Feds Pursuing Guilty Pleas in Last Summer’s Controversial Mod Chip Raids

August 1, 2007 is a date that 32 American families are not likely to forget.

On that Wednesday, more than 100 federal agents from the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) service, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, executed search warrants on 32 homes in 16 states. The ICE agents, who were seeking mod chips for console systems, were acting in concert with employees of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association operated by US video game publishers.

Among the feds and the ESA, the raids were code-named "Operation Tangled Web." The mod chip investigation began in the ICE field office in Cleveland and the case continues to be coordinated by the U.S. Attorney’s office there. The raids generated a fair amount of publicity as well as criticism from some quarters.

In the more than 11 months since Operation Tangled Web, GamePolitics has been attempting to find out what happened to the 32 mod chip suspects who were targeted in the raid. In that time the feds have made no announcements concerning arrests or indictments. Although we’ve been in contact with ICE several times we have received no information so far.

Our search of publicly-accessible federal court records has turned up only one of the 32 search warrants. That’s an indication that the others are still sealed. And in the one we did manage to locate, the probable cause section is not available, so we don’t know the basis for the investigation, what the agents uncovered, etc.

But an April 7th website post may yield some clues as to the investigation’s status. The author reveals that he received a target letter from the Department of Justice in relation to the raid on his home. The DOJ letter, as described by the author, seems to encourage a quick guilty plea in lieu of a full-blown indictment and federal court trial :

A few days ago I received a letter from the Department of Justice. The letter stated that I was the target of an investigation by Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). In the letter, they inform me, that the potential violations are:


1. Title 17 US Code, Section 1201 (in connection with the sale and installation of modification chips)
2. Title 18 US Code, Section 545 (relating to the importation or smuggling of modification chips)
3. Title 18 US Code, Section 1956 (money laundering)


The letter goes on to say that if I want to resolve the matter before I am indicted, they suggest I obtain a defense counsel. It also states that defense counsel will be in a much better position to explain the advantages of a one count felony plea. The letter goes on to say that a plea would present significant sentencing concessions on the part of the government, over the sentence that I would get, should I let the indictment process (and subsequent multiple felony convictions) proceed.

GamePolitics has learned that at least one other individual has also received such a letter. It would seem likely that many, if not all, of the 32 suspected mod chippers will be offered quick plea bargains in this fashion. Perhaps ICE and the ESA are waiting for the upcoming anniversary to make an announcement.

On the fallsinc website, the author goes on to say:

I honestly do not believe that I have violated any law, and as such, I feel I should not be charged with any crime, nor should I have my property confiscated. The actions of big business lobbyists is very apparent in this action, and destroying the lives and livelihoods of 32 people just to satisfy “The Big Three” is not a move that I see in the best interests of the people.


At this point I need all the help I can get. If you are a video gaming or linux enthusiast, or just a user who enjoys the ability to get more out of legally purchased hardware, I need you at my side…

A copy of an Operation Tangled Web search warrant obtained by GamePolitics from publicly-accessible federal court records shows that 10 WiiKey modchips and one Xeno modchip were among items seized from an Ohio residence believed to be that of the author of the fallsinc website. 

Mod chips are illegal in the United States under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They are not illegal, however, in some other countries, including Australia and Canada. Last month, a court in the UK dismissed a case against a British mod chipper, ruling that mod chips do not violate copyright under English law.

ESA CEO Michael Gallagher is quoted on Operation Tangled Web in the organization’s 2007 year-end piracy report:

As an industry, we protect our intellectual property, encourage our government to crack down on those who break the law, and urge other governments to take similar action against video game pirates. Yearly worldwide game piracy costs total over $3 billion and it impinges on businesses and employees who create, develop, and distribute innovative products.


The ESA will work with federal law enforcement to ensure that those engaged in the illegal trade of circumvention devices are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


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  1. 0
    Mortium ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    if they wanted your cooperation, they could have served the search warrant on you in a more civilized fashion. By you know, knocking… politely presenting the warrant, and asking you to kindly step aside while they search. Yes at that point you could call an attorney (and as a rule SHOULD even if innocent, get an attorney, the "only the guilty need an attorney" propoganda is BULLSHIT. Cops ask you questions, refuse to do so until you have counsel, even if they are asking you, "Hey! What time is it?"), but yeah save the residential raid searches for armed suspects. Corporate offices, that’s a different story…

  2. 0
    Rocky ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Something similar happened to me last year. I lived with my sister for about a year in a house right outside New Orleans. The house was a double, My sister and I were living in the front half and they had two guys living behind us. One morning when my sister was at work. I’m sleeping when I hear a loud banging coming from the door. I get up and I start yelling at whoever is banging on the door that I was gonna be right there. Next thing I know the door flies open and I’m told to get down on the floor. I didn’t know what the hell was going on and I was on the floor face down with a cop pointing a rifle at me telling me to stay down while the other cops search the house. They questioned me about the owners of the truck outside. I tell them it belongs to the guys in the back and then after the arrest I was free to get up and get dressed (since i was in my boxers). They told me they were watching the other guys because they were suspects in a drug ring they have been investigating. On top of that with everything happening so fast it threw me into an asthma attack, making things alot worse.


