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Australian Federal Court Overturns Legal Modchip Sales 177

Posted by timothy
from the in-their-infinite-wisdom dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, the Australian Federal Court overruled the previous ruling on modchips in Australia. I am pretty sure the overruled case is the mainstay for the 'legal' use of modchips in Australia (predominantly Linux on the Xbox). Haven't seen this hit the media yet, with the exception of the Australian Financial Review referring to it in the Free Trade Agreement context. The ruling can be found here. Although not a lawyer, it appears the original judgement was made on the basis that Sony did not provide a copy protection system. Also noted is that there is limited commercial use for the mod other than circumvention. Wonder what will happen to modchips for the Xbox, given that it can be argued that running Linux could easily be seen as commercial."

Reader silne adds "According to the article in The Australian's IT section, it's not illegal to possess or use a mod chip, just illegal to sell them. Looks like another win for Sony. Hopefully the ACCC is going to appeal this one." Bigthecat supplies a link to coverage at news.com.au, as well.

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Australian Federal Court Overturns Legal Modchip Sales

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  • I doubt Aussie police are going to be kicking down some gamers door becouse they have a mod chip and are running Linux on there X box.
    • by halowolf (692775) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:21AM (#6578057)

      Well it won't actually take much for the Australian Police to find them. Some people at a place I used to work ordered XBox mod chips from overseas, and before they were allowed to receive them through customs they had to give their name, residential address and I think drivers license number to ensure that they as recipients were properly identified.

      At the time however it wasn't clear as to why this information was needed, other than the fact that they ordered mod chips of course. At the time they did this mod chips were considered legal.

      I hope the ACCC in Australia does something for the Australian people, as we all know that the primary purpose of the "security" of consoles is to provide for the construction of artificial markets to decrease competition and raise prices for consumers and revenue for the companies that manufacture them.

      The thing that that hacks me off, is that console makers bundle the region encoding along with their security. Region encoding has nothing to do with security and everything to do with creating false markets which is something that should not be tolerated. Its about high time that the manufactures of these devices were forced to abandon region encoding all together so that consumers have the choice of what to purchase and where. The same goes for DVDs.

      I will of course freely admit that most peoples use of mod chips however is for piracy which is not an act that I condone or participate in. I would be more than happy to have a console with strong security and no region locking. Its high time that these companies realise thats whats good for consumers is good for them. Stuffing consumers around will only hurt these companies in the long run.

      Rant over

      • by csteinle (68146) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @05:48AM (#6578255) Homepage
        What really infuriates me is that a lot of the companies that create these false markets (which allow them to charge the highest price a particular area, rather than the global market, can reasonably sustain) are often the same ones that are right now shipping as many jobs as possible "overseas". So they can take advantage of cheaper markets, but we can't.
      • by sholden (12227) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @07:13AM (#6578456) Homepage
        The ruling doesn't make owning mod chips illegal, it makes selling them illegal.

        Of course in this specific case they guy was selling copied games as well as mod chips. If he would have just sold mod chips and not sold the obviously illegal games things might have turned out different. The circumstances show his intent.

        Of course with the Australian legal system he now gets to pay Sony's costs (and QCs don't come cheap). And of course then there's damages, but that comes later (and of course there's still room for appeal to the High Court - but losing there would further increase costs).

        Oh well, I'll have to stick to PC games and skip on the PS2...

    • by quinkin (601839)
      It's more about catching local stores stocking the modchips, than persecuting end users.

      Q.

  • by darnok (650458) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:05AM (#6578007)
    They've got a new boss, Graeme Samuel, who is widely perceived as more business-friendly. If mod chips are truly going to be banned, this might be an interesting indicator of whether the ACCC is about to become less of a public enforcer of individuals' rights than before.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was willing to apply for Aussie citizenship until this. Now, as far as this potential migrant Yank is concerned; I'm fraggin' goin' home. G'luck Sydneysiders.
  • MOD chips on the playstation were only good for circumvention. Sony itself released a linux pack for the PS/2, so running linux is definitely not an argument.

