An appeals court in the UK has ruled that mod chips do not violate copyright protections, according to a report on TeamXecuter.
The ruling ended the prosecution of Englishman Neil Higgs, who did business as MrModChips. Higgs was convicted last October, with police seizing some 3,700 chips from his residence. Justice Jacobs, presiding over the case, was apparently persuaded that any copyright infringement had already taken place before resellers like Higgs became involved.
Higgs’ website is currently displaying the word "Victory", with a picture of Winston Churchill flashing the famous V-sign.
Not unexpectedly, game biz whinging has begun. Industry veteran Bruce Everiss bemoans the decision on his Bruce on Games blog:
It is only by protecting copyright that game developers can be paid for their work. And if they aren’t paid for their work then they won’t make games as we have seen so many times before.
Meanwhile, as MSN points out:
The verdict follows a similar case in Australia, which legalised mod chips in the country back in 2002, when Sony lost its legal battle to sue a seller. Judge Ronald Sackville declared that the mod chips did not violate Australian laws forbidding the circumventing of "technological protection measures", as they also prevented legal activity, such as playing back-up and imported games.
GP: There’s been no collapse of the video game industry in Australia that we’ve noticed. In fact, things there seem brighter than ever for the industry, mod chips and all.