    My experience sucked, but it wasn’t as bad as yours. I’m sorry you and your wife had to go through such a thing. It makes me question how much investigation they actually do before raiding peoples houses or making arrest.

  3. 0
    -Jes- ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This IS what copy protection salesmen ACTUALLY TELL GAME DEV LEADS and Publishers. The numbers given are intentionally bolstered some, and then some more, and then way the hell out of there in order to sway the potential buyers.


    There’s no factual data behind those numbers, and they will twiddle their thumbs if you demand such. And of course no one but the top brass of a game company believes ever believes in them, but you already know who’s in charge…

    SecuROM, StarForce, I’m looking at YOU! Dishonest bastards all the way.

  4. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    thats why you need a lawyer wiling to work for that 30% payday, a showing of tharepy bills and vroken preoperty should be enough to get you into court but finding a lawyer that will give a damn is hard.


    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  5. 0
    Attack_Gypsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    No lawyer will touch it. They had a warrant. And in the post 9/11 world, that is more than enough.


    Expecially when the guy who really was guilty was running a kiddie porn server. As in 40+ GIGS of it. Yes, I said GIGS.


    They put him away forever.


    The one good thing is that I got letters from the city police, state police, and the FBI saying that I was not a suspect in any crime, and thanking me for my co-operation.


    Fat lot of good that does. Gonna pay my poor wife’s therapy bills?

  6. 0
    Attack_Gypsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I did.


    Because they had a warrant, no lawyer around here will touch it. I tried. Believe me, I tried. For weeks.

  7. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Father Time
    What else can a no one dose, if the system squashes you admits to a mistake but dose not redress damages done perhaps its time to sue and sue justly, the system is broken because it dose not treat people as "respectfully accused", frankly if a bunch of ya hos came to my door with no warrant I would ask them to leave on the end of a shotgun(half hardly I say that, I would require a shotgun and steely pair :P) without due process there is only anarchy, when the system  harms the innocent the innocent must be compensated fully.

    its sad to sue the system agisnt itself but if you can do so to find peace so be it things will either improve or get worse.

    Even the crap that happen to my family was off the beaten path HUD didn’t care the city didn’t care the insurance company took our money and ran like a good lil corporation should suing is a apropertie action altho who to sue and the money to take years to figure it out can do more harm than getting over ti and moving on, do what you can teh rest will follow by fates hand.

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  8. 0
    Father Time says:

    I doubt your case happens every day as you claim (on second thought considering how many people live in the US I guess it may happen every day but I doubt it’s always unjustified). But as someone said enough bad press and you may get a nice out of court settlement. In the supposed land of the frivolous lawsuit you may succeed.

  9. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    You should see if any laywers are intrestd in in sueing the goverment over due prosess and a few other things, nightmares make for milloins in front of jury the bad press by a skilled laywer should get you a nice out of court settlement , but you will need a lawyer who will work for a % of the pay off, soemtiems its easier to give up and forget soemtiems its not, good luck with life friend.


    Dealing with a city my self in life is fcking nutters, so city and hud build us house then the builder fcks up a few things but no one knows ah the good old boy system so 6 months into the new house with 1 wheelchair bound person(dad) and my mom who walked slow the sewer backs up flooded us out, insurance laughed at us the city workers said it was theirs but the city never would deal with us we spent 3 grand our lifes saving to pay a lawyer things went down the drain after that, so we were stuck in grandamws house until about 5-7 years after the sewer and a 4 or so after losing the house because we could nor repair it or getting it refinanced, grandmothers house was condemned we were moved to public housing after a couple months and then mom died of canser and dad died 9 motnhs alter the same time Richard pyror died…oh life….you suck……oh well….at least I am crazy ^^


    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    the flip top in itelf is nota issue its the swap magic that is,even the cubes action reply that lets you play imports is illict under the DMCA, this is why we must fight the DMCA with everythign we got.

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  11. 0
    Attack_Gypsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    No way at all. They had a lawful search warrant signed by a judge. We checked.


    Oh, and this "hand you a copy of the warrant"? No way in hell. I specifically asked for it, and they said no. I got a copy a few days later through my lawyer.

  12. 0
    Anonymous says:

    What really annoys me is that they are happy to go after the ‘little guy’, but when the PTC admits to downloading an illegal, unedited copy of Manhunt 2…. Nothing…Nada…Zip.

  13. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    As long as your  "copies" are the retail packaged deal and not home made bootlegs Frist sale trumps eula always ^^

    Least till they drop kick it in the nut sack like they did Fair use 0-o, hopefully soemone willtake it to the supreme court some day,all it takes is acouplecourts to say hey this has a legitmite use!



