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California Student Arrested For Console Hacking 1016

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-your-stay-at-pelican-bay dept.
jhoger writes "Matthew Crippen was arrested yesterday for hacking game consoles (for profit) in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He was released on a $5,000 bond, but faces up to 10 years in prison. This is terribly disturbing to me; a man could lose 10 years of his freedom for providing the service of altering hardware. He could well lose much of his freedom for providing a modicum of it to others. There is no piracy going on, necessarily — the games a modified console could run may simply not be signed by the vendor. It's much like jailbreaking an iPhone. But it seems because he is disabling a 'circumvention device' it is a criminal issue. Guess it's time to kick a few dollars over to the EFF."
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California Student Arrested For Console Hacking

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  • by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:45AM (#28940995) Homepage

    oh right, they're just "doing their job"

  • Apphrended by ICE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:47AM (#28941031)

    The DHS wants you to think of them like this: http://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm [dhs.gov]

    But this is what they really are: http://www.ice.gov/ [ice.gov]

    No quarter to tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

  • Justice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kamokazi (1080091) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:48AM (#28941033)
    And hundreds, if not thousands, of violent crime offenders go without jail time every week. I love a functining legal system.
  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:49AM (#28941049)
    It's terrifying to me (and a sign of the times) that we can't do what we please with the material we've paid for. Sure, violating copyright is counter productive in the long-run, which is why we have it, but tinkering with stuff has a long proud history. Imagine if the guy who invented pneumatic tyres was taken to court because it violated the bicycle company's right to sell him replacement solid rubber rims? I doubt this guy was doing anything innovating, but he sure won't be doing so now.
  • by mcfatboy93 (1363705) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:49AM (#28941053) Homepage

    more like he was jailbreaking an Iphone for idiots who don't know how to do it but they just want it done. so they pay this guy to do it for them.

  • US of A (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Krneki (1192201) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:49AM (#28941059)
    The land of the free. On less Trollish note, it's time you do something about this corporation laws, I can't understand how the freedom of a business comes before the freedom of the people.
  • Organized crime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:49AM (#28941065) Journal

    This is behavior you'd expect from the Mafia. It just underscores the fact that there's not much difference between our government and an organized crime syndicate.

  • by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:50AM (#28941071) Homepage Journal

    Industry and trade associations estimate that counterfeiting and piracy now cost the U.S. economy as much as $250 billion a year and a total of 750,000 American jobs.

    I mean, aside from being pulled out of thin air that is?

  • by Vovk (1350125) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:50AM (#28941075)
    And Now they expect you to only lease hardware as well?

    If he owns an xbox he should be able to do whatever he damn well pleases to the xbox, it is the same as any other computer. It's fair for the company (microsoft/sony/nintendo) to make it so that their games will not work on a hacked system, they shouldn't have to guarantee the games will work unless you use their specifications, but it's not fair to take him to jail even if the modifications allow him to use unsigned software. hell, I build computers that have the capability to play pirated games all the time. How is this different?

    PS: in before RTFA, he's modifying consoles for financial gain, how is this different from building a computer for financial gain?
  • Parity? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crazy Man on Fire (153457) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:52AM (#28941105) Homepage

    This is insane. This kid is looking at 10 years for modifying hardware while another story linked right at the bottom of the same article describes a cop getting a one day suspension (with pay) for running down a child with his car [nbcdfw.com]

  • Re:Scary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hubbell (850646) <brianhubbellii@li[ ]com ['ve.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:52AM (#28941107)
    The only reason to mod a console for MOST people, not the nerds on /., is to play pirated games. The summary and your post are both misleading and naive.
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:53AM (#28941127)
    Ok, I'm going to say something that I'm certain will be enormously unpopular here - what he was doing is a crime and he almost certainly knew it was. Sorry. He got caught breaking the law.

    Now, should it be a crime? Should it be a crime with a possible 10 year penalty? Should law enforcement resources be wasted on inane garbage like this while there are real, serious criminals out there that are still walking free? I think the answers to all those questions are obvious (at least I hope they are...) but the reality is what he was doing is a crime and thus he broke the law. I would hope people will be sufficiently bothered by this situation (and the ten year sentence for something so insignificant while people who commit violent crimes get much less time...) that they will be motivated to write their government and demand a change. If enough people raise their voice, maybe, just maybe, the government will pay attention. As it is, the only voice they hear are those of lobbyist for major media companies who want laws like this on the books. They got their way and now this guy is (presumably) guilty of something that shouldn't be a crime, but currently is...
  • Re:Not-for-profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:53AM (#28941139) Homepage

    This is most likely a student helping his friends

    Uh huh. Let's not bother to read the article, shall we?

    The charges against Crippen stem from an ICE investigation initiated late last year [...] agents executed a federal search warrant at Crippen's home, where they seized more than a dozen Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony video game consoles.

    Look, the sentence this guy is facing is ridiculous and the law needs changing, but we don't have to pretend that he's just some nerd modding a console or two for his homies.

  • H&SW (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#28941159)

    "they [Piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations] can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers"
    Robert Schoch, ICE/DHS (from the article/link)

    health and safety risk!?

    wait, what - piracy/counterfeiting poses a health/safety risk because the ps3 game they buy is safe for them? then whats with all the warnings?
    nintendo has warnings, playstation has warnings, xbox has warnings. not to mention the ratings for games being "safe" (laughs) for certain age ranges/restrictions.

    what about the RF radiation from electronics?
    the RF radiation from most consoles these days (wifi, bluetooth controllers, etc)?

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#28941177) Journal

    From the article

    Counterfeiting and piracy have grown in recent years in both magnitude and complexity, according to ICE.

