AfterDawn: Tech news

Trial for Xbox 360 modder gets delayed after judge bashes prosecution

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 01 Dec 2010 22:23 User comments (28)

Trial for Xbox 360 modder gets delayed after judge bashes prosecution The jury trial for the case of Matthew Crippen has been delayed today, after the presiding judge took 30 minutes to lecture the prosecution.
Crippen is on trial for allegedly modding Xbox 360 consoles to be able to play pirated games and homebrew.

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez started the trial off with a 30-minute rant complaining about the prosecution and the government's case, with his main concerns being the prosecution's "star" witnesses.

The two witnesses in the case have both potentially broken the law, making them less credible. The first is
Entertainment Software Association investigator Tony Rosario, who has video of Crippen modding consoles in his home in L.A. Those videos, however, were taped secretly, in violation of California's strict privacy laws.

Microsoft security employee Ken McGrail is the second witness, the man who analyzed the consoles that were seized from Crippen's home. McGrail, however, has admitted under oath to modifying the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 back when he was in college.

Crippen has been charged with two counts of breaking the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and faces up to 10 years in prison.

After Judge Gutierrez' rant, the prosecution asked for a recess and apologized to the court.

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28 user comments

11.12.2010 22:38

LoL...it would be great if he dropped all charges and then locked up the guy from the ESA!

21.12.2010 22:42

Uh, come now... Murderers, rappists, theives, and scum roam the earth, but this is how America is now, PITTY. Throw the key away on some poor sap for this petty crime. What a shame.

31.12.2010 22:52

10 years!?!? Holy Shit! I've been out of the modding scene for a while but ten years dude... come on. I mean you shouldn't mod your system I get that, but 10 years?!? Think of everything you've done from the year 2000 until now and then pretend like it never happened... just for modding Xbox's. He should be fined at the very most.

41.12.2010 23:22

IIRC, I thought that the Librarian of Congress made it perfectly LEGAL to jailbreak devices or does it pertain only to smartphones?

52.12.2010 0:45

Its pretty bad when you get put on trial for modding peoples consoles for them. Need to worry about to people who is paying him to do it for them and just give him a fine. jail time makes no sense...

62.12.2010 0:49
yougotthewrongguy
Unverified new user

Forget terrorists, rapers, killers, and etc. The ones who play video games on burnt discs are worse. Now we can give up the look for Osama Bin Laden and spend our resources to make sure that this kid never sees the light of day. This will teach him to play video games and not buy them at $60 plus tax. Prisons are overcrowding, so lets release all the druggies and sexual offenders, so we can lock up xbox modders. Forget the streets, protect our gamestops!!.

72.12.2010 1:28

The Judge shouldn't have apologized for his rant he is pissed on how everything is being handled in this case. It was either him or another person who said this modder couldn't use Fair Use for this and the defense is pratically from what I understand unable to prove he did no wrong.

On the Wired story of this event he's furious at the esa agents for breaking the law themselves more so then the modder. But what edited by ddp irritates me is this, How the hell is it ok the Government can Mod Game Systems to become one Gigantic Supercomputer to make Simulations or just a Computer from Xboxes&PS3's and get away with breaking the dmca BUT when it comes to use for just for Homebrew stuff ON OUR CONSOLES WE BUY a differnt edited by ddp story. Remember their have been Several! stories were our Government Buys Several Thousand Game consoles a year for either the Soldiers or for their experiments!

How is it only WE the Consumer who might unkowning break these Rediculous Laws do we get in trouble YET the Government gets away with it!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Dec 2010 @ 15:16

82.12.2010 1:34

Originally posted by dab0ne:
10 years!?!? Holy Shit! I've been out of the modding scene for a while but ten years dude... come on. I mean you shouldn't mod your system I get that, but 10 years?!? Think of everything you've done from the year 2000 until now and then pretend like it never happened... just for modding Xbox's. He should be fined at the very most.
It's because your reverse engineering stuff which is a major no no in the USA, as the USA likes to always think it's ahead of everyone else in the world.

but if you do mod, pirate, flog peoples cars, murder people, sell drugs etc then you have to be prepared to do some time or people money out if your not up for it then it's not really worth it for you.

it's a 2 way street after all.

92.12.2010 4:15

Originally posted by dab0ne:
10 years!?!? Holy Shit! I've been out of the modding scene for a while but ten years dude... come on. I mean you shouldn't mod your system I get that, but 10 years?!? Think of everything you've done from the year 2000 until now and then pretend like it never happened... just for modding Xbox's. He should be fined at the very most.
Not sure, but I think the 10 years would be more for piracy...they found something like 150 pirated games when they raided his house. Of course, there was no cause to write a warrant, so these would be inadmissible in court if the courts were not so corrupt as to write a warrant without cause.