    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  14. 0

    Shit dude, any way you could take legal action or make them pay for your wife’s therapy bills(I’m going to assume no)? Anyway though, fuck the ESA and their tyrannic bullshit


    .-If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  15. 0
    Gus Tav Too ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    That’s why the UK conviction was quashed. The prosecution tried to argue that mere sale of modchips facilitated copyright infringements as it faciltated a unlawful trade in pirate software. The modchip was only unlawful as it was linked to a copyright infringement created through the chip. The Court did not accept that arguement as it was too remote a link between the chip and the infringement. They did, however, make it clear that if the prosecution had argued the the chip allowed an infringing copy to made in RAM when a pirate game was played they may have ruled differently; but the prosecution did not make that agruement at trial.

    It therefore appears that in the UK modchips are stil likley to be unlawful, but only if you can show they have lead to pirate/unlicensed games being played as a result of the fitting of the chip.

  16. 0
    Oz says:

    As mentioned in the article. Mod chips are perfectally legal in Australia. With the exception of piracy it is legal to do every other thing you can do with mod chips (i.e. turn it into a Linux box), the ability to make a backup of your own personal purchaced games/DVD/music last time I checked is actually protected.

    I have not heard a case of hacking hardware deliberatally bricking hardware here, or updates bricking hacked hardware but if Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo do that, they are the ones that could be prosecuted here, not the modders.

    I find it sad that in the ‘land of the free’ somebody can get charged with a felony for an action that the other side could get charged for if they try to prevent the same action here.

  17. 0
    Unruly ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Didn’t they already try making it illegal to sell used games/software? I could have sworn that I heard rumblings about it back when Microsoft was suing a college student for trying to sell copies of software that he couldn’t run on ebay since by opening the package he agreed to the EULA that was unable to be read until the package was opened.

  18. 0
    Trismagestus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It does seem to be a standard tactic, charging someone with three crimes, only one of which they’re really guilty of (by the law, at least), but scaring them enough to plead guilty to that one as long as the others go away.

    Kinda like telling a kid who stole a biscuit that someone ate the entire packet, was it you?!

    Reply: No, no, I just had one.

    And it works, annoyingly enough.

  19. 0
    Attack_Gypsy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ok, put yourself in one of these defendant’s shoes.


    They raided your home. Likely very early in the morning. You’re still asleep in your boxers when your door is kicked in. They roust you and your SO/Spouse out of bed, with guns drawn, and throw you on the floor, cuffing you. Then they ravage through your belongings. And don’t think they’re neat about it. Stuff if tossed everywhere. Your entire house is trashed. Bad. Did I mention that you now have no food in the house, because its all been ripped through and is scattered all over the floors and counter tops? And then they start taking stuff out in boxes. Anything they think could possibly be evidence. Even the videotape of your wedding could possibly be evidence. The videotape of you and your lady making a fake music video back in the 80’s. The CD of your family reunion. They tell you that you’ll very soon be charged with charges that can send you away for 20+ years. Oh, and the door they kicked in? You can submit a claim to the city to get it replaced. That will take about a year.


    Then, a few weeks later, after things have calmed down, you get a letter saying if you plead to one charge, this will all go away, and you can go back to your nice, quiet life. After all, they really don’t want you to go to jail. You can pay a small fine, and then its all over.


    Don’t think this could happen? Well, I can absolutely tell you it has, and does, happen every day. The first part happened to me. Why, you ask? What did I do wrong?


    I forgot to format an old hard drive before I got rid of it. I dumped a bunch of old computer parts out for spring cleanup. Didn’t know there was an operational hard drive in the box. Someone picked them up within a few minutes of being put out on the curb. The hard drive wound up in somebody’s hands.


    Someone involved in kiddie porn.


    This happened to me in January. Took me three months to get my property back. The door I replaced myself. The city hasn’t paid me for it yet.


    In today’s society, you are guilty until proven innocent. I was shoved around, and my disabled wife was dragged out of bed and slammed to the floor when she couldn’t move fast enough for them. Thankfully, her nightmares have stopped, but she’s still seeing a therapist because of it.


    And I committed no crime whatsoever.


    Welcome to America, comrade. Papers, please?

  20. 0
    Unruly ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If that’s the case, wouldn’t that mean that unless there were actual pirated games found, the cases should be thrown out? When I bought my PS2 modchip a few years back, the stock BIOS on it didn’t allow you to play pirated games and only worked to circumvent region coding. It required flashing a 3rd party BIOS onto the chip to play pirated games, and the manufacturer’s website even said it. Unless that’s changed since I bought mine, a modchip alone doesn’t allow for playing pirated games, but the 3rd party BIOS does.

    But I’m probably wrong because I pretty much suck when it comes to a lot of legal matters. That, and everything about the DMCA is retarded.

  21. 0
    Icehawk says:

    Rather surprised none made any comment on the charges.

