UK Court: Mod Chips Don’t Circumvent Copyright; Industry Whining Begins

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.

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  1. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. Jeremy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Personally this is a win for the gaming community.  I’m sick of having to buy another game because the one I bought got scratched or stop working.  Since Im "legally" allowed to have a backup I should be "legally" allowed to use it, but noooooo modding your xbox ps3 wii etc circumvents our bs copyright technology and might allow you to steal our product, hate to tell them they don’t ever ever slow down pirates with copyright technology they only annoy legitmate users. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wrong. That case was in between the 2002 ruling and a 2nd ruling which "re-legalized" modchips. As of now it is legal to sell, advertise and own modchips in Australia.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just as a point of interest, I believe that a later court case in Australia determined that while it is legal to own a modded console, it is either illegal to sell the modchips or to advertise that you will mod them. Very logical

  5. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What ever happened to the Homeland Security Raid  "Operation Tangled Web"?

    Was anyone ever indicted or convicted?


    *_*Go Long Life IS Too Short*_*


  6. Anonymous says:

    "industry whineing" doesn’t sound impartial…



    What the **** am I saying? They need to stop screwing us over via region locking.

  7. GusTavToo says:


    Before everyone gets excited about the case I would suggest a note of caution. While the conviction was quashed in the Court of Appeal, the reason for the appeal’s success has not yet been published, merely the dismissal. In the short dismissal the Court made it very clear that Higgs was strongly advised not to continue with his previous conduct. That suggests to me that while his appeal was a success their Lordships were strongly hinting that his behaviour, if continued, might result in future prosecution.

    I await the publication fo the full judgment to see why his conviction was quashed; it may be nothing to do with the legality of Mod chips in the UK.

    As a matter of record I published an article a couple pf years ago which set ut why I belive mod chips to be lawful in the UK.

  8. sqlrob says:

    The modder that was busted in the US was caught with the consoles *THAT WERE LOADED WITH GAMES*

    So that bust I can agree with. He wasn’t just a modder, he sold consoles loaded with pirated games. Bust the ones that are doing wrong, not others.



  9. CyberSkull says:

     If they were smart in the first place and just never implemented mod chips then this may have turned out differently.

  10. JC says:

    Who would be willing to test that and become a martyr? The last time a seller was raided here he was sentenced, no? Something about having tons of pre-modded Xboxes.

    I don’t think something like this will become a success in the US, at least not soon. Probably some years later.

  11. Loudspeaker says:

    Last I checked I can purchase parts for my car that make it illegal to drive since it would remove the speed limiter or lower the car beyond what the law says I can.  However it isn’t illegal to purchase those parts.  The United States has a huge double-standard right now that needs to be tested in the courts.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  12. Arad ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    For around two years I used a modded PS2 to play an imported game series that I loved to *death.*  Unfortunately that PS2 died, so I ended up just importing a PS2 so I wouldn’t have to mess around with the mod chip or worry about the FBI coming through my windows.

  13. Loudspeaker says:

    The only way this would do well in a US court is if the modder WAS the end user who appeared in court.  Then it becomes a matter of ownership which there’s already lots of precident on.  It’s exactly why the industry is after the mod chip builders rather than the modders.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  14. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that the site that Mr Everiss links to for the background to the story references those great Bastions of Truth, The Sun and The Metro…

  15. ZippyDSM says:

    Afterdawn had this week’s’ ago, its going to be awhile before modchips are legal again but this is a great first step, in the US "downloading" IE making available dose not equate to distribution, its only logical that distribution is a for profit venture after all.


    I is fuzzy brained mew

    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  16. FirebirdLR ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t there could be a study saying, "HEY, do you pirate games with your mod chips?" Otherwise, we’d be seeing house arrests skyrocket like a fireworks warehouse in flames. (Best way to spend 4th of July, by the way!)

    Do you know anyone else besides yourself that does not use something like a mod psp or ps2 to play pirated games? Most of the people that I know at my gamestop do…

    While I use mine to play old school games (ones that lost their copyright) its completely naive to think that a small percentage of mod users use it to pirate video games.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Three questions:


    1) What the hell kind of game was that?

    2) Which console was it released for?

    3) Is it relatively simple to find on the net?

  18. Chadachada says:

    ….When I first read that, it almost seemed like you were saying the Japanese weren’t people


    I would freaking love a game like that! They need to bring it to the US

  19. Anonymous says:

    Where are your figures to prove that "MOST mod chip users do it exclusively to play pirated games"?  Sure, that’s what the game companies want us to believe, but I’ve yet to see any studies that prove it.  For all I know 90% of mod chips may be used to play imported games – that’s why I would get one.

  20. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The thing is that you cannot outlaw something that has fully legal purposes just because someone uses it for illegal purposes.