    The PS and PS/2 modchips basically allow pirated game discs to be played, without any other real use. The XBox case might be handled differently.
    • MOD chips on the playstation were only good for circumvention. Sony itself released a linux pack for the PS/2, so running linux is definitely not an argument.

      The PS and PS/2 modchips basically allow pirated game discs to be played, without any other real use. The XBox case might be handled differently.



      Wasn't DVD region coding an issue? I seem to remember that being the ACCs argument for the mod chips around the time of the original decision.
    • without any other real use.

      I'm not much of a gamer anymore, but don't they also allow one to play games not released in the region of his console? I think I wound up with about as many Japanese games as American for my Dreamcast, and easily more for the saturn before that. I'll agree that playing games from outside the intended area is still circumvention of the region lockouts, but I wouldn't place it anywhere near the same area as piracy.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Which is all good and fine. I agree with stopping pirates and illegally copied games.

      However, I have two reasons why I want modchips to be legal (or at the very least region-locking of PS2's to be gone).

      I currently live and work in Japan. I have been buying lots of japanese PS2 games while here. Next year I will return to Australia.

      1) A lot of these games have not and never will be released in Australia, because the games market is so much smaller than in Japan. The only way around this is to own a japan
    • PS(2) games are also region coded and you need a modchip to play back US or Japan games on a australian PS(2). Many games are never released in PAL regions and many gamers there got modchips to play US games because they are released much sooner and are usually better. (bad ntsc->pal conversation, borders, wrong speed etc.)
      Using regioncoding they can still sell shitty outdated, overpriced games in Europe and Australia.
    • "MOD chips on the playstation were only good for circumvention."

      In the USA there are many legal uses for circumvention--playing backups is one of them.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @06:18AM (#6578325) Homepage Journal
      "MOD chips on the playstation were only good for circumvention. Sony itself released a linux pack for the PS/2, so running linux is definitely not an argument."

      I'm not a big fan of current modding efforts because they're negative-ruling-bait. However, I must argue with this point. Sony's release of the Linux pack for the PS2 is certainly not the end of that argument. It is limited, you cannot distribute Linux apps to other PS2 owners unless they have the $200 kit as well. Worse, you have limited access to the hardware.

      What's really hurting the MOD development for the PS2 is that there really isn't a whole lot of reason to do it. Play any region DVD? Well the law's not going to side with that. Play MAME? Nope, law's not going to side with that either. Play MP3s or DivX videos? That area's a bit gray, but there's the issue of how those Mp3s or DivX vids are acquired.

      I agree with your first point, but the second one is probably what earned ya the troll rating. Pity the dude with the mod point didn't just respond, its not like you were out to be a jerk. There's a difference between trolling and having an unpopular opinion.
      • Why is the law not going to side with playing any region DVD's?

        The ACCC in Australia has already deemed that region encoding is against the Australian Trade Practices Act. This ruling doesn't change that.

        I can still argue that a region encoding mod "ONLY" is legal I believe.
    • Yet another case of obscurity through moderation. This guy's got it nailed!

      From the headline: "Wonder what will happen to modchips for the Xbox, given that it can be argued that running Linux could easily be seen as commercial."

      Someone explain that little pearl to me. Either the submitter doesn't know what 'commercial' means, or is simply making a huge stretch to justify X-Box mod chips.

      The fact remains that while there will always be a few hobbyists who actually do use these things to run Linux on

    • No one shall dictate under what terms I use hardware that I have bought. Illegal or not, it's my stuff. I use it as I see fit or don't sell it to me.

      A console is essentially a computer. These days very much so. There are tons of uses for computers and the fact that I bought it makes it mine and I use it to satisfy my needs. This is no different from buying any other stuff. Gadgets gets used for things not intended by the manufacturer even though most people use there consoles to play games on.

      Who cares a
    • The PS and PS/2 modchips basically allow pirated game discs to be played, without any other real use. The XBox case might be handled differently.

