[LINK] Game chipping in limbo
Wed, 26 Feb 2003 20:08:35 +1100
Game chipping in limbo
February 25, 2003
THE legality of altering PlayStation consoles to play pirated games
remains in limbo while the Federal Court considers whether to
overturn an earlier ruling condoning the practice.
The Full Bench of the Federal Court heard final arguments in
Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment v Eddy Stevens in Sydney
The video games giant was appealing a ruling by Justice Ronald
Sackville last July, which found that "mod-chipping" PlayStations did
not breach Australian copyright law.
Mod-chips are devices - readily available on the black market for
between $30 and $70 - that allow the PlayStation to play copied
Sony hoped to establish that mod-chips were illegal under a 2000
amendment to the Copyright Act, which made it illegal to override
copy protection technology.
The move was opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission who stepped in as a "friend to the court".
Justice Sackville found mod-chips were legal because they overrode a
device that prevented copied games from being played, but did not
prevent them being copied in the first place.
Sony considers the case an important part of its global campaign
against piracy and its international parent companies are heavily
involved in the appeal.
The company has hired law firm Blake Dawson Waldron to replace Allens
Arthur Robinson, who represented them in the initial hearings.
Eddy Stevens of Kensington, Sydney, was unrepresented but the court
heard arguments from the ACCC that mod-chips should be legal because
they allow consumers to play imported games and personal back-up
David Catterns QC, representing Sony, told the court that the ACCC's
involvement was misconceived and was an "unnecessary skirmish in the
ACCC's two-decade crusade against parallel imports".
Mr Catterns said people who bought pirated copies were "free riders"
who forced up prices for honest consumers.
Justice Robert French, Justice Kevin Lindgren and Justice Raymond
Finkelstein have reserved their judgment, which is not expected for
Pirated games remain illegal and any decision banning mod-chips would
be retrospective and apply to other console formats as well.
David Boxall | The more I learn
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