    We went through the same thing with VCRs. The Movie studios didn’t want them because people could copy movies. What happened? The Government told the movie studio to STFU. Mod Chips are the equivelent to VCRs.

    E. Zachary Knight


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  21. DrkMatter says:

    While I certainly fully agree tot he use of mod chips for running homebrew and imported games, it would be burying our heads in the sand not to acknowledge that MOST mod chip users do it exclusively to play pirated games. That’s what all the moders I know us it for, anyhow.

  22. tony selby says:

    "The percentage of lawful uses is small compared to the illegal ones. I don’t think that was the case with VCRs"


    you obviously havn’t looked at the average persons old VHS collection, let me tell you, i used to, and still have several hundred VHS tapes, most of which are copies of movies i’ve either rented from video stores, or watched on TV

    to be fair they are much closer to in car radar detectors, which while are not illegal to own, how often are they really used for a purpose that isn’t breaking the law?

  23. DrkMatter says:

    I did not say "types of uses", I said "uses". I’m sure on any given days, more mod-chipped consoles are powered on to read a pirated game than there are who are used to play homebrew.

  24. DrkMatter says:

    "The thing is that you cannot outlaw something that has fully legal purposes just because someone uses it for illegal purposes."

    True indeed, but you can certainly see where the game companies are coming from. The percentage of lawful uses is small compared to the illegal ones. I don’t think that was the case with VCRs.

  25. Zero Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Indeed, only the people that actually do end up pirating games should be prosecuted.  If you just want to play imported games and movies, or turn your Xbox/360/PS3/Wii into a media center, you should be allowed to do so without any hassle from anyone, aside from your family if they think it’s unnecessary.

    The "perfect" solution would be to open up the consoles so that the only reason to buy a modchip is to pirate games.

  26. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Yeah for the consumer. Now if only we can get this ruling in the US, we can all shut up about mod chips. The chips themselves have very legal purposes. It is not the mod chip creator or the seller that is infringing on copyrights. It is the people who buy them and play pirated games that are the problem.

    E. Zachary Knight


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  27. StealthKnight says:

    Well, then they need revamp their whole counting system.  A few years ago, I bought an euro import of shenmue 2 for the dreamcast because I had no interest in the xbox at the time. Though the game had Japannese voices, it had english subtitles, and that was good enough for me. If fans really like the game then they will buy the game no matter where it is from. I’m sure that a lot of americans wuld buy the Euro version if it was being sold to America. If it sold well then they could make a sequal and maybe have english voices.

     They should have a program were they ask fans around the world, in each country; if they will buy it and if they own it. Then they can compare it to sales totals they got from regions around the world, doing some compound equations to figure out the amount of copies that the players who bought it, lived in which  country and/or region.

  28. Chadachada says:

    You guys did get Mario Kart and Wii Fit before the states did

    I agree though, the world gaming market should be treated as close to the same as possible, it would make it so much easier

  29. Matriculated says:

    If companies like Sony and Nintendo didn’t dick Europe around so much, maybe mod-users would go down. Super Smash Bros Brawl is out in the UK next week; how long ago was it released in the US?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Seconded on that. I once saw this japanese game where you drove an ambulance and rescued people during a zombie outbreka, and got to mod the vehicle with spinning blades and stuff. Why it wasn ever brought stateside is beyond me as I know people would love it.


  31. Gray-17 says:

    The regional price fixing that allows them to do makes up for the extra cost/work, which is probably pretty minute anyways.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for alowing the purchase and use of these things especialy for import games. Personaly I always found it silly that they’d make more than one version of a console and go through the trouble of making it so X version can’t play Y version’s games. Seems like a whole lot of extra unneeded work to me.

  33. Jabrwock says:

    If C-61 passes, expect the same fight to happen in Canada.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  34. Vorlon010 says:

    I think a lot of the problem is that the industry wants to claim that those games don’t count – if they did, they’d have sold you a localised version. You may be giving money to the industry, but because it’s harder to show on a graph, they wouldn’t like to admit it exists. It’s quite rediculous, but then greed usually is.

    As for using it as a media center, when the PS2 was launched, they would say ‘well you can watch DVDs, what else do you need?’. These days they’d more likely say ‘if you want that, go buy a PS3’ – No way would they admit that you’d improved the useability of your machine by modding it.

    Remember, the industry bosses know best, else they wouldn’t be bosses! </sarcasm>

  35. PitViper401 says:

    Funny.  I modded my PS2 to have it act as a media center and to play all my imported DDR games.  Games that I paid good money for.  If I hadn’t been able to do that, I would have bought LESS games.

  36. neuroslice says:


    this needs to happen in our country.

    but it won’t, because of the videogame PUBLISHING lobby.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Please send some of that sweet sweet common sense out way.

    As for that whining develope,r you ARE gettign paid for your work. Just because someone isntalls a mod chip doesn’t mean they intend ot rip you off. Maybe they just want to play an import game maybe?

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