      Actually, there was a perfectly-legal, totally-legitimate use. Namely, the ability to play imported games from another region, where that game might not have been released in your own area. Many anime fans ended up doing this, because most anime-based video games never make it to the US, so this is the only way to play Japanese games.

      Indeed, there were some modc
    • MOD chips on the playstation were only good for circumvention.
      Could you be any more banal?

      Circumvention of region encoding for DVD and games. And why should I not have the right to play backed up copies of games? They tend to get damaged quite easily when you have friends around for beer and video games.

      And the playstation linux kit at $AU 500 is a rip off. I wish I'd just bought an XBox as I could happily run linux on it now. So I'm selling the PS2 on ebay.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:09AM (#6578021)
    ..that i should be allowed to create, buy and sell any tool i want, even if that tool can be used for illegal purposes. If the people buying the tool from me use them for illegal purposes, that's illegal, but THEY are the ones who committed the illegal act.

    Everyone tells me that this is a bizarre, extremist, stupid idea, and would never work.

    Unless the tools being described are weapons designed to kill people. In that case, having a right to make, buy, and sell these things even if they're going to be used for illegal purposes seems unquestionable, and it's extremist and stupid to state otherwise.

    Of course you don't have a right to bear arms in Australia, right? But still I wonder if you'd get help from gun advocacy groups in Australia and told them about the plight of modchippers, and explained to them that modchippers and gun owners have common problems. I doubt it.
    • Why should we allow tools that have no possible legal use? Surely this can only be considered Aidin and abetting. Just because you don't know what the crime is doesn't mean that you don't know that someone is planning to commit a crime.
      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @05:04AM (#6578148) Homepage

        > Why should we allow tools that have no possible legal use?

        It's illegal to write your own software for PS2?

        Argue that you can't find anybody doing it, but as they can't do it legally, is that really surprising?

        • I have no problem with modchips. They do have potential legal uses. Playing imported games is one of the more common ones. It's just that the grandparent suggested that anything - whether it has legal uses or not - should be legal to sell.
        • Except, of course, by using the reasonably priced PS2 Linux kit, available from Sony. They've always been pretty good about this sort of thing compared to the other manufacturers.
        • Which you can get for a huge amount of cash, or you can buy their start home dev kit for around $450 which in turn comes with a license to code PS2 software but not sell it. Simply modding your PS2 and coding for it is illegal in the eyes of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. You need licenses.
          • > Simply modding your PS2 and coding for it is illegal in the eyes of Sony,
            > Nintendo, and Microsoft. You need licenses.

            Fortunatly in the US, this doesnt matter for most of those companys.
            Due to first sale laws on the hardware, you can do anything you want with it and any part of it that is not under copyright.

            And even the parts under copyright you can do alot with, you just cant distribute them. So claiming a BIOS is copyrighted is fine, you just cant give out the BIOS code. You can still USE it
      • by Sloppy (14984) *
        Why should we allow tools that have no possible legal use?
        Because whenever someone says a tool has no legal use, they're always wrong.
    • How about we start to manufacture modchips that can be used as hand grenades. Maybe what you had ment in your example was guns... in which case someone should work out a design for a small handgun.
    • Ok... that is a bizarre, extremist, stupid idea, that would never work! :)

      You really have to look at it from a realistic point of view. You have to look at the most predominate or intended use of an item before you can regulate it. However, for a product that is primarily intended for an illegal use, I do believe that it should be illegal to sell it.

      Hows this for an example? An automated lockpick ( they exist ), the randomly goes through tumblers until your lock is open. What is the primary purpose
      • First off, at least in the US... running homebrew software on an XBox, technically *is* illegal.
        What law prohibits this?
        • The DMCA for one, the EULA most likely as another. Granted, the EULA is not directly a law and often arent legally (completely) enforcable, but you are definatly in violation of the EULA creating homebrew software. I suppose I should have said "creating" as oppossed to "running", although I believe both are equally applicable.