    That's nice. Now how is that connected to the "crime" of modding a console? How is what he did connected to piracy other than the strained connection that modding consoles inevitably leads to piracy which he should be held responsible for? Even if you buy that, how is any of it inolved with "counterfeiting"? No one is stamping out illegal copies of games to be sold as the real thing here. Wrong issue entirely.

    Some estimates indicate that 5 percent to 8 percent of all the goods and merchandise sold worldwide are counterfeit.

    Again, a completely irrelevant fact mentioned only for the purpose of trying to connect his "crime" to a larger and more obviously illegal sounding one.

    I wish mainstream news outlets would hire people to do research and write informed articles, because the alternative seems to be just parroting whatever the alphabet soup of government agencies tells them about the issue. Though, I guess now I know to watch out for those counterfeit modded game consoles.

  • by Vovk (1350125) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#28941185)
    that's my point. It shouldn't be illegal to mod an xbox, it's just a computer which has been built with the hardware and software required to run xbox games. It should be treated just like any other computer
  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#28941189) Homepage

    >> âoePiracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers,â he said.

    Health and Safety risks? Give me a f*&%ing break... at least with regards to Intellectual Property. Sure, counterfeit aircraft replacement parts pose a real safety problem (and it's a real problem... go after that one, guys!), but copying videogames?

    If the guy was overtly doing this to enable the use of pirated games, then sure, he's guilty. But if the majority of his work is to enable homebrew or emulation software, they should set him free and give him a pat on the back. I lose all sympathy for the copyright holders when they try to use FUD about "Health and Safety" to prop up their failing business model.

    MadCow.

  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:56AM (#28941197) Homepage

    Would you be "disturbed" if someone went to jail for modifying odometers on automobiles?

    Both are examples of modifiying hardware in an effort to cheat someone, and both are against the law.

    You don't want to go to jail? Don't break criminal laws.
    And especially don't make a full-time business out of breaking the law..

    The 10 years is simply the maximum sentence.
    If he has no prior convictions, he will likely be sentenced to something substantially less.

  • Apphrended by DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:56AM (#28941199)

    I'm sure glad that the Homeland is secure from this miscreant.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:56AM (#28941203) Homepage

    They probably are proud, since the particular cops in this case - "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents"- are doing their job.

    If you have some snide comments to make, they would be better directed at the elected officials that created their posts, not the grunts on the ground.

  • Troubling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:57AM (#28941207) Homepage

    Joe Public will read this story and think "so what, some kid who helped destroy game company profits got his comeuppance," but the technically astute on this site will notice that this law, while currently applied to a trivial domain like game consoles, will be affecting the whole computer industry for years to come. The iPhone, like most game consoles, has a mechanism to prevent unsigned code from running. It is protected by the DMCA. The Kindle from Amazon is probably protected by the DMCA.

    Your legal ability to do what you want, with the hardware you own, is slowly being eroded by new hardware with DRM baked in, and lawsuits like the one in the article. The issue is about personal freedom as much as it's about piracy.

  • Re:Scary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:57AM (#28941209)

    The only reason most people own guns is to kill stuff. Only the naive would have you think that it was for deterrent purposes.

    Therefore since guns are mostly used for anti-social, anti-economic development purposes we should criminalize the making, possession, use or sale of guns!

    Or maybe there's another interpretation somewhere....

  • by emkyooess (1551693) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:59AM (#28941239)

    No one accepted these arguments of "just doing my job" in the Nuremberg trials -- why should we now? (Sorry, Godwin.)

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:59AM (#28941241)

    ...then people who modified generic PCs to run "unauthorized software" would receive the same sentence.

    Frightening.

  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:02AM (#28941293)
    Yes, they are doing their job. This doesn't exempt them from responsibility for unjust actions, though, anymore than the fact that they were the ones on the ground would exempt those who passed the laws. This is called the Nuremberg defense, and it is increasingly common now as peoples' roles in society become increasingly narrow and more specialized (ie, I just build the bombs, its not my responsibility what happens after that). "Just following orders" or "just doing my job" are not usable defenses. In certain cases they could bring about slight mitigation to the crimes, but certainly not exemption from personal responsibilities.
  • by tuxgeek (872962) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:06AM (#28941361)
    They're also monitoring this forum, soon they will be at your door as well
    Hold on ... gotta go, someone is pounding at my
  • by p1r4t3 (1139441) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:06AM (#28941365) Homepage
    That would be similar to someone putting performance parts on their car and a cop pulling up and arresting them for street racing on the basis that they would be using said modifications to do so. No crime has been committed unless it has become illegal to modify purchased devices and hardware. I know they say he was circumventing parts of the hardware that protect copyrights of games against piracy but I do not see how that is against the law unless it is proven without a doubt that he did so with piracy in mind.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:06AM (#28941371)
    Why can't everyone see that the legal system is slowly being steered to work against the people, to benefit corporate interests? Why isn't it a crime for executives at AIG and other bailed out banks to receive huge bonuses at the expense of tax payers? Why is it a crime for some college kid to hack some game consoles? We're talking about billions vs hundreds of dollars.
  • by tonyreadsnews (1134939) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:07AM (#28941395)
    Why is it illegal, though?
    Car Analogy:
    You can legally mod cars (for financial gain even) to exceed speed limits to the extreme.
  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:07AM (#28941409) Homepage
    This is how law enforcement works: Go after the low hanging fruit, generate press about it, and people think you're doing a great job. Solving major crimes is HARD. Much easier to just round up some petty criminals like pot smokers and "console hackers". That way, you can say you put away so many thousands of criminals this year, and everyone will want to give you a big fat raise and a pat on the back for being "tough on crime". Meanwhile, the really dangerous criminals get to go about their business, and you don't have to worry about doing any actual police work.
  • by Hatta (162192) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:08AM (#28941421) Journal

    Yes, he broke the law and got caught. What's your point? That we shouldn't be outraged? I'm not surprised this happened, but it's still outrageous. Every person involved in the investigation and prosecution of this act, and the passing of the legislation that criminalized it, is complicit in evil. They are far more dangerous than the "criminals" they claim to protect us against.

