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Modchips legal says Australian high court

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Oct 2005 9:15 User comments (22)

Modchips legal says Australian high court The High Court of Australia has overturned a decision by an appeals court that ruled modifying gaming consoles was illegal. This is the outcome of a four year battle between Sony Corp. and Sydney retailer Eddy Stevens. Stevens sold PlayStation consoles containing installed modchips so it would be possible that his customers could import and play games from other areas of the world. Sony sued Stevens on the grounds that he had bypassed encrypted access codes that were in place to protect copyright, making it possible for imported or copied games to be played on the console.
In Australia, PlayStation games come in PAL format, as they also do in Europe, but imported games from regions such as North America or Southeast Asia requires a console that will play NTSC games; without a modchip, an Australian PlayStation console can't play an NTSC game. Originally Sony lost the battle against Stevens in court but convinced an appeals court to overturn the earlier ruling. However, Sony failed to convince the High Court of Australia to uphold the appeals court's ruling.

"This is a hell of a victory for the consumer -- that's why we did it," Stevens said. The court criticized Sony saying the different access codes in PlayStations restricted the rights of consumers and restricted global market competition. "There is no copyright reason why the purchaser should not be entitled to copy the CD-ROM and modify the console in such a way as to enjoy his or her lawfully acquired property without inhibition," said the court in a ruling posted on its website.


Thanks to Jon for the email, agent-k and borhan9 for News Submissions.

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22 user comments

16.10.2005 21:33

I don't live AU, but this is one hell of a victory for you guys!

26.10.2005 22:17

I like Australia. :)

36.10.2005 22:29

good job no wonder i always want to move to AU. it rox.

46.10.2005 23:31

I thought mod chips were legal in the states, they were just illegal to sell or install for profit. Anyone know the specifics of US legislation on this?? Ludi

56.10.2005 23:35

Alrght, Score 1 for me! After all these years, thinking I've sacrificed this generation of gaming (Last Console was the PSX) I can now finally legimately purchase a PS2 for a mere 80 bucks with a Modchip. :D

66.10.2005 23:37

I'm in AU and it doesn't bother me wether its legal or not. If I remember correctly though (for the US at least), it is NOT illegal to install the modchip, but it IS illegal to install the bios/firmware/software on the modchip.. This is because it uses Microsoft's SDK technology to bypass protection, where as the Linux cromwell bios is legal, because its built from linux. Hope this helps!!

77.10.2005 04:22

Throw another shrimp on the barbie and crack open a Fosters! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

87.10.2005 05:47

crack open a Fosters!
has anyone in australia ever Foster on tap at any pub or RSL??? anyway, regrading the modchip, this is cool, but doesn't bother me. i had my console modded 4 years ago :P

97.10.2005 12:39

For me the first time i heard about this victory was on TV amd i was jummpin for joy... Cause this was the same day i sat a red the article on the EUCD Finland Copyright laws that have effected Finland... So I was amzed when i heard this guy one in the high court... Well all i can say is that not all hope is lost......

107.10.2005 18:02

THis is good, we just need more Australian site selling them :)

117.10.2005 18:26

I hate bursting you people's bubble but don't be shocked if sony appeals this decision much like the MPAA and the RIAA appealing the grokster decision in the united states. They will keep on appealing until they win. You can't fight big business cartels and thier money.

127.10.2005 20:05

chesty, this was a high court ruling, so this would be like the supreme court in the united states. Sony already appealed and an appeals couyrt agreed with them (after they first lost the case). The court of appeals sided with sony but then the decision was made to bring it to the high court who accepted it, and ruled against sony, consider the matter closed. Of course matters likie mthis will emerge again oncetechnology advances!

137.10.2005 21:32

@chesty Mate Dela is correct u can't get any higher court in Aus soo pardon the pun but it's "Game Over" for Sony... They cant go any further...

148.10.2005 01:04

Congrats to the fighter who endured all of that for freedom of backup, incidentally do you know anyone who makes LEGAL backups?

158.10.2005 01:04

Nothing like an Australian high court ruling when it's in your favor. I'd be more interested to see if game companies drop their high prices of new releases ($80 - $110 in Australia) to a more realistic price of say around $30 to combat cheaper overseas games and of course piracy. I know, $30 is a bit of a strech, but hey I can dream can't I.

168.10.2005 02:15


178.10.2005 03:07

I live in Australia. I think it's a great on our part. I am orginally from the USA. I can only hope there is no appeal. Even if it was illegal there would still be little game shops modding the PS2 and Xbox consoles. As far as Fosters. I see it here on Tap. I prefer Victoria Bitter though.

AMD Quad 9950, Asus Motherboard, 2G Kingston Ram, 512MB Asus 8600GT, Samsung DVD Rom sh- d162c, LG Rom GDR8163B,
LG Burner h62n

188.10.2005 07:56

Wouldn't it be such a great display of worldwide justice, if this decision set a long overdue precedent to restore some of the basic rights of the average consumer? What makes it so much sweeter is that this precedent would have been set by arguably, the greediest corporation on the planet. If Sony sold poison ivy, kudzu, and stinkweed, it would not grow unless you purchased their proprietary horse manure specially developed by Sony engineers.

198.10.2005 08:00

YEEEEAY! Good win.

2023.12.2005 06:34

In reply to “Incidentally do you know anyone who makes LEGAL backups?” I do, I have to with my children. I often had to buy a game a second or third time because of lost or damaged disks. Recently my eldest son purchases MS Age of Empires 3 for £26.99 and within 2 weeks had lost 1 of the 3 disks and I hadn’t made a backup. So I contacted Microsoft to see if I could get a replacement disk (I could send a receipt for the purchase a photo of the remaining disks manual and packaging and the reg number, that they confirmed was lagit) They offered a replacement disk, but to send me a disk (costing pennies to produce) that I had paid the licence for would cost me £17. Now how do they justify that when I have just purchase a full retail copy of Black & White (disk, licence, manual and packaging) from for £4 including postage and packaging

2123.12.2005 10:19

WTH? Greedy lil rats. I wouldn't treat my customers like that, even if I had a multi-billion dollar corporation.

2224.12.2008 08:20

blow me down, live in aus and was not aware of the high court decision and here I have been for a couple of years telling my little one not to tell his friends we have a chip. Like other parents we have to do back ups as little pinkies have trouble picking up discs and not scratching them.

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