          From DMCA

          '' 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems ''(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES.--(1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technolo
  • by Joel Carr (693662) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:11AM (#6578025)
    I find this very disappointing given that third party tying is well and truely illegal here in Australia, and mod chips allow consumers to regain the rights console makers have been trying to take away from them.

    Essentially a mod chip allows a consumer to run whatever they like on the hardware they bought, not only what company X says they can.

    The problem is that company X has total control over what can be run on the hardware without mod chips. This means they can sell a product and then say you can only run a select list of programs on the hardware from companies as dictated by them. This is third party tying, and this is illegal in Australia.

    In short, mod chips return to Australian consumers the rights they're entitled to under Australian law. This rulling removes them again.
    • Two comments:
      • Buy a GameCube and Freeloader -- region free, no hardware modification
      • Sony make available a Linux Kit for the PS2, which allows you to do almost anything with your PS2. It's hard to argue that they're specifically restricting anything execpt illegal copying

      Perhaps I'd be more upset with the decision if I wasn't so fed up with the only PSX and PS2 games I find at swapmeets being pirated. It's hard to feel that Sony are just price gouging when one guy at one swapmeet is selling 300+ games at A

      • Sony make available a Linux Kit for the PS2, which allows you to do almost anything with your PS2.

        Admitingly I lost interest in their kit quite a while back, but I was under the impression that you were quite limited with what you could do with it. You can't even access the DVD drive, can you? Is it actually possible to use it to play games from a region outside the intended area? Heck, I might have to re-evaluate what it would be worth to me if it'd be an easy way to both play around with Linux on it and
        • From the FAQ [playstation2-linux.com]:

          Can I read my own CD-R discs using Linux (for PlayStation 2) ?
          No. The PlayStation 2 is designed not to read CD-R "gold" discs. Only PlayStation CD-ROM and PlayStation 2 CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs are compatible.

          However, I got my Asus DVD-ROM/CDr/CDRW USB 2.0 drive working pretty easily.

          But if you're particuarly after remakes of old games, there's probably an emulator you can compile on the PS2 to play the original ROM. I haven't gotten around to Stella yet mostly because I own a Cuttle Cart

      • by bakes (87194)
        Sony make available a Linux Kit for the PS2, which allows you to do almost anything with your PS2. It's hard to argue that they're specifically restricting anything execpt illegal copying

        Except for the region coding factor. If I buy LEGAL games from overseas, either by visiting those countries or by mail order, I cannot play them. This reduces consumer choice, and is exactly why the ACCC were interested in this case.

        The ACCC kicked up a fuss about DVD region coding some time back, now pretty much any D
      • Cool, so if I get the Linux kit I can stock up on American PS2 games! Fantastic.

        (Note, I'm a Brit, and I wish I wish I wish that we had judges and laws that would give us some of this stuff over here. Maybe I should write to my MP)
        • Cool, so if I get the Linux kit I can stock up on American PS2 games! Fantastic.

          Hmm, my browser isn't showing a sarcasm tag, so I'm not sure if you're having a go at me. No, the Linux kit won't let you play out-of-region PS2 games. However, I did download and compile Moria which I was quite happy with :). I haven't gotten around to installing Stella yet. My MP3 collection is on the hard drive and xmms is installed. I was remote controlling it with an Xterm varient (VNC) the other weekend.

    • Be serious - I know everyone likes to use the argument that it is for backup purposes, or because they own it, or because nobody should interfere with your rights...

      But deep down everyone realizes the only basis is for pirating games. I know a half dozen people with mod-chips, and they only did it for games... Maybe there is the odd honest person out there - but I bet that 99% of people just want to pirate.

      Just because there is the odd person who would make a legal use of it, does not justify allowing the
      • Just because there is the odd person who would make a legal use of it, does not justify allowing the horde to do so. Think about gun restrictions, and various similar limitations.