  • Get involved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:09AM (#28941429) Journal

    I've been involved in a Civil Liberties group that reviews and lobbies legislation for appropriate changes prior to them becoming law, something quite different from the EFF. From my initial conversations organisations like this are in need of people with a technological bent to advise them on the ramifications of technology legislation before it passes into law.

    It's not the first time I've done it and I've found that if you you are polite to the ministers involved they are quite responsive and will listen to what you have to say and if they see your name often enough they will ask you for advice, they asked me. It's interesting to see the changes you suggest actually either make it into law or not make it into law due to your lobbying.

    Thing is, it's not a game. If you don't act then, incrementally, freedoms will be whittled away. If it's not by the lobbying of a special interest group (for example Microsoft with the Xbox) then it will be by a knee jerk reaction to something else that has happened. Once it's passed into law it's very unlikely that it will *ever* be rolled-back.

  • by Hatta (162192) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:13AM (#28941497) Journal

    The grunts on the ground still have a conscience. They are not excused from using it. If they honestly think this is right, their conscience is as defective as any common thug. They deserve a thousand times the scorn they will get.

  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:14AM (#28941501) Homepage
    Once I buy the device, it's mine, and I should be able to do whatever I want with it. If I, say, decide to make a bomb with it and blow something up, you can prosecute me for blowing something up, and for possessing explosive materials, but not for the act of fiddling with the device. Saying most people who do X do so because of Y doesn't mean that doing X should be illegal. People who buy bongs or make pipes out of random household materials do so in order to smoke weed, but buying bongs or fashioning pipes out of weird shit is not illegal. Playing pirated games on any device is and should be illegal. Modifying the device in a way that makes it possible to play pirated games should NOT be illegal.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:14AM (#28941521)
    Would you rather have police interpreting the laws as they see fit and only enforcing the ones they agree with?
  • by Phoenixhawk (1188721) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:18AM (#28941559)

    All too often, they already do...

  • by funkatron (912521) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:21AM (#28941615)

    You don't want to go to jail? Don't break criminal laws.

    You don't want people to break criminal laws? Don't write shit laws.

  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <.ten.suomafni. .ta. .smt.> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:21AM (#28941623) Homepage

    You aren't buying material. You are paying for a license to use the material in a certain way.

    When you buy a game console, does the store have you sign some licensing document? No? Then the "you don't own, you're just licensing" theory is a steaming pile of horseshit.

    These game consoles are the rightful property of their owners, who can rightfully use them in an consensual act, including hiring someone to repair or modify them.

  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:23AM (#28941639) Homepage Journal
    Because there is a HUGE difference between liquefying people and copying someone's game.
  • Re:Hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:24AM (#28941663) Homepage
    The whole tone of your post makes it obvious which side you're on. Shoveling scorn on one side of an argument while proclaiming to be neutral is intellectually dishonest.
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:29AM (#28941749)
    Ten years for hacking consoles? He should have stuck to arson and murder, he'd have gotten less than five.
  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:29AM (#28941753)

    The problem is, that someone will spin that as

    "64% of people were FURIOUS that this nasty little toe-rag was hacking consoles and cheating the companies out of their God-given profits!!!"

    It's now 82% furious, by the way.

  • Re:Hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:29AM (#28941757)

    The summary made some good points, but your reply contributes nothing to the discussion. I'm not sure why you were modded insightful. If you think a discussion on this topic is going to be pointless, why are you here?

  • Re:Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:29AM (#28941763) Journal

    Why can't everyone see that the legal system has historically, with very few exceptions, done nothing but work against the people, to benefit corporate interests? Why isn't it a crime for executives at AIG and other bailed out banks to receive huge bonuses at the expense of tax payers? Why is it a crime for some college kid to hack some game consoles? We're talking about billions vs hundreds of dollars.

    FTFY.

    It works this way because their billions buy Congressmen, while our hundreds pay them rent.

  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:29AM (#28941767) Homepage

    You actually hit it on the head.

    If you go after big gangs and organized crime you end up with dead cops because those guys will defend themselves.

    Cops choose to grab the helpless citizen that is beaking an obscure law that in reality is not harming others or society. It's easier to rough up a unarmed college student, less chance of having a 10gauge with a slug unloaded at your chest.

    Note: if you wear kevlar, a 10gauge to your chest will put you on the ground for at least 30 minutes, thugs with shotguns scare the shit out of cops because their armor does nothing to stop kenetic energy from knocking them over and making it hard to breathe.

    Honestly, cops need to be going after the hard crap that actually harms others and society, and not the harmless crap.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aurisor (932566) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#28941789) Homepage

    I can't comprehend how this should be a *criminal* offense.

    Really? This person is so dangerous we need to lock him in a metal cage for ten years?

    I agree if we allowed people to completely, freely, brazenly enable piracy on a commercial scale, there might be some damage to the production of video games that might hurt us all. Confiscate the guy's hardware, take his profits, and figure out how many consoles he sold, and fine him the cost of, say, two or three video games per console.

