to hell. Ultimately? Call me conservative, but in my world I pay for what I need....it is the reality. I think it's time some people came back to reality

Damn straight these steps are too far. (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762472)

Lots of things can be used for nefarious purposes. It tends to be only those things which elderly legislators and justices are unfamiliar with and for which they have no personal use that get outlawed.

I, for one, would rather live in a world where one is responsible for one's behavior, rather than a world in which one is responsible for everything anyone else has ever done with anything one has produced.

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762499)

That sounds like a bit of a cop out, like people who make a mistake and then yell out "Look what you MADE me do!". The people who made these laws have free will, and an ability to analyse the situation. I'm very doubtfull any of them would place credit for anything praiseworthy they did on society instead of themselves, and I'm not about to let anyone claim that they negitive actions aren't just as much their own. At the end of the day they're the ones who want me fined for coding to a piece of hardware I've bought, they're the ones who will enforce it, not the pirates.

Re:Don't Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762523)

I agree with FractusMan.

The article is way too optimistic in suggesting that the folks buying mod chips are doing so in order to play games of their own creation. The vast majority of chips are for playing pirated copies of games.

Wake up folks, you know the different between right and wrong.

The Unsung Hero - Nuclear Energy (-1, Troll)

B64 (798953) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762350)

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Re:The Unsung Hero - Nuclear Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762383)

Why do I have a feeling this is just the goatse man?

No, I didn't try it and find out, I don't run your crazy hippie operating system.

Attention Kneejerks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762355)

Please note that this was the UK.
Not the US as you may have assumed.

That is all.

Thank You For Rescuing Us Poor Illiterates (0, Flamebait)

Petersko (564140) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762429)

Please note that this was the UK. Not the US as you may have assumed.

I know that, like all North Americans, when the first letters in a sentence are "UK" I immediately assume they really meant "U.S.A.". If you hadn't been here to correct things I might have gone on with an erroneous interpretation of the article.

Continue your good words, Stater of the Obvious. You are welcome here.

U-Haul? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762360)

Does this mean I won't be forced to go 40 mph up hills on the interstate the next time I rent a U-Haul truck? Good bye governor? Kick ass!

Re:U-Haul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762445)

Sure you can go over 40mph, then pay a $1.00 per mph over the limit fine, tracked by their handy GPS system.

like that really matters (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762368)

you'll still be able to get the mod chips and install them yourselves. I'm not surprised teh courts ruled it illegal because if they didn't, it would set presidence for future cases with other things, not just video game machines.

I guess the real question is, should we be able to moddify what we buy any way we want? apparently, in regards to the UK and PS2, no.

Isn't it the case? (4, Informative)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762372)

'It's like saying you can't modify your car...'

I believe that there are jurisdictions in which car mods (or some kinds) are illegal. (California comes to mind).

Re:Isn't it the case? (1)

EyesWideOpen (198253) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762409)

Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

Maybe not but you could get pulled over for having illegal modifications (neon lights, colored headlights, etc.) on your Focus.

Re:Isn't it the case? (1)

kingLatency (624983) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762433)

Here in Massachusetts, and I imagine in most states, your car's windows are required to transmit a certain percentage of light. You can't tint them more than the government says. This is one way in which the government limits car modification. Obviously, though, that's for safety, not for protection of intellectual property.

Re:Isn't it the case? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762477)

I believe that there are jurisdictions in which car mods (or some kinds) are illegal.

Yes. In Germany. You have to have your mods to be approved, usually done by an organisation named TÜV. If you do not comply and drive with then illegal mods, your operating license for the vehicle is void, which in turn means that insurance will not pay in case.


As I learned on Pimp My Ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762502)

Flames shooting out of the back of your car are, sadly, not street legal.

No, not at all. You can do whatever you want. (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762532)

Of course, said modifications (say, a full-blown race suspension, blower, nitrous, etc.) might make your vehicle into something which cannot legally be driven on state roads, but there's nothing inherently illegal about the vehicle itself, or owning it, or indeed using it at a properly equipped racing facility.

