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Chip a Playstation, Go to Jail 703

perogiex writes "A man in Ottawa was convicted of selling and installing mod chips out of his computer store. Sony is overjoyed, man is less than thrilled. This is the first time such a case was tried in Canada." From the article: Garby said he didn't know he was committing a crime and would have never gotten involved in selling mod chips if he had known the law. Update: 07/24 21:53 GMT by M : Headline corrected; it's clearly mod chips for the original Playstation, not the Playstation 2.
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Chip a Playstation, Go to Jail

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  • depressing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iocat ( 572367 )
    For anyone who looks at mod chips as a way to do hobbiest development, versus piracy, this kind of thing is just depressing.
  • by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot&tossed,org> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:39PM (#3945197) Homepage
    I'm scratching my head. What law was broken here? The article doesn't say very much. Something about "copyright laws", which is far from conclusive.
    • Mod chips (Score:4, Informative)

      by unformed ( 225214 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:46PM (#3945271)
      allow playing games that have been copied to CDR.

      It's legitimate use is that it allows playign games from Japan.

      FYI, the PS and PS2 also have region encoding similar to DVDs. Japanese games can't be played on American consoles, and (I believe) vice-versa. The mod chip prevents the system from recognizing that its not a legitimate disc (by replying to all queries as 'yes, this is legal')

      Just as DeCSS is primarily used for watching other-regon dvds, but has a side effect of getting unencrypted content, the mod chip allows playing other-region games, and has a side effect of allowing games on CDR also.

      Chances are that's why he got arrested. In the US, he could probably (also?) be arrested under the DMCA.

      I'm not taking any sides, just stating facts...
      • Re:Mod chips (Score:5, Insightful)

        by notNeilCasey ( 521896 ) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [yesaClieNtoN]> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:58PM (#3945917) Homepage
        It's cases like these that nudge public opinion in favor of DMCA-style bans on circumvention devices. This guy selling loads of pirated games and then the mod chips that allow people to play them is criminal activity that all of us anti-DMCA pro fair use people should recognize and identify as such. When people see headlines about "mod chips + piracy," they will often assume "mod chips = piracy," which will make them very susceptible to the rhetoric of the companies and individuals who benefit financially from that erroneous belief.

        If we are going to be vocal on the unfairness of legal roadblocks to fair use in the cases dealing with DeCSS and proposed DRM legislation, we have a responsibility to be equivalently vocal in cases where technologies we advocate and claim rights to are being used illegally. If we want DeCSS to be legal despite its "side effect" of decrypting DVDs, we have to denounce those who exploit that side effect for illegal personal gain.

        If we want mod chips to be a legal and accepted use of our own hardware for playing legally purchased Japanese games or burned backups of others we own, we have to speak against pirates who want to make money using mod chips and CD/DVD copying technology illegally.

        "There are thousands of types of people in the world: The type of people who think there are two types of people in the world, and the thousands of other types."

    • Re:uh (Score:5, Informative)

      by tonywong ( 96839 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:48PM (#3945291) Homepage
      Sheesh, did you read the article?

      He was caught modding the machines and selling pirated software out of his store. I don't think you can get busted for modding unless they can prove the intent was for pirating and not backup. Well, having and selling pirated software with your mods counts as copyright infringement.

      It's like saying he had a lockpit set and was caught using it to steal goods from cars. Guess what? It's not the possession of the lockpit set that got him busted.
    • Re:uh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:06PM (#3945476) Homepage
      The article says "two counts of copyright infringement", which is pretty self-explanatory given the "413 pirated video games".

      Of more concern -- and perhaps why you're scratching your head -- is the "four counts of selling unauthorized computer equipment". What the hell does that mean?

      Who "authorizes" computer equipment? Do the charges stem from something like violating FCC-equivalent (DOC? CRTC?) RF regulations, or something equivalent to "possesion of burglary tools", or something more ominous, considering the free speech aspects of computers?

      Anyone know? ("Know", not speculate.)
    • The CBC doesn't say. (Score:5, Informative)

      by hearingaid ( 216439 ) <> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:26PM (#3945649) Homepage
      However, the phrasing makes me think it was probably s. 342.1 of the Criminal Code. I reproduce the section in full below.