    Honestly, it's this kind of batshit-insane loss of all perspective that makes young people hate The Establishment so much. I swear, if prison times reflected actual *physical peril* that someone represents to society and fines represented *actual damages* (plus a slight disincentive (like 10%, not 10,000%)) the relationship between authority and youth in this country would be dramatically different.

  • by Canazza (1428553) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#28941791)

    He wasn't comparing copying games to Nazi war attrocities, he was comparing ARRESTING him to Nazi War attrocities, like this:

    Judge: Why did you shoot 15,000 Jews, Gays and Arabs?
    Nazi Soldier: I was just doing my Job

    Us: Why did you arrest that kid for modding his X-box?
    Govt. Official: I was just doing my job

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:32AM (#28941805)

    Because there is a HUGE difference between liquefying people and copying someone's game.

    The actual comparison would be liquefying people vs. arresting someone for console hacking. It was the perpetrators of the holocaust who were tried at Nuremberg, not its victims.

  • by Anne Honime (828246) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:33AM (#28941819)
    You are sooooooooo wrong. Downloading an iso to replace the original DVD I legally own but innocently scratched is not a violation of the copyright nor of the license. In criminal law, you must prove the intent and the actual criminal facts ; you should never deduce from a neutral fact which outcomes can be both legal and criminal that it is criminal by itself. Of course there are statute laws that criminalize simple facts, because it makes the prosecution job easier, but this is a sloppy job and should not be tolerated in a free society. This type of justice has only be extensively used in red dictatorships like soviet Russia, and it's disheartening to see it invade our 'still not so long ago' free societies.
  • Re:Not-for-profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vectronic (1221470) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:33AM (#28941827)

    Quantity doesn't really mean anything, I've got 6 computers, that doesn't mean that I am selling 5 of them. How many of those "...more than a dozen..." are actually running? or in a closet? covered in 3mm of dust?

    ...Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony video game consoles.

    Well MS hasn't been involved that long, but what if some of the "Nintendo's" are NES/SNES, are the "Sony's" PS1's? I'd still have a Commodore64, Atari, NES, Sega Genesis, etc if I hadn't moved, and I likely wouldn't be doing anything with them.

    ...illegally modified Xbox, Playstation, Wii and other video game consoles

    Fine, but what constitutes "illegal", are they all modded? or were some of them just sitting there without there shells "potentially modified" or some shit? I'm not saying the guy is innocent, only that the article is full of fuck all, and uses the classic tactics to enrage (frankly, idiotic) people like trailing off into

    "Piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers," he said.

    Like this guy modding consoles caused your favorite store to close, and is going to make YOU lose your job, and hell fuckit, he might even give you cancer. KILL THE BASTARD.

    He deserves a fine, and nothing more.

  • Re:Scary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:34AM (#28941841)

    You aren't buying material. You are paying for a license to use the material in a certain way.

    What? No, that's retarded.

  • Re:Not-for-profit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash AT omnifarious DOT org> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:34AM (#28941851) Homepage Journal

    The fact that it is criminal at all is ridiculous. Either my property is mine to dispose of as I wish, or it isn't. If it isn't then we should just declare ourselves communists and have the truth of it out.

  • Re:Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash AT omnifarious DOT org> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:37AM (#28941925) Homepage Journal

    It's even questionable whether or not violating copyright is always counter productive in the long run. Our current copyright laws are mainly the result of people with lots of money and influence getting laws passed that profit them at our expense.

  • by Talchas (954795) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:40AM (#28941995)
    Not only do they do that, they pretty much have to do that in many places given the ridiculous laws that are out there.
  • by Whorhay (1319089) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:42AM (#28942023)

    You are perfectly free to remove the emmissions controls from your vehicles. Just don't get mad when you are no longer allowed to drive them on public property.

    You are also allowed to do whatever you want with an Odometer in your own vehicle. Just don't go and claim that the reading is accurate.

    You may also remove all the seatbelts from a vehicle. Operating it in that condition though on public property or with passengers will likely get you in trouble.

    The only semi valid point is the odometer adjusting, and that's because it's not a safety issue but an honesty one. When I purchased my xbox there was no aggreement for me to sign or not that said I could not modify it or have another modify it.

    If the beverage companies got a law passed so that no one could re-use their bottles would you find that law valid? What if Nalogen started selling their bottles prefilled with water and stated selling "refills" for their bottles and tried to restrict you from refilling your bottle on your own through acts of congress?

    Unless it breaks someone elses basic human rights we should be allowed to use and modify any product legally purchased as we see fit.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:43AM (#28942039)

    Would you rather have police interpreting the laws as they see fit and only enforcing the ones they agree with?

    If the law is unfair, unjust, or just plain disproportionate, then yes, I'd prefer to see the enforcers refuse to do the law's bidding.

  • by Binder (2829) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:43AM (#28942041)

    Besides the fact that this shouldn't be illegal...

    The most frightening part of this is that you can kill someone and get less jail time. How can this be seen as a greater threat to society than killing someone?

  • by TheSambassador (1134253) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:44AM (#28942051)
    But the comparison is still dumb because of the differences in "moral wrong." It's very clear that what the Nazi's did was wrong, but it's not as clear when it comes to modding consoles (especially since the officers probably didn't even know what "modding xboxes" was).

    We really went to Godwin's law fast, eh?
  • by jhoger (519683) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:45AM (#28942087) Homepage

    Fuck all these laws that control how we use stuff we own!

    [/sarcasm]

    Yes... so are you arguing that the government has a right to control how we do everything because we permit it to control some things? Where does liberty come into the equation then?

    The general idea is that your right to swing your arms stops at your neighbor's chin.

    The Supreme Court may have found a corporation to be a person, but I don't.

