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Games Entertainment

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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  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:44PM (#3945246) Homepage
    Ignorance is not a permissible defense anyway. Go ahead, try convincing the police officer you didn't know it was 45 on the road. Even if you turn onto the road after the sign and had no way of knowing if you had never driven on the road before, the law still applies.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Get a clue, editors! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tandr ( 108948 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:49PM (#3945304)
    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 ??

  • by SpanishInquisition ( 127269 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#3945312) Homepage Journal
    I keep picturing a guy going to jail for upgrading his IBM 386.

  • by RpiMatty1 ( 471296 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#3945319)
    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".
  • by Gekko ( 45112 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:51PM (#3945328)
    This is a true law in most cases, ignorance of the law does not excuse you from abiding by the law. I was not trying to imply otherwise. However in your speeding scenario some states have laws that state unless other wise posted the speed is XX mph (Usuaully 55). So if you are around their and can name the street you turned off on you have a good chance of actually beating it. I drove alot for an orginzation I was involved in and I found in rural areas 55 was usually a preaty safe bet as speed limits signs are posted very infrequently. Well firmly into Off Topic land now.
  • by GrammarPhone ( 513904 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @12:52PM (#3945334)
    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?
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • by virg_mattes ( 230616 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @05:46PM (#3947555)
    First off, well spoken. You answered in a very organized and cool fashion. That's unusual here, when stuff like this comes up. That said, there are a few points that I want to respond to:

    > Personally, I find such licensing schemes to be morally reprehensible.

    As do I. Would that the courts agreed.

    > In the U.S., the right to reverse engineer is legally sanctioned and assured.

    Chipping a P/S2 is not reverse engineering, it's modifying. Take note that the law addresses these things separately (that's why the two terms are separated in most EULAs).

    > The property management company broke the law by failing to repair air conditioning in the apartment in a timely fashion (AC is considered an essential service in Arizona by law), and although they had a clause in the lease agreement that "excused" the company from liability if they were unable to perform a repair in a timely fashion, the law took precedence over the contract, and I was vindicated.

    This isn't exactly the same, since (despite what many of my friends say) the P/S2 isn't usually considered an "essential service". Also, there are no laws currently in place that specifically allow hardware modifications to the P/S2, so it's not the same as signing a contract that takes away rights explicitly granted, which is what happened with your lease.

    > If I buy a piece of hardware in the United States, I can do whatever I want to it...

    Well, here's where it turns grey. It's easy to say that, but not so easy to defend it in court. For example, this guy got fined for selling the mod chips themselves and installing them in customers' machines. In this case, he didn't buy the hardware, so where does the line fall? If you modify your own machine, it's fairly easy to claim fair use. This becomes much harder when people are paying you to break contract for them.

    > All the more reason for me to enjoy being a U.S. citizen (until such time as the laws here are modified by corporate interests).

    They're gonna pull your Slashdot account. Have you not heard of the DMCA? It applies to hardware as well as software.


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