      342.1(1) Unauthorized use of computer
      342.1 (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right,
      (a) obtains, directly or indirectly, any computer service,
      (b) by means of an electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, intercepts or causes to be intercepted, directly or indirectly, any function of a computer system, or
      (c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, a computer system with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (b) or an offence under section 430 in relation to data or a computer system is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
      342.1(2) Definitions
      (2) In this section,
      computer program means data representing instructions or statements that, when executed in a computer system, causes the computer system to perform a function;
      computer service includes data processing and the storage or retrieval of data;
      computer system means a device that, or a group of interconnected or related devices one or more of which,
      (a) contains computer programs or other data, and
      (b) pursuant to computer programs,
      (i) performs logic and control, and
      (ii) may perform any other function;
      data means representations of information or of concepts that are being prepared or have been prepared in a form suitable for use in a computer system;
      electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device means any device or apparatus that is used or is capable of being used to intercept any function of a computer system, but does not include a hearing aid used to correct subnormal hearing of the user to not better than normalhearing;
      function includes logic, control, arithmetic, deletion, storage and retrieval and communication or telecommunication to, from or within a computer system;
      intercept includes listen to or record a function of a computer system, or acquire the substance, meaning or purport thereof.
      R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 45.

      He was also convicted of straightforward, old-style piracy; he was apparently selling pirated games on CDRs.

  • by dhaberx ( 585739 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:40PM (#3945202)
    This guy was selling a line of 413 pirated games and didn't know what he was doing was illegal? It sounds like he deserves what he got.
    • by Callamon ( 575967 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:57PM (#3945402)
      I can believe that he really didn't know it was illegal, just looking at the name of the store:
      Garby sold the chips from his computer store,
      Kustum Komputers
  • "Garby said he didn't know he was committing a crime and would have never gotten involved in selling mod chips if he had known the law"

    While I agree that chipping a PS2 shouldn't be a crime, the above is an extreamly lame excuse.

  • He didn't know it was a crime?

    He should've checked.

    If it's morally questionable (and, please, don't tell me that chipping your PS2 so you can play pirated games on it isn't at least morally questionable), it just might be illegal, too!

    - A.P.
    • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:43PM (#3945241)
      No, but putting a chip in a PS2 to play Japanese games isn't morally questionable, but just as illegal.
      • Unfortunately, as I recently found out, they don't MAKE modchips that only modify the PS2 to play imports. The Gamecube has a nice little jumper, with a very simple mechanism that will let you switch between Japanese and English configurations. Quick and easy.

        Every (and yes, I mean EVERY) modchip for the Playstation has its primary requirement as "Plays backup copies". It's frustrating, because I don't want to play backups, just imports.

        And how is it illegal?

        • Mod chips for the PS2 that play Japaneese titles will also always play back-ups.

          Its a side effect of the by-pass that the mod chip makes in order to circmumvent (sp) the security check.

          Its a great selling point for those selling MOD chips but can also cause problems like this.

          The real problem here is that I should be able to chip my PS2 with what ever I like. Just becasue my PS2 is chipped and capable of playing back-up copies doesnt mean I will play pirated copies.

          Back-ups are important as I just recently lost a $50 copy of GTA3 due to scratching. Now if these chips were not illegal then I could just bust out a back-up and keep on playing. As it stands now I'm out $50 and I don't know if I have my heart in it to give another $50 to have the right to play a game I already owned (or excuse me license to use).
          • try returning the game to the store - my friend's copy of GTA3 was completely destroyed when his roommate managed to grind the disk across the floor under a chair (yes, he really was that stupid), and he was able to just return it to the store and get a new copy for free

            give it a shot, you never know :D

            good luck...

    • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:18PM (#3945572) Homepage
      If everyone is expected to know all the laws and what they mean, then why are there so many lawyers? Our law systems are so confusing and complex that we have to hire special people to interpret and find laws that will help defend us and prosecute others. So it's not suprising that someone might not know there's a new law saying something is illegal.
  • by Proaxiom ( 544639 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:41PM (#3945210)
    He grossed $30,000 and was fined $17,000?

    Looks like I'll be picking up a new hobby...