    All these examples you gave are pretty weak. Disable your catalytic converter, and you have a fairly direct effect on air pollution which impacts you and your neighbors health. Roll back your odometer... there's really no reason to do that ever except to cheat someone. That's effectively interfering with an official measurement. Remove seat belts in a car... again, a safety issue.

    Now, a game console. There is a legitimate purpose to doing that: running unsigned games on hardware you own (did you sign a contract saying otherwise when you bought your console?). That shouldn't be illegal, if you believe in liberty.

  • by diamondsw (685967) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:46AM (#28942099)

    Look, we all know that the DMCA is evil and has been repeatedly abused. This is not one of those cases. The guy was modding consoles for profit. You can go on and on all you like about homebrew, but *you* know, *I* know, and *everyone else* knows that's not why he was doing it. He was doing it so cheap bastards can play copied games. This has nothing to do with your rights. If there was no DMCA, he'd be gotten on other laws - this was just the most convenient one. He's a stupid-ass student criminal, plain and simple. Now, feel free to debate the severity of the sentence - that's legitimate. But defending him as some noble kid who got put down by "the man" just hurts our cause. Pick your battles, people.

    And also, stop putting out the crap of "why aren't they working the important cases?". Ever think that some officers/agents are assigned to different areas based on their expertise? And perhaps putting these cops on the homicide or gang squad isn't going to catch a killer or shut down a gang any faster? To put it in terms you'll understand, you don't want the guy who wrote Notepad working on the kernel. Just because you have resources spent on many tasks, does NOT mean that putting them all on a particular task will get that task done any sooner or better. I would have thought technical people would have understood resource allocation better, but the amount of stupid and kneejerk reaction around here really surprises me sometimes.

    Welcome to Slashdot. I must be old here...

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:47AM (#28942135)
    No one accepted these arguments of "just doing my job" in the Nuremberg trials -- why should we now? (Sorry, Godwin.)

    It interests me when a geek equates the enforcement arm of US customs and immigration to the SS. That his right to a hacked and modded PS3 seems to count for as much as what a prisoner lost in the Nazi death camps.

    The Nuremberg defendants were charged with crimes against humanity - and, and among the specific changes, the crime of institutionalized murder on an industrial scale. That is why the defense of "just following orders" does not work. They were the ones giving the orders.

    Your apologies to Godwin are fraudulent.

  • Re:Not-for-profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:50AM (#28942185) Homepage

    If you agree that the actual facts of the case don't matter and it's fine to just make shit up, why not say he's blind and has never touched a console in his life?

    Yes, the law itself shouldn't care, but let's not pretend some random falsehood for no reason, when the law is perfectly stupid on its own.

  • by AP31R0N (723649) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:50AM (#28942201)

    Eh. Its' hard for a cop with a associates degree in CJ know that the law is wrong in the eyes of /. members. They're job is to conduct the arrest, not to determine guilt or sentencing. It's for the judge to throw out the case, for a jury to not convict, for the judge to decide the punishment, for the legislators to craft just laws and the supreme court to evaluate those laws.

    Sometimes those charged with enforcement don't understand the why and wherefore. Sometimes they even... agree with the laws. Sometimes they opt to keep their jobs and pension rather than lose their job and possibly go to jail.

    The fault here lies with the laws and our culture's values (specifically, valuing the rights of companies over the rights of citizens).

    i get your point as a matter of a more general principle, following orders is a cheap excuse. In this case, i'm willing to let the arresting officers off the hook. We don't know what is going to happen with this case. Like others have said here, i don't want cops that pick and choose who to arrest and for what, aside from the most dire cases. Ordering a cop to shoot a shoplifter, yeah... that's wrong and all out of whack. Bringing in a kid for an investigation is hardly gross misconduct.

  • Re:Misread (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:52AM (#28942233)

    I misread this as actual news, not a ranting editorial by someone about what it MIGHT be about..

    Fact is, the kid broke the law. You can hate the law, and work to change it, but that doesn't change the fact the kid broke the law.

  • by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:53AM (#28942263) Homepage

    they're trying to put a kid away for ten years of his life for tinkering with a console. I'd say the moral wrongness of that is quite clear.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:57AM (#28942353) Journal

    Uh, they do that. There are thousands of laws. Many not enforced in practice.

    If they enforced them all, they might not even get out of their neighborhood. Might be a bit like Robocop when he was loaded with hundreds of directives :).

    According to the laws in Michigan, committing adultery would get you a life sentence. Seems the courts and prosecutors there are talking about repealing the relevant law. So that's selective prosecution as well.

    But you know, maybe one should take a poll of betrayed spouses (and maybe even their children) and ask them what their opinion on adultery is. Do they view it as less or more negative than being mugged at gunpoint? How about being beaten up (but resulting in no broken bones or major scarring)? I won't be surprised if many of them would get over being mugged at gunpoint far more easily.

    The average sentence for robbery in the 1st degree when armed with a deadly weapon (not necessarily a gun) appears to be 10 years.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2000/rpt/olr/htm/2000-r-0510.htm [ct.gov]

    Of course one has to factor in that a robber could in theory more easily rob more people than a person could commit adultery with. Perhaps a robber is a danger to more people and thus should be put in jail for longer?

  • by jhoger (519683) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:58AM (#28942371) Homepage

    Seriously? Are there legitimate applications for modifying an odometer other than cheating people?

    There are legitimate reasons to jailbreak an iPhone, or a game console: running unsigned binaries on equipment you own.

    The government shouldn't take your liberty to protect a business model.

  • Re:Scary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:09PM (#28942611)

    When I bought my console, my receipt says I purchased 1 PS3, and in return I paid the agreed upon amount. It makes no mention of purchasing a license.