    1. Title 17 US Code, Section 1201 (in connection with the sale and installation of modification chips)
    2. Title 18 US Code, Section 545 (relating to the importation or smuggling of modification chips)
    3. Title 18 US Code, Section 1956 (money laundering)

    1 sadly cannot be argued.  If you had the chip installed and they found it.  Well sorry but that is a given (but see the arguement against point 2.)

    2 on the other hand is misleading at best.   Did the person with the mod code import said chip or buy it from someone else?   Did they smuggle into the country?  Did they even know it was imported?  Would really love to see this proven in a court.

    3 is flat out bull.   Money Laundering?  Where in the name of the gods did they come up with that?  The user/owner bought the chip and that was part of some huge conspiracy to launder money and maybe oust the big 3?

    Why not make another Section (say 666) "relating to the stupidity of those that are willing to put up with the antics of the DMCA"?  Naw in hindsight I doubt they could convict many gamers on that.  Those "charges" are a scare tactic at best and more akin to bad theater.  

    I am hoping there will at least some that will fight the charges as this seems like a thing that the ESA does not want.   I strongly encourage shining a bright light on this and bringing it to the attention of the public and the courts.   Back room politics tends to prefer to remain in the back ground. 

    Oh and Zippy be a fuzzy brained mew =^.^=


  22. 0
    Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I am completly confused as to the legality of this.  I purcased the flip-top mod for my PS2 so I could make a custom GH2, which I legaly own.  Should I be punished for this even though I didnt steal anything? 

    Please dont tell me that the Gaming industry is following the same BS path of the RIAA.

  23. 0
    Anonymous says:


    "No Child Left Behind Act"

    "Clean Air Act"

    "The Patriot Act"

    "Operation Iraqi Freedom"

    "The Patriot Missile Defense System"

    "Homeland Security"

    "Project for a New American Century"

    Neo-cons are terrible at naming things. Thank god we don’t let them name animals.. Otherwise Bear="furry communist thing that ate Jim"; or chicken="egg laying thing that tastes good". Or food for that matter.. Hotdogs="sausage between two buns".

  24. 0
    Guy Summers says:

    I’m thinking of starting up an online mod-chip sales store. Seems like there is a decent amount of cash to be made. I also live in Canada.

  25. 0
    Father Time says:

    But mod chips can be used to play or modify counter strike which means it’s involved with terrorists therefore they must be stopped.

  26. 0
    Anonymous says:

    LMAO that is the most niave Idea I have seen in a long time. Maybe we can just throw the word "change" around, and people will belive that we will fix all their woes, while we actualy have no plan to do so.

    I have not seen any of the canadites express their opinnions on this matter and honestly I dont expect them to as long as like all the polititions that seem to make it to the fedreal level, they think with their pocketbooks and not for the will of the people, the constitution or even logic.

    As for the damage, it started 16 years ago when we showed the world we could be pushed around. And it has continued to go downhill since.

  27. 0
    tallimar says:

    "The ESA will work with federal law enforcement to ensure that those engaged in the illegal trade of circumvention devices are persecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

    there, i fixed that typo. 😀

  28. 0
    Truec says:

    Don’t turn this into Democrat vs Republican politics.  And don’t blame Bush for the DMCA, blame him for the multitude of faults that are actually his, and leave Clinton’s for Clinton.

  29. 0
    Jabrwock says:

    Actually the courts threw that arguement out when they ruled on the "First Sale Doctrine" earlier this year. Just because they says it’s licensed, doesn’t mean you don’t have ownership of your copy/device.

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

  30. 0
    Arad says:

    You know, I think we’re looking at this the wrong way.  The DHS and ICE went after the mod chips based purely on the instinct of self-preservation.  If you were ordered to defeat terrorism, would you choose to attack the ‘terrorists’ living in their mom’s basement playing imported games, or attack the terrorists with guns and bombs?

    It’s the same reason that Jack-Jack goes after the video game industry rather than the NRA.

  31. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    ZOMG!!! theyz is coming to get me, I haz a xeno chip, somewhere got i for 20$ put it away and forgot about it lulz, fair use trumps the illicit DMCA any day.

    Until the industry figures out right of return protects the consumer from bad media I will boycott the system with ever fiber of my being!
    Unless they manage to make a game I really like,until then I plan to preview althe sued games I buy, nothing new worth getting and by the time I want to try it is out nice and used, can’t wait for the the day they make used stuff illegal because the CP owners don’t get a dime from it!.


    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  32. 0
    gs68 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, let’s crack down on people who try to *GASP* play imported games! Never mind that these kind of games may not make it stateside, their importation is damaging teh economy…or something!

  33. 0
    Mirrikat says:

    However, the game companies dont "Sell" you games or a console. they only "Licence" it to you. Saying your allowed to use it under blah blah terms and blah blah agreements. This is the loop hole the industry uses to call anything they dont like illegal.