    • Re:Kudos to him! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Malc ( 1751 )
      Assuming he reported his earnings to the CCRAn that fine doesn't leave him much to pay for his overheads, let alone make a profit.
    • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @03:04PM (#3946402) Homepage
      It cost me $400 just to get a lawyer to make a phone call to the cops and plea bargain away a traffic ticket (a nasty one that would have gotten my driver's license revoked, so it was worth it).

      Unless he had a public defender, I'd say he ate up the rest of that money just on legal fees.

      Although, I am not a Canadian, so maybe their legal system works differently.

      Jon Acheson
  • Pirated Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:41PM (#3945213) Homepage
    The article states that he was selling pirated games alongside the mod chips. Maybe the charge of copyright infringement related to the illegal video games being sold (as Sony did not design the mod chips, it is unclear of whose copyright he would be violating).
  • Chips or piracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevin42 ( 161303 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:41PM (#3945214) Homepage
    It sounds like he was also selling pirated games. I wonder if they would ever have cracked down on him if all he had done was sell and install mod chips. The article seems to downplay the fact that he was selling pirated games as well.

    Even though I think selling mod chips shouldn't be illegal, I don't have sympathy for people who are selling pirated software!
    • Re:Chips or piracy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Psx29 ( 538840 )
      It sounds like he was also selling pirated games. I wonder if they would ever have cracked down on him if all he had done was sell and install mod chips. The article seems to downplay the fact that he was selling pirated games as well.

      I would have to agree with you that selling pirated games are illegal and he should be prosectued for it. However, the article is very vague as to the details of his guilty plea, and it is not clear if the actual charge of modifying a playstation is illegal or not. They only mention the following:

      Robert Garby, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of copyright infringement and four counts of selling unauthorized computer equipment.

      Now could that bolded text be referring to a modchip, or not? That, is the question.

      • Right. My point though, is would the hardware charges have been pursued on their own without the piracy charges.

        I'm also curious who determines what is "authorized" under Canadian law.
  • according to the article, he sold "a line of 413 pirated video games" -- that's a little more than just selling modchips.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:42PM (#3945225) Journal
    [ ] Bad
    [ ] Good
    [ ] CowboyNeal
  • by mrbill ( 4993 ) <> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:42PM (#3945227) Homepage
    If you read the article, he was also selling a line of 417 different *pirated games*.

    If he didnt know *that* was illegal, he's full of it.
    • Yes, AND the "mod chips" he was selling were deliberately designed to bypass the copy protection, thereby enabling user to run pirated games.

      As mrbill says

      If he didnt know *that* was illegal, he's full of it.
    • On top of this, ignorance of any law is simply not an excuse. If you are engaging into an enterprise such as his, you should make yourself familiar with the laws. ALthough, I am sure he knew it was illegal.

      I am just saying that the defense of "I didn't know it was illegal!" doesn't hold any water, ever.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:44PM (#3945251) Homepage Journal
    (emphasis mine)
    Garby sold the chips from his computer store, Kustum Komputers

    That in itself should get him life in prison with no chance of parole.
  • DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ultima ( 3696 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:45PM (#3945260)
    Since the mod chips circumvent copy protection, I can see how they are made illegal under the DMCA in the US. Is there a Canadian version to this I am not aware of?
  • 1) What a jackass! If he didn't know selling pirated games was illegal, he deserves what he got.

    2) Heh heh.. he still made some money off the deal.

    3) Damn! 413 games! Where did you say this guy's shop was?

  • wait a second... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denshi ( 173594 ) <> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:45PM (#3945264) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know where to get the briefs for this case? One line in the article bothered me:
    He was charged after an RCMP investigation found he was selling a line of 413 pirated video games and charging $30 to install "mod chips" in Sony PlayStation video game consoles.
    ....and then the rest of the article is grandstanding about mod chips from various, easily bribed parties. From first glance, this looks like they had a cut-and-dried case of copyright infringement because he was selling copied games (thus copying & deriving profit from such), but some groups are trying to cast this case into a ruling on mod chip legality -- which would be a much harder case to prosecute. Has anyone seen this case in detail?
    • Re:wait a second... (Score:2, Informative)

      by jivany ( 101917 )
      This story is different than the one I read in either the Ottawa Sun or the Ottawa Citizen (can't remember which paper and I can't find a link either). That story stated the charges were related to the sale of the copied games, not because of the modchips.

      Last time I checked, it's still legal to void your warranty.
    • The story also says he was convicted of "selling unauthorized computer equipment" whatever the fuck that means.