        Yes, think about gun restrictions. For most lethal firearms, the majority of people in America are welcome to get a minimal background check and then buy said firearm. Of course, if the weapon they wish to buy can take out a city block in half a second, it's significantly less likely that they can get it. On the other hand, in mo
  • also at theregister: (Score:5, Informative)

    by spiny (87740) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:15AM (#6578039) Homepage Journal
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/32088.html

    some content in this one this time too :)
  • Ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Matrix2110 (190829) * on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:16AM (#6578042) Journal
    Very ironic that the big companys wish to deny us new open hardware and at the same time ramming DRM into legacy hardware. Ala media player 9 (Plan 9?) I would normally be a lot more concerned, however since Microsoft is set to embrace and extend this new field of DRM, I am not worried.

    Go to Google and try to find a method for saving a Quicktime video stream. It can be done but you have to be persistant. Now try the same thing with Media Player... Google goes nuts showing you freeware up the wazzo to do just this very thing.

    I am not worried.

  • by bakes (87194) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:17AM (#6578047) Journal
    I read about the ruling this morning in 'The West Australian' (newspaper).

    Online link here [thewest.com.au].
  • So what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rasteri (634956) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:19AM (#6578053) Journal
    You don't really NEED a modchip these days anyway. Solder a couple of points on the motherboard (MUCH easier than soldering in a modchip) and use the 007/Mechassault/Whatever hack to flash the TSOP. Worked for me, worked for my friends, worked for (probably) hundreds of other people.
    • Except that wouldn't work on a sony console now, would it?

      And in that case you still need a way to get the buffer-overflow files on your xbox - which requires a mega x-key (read: circumvention device) or some jiggery-pokery swapping IDE cables around while your hard drive is on.
      • If they want to believe in all this jiggery-pokery raising the ghoulies rot, well... why not let them?
      • Except that wouldn't work on a sony console now, would it?

        True, true... but I was referring to the part in the article where it speculates on what this would mean for the Xbox. Sorry, I should have made that more clear.

        And in that case you still need a way to get the buffer-overflow files on your xbox - which requires a mega x-key (read: circumvention device) or some jiggery-pokery swapping IDE cables around while your hard drive is on.

        The mega x-key isn't a circumvention device, it has FAR more legal
        • The mega x-key is as much a circumvention device as a modchip if you are basing your judgement on the number of legal/illegal uses. Although it now appears that there's an msx-box version of action replay which is basically a usb->memory card adapter, so you could use that rather than the mega x-key.

          Something about swapping the IDE cables while the drive is running scares me though, and the soldering isn't really very difficult. Although as you say, soldering the bridge and flashing the tsop is much sim
      • It either requires a 3rd party memory card with a PC uplink connector, or knowing someone with a hacked Xbox who can put the save game on a normal memory card for you. So if you live in a big city you can just swap memory cards at a meeting. Tutorials Here [xbox-scene.com].
      • You're right, it wouldn't work for a PLaystation. On the otherhand, Sony offers a Linux package that comes with a keyboard that works with the Playstation, no modchips necessary. I'm always amazed at the lengths people will go to to protect their ability to violate copyright law and make excuses for why their particular violation is not really illegal.
    • Does this allow xbox media player?
  • Case opens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:41AM (#6578100) Homepage

    Two years ago Mr Eddy Stevens sold unauthorised copies of computer games on CD-ROMs for use on Sony PlayStations. He also supplied and installed modifying chips in PlayStation consoles

    Case closed. We really need to find better cause celebres rather than letting rights owners pick the fights.

  • Several Issues (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fven (688358)
    The ruling seems to indicate that not only are modchips illegal, but software solutions that allow playing of ah.. unauthorised discs are also illegal.