    The receipt represents the contract I entered into with the seller.

    I was not required to sign any license agreement. When I took the console out of the box, again I was free to use the device without any license.

    I therefore own my PS3 and I have the contract to prove it. I can therefore do what I wish with it.

  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:10PM (#28942627)
    I like how generic piracy is lumped together with counterfeiting, which could include the printing of several billion dollars... I wonder how much money/jobs software piracy alone is estimated to cost.
  • by jerep (794296) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:12PM (#28942663)

    Exactly, and it just shows how dumb most people are, especially those enforcing the law. They apply it without a single thought. You could make a law about people having to wear specific colors every day of the week, and you'd have officiers enforcing that the next day without asking themselves if it makes sense or not.

    Morals have very little to do with it, the nazi soldiers were obeying orders without questions, just like our soldiers and policemen are. Cases like this guy being arrested for modding consoles just shows how corporations are really running the show in america, and our freedoms can be taken away at any time. They're temporary privileges at most.

    Oh and remember, Hitler was elected in a democracy. I wouldnt be so quick as to compare them to us and make them the bad guys and we the good guys, the line between our two societies is very thin.

  • by Otto (17870) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:13PM (#28942685) Homepage Journal

    Would you rather have police interpreting the laws as they see fit and only enforcing the ones they agree with?

    YES. Absolutely.

    The law only works as a system when every single person enforcing it applies common sense to the situation. Without that injection of common sense, "law" is nothing more than tyranny and oppression.

  • by jerep (794296) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:18PM (#28942769)

    I would much rather have people and policemen interpreting the law and questionning it and fully making sense of it before applying it, than applying it blindly without questionning, THAT is dangerous.

    Religion is already a clear example of what happens if you follow the law down to the letter without questionning, billions of meaningless deaths, billions more suffering, and noone happy in the end.

    What history teaches us is that only bad things come out of not questioning things and obeying blindly. When we work together and everyone understands the bigger picture, we're capable of the most wonderful things. Its the price to pay for such a brain, the ability to go both for the best and the worst.

  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:18PM (#28942783)

    And hundreds, if not thousands, of violent crime offenders go without jail time every week. I love a functining legal system.

    Our legal system could begin to function again if it was not completely overwhelmed with crimes related to drugs. If they legalized drugs and made them a family issue rather than a criminal issue, 80% of crime would vanish almost overnight. With such a drastic reduction in crime suddenly the courts could focus on things that actually matter and could then spend those hundreds of billions of dollars toward education and other social programs. Not to mention we would suddenly have a multiple billion dollar tax base which has gone completely untapped. And best of all, we'd stop making the scummiest of scum drug lords filthy rich. Its a win-win for everyone yet no elected official will get off their ass and do something about it.

  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:26PM (#28942893)

    No one accepted these arguments of "just doing my job" in the Nuremberg trials -- why should we now? (Sorry, Godwin.)

    It interests me when a geek equates the enforcement arm of US customs and immigration to the SS. That his right to a hacked and modded PS3 seems to count for as much as what a prisoner lost in the Nazi death camps.

    The Nuremberg defendants were charged with crimes against humanity - and, and among the specific changes, the crime of institutionalized murder on an industrial scale. That is why the defense of "just following orders" does not work. They were the ones giving the orders.

    Your apologies to Godwin are fraudulent.

    This is a common logical fallacy I see all the time -- that just a comparison differs in degree that the comparison is invalid. In this case, the term Nuremberg Defense is a commonly used term to refer to a specific legal/moral argument, the "I am not morally/legally responsible for the actions in question because I was just following orders."

    You are creating a blatant straw man in arguing that the commenter is honestly considering a modded PS3 equal in worth to a death camp inmate, he is using a commonly accepted figure of speech.

    To get more to the heart of the issue, you do have a right to a hacked and modded PS3, it is absurd that the government can get away with passing a law telling me what I can and cannot do with a piece of hardware that I own, never mind mandating a decade of jail time for it. This young man's civil rights are being violated, and EVERYONE down the line is responsible for it, from the arresting officer to the prosecuting attorney, to the jury who convicts him and the judge that sentences him, and the politicians and lobbyists that pushed through the DMCA. "Just doing my job" is NO excuse, and the legal precedent for this was set during the Nuremberg trials, that is all that is meant in the comparison.

  • by Hatta (162192) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:32PM (#28943033) Journal

    But the comparison is still dumb because of the differences in "moral wrong."

    It's a difference of degree only. Why does that change anything? Doing evil is always wrong, even if it's just a little evil. Getting paid to do it does not make it OK either.

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:33PM (#28943049)

    Didn't they already do that?

  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:38PM (#28943133)

    You forget the enforcers are human, and have their own idea of what is unfair, unjust, or just plain disproportionate.

    If you allow that a police officer should, at his discretion, refuse to sieze a computer because he doesn't believe in the DMCA, then you accept that another officer might just refuse to enforce an anti-discrimination law.

    The police have a job, and it isn't "deciding what the law should be".

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:48PM (#28943319) Homepage Journal

    Yes because unjustly incarcerating a person is the same as murdering thousands of people in cold blood.

    I would highly recommend that you pose rational and logical arguments, instead of emotionally based hyperbole if you want anyone to take you seriously.

  • by TheSambassador (1134253) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:53PM (#28943437)
    Because the OP was taking a shot at the officers arresting the kid and not the people making up the laws, maybe the point then is the ignorance of the officers involved. While everybody (hopefully) knows the "wrongness" of killing people (thus making the "I was just doing my job when I killed 30 people" argument null), it's different here.