  • No DMCA in Canada. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MarvinMouse ( 323641 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:46PM (#3945277) Homepage Journal
    I think he was likely fined mostly for the sales of the pirated games. I don't believe we have an equivalent to the DMCA in Canada, and therefore the mod chip is perfectly allowable to be sold in Canada. He got caught for software piracy, not for breaking DRM.

    But, I am not absolutely sure on this. Could a Canadian Lawyer verify this for me? Also, do you know if he could get caught on that Mod chip for a different reason?
    • Not Yet!

      But, the DMCA is the local embodiment of an international Treaty* - ALL COUNTRIES (i bet *your* listed here(!) [] will end up w/ a DMCA:

      See here []

      *From the dmca: World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the relevant part (which gave birth to the DMCA) is here:

      Article 18

      Obligations concerning Technological Measures

      Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by performers or producers of phonograms in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty and that restrict acts, in respect of their performances or phonograms, which are not authorized by the performers or the producers of phonograms concerned or permitted by law.

      And, for good measure, here is what Microsoft (our fav friend, w/ MPAA && RIAA) think (quite well of) these bodies/treaties: here []

      Whats my point? First, WIPO is a body of MultiNational Corporations. America is the seat of Global Capitalism. Global Capitalists are driving treaties like these, and will use American legislation to say ""Look at the wonderful state of the Intellectual Property Industry in America(TM) and you will see what We can do for You. Just enact a law -- JUST LIKE THE DMCA -- and we will play nice with you. If not, you are a Rogue Nation in an the next Axis of Evil.

      So, basically, we're all fucked. This problem (global governance via Corporation) is only starting - and its so far off the radar of most -- not the Anti-Capitalists, they may not know this particular play in the detail as most /.ers, but this is Modus Operendi for these types -- but most people havnt a clue..

      Wait about 10-15 years, the best is yet to come im sure..

  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PMadavi ( 583271 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:47PM (#3945290)
    Well, I can see him getting arrested for selling pirated software, that makes sense. What's interesting is that he got charged for the mod-chip, not the games. Should selling something that allows you to do illegal things be illegal? I mean, we sell guns and pipes. All kinds of things. Should you buy those things doesn't mean you're going to kill or do drugs, right?

    Here's a scenario. You bought a rad new PS2 game, you want to make sure that if it gets scratched, eaten, etc. . . you can still play your game, so you burn a copy, and use the mod chip to play the game. You paid for the game once, right? What's wrong with that.

    If you ask me, aside from the selling pirated games, this guy had a case.

    • What's interesting is that he got charged for the mod-chip, not the games. Should selling something that allows you to do illegal things be illegal?
      There may be another angle on this that everyone's ignoring. (Or not; I'm just not familiar enough with PS2s and modchipping.) It all depends on what a modchip is. Is it something you just add to a PS2, or does it replace existing ROMs? If it's a replacement, then it probably contains Sony copyrighted code. And thus this would be good old fashioned copyright infringement, instead of those ridiculous "vicarious" or "contributory" versions.

      Of course, I'm just talking out of my ass since I'm just guessing about the nature of modchips.

  • He was charged after an RCMP investigation found he was selling a line of 413 pirated video games and charging $30 to install "mod chips" in Sony PlayStation video game consoles.

    It sucks about him getting busted for the mod chips, but if you're selling pirated games, you've got no excuse for a little punishment. When you start profitting off of your ability to make exact replicas of other peoples work, with little work of your own, you're really profitting off of their work, not yours - and that's not fair.

  • I'd be tempted to defend this punk if he wasn't selling "a line of 413 pirated video games". Mod chips are great for playing games that never get sold in the US market, imports like Puyo Puyo games and such. I also detest hardware manufacturers who demand control over their hardware that they sell through retail outlets without forcing the customer to sign a contract. If I want to solder my toaster up to my PS2, IMHO, I think I should have a right to do it.

    But noooo, this punk sells illegally copied CDs, slashdot posts it as "man convicted for installing mod chips" in an attempt to spin the story. Smooth move, Travolta. I'm sorry, but I left my gold stars in my other jacket.
  • by Malc ( 1751 )
    Reading over the comments, I've seen people claim 413, 417 and 430... so far. All in the same ballpark, but really, how hard is it to copy a simple number from an article?
  • Get a clue, editors! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tandr ( 108948 )
    Look, there is a PS/2 and there is PS2 (without slash in the middle) First is very old IBM computer, second -- new (relatively) gaming console.