    In Australia it is illegal for vendors to 'lock' products with products from third parties.
    This ruling seems to side with the manufacturers without addressing any of their failings. There is possibly wrongdoing on both sides here (ie offering a product for sale that does not comply with these 'third party lock in' laws)

    With respect to the 'could reasonably
    • IANAAussieL, but what does the non-commercial nature of modchips have to do anything? In what bizarre corporate wet dream is it illegal to do something for fun, but legal to do it for money?
  • only allows linux to be used and doesnt allow any pirated games to be played (i.e. it would be pre-flashed with a linux bios image that had no (C) microsoft code in it)

    Also, it could be built to boot bootable cdroms (such as a sutably modified knoppix disk or something), so that you could e.g. modify the installer for a sutable linux distro and make a set of ISOs ready to install that would give you e.g. red hat or mandrake or whatever with sutable mods for xbox and xbox h/w

    Since the digital signature on
    • only allows linux to be used and doesnt allow any pirated games to be played (i.e. it would be pre-flashed with a linux bios image that had no (C) microsoft code in it)

      Hibana over at Aussie Chip [aussiechip.com.au] claim that they have. From their website:

      "The AussieChip DualMod modchip cannot in fact be used to play unauthorised copies of XBox games. The legal Cromwell BIOS that we ship pre-programmed onto the chip can only be used to run Linux."

      However they have suspended [smh.com.au] the sale of their modchips while legal advic

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:48AM (#6578113)
    The Australian game publishers are terrified of trying to keep up with the frantic schedule of one or two games per year seen in Linux gaming.
  • FTA = Bend Over (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quinkin (601839) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @04:56AM (#6578130)
    A bit OffTopic, but I have to vent my feelings.

    "Free Trade" - what a misnomer.

    Australia already has 0-5% tariffs on nearly all imports - the real sticking points here are removing PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), removing australian TV content restrictions, full privitisation of Telstra (the now half state owned telecommunications giant), removing distilled liquor duty, relaxing food labelling laws, relaxing quarantine restrictions, and basically anything else that a major American lobby group objects to...

    So basically - we have to remove all of the things that Australians believe in and have spent many decades nurturing - for a marginal at best gain...

    Let us hope negotiations progress...

    Btw, I'm not anti-american, I would feel the same way if any other country tried to dictate australian domestic policy.

    Q.

    • Re:FTA = Bend Over (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Qrlx (258924)
      I love how these capitalists love to push schemes like privatisation of drinking water, even though none of them would ever live in a country with a privatised water suppply.

      Here in America, we've got NAFTA, and it's not much better. Well, it's better than being in Iraq, but I swear, Democracy is flourishing at home, too!
      • capitalists love to push schemes like privatisation of drinking water

        so then you'd be happy to learn that the American Capitalists are lobbying very hard for Canada to Privatize its water supply, thus forcing a continuous supply for Americans, based on the NAFTA agreement....(Canada would be forced to sell water, no matter the circumstance)

        bloody politicians in America....if i had my way, i tell them all to go fsck their hard drives.
    • Re:FTA = Bend Over (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jquirke (473496)
      I couldn't care less about the Australian TV content restrictions. If it means less bloody backyard/renovation shows, than so be it. Let's face it - that's all Australia can afford to put on TV anyway.
      • Actually, I read an article on the backyard/renovations show boom...once a year, the major networks head over to the U.S. to see all the upcoming shows etc, and make bids on them. A few years back (when all the backyard stuff began), they went over there and there was nothing but crap for sale. There was just nothing worth buying...so the execs came back and had nothing for the year and had to think quickly...they needed something that cost bugger all to make, but filled the slots...so they started experi
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 73939133 (676561) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @05:15AM (#6578172)
    It's bad enough that companies are simultaneously claiming copyright protection under the law while trying to make their content uncopyable even for fair use; companies should have to choose between enjoying copyright protection or employing copy protection. Copyright law loses its meaning and purpose if the content being copyrighted never has a prayer of making it into the public domain.