    However you own your computer so your allowed to modify it as much as you want.

  34. 0
    SimonBob says:

    How much do ICE agents get paid per hour?  Was it worth it to nail a guy with a grand total of eleven modchips in his garage?  I don’t begrudge the feds their raids if they’re hitting the big operators (corporations are people too, yknow) but this sounds more like they’re beating down some small-time dude. Is that the "American dream" that I’ve been hearing so much about on this side of the border?

    The Mammon Industry

  35. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I personally think it’s pulled out of their asses to be honest. They seem to be assuming that everyone who downloads illegal software would pay for it if they didn’t, which is complete tripe.

  36. 0
    Krono says:

    Unlikely, but it probably is a part of it.

    More likely the various companies saw little being done about piracy except things that the RIAA and MPAA had already proven to be failures, and tossed it on their list of reasons why the ESA wasn’t doing enough for them.


  37. 0
    Jabrwock says:

    They are not illegal, however, in some other countries, including Australia and Canada.

    Give it time. While Bill C-61 wouldn’t technically outlaw mod chips in Canada (so no ICE-style raids), it would allow the big 3 to sue the pants off of anyone who sold them, used them, talked about them, etc.

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

  38. 0
    Ashton ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Operation Tabgled Web?

    What the fuck? They raided homes of 32 harmless people and give it a fancy name to pretend they’ve disarmed a terrorist network or something? The whole thing was bad enough without them giving it some sort of "WE ARE DEFENDING AMERICA" name

    Seriously, what a crock.

  39. 0
    Anonymous says:

    As an industry, we protect our intellectual property, encourage our government to crack down on those who break the law, and urge other governments to take similar action against video game pirates. Yearly worldwide game piracy costs total over $3 billion and it impinges on businesses and employees who create, develop, and distribute innovative products.

    Wow, $3 billion.  Where do they come up with this number?  If they haven’t confiscated every single pirated copy made then they can only project the amount lost.  So where is the information these projections are based on?  Anyone know how they come up with this number?

  40. 0
    Anon says:

    What a load of garbage. I own a modded ps2 and ps1, and not a single pirated game. The only reason I modded them is for imports, because for some reason they have to put a stupid arbitrary region code so we can’t play Japanese games for some reason. It’s all a stupid pointless waste of time, hunting these people down was a huge ass waste of time and money, and regional codes are a retarded idea in the first place.

  41. 0
    Mortium ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    hrmmm…. Well, looks like we just might have our reason why the ESA is being abandoned in droves. I’m guessing the PR (NOT Marketing) Departments of the major companies saw what was going on, realized that the ESA was making the SAME mistakes the RIAA made, and decided to push the Execs to get the hell out of dodge.

    Does anyone know if the EFF or ACLU has filed suit to challenge the Constitutionality of the DMCA? Granted the current Supreme Court will be "industry" friendly, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work we will have President Obama in little more than 6 months from now, and we can start undoing the damage of the last 8 years.

  42. 0
    NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mod chipping your console is like modding your car. Ford, Chevy, Toyota etc have no say in what you do with your car after you sign the paperwork saying you own it. You can mod it so that it runs on natural gas, desiel grass clippings electricity etc, and they have no say in these matters. It is your right to use your property.

    100% couldnt have said it better!! nice one.

  43. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Mod chipping your console is like modding your car. Ford, Chevy, Toyota etc have no say in what you do with your car after you sign the paperwork saying you own it. You can mod it so that it runs on natural gas, desiel grass clippings electricity etc, and they have no say in these matters. It is your right to use your property.

    There are laws in place to block certain modifications for cars such as nitrous oxcide mods for turbo boosts of speed, but that still has nothing to do with the car companies.

    The same goes for your game console. Once you hand cash over to the retailer for the console, it is your property. You should be free to do with it what you will. The Manufacturers of the console still treat your purchase as their property. Its not.

    If they want to prosecute all the modders who actually use those mods to play pirated games, good for them. But when you prosecute the modders who use it to play legally purchased and home brew games, there is something wrong there.

    Why should they care that people are developing games at home for their consoles? Why should they carethat people are importing games from other regions? Money. Every game that is made at home and distributed for free is money that is not going in their pocket. Every game that is imported cheats them of money they could have made from region pricing.

    They don’t like losing money and mod chips lose them money in more ways than piracy. So they hate it.

    I really wish that the DMCA would be repealed. I have let my representatives know I hate it and hope that all of you will do the same.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

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

  44. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I agree, threats, posturing and legal violence isn’t going to solve piracy, look at the hole the RIAA dug themselves, and the ESA are far too willing to leap in after them.

    There are methods that could effectively deal with Piracy, but they need to be dealing with people who ARE pirating, not people who might be. To take that course of action is, as you say, going to end up making enemies of consumers, and then they will start pirating as much out of spite as out of greed, after all, no-one obeys a tyrant when he isn’t looking, and, alas, it’s the gaming companies that will suffer in the short term for the ESA’s actions.