Here are the big issues of the case:
1.) The video taken by the ESA guy was taken illegally.

2.) The video only shows him modifying the console. At no point does the video show him claiming it will work with pirated games, nor does it show him using the console with pirated games. The ESA guy only provides a 2-minute clip of the video, and has claimed that his computer "ate" the rest of the clip. Also, he took notes both during the "sting" and after he left...these notes do not mention anything piracy-related at all. In short, the ESA guy committed a crime and still was not able to get video of the defendant committing a crime.

3.) They are trying to claim that he violated the DMCA by jailbreaking...and there has already been a jailbreaking exception added to the DMCA. They claim that this contradiction is OK, as he was modifying with the intent to allow someone to use pirated software...yet they provide no proof that he was doing so.

4.) This case only went forward because some corrupt judge (Philip Gutierrez) said that it was OK for the government to convict without any proof. Seriously...this guy said that by performing a service that someone else could use for criminal purposes without your knowledge, you are held liable. If this was applied to other cases, it would mean that every contractor would be liable for any crime that ever happened in any structure that the contractor built. It would mean that car companies, gas stations, and alcohol producers would all be responsible for all DUIs. It would mean that no one could make kitchen knives, for the fear that someone might use one to commit a murder that is then the responsibility of the knife manufacturer.

5.) The government has almost no case, and what they do have comes from an admitted criminal who; in spite of recording everything on video; has no proof that anyone but him committed a crime. Any just legal system would have refused to issue a warrant, and would have then pressed charges against the ESA guy. The US government did the opposite...they issued a warrant on and pressed charges against the victim.

Lets just hope that Matt got lucky and found the one clean judge in the entire legal system...from the pieces of his rant that I read, this might actually be the case. Then again, even if he gets off, the government will probably just ignore double jeopardy rules and try him again in a higher court with a thoroughly corrupt judge.


102.12.2010 5:43

good thing I'm not a judge, i would of told them to get the hell out of my court.


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112.12.2010 8:13

When did it become illegal to modify your own property or others property with their consent? Does this mean a jail broken/unlocked iPhone is illegal to? If so, someone needs to tell TMobile. They now have support for the iPhone.

122.12.2010 13:08

It looks like the prosecution in this case is going to lose unless they have more evidence.

Hopefully modding will fall under the same category as jail-breaking and become legal as long as it's used for backups of a game you bought.


"The only people who should buy Monster cable are people who light cigars with Benjamins." - Gizmodo

132.12.2010 13:11

So why do the prosecution get a 2nd chance to improve their case?
Surely that is the issue here?

Why the hell should the prosecution get a chance to change their case instead of them being fined & the case simply being thrown out for contempt & the waste of court-time?

I wonder how many ordinary Joes on trial ever got a word from the Judge that their defense case was shoddy & relied on less than credible witnesses?

142.12.2010 14:47

Gee, hope I don't get thrown in jail for putting an aftermarket (modded) exhaust on my Z400 Quad!

This is stupid. The man will get his in the end and he won't be happy.



Oh, Im sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

152.12.2010 15:14

I'm suprised this ever became a criminal case..Isn't it more their style to just sue him for every penny he'll ever see?



Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

162.12.2010 18:25

this story is bogus. My Aunt is from California and works as an attorney and she said they came up with this story as a scare tactic. Um...then again anything she says can be taken with a pound of salt and 12 margaritas...cause that's about how many she's had that afternoon. I think the story is legit.

172.12.2010 20:43

THIS is what America stands for now. Its a damn shame that instead of going after the real criminals they go after some kid who modded a few xboxes. Soon we gonna get thrown in jail for wearing mismatched socks. Honestly if MS or the whole entertainment scene was so worried about piracy they have the money to have stopped it ages ago, this is a game to them.

182.12.2010 23:14
llongtheD
Inactive

Ahh the corporate run prison system. Who would you rather have as an inmate in a for profit prison? Would you rather have a kid who modded xbox's, or a rapist? How do you think so many of these ridiculous laws get passed without a vote by the people? I think too many of us still believe the penal system is about justice, and punishing those who deserve it. It works from both ends for the corporations. Anyone who doesn't believe that corporations are now "managing" many of our correctional facilities in the U.S. take a look. We no longer live in a democracy, we live in a plutocracy.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Dec 2010 @ 23:28

203.12.2010 2:21
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by DVDBack23:
http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2010/12/03/xbox_modder_gets_case_dismissed_on_first_day
Yeah I saw that. I'll stick by my comment.

