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ELSPA modchip assistance gets man longer jail term

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2006 8:58 User comments (20)

ELSPA modchip assistance gets man longer jail term The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) helped to extend the prison sentence of a man convicted of handling stolen goods by one month after assisting investigators in proving the man had committed "chipping" offenses. The individual in question, David Hoang, owned a shop called DH Wings, which was raided by the police resulting in his arrest on 23rd February 2006. The police raided the shop for stolen goods and then called on ELSPA for help when the man pleaded not guilty to additional chipping offenses.
"We're pleased we could assist in this case," commented Michael Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA. "The modification of games consoles, more commonly known as 'chipping', is a criminal offence and so is the possession of modified chips. The successful resolution of this case highlights the very real threat of prosecution and a criminal record to anyone tempted to become involved." Huang received 18 months overall for his crimes, although only one month can really be credited to chipping offenses.

Modchips are illegal in the United Kingdom. They can be used for purposes such as running homebrew code on a console, bypassing region restrictions which will allow you to play imported games and bypassing security measures intended to stop copies of games from being played. It is just the last feature that has made modchips illegal in the UK. The other abilities that modchips provide have kept them legal in other parts of the world.

Whether modchips should be illegal or not is confusing. When you buy a console you are buying a computer and should be allowed to modify it any way you like. The ability to run homebrew adds new life to a console and doesn't keep it locked to commercial games and other things. It also does allow consumers to protect an investment in a game by booting (or assisting in booting) backup copies. However, they do bypass security measures aimed at protecting copyright which is why they are condemned by the gaming industry.

Perhaps the legality of modchips should be assessed by how they are advertised. If a dealer were to advertise them as a means to commit piracy, then perhaps that should be seen as breaking the law. You will find however that modchips are advertised mostly as being able to boot backup copies and also advertised for their other abilities. Either way, making them completely illegal is a bad way to deal with the problem.


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20 user comments

13.4.2006 23:01

Thank god for softmod/swapmagic then! -Mike

24.4.2006 01:18

this is another one that doesnt make sense.. this wont slow down modding at all whats the point

34.4.2006 01:48

They'll never get it through their skulls.

44.4.2006 03:32

It'd be nice if these companies put resources into an organisation like this that similarly went after rapists.

54.4.2006 09:30

I dont give a flip its also illeage to do it in the US but many do,I dont care for swap magic becuse I cant use a Game enhancher/Code breaker on it half the games now adays are so bad they become bearable if you tweak the thier goign to call game enhanchers illage becuse they alter code....morons......besides between revisions and games that break copy protection Moding is not a easy thing...

64.4.2006 12:42

Dod Gammit.

74.4.2006 16:00

This is stupid. We should stop buying their products and maybe these cheap swindlers will wake up and smell the bankruptcy. If you buy a console, for 500 + dollars, than I have ownership of it. If I choose to pee in it, then damn straight, I will pee in it. Oh! Now its illegal for you to pee in your property? Since when? Anyways, United Kingdom is just one of those locations that you never want to go. Cameras everywhere in the city like a prison, now this... Whatever, mother flick them to berry grape Heck.

84.4.2006 16:33

"Anyways, United Kingdom is just one of those locations that you never want to go. Cameras everywhere in the city like a prison, now this" get a grip and take a bite out of reality, cameras everywhere ? i wish...we might feel safer then from the muggers and thugs who rule the streets these days. as for consoles, this is typical corporation philosophy these days, not limited to consoles but also including dvds/cds and other stuff.. "ok we sold it to you and you paid us but we still act like we own it and will tell you what you can/can't do with it"

94.4.2006 17:06

hot_ice I like camras being everwhere outside ^^ it keeps track of the muggers and crimnals it also spots thos oh so annoying couples doing it in the park or in the parking lots 0-o more money in fines for the city *L* and as bad as the and as bad as the feds are playing with the money the citys need to find new and reasonable ways ofmakeing a buck *L* the PS3 is reigon free gameing wise and that breaks soem of the laws the industy "bought" here and in the I dout the DVD player is regoin free but if it is..I will shit in my pants and buy one 0-o somehow I think they will "fix" this once its gets to the states...

104.4.2006 19:10

When you buy a console you are buying a computer and should be allowed to modify it any way you like
...Or anything else for that matter. As far as I'm concerned, when I buy something, it's mine and I have the right to do whatever I choose with it. OK, say you buy a car; you can fill the tank up with gas wherever you please, have it repaired wherever you please, or just drive it off a cliff if you like. After all it is yours, right? No one is going to tell me where or what to do with the things I buy with my hard earned money. That's horse sh*t, plain and simple.