    Really, the only thing that can stop the ESA steamrollering the industry into a Stock, Aitken and Waterman type disgrace is the companies themselves.

  45. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Actually sounds quite a bit like extortion to be honest, from reading that letter.

    ‘Either own up, or we will make sure that we make your life as unpleasant as possible, regardless of whether you are a criminal or not’.

  46. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Speaking as someone who works in the game industry and works for a company that both has serious piracy problems and is activly involved in tracking down pirates profitting off our work…. I have to say that the ESA does not speak for all of us.

    Claiming that this is the only way to enforce their IP is just plain wrong.  It’s a good way to scare a bunch of customers into moving away from homebrew or imports (which makes marketing departments thrilled) but IP protection? Don’t make me laugh.  There are better ways to go about such things. 

  47. 0
    Icehawk says:

    Tis but a Witch hunt.  Shake enough trees and something will fall to show that the tree shaking was justified.  Bah.   The letter Seems to follow an logic as well.  ie

    "Guilty before proven innocent".  

    "Admit your guilt and we will not punish you as much."  

    Why does this make me think yet again of George Orwell’s 1984?

    The ESA can pursue cases like this at cost to… wait, yep those that are claiming to protect in the form of higher dues and such. 

    Still curious why the Dept of Homeland Security (another parasitic existance) were involved with any of this.  I mean where mod codes Terrorist Devices?  Where the gamers in question plotting against the goverment or the safety of the country?   I tend to agree though that there had to be far more then 32 warrants to find the 32 chips, but those extra warrants were likely swept under a convient rug.  Cannot have the government and the ESA look foolish even (especially) if they are.  Inmates running the asylum. 

  48. 0

    Seriously though, they should have called it "Operation Treat Your Consumers Like Thieves". Seriously though, Mike Gallagher(sp?) and the ESA, PLEASE GO FUCK YOURSELVES. YOU ARE DESPICABLE LITTLE SHITS. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOUR BULLSHIT ORGANIZATION CRUMBLE.


    -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  49. 0
    desperad0 says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  50. 0
    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?

  51. 0
    Zero Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    See, your situation is exactly why these laws suck so hard.  In pre-DMCA days, you would have the potential to break the law, yet you choose not to.

    The DMCA is basically punishing the potential to commit a crime, not a crime in itself.

    It’s the same thing as arresting people obeying the speed limit in a school zone because their car has the potential to exceed the speed limit.  It’s just not right.

  52. 0
    paul says:

    I chipped my (otherwise useless) xbox last summer so that I could toss in a new disk and XBMC. It’s the single best DIY project i’ve ever undertaken, and has turned my useless xbox into something I can show off (and use) at parties. I’ve never once played a burned game on it, though I understand that it has that ability. These folks at the ESA are idiots.

  53. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    you can get regoin free players here to its jsut the boot discs that circumvent protects are illict and modchips are illegal in the UK still, in the past 2-3 years both teh US and UK have been bending over backwards for the poor corperations that have them by the balls…..

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  54. 0
    Anonymous says:

    In the UK your can get a region-free DVD player for £20 off Amazon and mod chips are legal. At least this country has sane laws on *some* issues.

  55. 0
    Vake Xeacons ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The Crucible: The Video Game Witch Trials.

    Same thing that was going on 300 years ago. Superstition and paranoia runs rampant, and if the finger is pointed at you, you have two choices:

    1. Stand your ground and hang for it.
    2. Weasel out of it with a false confession, and name some names.

    The ESA used be someone gamers could trust, but now they want to destroy gaming from the inside out.

    I am a professional journalist, and a gamer at heart. To those that are suffering for this debacle, I support you.

  56. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Total shit, I hope you don’t actually believe that. They ask for bargains because they know they have no real legal foundation and want to force a win upon people who don’t have enough moneyy to defend themselves. But yeah keep believeing they have good intentions to keep our courts free of pointless cases, even though thats exactly what this is.

  57. 0
    Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    From where I come from, piracy (and mods chips by association) is rampant due to our cost of living. a Typical worker here gets about 100 to 200 USD per month, and he’ll have to worry about electricty, phone and food bills.

    The legitimate shops sell original games for  a slightly higher margin than their US retail price – that’s about  40 bucks for a decent PS3 game, or about 1/5th of my monthly pay. What sucks even more is that even if we were to have our consoles un-modded, we don’t recieve any of the free customer care the guys in US or Europe can get, simple because we’re out of the company’s jurisdiction. And the government asks us to buy original? Fuck them – even their offices are running on bootleg Windows copies, also due to lack of funds!

    Piracy and modding are rampant exactly BECAUSE of the dumbass legal limitations being imposed by these distributors just so they can make a quick buck.