    But this ruling goes even further: in addition to copyright protection, the legal system is now also being burdened, at taxpayer expense, with prosecuting people who circumvent copy protection. If Microsoft or Sony can't figure out how to make their boxes unmoddable (it's not that hard technically), why should the taxpayer pick up the tab for their incompetence? And, no, it's not just Australia: of course, this nonsense is even more widespread in the US.
    • I couldn't agree more. In seems to me, at least in the US, that Copy protection is unenforcable. After all, if the copy protection being implemented doesn't automatically expire when its designated to, then it's effectively permanent. The constitution still states its a limited monopoly. If the disk is permenantly locked down, how is that limited?! Sure the disk will be unusable in a hundred years or so when the copyright eventually expire, but that's a moot point. Heh, that point in of itself should illust
    • Books are pretty much uncopyable before Xerox machines are available (hand-copying does not count, since many copy-protected things actually can be copied without using outlawed equipments if you are willing to spend as much time as hand-copying), yet it seems natural that they are copyrightable if anything else is.

      IMHO the only way out is still removing all legal protection to copy protection.

    • Notice you did not see companys doing this before the DMCA?
      There is an unfortunate reason.

      Under normal copyright law pre-DMCA, if you copyrighted a work, and did something that prevents it from EVER hitting the public domain as they are now doing, i DO have a legal right to break that copy protection.
      If you got sued for ensuring the company followed the law (honored their copyright aggreement) you could counter sue, which i even believe has happened before, and why companys stopped doing it.

      Unfortunatly w
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i don't get it. i bought the damn thing. if i want to i can just trow the damn XBox out the window! i bought it, it's mine! if i want to remove the chip, ram what ever it's up to me! it's MINE!

    it's like buying a calculator and then the law forbids me to use it to calculate how much plutonium i will need to reach critical mass!!! damn!
  • IANAL (though I *am* an Aussie) but... does the Federal Court have the power to make laws concerning civil matters?

    I would have thought the whole mod chip thing was a civil issue, not criminal when you're talking copyright infringement

    Oh, wait... we're only talking potential copyright infringement aren't we?

    It's legal for me to own a firearm (if properly licensed & registered) until such time as I actually commit a criminal offence with it. Surely I should be able to buy a mod chip for my Sony or wh

  • Good news for Australia. At least when you buy a console you can do whatever you want with it. The way it should be.
  • Game Backups (Score:4, Interesting)

    by henele (574362) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @06:20AM (#6578332) Homepage
    If you ring up Microsoft's European Customer Support and ask for a replacement (even at a fee) for a damaged disk of a game they publish, you are told flately 'no' (in three different examples I know of).

    Since then I haven't bought any of their games, and I'd also strongly argue the case for me to backup the ones I do.
  • Also noted is that there is limited commercial use for the mod other than circumvention.

    Making the chips illegal to sell strikes me as a pretty good method for making sure it stays that way.

  • Looks like Microsoft might have a case against the modchip maker who released their specs for their modchip on the Net, now. Even if MS follows the clickable lisence that states any and all legal action must go through Queensland, Australian court systems, MS may have a chance.

    Pity, really, as it would have been fun to watch MS squirm under a clickable lisence, or try and say the clickable lisence was invalid (thus them saying all clickable lisences are invalid, even their own).

    Oh well.

    Thursdae
    up to

  • Would the modchip view be changed if the PS/2 was successfully argued to be a full fledged computer? IANAL, and have no idea what the legality of this might bring; but I'm pretty sure Dell doesn't have the right to limit what software you run...
  • From the slashdot story:

    > "with the exception of the Australian Financial Review referring to it in the Free Trade Agreement context"

    and from the artcle:

    > '"That remains something of a weakness in local copyright laws in that they focus on the supply of the devices rather than their use," Mr Williams said.'

    Put the two together and you have a push, using the looming US 'free' trade agreement as a cover, to outlaw the private non-commercial use of various technologies in Australia.

    NOW IS TH

  • What about people who do homebrew console programs? I'm a commercial game developer, and I've modded my console solely for the purpose of enabling me to take my work home.

    The problem with these DMCA-ish rulings is that even if mod-chips are substantially used for copyright violations, when you ban them, you screw all of the people who use them for legitimate use.

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)

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