The car analogy doesn't hold up! (3, Insightful)

kingLatency (624983) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762376)

"Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"

No, Ford wouldn't, but this comparison doesn't work. We all know that one of the main uses (I couldn't say the main for sure) for mod chipping is piracy. Theft of intellectual property is rarely, if ever, part of modifying one's car, clothing or house.

Re:The car analogy doesn't hold up! (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762475)

Theft of intellectual property is rarely, if ever, part of modifying one's car

Ever hear of a getaway car in context to bank robbers? The car itself was modified in it's original use to do something malicious; therefore, the car itself should be banned accrouding to the rulling.

Re:The car analogy doesn't hold up! (1)

GreenCrackBaby (203293) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762501)

We all know that one of the main uses (I couldn't say the main for sure) for mod chipping is piracy. Theft of intellectual property is rarely, if ever, part of modifying one's car, clothing or house.

We have laws that forbid intellectual property theft, and Sony is free to go after anyone who copies games using those existing laws without needing draconian legislation like the DMCA.

If the only possible purpose of these chips was to facilitate IP violations then they might be on the right track...

Re:The car analogy doesn't hold up! (1)

lofoforabr (751004) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762535)

Oh well...
So, make it illegal for anyone (including police) to have guns. They can be used for crime, can't they?
Also, make cars illegal. Most bank robbers use a car to run away.
Why not make knives illegal also? Sure you can use them to make a nice barbecue, but you could also kill someone with it, couldn't you?

For god's sake, get this right and go after those who use them for crime. Going after the tool is useless (and criminals will still have them anyway).

car safety (3, Interesting)

gears5665 (699068) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762377)

well, modifying a car involves the safety of the people around you and should be illegal if this is illegal. The problem always lies in enforcement. So many stupid laws aren't enforeced as it is. Why not just add another.

Re:car safety (1)

furball (2853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762454)

Car mods that moves its safety parameters beyond legally defined boundaries are already illegal. The actual modification itself historically has not been illegal but the end product certainly is. I haven't read the ruling or the article for that matter but from the write up it's not clear if the chip is illegal or modified boxes are illegal.

Wonder if this applies to DVD players (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762379)

Since region free and Macrovision free players are so plentiful in Europe that they are sold in supermarkets I wonder what would happen if this logic were applied to DVD players?

fair and balanced? (3, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762380)

"This means all homebrew and hobbyist coders in the UK can no longer modify their consoles to run games they have written."

I think if you'd like the slashdot community to discuss this intelligently, the article needs to have both sides. It would have been just as easy to say "while this certainly is a big blow to piracy, the rights of other citizens, while a very small population, are being infringed upon.

All to often the submitters skewed view steers the conversation in only one way.

Regionalization (1, Insightful)

scowling (215030) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762386)

Much of the rationalization (not from this case, but speakign generally) against mod-chipping game consoles and DVD players is to protect regionalization. That is, to enure that only Japanese PS2 owners can play Japanese-only games and that European DVD owners can only play European region DVDs.

The salient argument to me appears to be: what has ethical precedence? The right of the company to sell two boxes to one person who wants to use media from different regions, or the right of the consumer to make modifications to an object that he or he owns?

Y'know, honestly? So few people are going to mod their machines and this ruling is going to prevent so few people from modding their machines that I have no problem siding with the patentholders.

Re:Regionalization (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762447)

Much of the rationalization (not from this case, but speakign generally) against mod-chipping game consoles and DVD players is to protect regionalization.

Disagree on the DVD player argument. I believe that in most of Western Europe it's common to buy and sell region-free DVD players, as well as VCRs that play both PAL (European) and NTSC (American) formats. Laws against modchipping, at least in the UK, are there to prevent piracy only.

Different analogy (5, Insightful)

nulltransfer (725809) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762389)

Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

Not that I agree with this law, but lawmakers probably see mod chips as analogous to mounting guns on your car. There are many legitimate uses for mod chips, but since they don't want to deal with the exceptions, they probably want to completely illegalize the usage.