  58. 0
    jonwanker says:

    It’s cause ALL corporations are runned by neurotic control freaks (Steve Jobs anyone?). They can’t stand it when people do something with their product they didn’t forsee/prescribe and can’t make money off it. They NEED to control the distribution to make sure that they squeeze every single possible cent out of it — and that no one else can make a dime off their product without them getting a cut.

  59. 0
    Arad says:

    There’s a series of games that I love to play that will *never* be released in the United States (the Super Robot Wars series), and while I did not use a mod chip to play them, I had another method of doing so.  I would love to ask the politicians WHY it is illegal for me to play a game I legally bought on a system I legally own.

    In my humble and lowly opinion, arresting everyone who owns a mod chip for piracy is like arresting every gun owner for murder.  The vast majority should not be condemned on the actions of the few.

    There I go with my logic.  When will I learn that logic has nothing to do with the modern legal system?

  60. 0
    Jack Wessels says:

    OK, I don’t have a mod chip, I have no use for one, I’d probably just forget about it. However, it’s ridiculous bullshit like this that makes me want to buy one, then pirate several thousand songs and movies.

    Now, because of this statement I expect either some new spyware to be found on my computer checking for piracy, or maybe a full on raid of my house.


    -"A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject." -Sir Winston Churchill

  61. 0
    upgray3dd says:

    I am confused. I have recently started modifying my consoles to play japanese imports, so the legality of mod chips is of  particular interest to me. I researched the laws the mod chips are supposedly breaking and have made a discovery.

    Title 17 US Code, Section 1201

    (A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.

    (B) The prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make noninfringing uses of that particular class of works under this title, as determined under subparagraph (C).

    (C) During the 2-year period described in subparagraph (A), and during each succeeding 3-year period, the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce and report and comment on his or her views in making such recommendation, shall make the determination in a rulemaking proceeding for purposes of subparagraph (B) of whether persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by the prohibition under subparagraph (A) in their ability to make noninfringing uses under this title of a particular class of copyrighted works. In conducting such rulemaking, the Librarian shall examine—
    (i) the availability for use of copyrighted works;
    (ii) the availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes;
    (iii) the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research;
    (iv) the effect of circumvention of technological measures on the market for or value of copyrighted works; and
    (v) such other factors as the Librarian considers appropriate.

    I am trying to figure out subparagraph B/C. If the register of copyright talks with the assistant secretary for… and they decide that a copyright system is going to mess with people who want to use mod chips for legitimate reason, they can go to the librarian of congress and ask him to rule that it does. That ‘s what it sounds like. So, for a mod chip to be legal, nintendo would have to jump through a whole bunch of hoops and request that it be legal? So, Even though the mod chip users weren’t doing anything wrong, they are in trouble unless the copyright holder says they aren’t and talks with a few other people. Is that what it means? I am sorry for the walls of legal text, I just want to get this figured out.

    Source: http://www4.law.cornell.edu


  62. 0
    Zero Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The DMCA is the worst technology law ever written.  According the DMCA, you do not own any electronics, you are just purchasing a license to use them as the owners of the companies that made them see fit.  This agreement is in the form of an EULA.

    You know, that "contract" they make you agree to after you’ve already forked over your money and thus all your bargaining power.

    And stores won’t accept opened electronics.

    Basically, we’re boned.

  63. 0
    lordlundar says:

    They’re pushing for the guilty pleas so they don’t have to make their case in court. With a major operation like this, if they get a situation where they lose the case and it becomes precident, then all the work they did was useless and they just made a very expensive mistake. This has some very negative reprecussions for anyone not able to weasel out of the responsibility. If they get the guilty plea, then they can use it as leverage against anyone else.

    There was a similar incident with the FBI sending out National Security letters where organizations and people wer getting told they were violation certain security laws and that they should just plead guilty. When they wound up losing cases, there was a massive exodus away from the whole mess. That’s what they are shooting for now.

  64. 0

    MIKE GALLAGHER:The ESA will work with federal law enforcement to ensure that those engaged in innocent activities are fucked to the fullest extent of the law.



    -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  65. 0
    BattleChicken says:

    The idea of region locking a device is easiest to describe in terms of the movie industry.

    By region locking a DVD player, they make it so you can’t order a $2 LEGIT pressed DVD from China that is the same as the US release that they charge $20 for without special equipment. 

    You CAN get legit DVDs in China for $2 — they dropped DVD prices over t here to try to slow the rampant piracy.  So, region locking means ‘sucker’ countries like us pay 10 times what the poor countries pay for the same content.

    Region locking also prevents someone in, say, England from importing a US DVD for about twice the cost of a movie ticket — when the movie is just coming out over there.

    In terms of Gaming, the reason Sony shut down Lik Sang (Sp?) is because they were selling PSPs from Japan in Europe for less than what the EU MSRP was going to be.  I’m pretty sure the PSP isn’t region locked, so importing the product from Japan and selling it for less than the ‘rape EU in the butt’ price hurt their bottom line.  Lik sang wasn’t doing anything illegal… but because of some shady legal manuvering on Sony’s part (suing them consecutivly in every EU country), Lik sang couldn’t afford to fight the bogus charges.

