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The Courts XBox (Games) Games

Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed 179

It seems the harsh words from District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez on Wednesday had their intended effect; prosecutors in Matthew Crippen's Xbox modding case have now dismissed the indictment. Quoting Wired: "Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association. He told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet and met Crippen at his Anaheim house. All of that had been laid out in pretrial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes. But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. ... [Prosecutor Allen Chiu] conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense."
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Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed

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  • by NNKK ( 218503 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @02:20AM (#34428154) Homepage

    I dont think I've ever seen such happen in any such case brought on by the BSA, ESA, RIAA or MPAA before. Sure, there've been ones where the judge used common sense and was stern... but this judge truly went all out to put the ESA and the prosecutors in their places.

    Makes one wonder if they've pulled other shenanigans in his court before or on the cynical side, if they didn't contribute to his last reelection campaign.

    Why are you speculating on something you are clearly completely ignorant of? Federal judges do not have reelection campaigns. They do not have election campaigns. They are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate exactly once, after which they are in until they die, resign voluntarily, or are impeached and removed from office (the latter being incredibly rare, in over 200 years 14 judges have been impeached, and only about half were removed from office).

  • by zach_the_lizard ( 1317619 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @02:54AM (#34428254)
    He only dropped it because of this judge. With any other, he would have plodded along just as he before. He is doing the right thing in spite of himself.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @04:04AM (#34428552)

    Remember there's a different standard of evidence and all that. I'm not saying this judge wasn't an exceptionally good jurist, just that part of the reason is probably because all the *AA shit we've been hearing about has been civil. Given that there's no presumption of responsibility or lack thereof and the standard is more or less "Whoever had a slightly more convincing case," that is probably part of the reason they stayed out of it more.

    An additional good thing is this happened after the trial started, so this guy is in the clear. Double jeopardy applies the moment all the jurors are sworn in. So before the actual trial, the prosecution can dismiss a case, but be able to re-present it later. They dismiss it, straighten their shit out, re-indict and so on. Not here, jury was already sworn in, so this is final and binding. He cannot be retried for this particular crime ever.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @09:40AM (#34429882) Homepage

    That's quite very wrong there on your supposition on things...

    US Code 17, Chapter 1, 117a [] specifically and explicitly allows this sort of thing.

    (a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.— Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

    (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or
    (2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.

    Do note that 2 explicitly covers "backups" as they're known- regardless of whether it's a personal computer, mainframe, or gaming console.

    It's not a case of fair, like anything that would be covered by something like the AHRA, is ALLOWED USE regardless of whether or not the rights holder "permits" it or not. Fair use is the usage of stuff outside of the domain of laws like the one I just mentioned, that gives additional allowed usages that have been defined over time by jurisprudence. "Fair use" is not an affirmative defense to prosecution, but it's one that can be used to defend oneself as needed- it's something that weakens an infringement case accordingly. "Backup", though, if it can be kills the case outright. Allowed use.

  • by zeroshade ( 1801584 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @10:54AM (#34430722)

    As was also pointed out in yesterday's thread, double jeopardy is attached so they cannot file the same charges for the same thing again unless they go through the whole rigmarole of getting the undercover agents again to get evidence of him doing it again, etc. You can't simply voluntarily drop the charges and try again. It would need to be new charges for a new instance of the "crime"

  • by zeroshade ( 1801584 ) on Friday December 03, 2010 @10:59AM (#34430780)

    Technically, at least in the US, most jurisdictions find downloading to not be illegal. It is the uploading which is illegal. The problem is the distribution and making available. The reason why they can apply this and sue people who torrent things is because when you're torrenting you're also allowing others to download from you because of the nature of Bittorrent.

    Therefore it is technically completely legal to download a game you own because you've already purchased it under the fact that you are allowed to make a backup copy.

Trap full -- please empty.