Earlier this year, the Italian court ruled that mod chips are legal on the basis that it's up to the user, not Sony, how they use their PS2. It even went so far as to name mod chips as crucial tools to "avoid monopolistic positions".

Thumbs up to the Italians, though :)

We need to start pumping money into lawyers... (1)

Zarian (797222) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762392)

that will defend our rights to do what ever we like to the products we buy. How come I am not arrested/sued when i buy a kitchen nife. I could possibly kill someone with it. Once you pay for something you now own it. Plain and simple. I'm not renting the hardware from sony. This is what they should have done to those judges. give them a dell computer. Then give them some ram chips. Next have them put the ram into the computer. Now sue them for "modding" the computers.

Commercial ModChips Only (3, Informative)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762395)

From TFA: "The UK High Court has judged that the sale, advertisement, possession for commercial purposes and use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal in this country."

An important distinction. It still sucks and I think it's a boneheaded decision, but the true hobbyist remains safe.

For the moment....

Re:Commercial ModChips Only (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762519)

I agree, the true hobbyist should be okay. But I wonder if the distribution of hobbyist created mod chip schematics will be legal. Since these would likely show up on websites, I don't see how they could really stop that anyway.

In any case, I guess this will drive the mod business further underground in UK. Piracy, like pr0n is pretty hard to stop since there's a lot of money to be made.

Re:Commercial ModChips Only (1)

Herg (564957) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762550)

How does the hobbyist remain safe if "use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal"?

Ford (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762397)

Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

I'd say the odds are a lot higher now they will.

Would Ford Sue? (1)

scoot241 (794509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762401)

Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

No, they wouldn't sue you, but they would void your warranty!

Bad analogy. (1, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762410)

"Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"
They might if doing so allowed you to more easily infringe on their IP.

I'm not in agreement that modchips should be illegal, but comparing a mod chip to car parts is somewhat dishonest.

Attack of the Weak Analogies (2, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762411)

It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

Modchips serve one purpose: to circumvent technology designed to keep your box from playing pirated or otherwise illegal software. So it's really more like saying you can't modify your car to violate local pollution laws, or that you can't modify your house to violate zoning regulations.

Re:Attack of the Weak Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762455)

No. It also circumvents region restrictions.

Re:Attack of the Weak Analogies (2, Insightful)

Maul (83993) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762496)

My memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I distinctly remember paying quite a bit of money for legit import games. A modchip is the only reasonably way for me to play these games that I legally purchased.

I guess finding a way to play game software I purchased makes me a criminal! (Well, it would if I were in the UK.)

Re:Attack of the Weak Analogies (2, Insightful)

eV_x (180493) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762518)

This is the same uninformed response the courts must have had. Obviously, you are not well versed in modern day game systems and mod-chips.

I'm not sure about the PS2, as I haven't modded mine, but at least on the xbox, I rarely even run games anymore. Linux and a variety of other software are available as homebrew (some legally compiled and some not), so I fail to see your logic as valid.

Why should I and the authors of those software packages not be able to use the xbox for that reason? This isn't stretching the truth - I do this every day as many other people do.

I own the box - NOT Sony or Microsoft. I shoudl be able to do any damned thing I wish to it, including smashing it with a sledgehammer (hardware mod), adding another hard drive to it, replacing the DVD, or running my own software. You cannot convince me that I do not have that right since I own the box, no matter what can be done legally or illegally with it after the fact.

I think these are more likely to be used for theft (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762417)

Honestly, I suspect that the majority of mod chips are used to allow people to play pirated games. I suspect that there are a few who write games, but doubt that the average user is going to code up a game. This is a bit like the courts in the UK declaring Uzis sub-machine guns to be illegal because they're used to snuff folks, and people start to complain, "But I *need* one for duck hunting."