    So, what this guy was selling ??

  • I keep picturing a guy going to jail for upgrading his IBM 386.

  • First of all its a PS2 not PS/2.
    Second, the artice said Sony Playstation, meaning the orginal playstation.
    This slashdot artice makes it seem like they will go after you for putting a mod chip in, well this idiot "was selling a line of 413 pirated video games".
  • He was fined for selling pirated video games, as others have pointed out. As well, it was PlayStation games and mod chips, not PS2 (and most definitely NOT PS/2).

    "Editors": Is it so hard to read the article?
  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:52PM (#3945336) Journal
    Ignorance of the law is no defense.

    That said, I'm interested to find out which part of the Criminal Code specifically makes installing mod chips, and presumably other circumvention devices, a felony offense. It sounds rather DMCA-like. I wonder if Parliament passed something DMCA-like with almost no fanfare. The article makes it sound like the mod chip conviction is the important one for being the first of its kind.
    • by sylvester ( 98418 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:26PM (#3945639) Homepage
      It sounds rather DMCA-like. I wonder if Parliament passed something DMCA-like with almost no fanfare.

      No. Heritage Canada and Industry Canada have been collaborating in a very significant consultation process accross Canada. I attended their Ottawa consultation meeting, which had surprisingly strong "citizen" representation. The big american content producers were given their say, but not given a lot of credibility. Michael Geist [], a U of Ottawa lawyer , was particularly good with not letting things by.

      Canada DMCA opponents mailing list. [] []
      Thorough background [] brought to you by Matthew Skala, the chap that broke (IIRC) the Cyber-Patrol encryption and, again IIRC, was pursued by Mattel for DMCA violations, despite being a Canadian.

  • First, it doesn't mention the PS2, it mentions the Playstation. It makes a big difference whether or not they are referring to Playstation 2's or Playstation 1's. Mod chipping is a venerable practice on PS1's. It's how I can play Samurai Spirits collections and Last Blade on my Playstation, while most American's are stuck with games like War Gods and other nonsense (because they are "3D").

    Of course, as the ad says, mod chips also allow people to play copied games, but this is far from their only purpose. (Mods used to come out for cartridge systems by Sega and Nintendo as well, though it was often enough to just resize the cartridge slot.)

    If he was convicted of mod-chipping seperately from selling pirated games, it is a big deal. Sony says the case was, "precedent setting." Therefore, I doubt the conviction was based on his selling of pirated games, which are already illegal.

    Just one more reason not to do business with Sony. I'll accept anti-piracy measures. Iw ill never accept reion coding and I will not support a company that participates in it, especially with such vigor as Sony.

  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:54PM (#3945372)
    He was convicted of selling 413 pirated video games and Playstation mod-chips.
    How do I know this? Well, first, I read the article; second, I know that there aren't 413 GAMES available for the Playstation 2!

    Also, the PS/2 is a computer from IBM, and does not require mod chips to play pirated games. Sony doesn't call their Playstation 2 the PS/2, perhaps because they don't want to get sued. Does slashdot want to get sued? Well, it'd be nice to have some penalties for irresponsible journalism...
    Finally, considering the facts of the case, it is disingenuous for the writers of this article to call it a conviction for selling mod-chips, since that wasn't all it was.

    In conclusion, all you journalists are lazy, illiterate, and incompetent. If you don't agree with me, prove me wrong by writing something accurate, intelligent, or interesting.
    • Well, it'd be nice to have some penalties for irresponsible journalism...

      No, that would suck. It may be disingenuous, but penalize "irresponsibility" equals "prior restraint" of free speech. If we toss out the 1st amendment to get bad journalism, is it worth it?

      I agree the article headline was fraudlent, but it can never be criminal.

      I suggest you rethink your point.
      • I'll bite... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pb ( 1020 )
        In general this wouldn't be necessary because journals have an obligation to present the facts and correct themselves as needed. Slashdot rarely reflects these practices, however, and many other online equivalents of pen-and-paper journals are sorely lacking in their journalism.