    Obviously us slashdotters (who are 100% right all the time) know how silly the prescribed punishment is for an offense like this. However, people in other areas of expertise don't really understand the laws they are enforcing (currently modding consoles IS illegal... whether it should be is another story). All the officers know is that a kid was doing something against the law, thus they arrested him for it. They probably don't know what console modding is, nor are they the ones deciding the punishment.

    The real question is - should we expect law enforcement officers to be the interpreters of "moral right" and not enforce the law when they take issue with it? Clearly we'd have many issues if each officer were to do this. Should we expect the officers to know and understand every facet of the law, as well as the technicalities of very specific offenses? I'd argue that this is too much. This is why we have the justice system, and not Robocop.
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wastedlife (1319259) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:54PM (#28943453) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. It is a machine, just like a vacuum. If I want to modify my vacuum to have double the suction power, I can do so. Modifying can make it easier to pirate games, but the modification of the console itself does not pirate games. I can use Internet Explorer to download pirated games, should we outlaw that as well? Granted, there may be some problems if you advertised your modification as allowing you to do so, as it would be like a gun shop advertising that you can use it to kill your boss.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:57PM (#28943519)
    In case anyone is curious about the legal side of this issue, 17 USC (s) 1201 (The anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA) states:

    (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -

    ( A ) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

    ( B ) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or

    ( C ) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    (3) As used in this subsection -

    ( A ) to "circumvent a technological measure" means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

    ( B ) a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

    So yes, it is definitely a legal grey area. Basically, it is illegal to sell/make modchips and provide modification servcies in the United States IF their primary and only real purpose is to get around a copy protection measure.

    Console modification has the primary purpose of enabling the play of legal imported games and fair use backups, as well as enable the use of homebrew code that GREATLY expands the capabilities of the system (a perfect example of this is Xbox Media Center for the original xbox) and thus isn't just about bypassing a copy protection measure to enable piracy. In fact, if you have an original xbox and your hard drive dies, the only way to replace it is with a chip or with a TSOP flash, as the stock bios doesn't recognize non-locked hard drives (and the drives don't just have to be locked, they need to be locked with the key stored on the onboard eeprom). A modchip/tsop flash with a modified bios lets you bypass all that nonsense and just use any standard IDE/ATA hard drive with the system.>
    The DMCA is a seriously terrible law to begin with. It fundamentally changes the way traditional copyright has always worked, and violates consumer rights in the name of helping big business. To quote one of my law textbooks on it:

    The DMCA changes the traditional fair use doctrine of copyright law. Historically, it has never been a crime to access or make a copy of a copyrighted work; what has been a crime is the misuse of that information. This rule remains valid for the nondigital world of copyrighted works. The DMCA changes this rule for digital protected works, making it illegal to merely access the copyrighted material by breaking through the digital wrapper or encryption technology that protects the work.

    As a side note, nowhere does the DMCA say it is illegal to USE or BUY modchips, just to make and sell them. So that leaves the end user (you) in the clear so long as they're not using it for piracy.

    The sellers and makers of "anti-circumvention" devices and services on the other hand seem to be where the law is aimed at, and while I honestly don't believe the DMCA applies to chips and modding servcies, apparently the US government and the gaming industry disagree.

    The only precedent for chip sales and the DMCA I could find was a September, 2006 case in which Sony sued Divineo (SCEA vs Divineo Inc, et al(457 F. Supp. 2d 957; 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74878; 81 U.S.P

  • Re:Misread (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_B0fh (208483) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:58PM (#28943541) Homepage

    Yup. Helping slaves escape used to be against the law too. All those people should have went to jail and have the full weight of the law thrown against them as well.

    FWIW, I used to think that way too - you break the law, pay the price, and work to fix the law. Then, started thinking about people who just want to sit down at the front of the bus... or drink from a water fountain...

  • by 1729 (581437) <slashdot1729.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:09PM (#28943735)

    A while back, I considered going into federal law enforcement, based on their need for computer scientists and my fascination with criminal investigations. The ~50% pay cut ultimately dissuaded me, but I spent some time thinking about issues like this.

    For example, I'm generally in favor of drug legalization, but I would have had to enforce the current drug laws in this job. I'm okay with busting drug traffickers (and people selling alcohol without a license, for that matter), but would I have a problem arresting someone for personal drug use? After some contemplation, I decided that I wouldn't have a problem doing so. Law enforcement officers don't make the law or even interpret ambiguities in the law. This is the job for the legislatures and the courts, respectively.

    Simply put, I don't want a cop to refuse to enforce a law for personal reasons. I have to qualify this, though. First, although selective enforcement of the law can be dangerous, there should still be some room for common sense (i.e., it's not necessary to ticket someone for jaywalking on an empty street.) At the other end of the spectrum, if a cop considers a law truly immoral, then they should resign rather than fail to do their job. However, there's a huge difference between laws one might disagree with and laws which are truly reprehensible and immoral. We shouldn't conflate a law like the DMCA with a genocidal regime like Nazi Germany; the Nuremberg references are way overblown here.

  • Re:Scary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tynin (634655) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:27PM (#28944035)

    He's no different (legally anyway) from guys selling pirated movies.

    I would agree if he was selling pirated games, but what he was doing is more akin to selling a DVD player that is region unlocked.

  • Yes because unjustly incarcerating a person is the same as murdering thousands of people in cold blood.

    I would highly recommend that you pose rational and logical arguments, instead of emotionally based hyperbole if you want anyone to take you seriously.

    it may not be the same, but it's evil, anyway. And it sets a precedent: Circumventing a copy protection device is now a criminal offense, even if you do it for fair use purposes. The law is completely wrong, it was lobbied by a monopoly, and helping enforce it is evil.