Hmm... (1)

1337 Twinkie (795608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762418)

I see little problem with this as a measure to prevent piracy. However, in preventing piracy, this runling also infringes substantialy on fair-use. it is hard to say which is more prevelant, but protecting fair use is certainly more important.

At least the Italians seem to believe that this is true.

Modifying your clothes? (2, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762421)

It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

You modify your clothes?!? You kids today. In my day, that was a hanging offense. Why the whole Vietnam conflict can be traced to it's root clothing modification basis, essentially.

And as for this house modification notion, I understand that you kids hang out at that "Home Depot" head shop. There are still some people who respect the original conception of the builders and wouldn't think of altering it. I'm proud to be one of them.

Modifying a car? How would one even do that, what with the hood welded shut at the factory, like it is? That's just nonsense.

Re:Modifying your clothes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762540)

-1, Lame

European harmonisation (4, Interesting)

flossie (135232) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762426)

Given that the judge ruled that mod chips are illegal due to the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) and that other EU nations (Italy, Spain) have already ruled the chips to be legal, is there any scope for this ruling to be challenged in a higher court because of misinterpretation of the directive?

Is that PS2 only? (5, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762431)

I wonder if this ruling also affects Gamecube modchips? After all, the GC copy protection hasn't been cracked by modchips and the only thing the chips do is circumvent the region lockout (can be done with a certain disk too). I wonder if region lockout is also considered a "copy protection" under the EUCD.

Huh? (3, Interesting)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762436)

It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes!

No it's not! You can still paint your car, add a garage to your house, and rip holes your clothes. But you can't put missle launchers on your car, coat your house with crack cocaine, or staple dead babies to your shirt.

Similarly, you can paint your PS2, add NO2 stickers, and attach a bobble-head doll on it. But you can't purchase MOD chips. See? =P

Anyway, I was just pointing out that the submitter got a little carried away with his/her outrage and over-generalization...

Ford would sue for different reasons (1)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762439)

Ford would probably sue you because you decided to modify your Focus for speed. Are people ever going to learn that everyday drivers are not muscle, sport, and race cars? With regard to this subject, I think an obligatory link [xmission.com] to Maddox is necessary.

Ford Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762440)

>Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter >from your Focus?

I doubt Ford would care if you want to rip the engine out of your Focus.

Swap Disks..? (2, Interesting)

maskedbishounen (772174) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762450)

I have a flip-top case on my PS2, so I can pop it open, drop in a swap disc, and play my imported games. It can also be used for "back-ups", though (never tried it, personally). Would such a system also be ruled illegal? I'd assume so, but there's no physical "modification" except for replacing the case.

There's also another little swap disk solution which involves removing the CD cover and using a little plastik hook to force the drive open. No "modification" there, just a bit of removal. Still illegal?

I'd be quite interesting to know the court's thoughts on these.

Not *quite* analogous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762456)

"Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?"

Automobile makers don't sell the hardware at a loss. Ford has already made their money from you, so they don't care. Console makers sell the hardware at a loss to enable software sales/licensing profits. Modifying the hardware doesn't just circumvent their copy-protection, it circumvents their business plan. Would you prefer to pay double or triple for your console so they can make their profit up front?

Sony has their reasons for not liking mod chips.. (2, Informative)

slungsolow (722380) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762457)

They take away the licensing fees that they negotiated for that particular region, they also fuck with distribution rights for some games, and they also allow for pirated (and completely unpaid for) games to be played.

Would ford sue you for fucking with your focus? No.. but they would sue the pants off of you if you took a truck load 20 year old Yugos and put focus badges on them just to sell them to the masses. Essentially thats what this judgement defends against. Selling a product that cheats a license holder (or in my focus example a trademark holder) out of making a buck.

Re:Sony has their reasons for not liking mod chips (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762517)

Would ford sue you for fucking with your focus? No.. but they would sue the pants off of you if you took a truck load 20 year old Yugos and put focus badges on them just to sell them to the masses. Essentially thats what this judgement defends against. Selling a product that cheats a license holder (or in my focus example a trademark holder) out of making a buck.