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

213.12.2010 2:43

Originally posted by llongtheD:
Originally posted by DVDBack23:
http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2010/12/03/xbox_modder_gets_case_dismissed_on_first_day
Yeah I saw that. I'll stick by my comment.
Hey, wasn't aimed at you, just posting the latest developments on the relevant case :)

223.12.2010 11:16

Great outcome, shame about the waste of time & money.....not forgetting the undoubtedly huge amount of inconvenience and stress this will have caused the defendant.

I hope the guy gets back his legal costs too (which can be ruinously expensive whether you win, lose or don't even end up in court.
Talk about a racket.)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Dec 2010 @ 11:17

233.12.2010 14:00

what about when the 360 first came out, where was bill gates, he certainly wasn't answering the phone to disgruntled buyers when they was having tons of problems with it...the court case is a nonsense ..because if you try to set an example with one person you'll have to lock up another one thousand modders..so it's a waste of time and money.


ged

243.12.2010 16:00
hk2hal
Unverified new user

This is ridiculous.

Here is the logic of these manufactures, we built it therfore we own it.

uh NO you dont!

you do ONLY when it comes to ANOTHER company trying to use your design but not the product itself.
once the purchase has been made the CONSUMER owns it!

EXAMPLE: I buy a nice blue car from a dealer, its mine now paid in full, my resposinbility my financial burden, ok now
after a month I get tired of the blue, so I have it painted RED,
then the salesman who sold it to me comes by and sees I painted it.
He doesnt like that so he takes the car back, becuase your not using it the way he sold it to you.

He cant do that (Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox).
I am the one who owns it, not the manufacture!!!
If I buy one right now and take it to street and smash it with a baseball bat, I can do that, because I paid for it, its mine to do with as I want!

If this kid was making a profit I still doubt it was a dent into the margins of the manufactures.

Modding your own stuff should be ok, modding others is questionable at best.

The loss of revenue because of this kid is so small
that its the same as the ceo pays for his daily lunch.

I repeat, ridiculous!

253.12.2010 18:54

hopefully the jurors decide that the man is not guilty due to reason of the law being unfair. this happened very often for bootlegging trials during the united states prohibition era. now, often, judges do not mention this to the jury anymore in most every state.
it also sounds vexatious (lol, look it up like i did)
lastly, for his sake, lets hope it was a personal modification and not done for profit. thats probably what will determine the severity of sentence if found guilty.


lubricant -> Mr Slicker -> ???

263.12.2010 22:02

Every one of the stand alone DVD players sold in India is modded to be region free and this by the selling dealer himself !

For the "sue 'em crazy" American entertainment industry it would be a fantastic windfall!

273.12.2010 22:23

Originally posted by hk2hal:
This is ridiculous.

Here is the logic of these manufactures, we built it therfore we own it.

uh NO you dont!

you do ONLY when it comes to ANOTHER company trying to use your design but not the product itself.
once the purchase has been made the CONSUMER owns it!

EXAMPLE: I buy a nice blue car from a dealer, its mine now paid in full, my resposinbility my financial burden, ok now
after a month I get tired of the blue, so I have it painted RED,
then the salesman who sold it to me comes by and sees I painted it.
He doesnt like that so he takes the car back, becuase your not using it the way he sold it to you.

He cant do that (Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox).
I am the one who owns it, not the manufacture!!!
If I buy one right now and take it to street and smash it with a baseball bat, I can do that, because I paid for it, its mine to do with as I want!

If this kid was making a profit I still doubt it was a dent into the margins of the manufactures.

Modding your own stuff should be ok, modding others is questionable at best.

The loss of revenue because of this kid is so small
that its the same as the ceo pays for his daily lunch.

I repeat, ridiculous!






You know what, I agree with you. If I buy a car and want to add something extra to it like an engine that gives it better gas mileage It's my right to do that. The modding of the system shouldn't be illegal, but the boot legging of copyrighted material should be.

284.12.2010 6:40

i thought people was legally entitled to make a back up of their own disc, just in case the original gets damaged...as far as i know i can go out and buy a dvd machine that will play these backups, ie. vcd/svcd/cd- r/rw dvd rw..etc....so why can't people have a backup of these very expensive games....yes i know why...tut-tut.


ged

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