    All in all, While I’m no pirate, I’m not a fan of region locking OR modern copyright, because its all a scheme to keep their prices artificially high.

  66. 0
    Anonymous says:

    The thing that really annoys me with the mod chip thing is that a lot of them ARE NOT used for pirating. Infact most cases I hear don’t involve pirating. The modding tends to be done to let a system play games not from that country on the system without having to go through the hassle of buying a new system.

    I can fully appreciate that because there’s a slew of japanese only titles that, assuming I knew japanese, I’d love to try, but I’d need to go get a japanese ps2 to be able to play most of them.

    I always thought the country seperations for games were kind of silly. I can understand not releasing a game on this side of the pacific due to copyright issues and such (damnit super robot wars…. ) but if I import a game and buy it from japan why shouldn’t it run on my console at home? That always seemed really weird to me….

  67. 0
    Mirrikat says:

    Its the same stupid logic they use for DVDs. Perhaps a very popular game will come out in Japan (Say Final Fantasy XIII) and they dont want the USA Population to be soured by the game… or perhaps they have a marketing ploy for its release date or w/e….


    Doesnt seem to make sence now that most games are released simultaneously in multiple locations.

  68. 0
    jonwanker says:

    Good god, I hope so. Fuckin’ Harper pandering to fuckin’ corporate shills. I hope he gets hit in the face with a garden hoe and dies.

  69. 0
    jonwanker says:

    They resort to plea bargining in many cases because the courts are backlogged as it is — thus those up on minor charges are coerced into pleaing guilty for a ‘lesser sentence’.

  70. 0
    Malygris says:

    This is one of the biggest and most glaring flaws in the US justice system. Every man is due his day in court, but god help you if you choose to exercise that right and don’t come out on top. It often seems these days that American citizens who are found guilty in a court of law are punished as much for daring to refuse to roll over for prosecutors as they are for the law they broke in the first place. Skyrocketing legal costs only exacerbate the situation.

     When average citizens can’t afford decent legal representation, and when they’re threatened with punitive actions way out of proportion with their alleged crime unless they agree to a guity plea before an indictment is even filed, what’s left is a fundamentally broken system that utterly fails the people it was created to serve. It’s a tremendously worrying situation.



  71. 0
    BlackIce says:

    Being me, i’d suggest either an Insurgency or Terrorism. Problem is, that will acheive absolutely nothing.

    ~You Could Be Mine, But You’re Way Out Of Line..~

  72. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The DMCA.  Congress has been bought out completely by the content industry.  The same cannot be said for other countries, which is why the almighty dollar is more important than things like privacy and citizens rights.

    With luck, the Canadian DMCA will be weakened before it is ratified as a law up there…

  73. 0
    Father Time says:

    Before this turns into the inevitable complain about stupid laws fest is anyone here prepared to do anything about it other than complain about it in a forum none of our politicians read?

  74. 0
    NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As an industry, we protect our intellectual property, encourage our government to crack down on those who break the law, and urge other governments to take similar action against video game pirates. Yearly worldwide game piracy costs total over $3 billion and it impinges on businesses and employees who create, develop, and distribute innovative products.


    right.. so what about the people who use mod chips/software hacks not to pirate in any way, but simply to play homebrew software, play legally purchased imported software not available on the native system, and allow access to previously incompatible software (e.g. hacking a psp to allow the playing of legally owned videos and music that are in a format not previously supported, or as my friend does, softare to enable output of his psp screen to a pc monitor)

    Mod chips CAN be used completely legally and 100% morally without causing loss or damage to anyone.

    If somebody PIRATES then fair enough they are comitting a criminal act. Installing/selling/owning a mod chip is NOT pirating. its COMPLETELY different.

    Its like charging everyone in the country with murder because they OWN a knife in their kitchen drawer only used for meals. Yeah somebody out there my have murdered some1 with a kitchen knife, but you cant apply that to the millions of people who have used them completely responsibly.


  75. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I still the the ESA is stupid. The gaming industry talks of the fact that people coming out of Uni aren’t trained up for the commericial world of gaming (Hey, gaming industry, welcome to every other industry out there), and yet, every single one of the ‘famous’ coders (Wright, Braben, Codemasters etc) started off as home-grown coders working on things like Spectrums etc.

    They want to know where home-grown talent is going? That’s easy, the PC Market, if you don’t encourage people to develop PS3 or XBox coding skills for the future, you are going to continue to get ‘rubber stamp’ coders and the industry will not grow, because no-one can learn coding until they are working for a company with the SDK. The prodiges of 15-16 years old, such as the Codemaster founders etc won’t care for, or be able to afford to develop for consoles, and so they will stay out of the console market.

    So it seems to me that, in the interests of fighting piracy, the ESA is putting the revolver to it’s own head in the long term.

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