Misrepresentation and trademark infringement have generally been illegal since before we had electricity.

Why the hell do we need TWO laws to do the same thing? Because it's *FUN*?

Did anyone catch this in TFA? (3, Interesting)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762458)

The Messiah chips were offered as a way to allow UK PS2s not only to play legitimate US and Japanese games, but pirated titles and back-up copies made by users, which Sony forbids in the UK.

What the hell? Does Sony allow this kind of crap anywhere else? I suppose they don't forbid this kind of use in Japan, eh? Don't want to piss off the local markets.....

Rant aside, I don't see the problem with modchips. People still buy the games, and no one really loses out at all. If you like screwing over your customers, I guess this is a surefire way to go....

bah (4, Insightful)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762480)

Once I buy something, it's mine. Oh wait! So not true anymore; now I don't buy, I *lease* under whatever terms my corporate and government masters deign to grant me. God forbid that I should actually *own* something to be used in whatever fashion I see fit. Oh no, I'm just a consumer peon, I can't possibly be allowed such a right!


When is a PS2 no longer a PS2? (1)

ktorn (586456) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762488)

This ruling makes sense when it comes to making a profit out of selling these chips, but that's about it.

Surely there isn't any law preventing me from just dropping my PS2 on the floor and break it to pieces. If I break it enough it is no longer a PS2, but rather a bunch of broken bits of plastic and electronic components.

So there's nothing stopping one from breaking apart a PS2 in a 'controlled' way, until it no longer is a PS2. Then you have a bunch of electronic bits, which you can modify at will.
The fact that you modify it so that you can play a range of games is up to you. You're not breaking the law, as you didn't mod a PS2.

It's not *that* new (1)

lasindi (770329) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762508)

It's like saying you can't modify your car or your house or your clothes! Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

It sounds like the submitter is quite astonished that someone would do something like this. Really, it's no different from a proprietary license that says you can't modify, reverse engineer, decompile, or try to get the source code in any way. The way that this is different is that people didn't know before that it was illegal. Now they do. So from now on, someone who clicks "I Agree [not to do anything with my proprietary software]" shouldn't be at all surprised or insulted about this if they choose to buy a PS2.

But we know what the answer to proprietary software was; the rise of GNU/Linux and other free software. Perhaps we'll see a free gaming console emerge (how about GNU Cube?) in the future?

What's funny... (1)

brufleth (534234) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762522)

is that the easiest way to play pirated games on a PS2 doesn't require a modchip but is done by inserting a real game and then using a device to trick it into thinking it's playing that game while you switch in a new (pirated) one. I do beleive the device involved is purely mechanical.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9762525)

There are plenty of modifications you can make to your car that will get your pulled over and fined heavily. Some major home modifications could also lead to hefty government fines, and more trivial modifications can get you into trouble with your neighborhood association.

There's plenty of precedent for the government regulating what you can do with your own property. I think regulating mod chips is stupid, but the problem is with a badly-conceived law, and not with the UK high court suddenly granting itself new powers, as the poster seemed to be implying.

not surprising (2, Insightful)

EZmagz (538905) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762544)

Granted I didn't RTFA, but just reading the headline I'm not surprised. The funny thing (to me, at least) is that YES, a mod chip will allow you to technically play copied games, who really cares? What percentage of the general population has a modded PS2 or XBox? Definitely a small, small minority. Of all people I know who have consoles (from little kids to grandparents), I can only think of one or two people who have modded thier equipment.

If so few people do it, why does the government care? Because big companies put big pressure on the gov't to make sure nothing inteferes with their buisness model. And if that means squashing a 1% minority group who decided to make changes to their PS2 or XBox THAT THEY'RE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO DO UNDER FAIR USE, then so be it. "Fuck 'em", the company says. It's their way or the highway.

rev limiter (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 9 years ago | (#9762549)

Would Ford sue you for removing the rev limiter from your Focus?

Yes, if removing the rev limiter allowed you to distributed an unlimited number of duplicates of your Focus.

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