114.4.2006 19:11

@domie I still have a grip on reality, unless you consider "reality to be an illusion, albeit a convincing one" So I am not sure what you mean by that heheehhehehe Anyways, I am not a big fan of the UK, that nasty old bat they call the Queen, the cams, the couples having sex all over the place and too cheap to rent a room, their laws, their flip-flopping Tony Blair, their tight roads, their attacks on Leprechauns in Ireland, Austin Powers... In any event, you get my drift, I know this will piss some Englishmen, but its not aimed at anyone, except if you are the Queen, Blair, Powers, or are part of a political and legislative system and happen to show apathy towards Leprechauns... I think they should reduce the price of consoles, is they still presume ownership over it. A reasonable amount would be, 50-100 $ and a sticker with the words :" We OWN you B'atch" would justify what they are doing.

124.4.2006 19:16

I just saw a commercial that says Harry Potter is for sale on DVD and I can "own it on DVD now." This happens all the time with DVD commercials. Yet the MPAA continuously says that we do not own movies when we buy them on DVD, we merely license it. Isn't this false advertising? The movie industry wants to play it both ways, trying to create the illusion of ownership for sales, but taking away our rights to back up movies on the PC since we license it. I'd like to see someone take a studio to court for false or misleading advertising. Most people aren't really aware that their rights are limited when they buy a DVD, so it is quite reasonable that people could be confused. They should say "license it on DVD now," but then they would miss out on potential revenues when people are aware. The commercial clearly says own it (referring to Harry Potter), not own the DVD which grants the license for viewing the film.

134.4.2006 22:17

I think when we pay for something, we make a trade. We trade the dinero for the product. So when it comes to a DVD, they should trade us a piece of paper instead, cuz let's face it, they might as well. Let me think of the many uses of that piece of paper, I think I may wipe the grand ol' place you know is never clean. Or I could recycle it, avenging the tree's death in result.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Apr 2006 @ 11:35

145.4.2006 06:34

see the probem isnt that you can mod it its more like they dont want you to fix their product so it could do more ... if sony had half a clue it would help modding to increase the functions that their product could do... so if I buy a cell phone and reprogram it to play music then Ive modded it and should go to jail but if I send the government a registration form and call it an invention then I get the rights to my change... so with modding the only one not getting payed beside the inventer of the mod is the govenment ... well if the government charged for sex(their cut) then maybe they'd go after Rapest with this much abilityand conviction...

155.4.2006 16:58

mystic and becuse of it its hurt the PSP and DS I see them as handicaped and becuse of it I have been less willing to fool with them.

166.4.2006 14:48

For "hot_ice" I live in the UK, your comments entertained me, mainly cos your right LMAO, Tony Blair is an idiot who spends more time brown nosing bush to do us any good, the queen does nothing, even Blair has more say than her, and as for Austin Powers, he rox (but aint mike myers american anyway?...). About chipping and stuff, hell yeah, if i spend my hard earned cash on something, its MINE, if i wanna take it to bits and start soldering console enhancing hardware in it, thats my choice, backups are a great way to keep originals in mint, unused, condition.

176.4.2006 14:56

Don't you think all these restrictions against the consumer is a violation of civil liberties? Civil rights IOW.

186.4.2006 19:35

DRM, in my humble opinion, sucks dog nuts. When I buy a CD/DVD, I expect it to play on my PC, in my living room, in my car and on my laptop PC. For the most part this is the case, I refuse to buy a CD/DVD with copy protection. But when you download music YOU DONT OWN IT. You are only renting it, and what are the odds that in 50 years you will be able to play the music you paid for? Will your Intel Itanuim 10 running Mac OS 27 or Windows Vasectomy 2056 Media Center Edition still support DRM from 2006? (HINT: Nobody can ever play again the movies encoded in DivX (DIgital Video eXpress) that Circuit City tried to pawn on the world. For you n00bs, this was prior to the mp4 codec by the same name, they have nothing to do with each other. Google CIRCUIT CITY DivX to see an early attempt at reaming the consumer with DRM. DivX movies will never be played again.) For the record, I chipped my PS2. For the record, I use it ONLY to copy games I OWN to the hard drive I added so I can play my games from the hard drive. I dont steal PS2 games, but under the law I am still a criminal.

1922.4.2006 01:27

Freedom isnt Free

2022.4.2006 01:32

im sorry gas is $3.00 were i live and much higher is some parts of the US and other parts of the world and Microsoft / Music Inc. / Sony / Nintendo / the movie bizz wants me to poney up $19.99 to a now wapping $60.00 US for media that costs them a wopping $1 to $10 to reporduce a million or trillion times umm what do they want a world without entertaiment???? Dear God Let me Know

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