    Since when was The Law supposed to benefit the rich?

    The worst part is that if I wanted people to rebel against this unfair law, suddenly I'd legally become a conspirator.

  • by Asclepius99 (1527727) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:33PM (#28944119)

    It's a little like saying that if someone steals a wallet following orders then they are innocent because the Nuremberg defense is valid as long as you didn't kill hundreds of people.

    That's not like saying that at all. Because these officers were enforcing a law, not breaking it. Wasn't the point of the Nuremberg defense that they were following legal government and military orders, not just that they're following orders in general?

  • by wondersparrow (685210) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:45PM (#28944301)
    I love the car analogy, but lets get more specific. How about "chipping" a car. You are modifying a computer component by soldering or wiring in an extra piece of hardware. Often circumventing safety and environmental controls the manufacturer has installed. Now in some states this is illegal, but 10 years? C'mon lets be reasonable here. Oh wait, this is in the US, reasonable is an illegal word down there I bet.
  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:58PM (#28944521) Journal

    He could have been arrested for jay walking with a 10 year maximum prison sentence and arresting him would still not be morally equivalent to putting someone on a train Auschwitz.

    Really? There's a reason it's called "pound me in the ass Federal Prison". I suppose you could argue that sending someone off to be tortured and raped for no good reason is not morally equivalent to sending them off to be killed for no good reason, but there isn't _much_ moral difference.

    He will have a fair trial, likely with a jury of his peers if he chooses to fight it, and, if it really is "some kid tinkering with his console" either get acquitted or, at worst, some probation, a fine, or community service. If only the Jews in Poland had received that much "moral wrongness"...

    No. Most likely, he'll be offered some sort of plea deal, which he'll almost have to take because the stakes are just so high. If he gets a trial, it'll be a trial by a jury of those who agree with the law and who have agreed in advance to convict even if they feel it is unjust. Silliness about probation, a fine, and community service is just wishful thinking; violation of the DMCA is a felony.

  • by Opie812 (582663) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:22PM (#28944983)
    Since when was The Law supposed to benefit the rich?

    Since the first person wrote the first law.
  • by Fumigator (1611917) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:25PM (#28945029)
    Oh please! Your hyperbole is off the charts! You are hurting your position in the debate by spewing such drivel.
  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:39PM (#28945297) Homepage Journal

    Which is why the Soviets have been gone for a couple of decades now and we are still cranking out super weapons like we are getting ready for WW3.

    Our nuclear stockpile has been halved since 2001 and should be about 2,200 by 2012.

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:46PM (#28945405) Journal

    No. The laws are so outrageous that anyone pointing out the honest truth about them looks like they're spewing hyperbole.

    I mean, consider that if I claimed you could be found liable for damages of $675,000 for copying 10 songs? Ridiculous, right? But undeniably true. Same goes for the DMCA. Yes, circumventing a technological copy protection measure can result up to 5 years in prison for each violation. Yes, jurors are required to state that they will obey the judge's instructions no matter what their personal feelings on the law. Yes, expressing disagreement with the law is reason to be excluded for cause during voir dire. And yes, prosecutors take advantage of long maximum sentences to force defendants to give up their right to a trial and plead guilty.

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:51PM (#28945497) Homepage Journal

    Surely you mean there's a difference between liquefying people and locking them up with rapists and murderers for a decade.

    In this case, copying someone's game is analogous to being a Jew. It's the trivial imagined offense which brings about the disproportionate punishment.

  • by jpstanle (1604059) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @08:26PM (#28950045)

    But cops don't wear Level IV body armor. Level IV body armor is usually a heavy metal/ceramic "impact plate" that covers only the most vital organs in the center of mass. It is generally only found on military infantry, or occasionally on very few SWAT teams. Level IV impact plates are really heavy, bulky, and uncomfortable. They are completely impractical for a patrol officer, and even rarely found in SWAT/Entry teams.

    Level III or IIIA soft vests, which is what 99% of cops actually have, is only effective in defending against handgun calibers and shotguns. This is usually 'good enough' for cops since handgun calibers compose the majority of their threat. But don't think cops are trotting around in level IV impact plates, because they're not. The worlds best IIIA vest can't even hold up to 'small' centerfire rifle calibers like 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm. And even Level IV impact plates can only take a couple shots from big game calibers like .30-06 or .300 Win Mag before failing.

  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wastedlife (1319259) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @10:49AM (#28957547) Homepage Journal

    That is different, you would then be violating FCC regulations. However, if you modified your FM transmitter so you could plug your iPod shuffle into it (I believe that does not have a standard headphone jack), then you would be fine. I bought the hardware from the store and never signed a contract, so I should be able to do as I please with the hardware as long as I do not violate laws. When you modify a console, you are opening it to run software other than what it normally runs. The problem is that this is the basis for a lot of copy protection on these systems. Instead of protecting the media or using keys like they do with computer software, they prevent the console from playing software other than licensed software. Since this is considered circumventing copyright protection under the DMCA, it violates this law. This is another example of how the DMCA violates your rights to lawfully use and repair/improve the things you own.

  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wastedlife (1319259) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @10:58AM (#28957725) Homepage Journal

    These devices function just fine without the services offered (i.e. Nintendo Store, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live), otherwise they would not be able to sell these consoles to the tons of people without broadband internet access. I am fine with these services banning modded consoles, and in many cases it would be best if they did so. However, protecting a bad business model is not a legal right. Stopping copyright infringement is good, but go after the people doing the copyright infringement, not the modders and the homebrew scene.

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