        However, people and organizations can still be sued for slander and libel, even under the First Amendment. I think that organizations that purport to report the News have an obligation to report the facts accurately, and should be held to a higher standard than are individuals.

        I'm arguing that the headline is negligent and misleading, and should be corrected. Every minute that goes by when it isn't misleads and confuses another person who might have expected news or accurate reporting. Many people have come to expect this sort of inaccurate reporting from slashdot, but that doesn't excuse it.

        Perhaps they could have an "editor" on duty whose job it is to "edit"?
    • Did he have 413 different titles? or did he have 413 copies of pirated software?

      I agree that the journalists tend to be lazy, but don't blame /. for reporting that is done by an idiot. The story is there if one has the brains to sort it out as you and I have

  • Ignorance of the law excuses noone. There are about thirty different latin phrases, but the bottom line best response to our poor defendant's please is this: "You're kidding, right?"

  • four counts of selling unauthorized computer equipment

    Isn't that a bit misleading?

    If I buy an extension cord and use it to plug in my computer, who "authorized" that bit of computer equipment? Who authorized Bob's Harware to sell it to me?
  • by Phoenix ( 2762 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @01:01PM (#3945437)
    INAL, but as far as I'm aware, Mod chipping is a grey area of legality. Is it not illegal to sell or own the chips, however it is illegal to sell the PS/2 with one pre-installed, as that comes under the heading of selling Sony's product with unauthorized modifications.

    What the customer dies with the unit *after* he pays for it is totally up to the long as the customer accepts the fact that it will not be covered under warranty.

    It is a grey area because the ModChips can be used for legitimate uses as well as illegal ones...Much the same way that a CD-RW can be used for legit back-up and archival purposes as well as for pirating software.

    This guy hasn't a leg to stand on as he sold Sony Product with unauthorized modifications as well as selling pirated software.


    BTW: Before I get flamed/trolled, a legit use of a mod chip would be to have a working copy of a game that can get scratched and/or broken while the original is sitting in a nice shelf somewhere safe.
    • by brer_rabbit ( 195413 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @02:30PM (#3946187) Journal
      Is it not illegal to sell or own the chips, however it is illegal to sell the PS/2 with one pre-installed, as that comes under the heading of selling Sony's product with unauthorized modifications.

      Just out of curiousity, what is the distinction between selling mod'd PS/2 systems and selling, say, mod'd Nestle Chocolate Chips? If I combine Nestle Chocolate Chips with flour, sugar, butter etc to make cookies is Nestle going to come after me? Or is it ok because I'm selling them as cookies and not Nestle Chocolate Chips(tm)?

      PS/2. Nestle. They're both just chips.

  • From the article:

    Robert Garby, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of copyright infringement and four counts of selling unauthorized computer equipment

    Can somebody familiar with canadian law explain to me what "selling unauthorize computer equipment" involves. Is this like not getting the chips properly licensed with the canadian equivalent of the FCC? Or does canada have some sort of DMCA-like provision that I'm not aware of.
  • ...who saw the title and thought it strange that IBM would pursue someone who "chipped" a PS/2 []? If I drop a 387DX into a Model 80 [], am I going to get into trouble?

    (Maybe you should come up with some other abbreviation for "Playstation 2"...abbreviation overloading is a Bad Thing. :-) )

  • The /. version of this says he was convicted of selling and installing mod chips, but makes no mention of the pirated video games he was also selling. Since the original story is often unavailable moments after a slashdot article goes up, this was truly a disservice to the readers. The story gives no clear indication of what the hoser was really convicted of, the mod chip or the illegal copyrighted software, but I expect there would have been a lot more trouble of getting a conviction without the illegal software. For that matter, the guy was only fined 17k and giver a year of probation after selling (at least) 30k of illegal software, doesn't sound like he made out too bad or that this will seriously curtail the piracy issue.
  • These guys didn't see the law either? []
    This seems like a legit company selling a device to allow Playstation 2 to play copies, backups etc. Is this illegal?
  • Implications (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brad3378 ( 155304 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @02:28PM (#3946174)
    So what's the difference between modding a PS2 and modding a car?

    If I pulled the engine from my Ford Ranger and replaced it with a Chevy 350, aren't I likewise depriving Ford Motor Company of future engine part sales? This is setting a bad precident.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.