Video Game Biz Still Targeting Canada Over Mod Chips

Those pesky Canadians!

Copyright lobbying group the International Intellectual Property Association has once again called upon the U.S government to add neighboring Canada to a list of copyright-violating rogue nations, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of U.S. video game publishers, is an IIPA member. Indeed, much of the IIPA’s angst with our friends to the north seems to revolve around Canada’s more tolerant attitude toward mod chips. From the L.A. Times:

Specifically, [the IIPA is] asking the Obama administration to add Canada to the "Priority Watch List" alongside Mexico (hey, it’s a NAFTA reunion!), Russia, China and other countries with a reputation for disregarding copyrights, patents and trademarks…

In particular, the IIPA wants Canada to do more to block the manufacture and sale of video game "mod" chips and other equipment to circumvent electronic locks; raise the statutory penalties for unauthorized copying, even when it’s done for personal use; crack down on the manufacture and sale of bootlegged DVDs; and require ISPs to take down infringing material upon request, rather than simply passing a notice of infringement on to the customer responsible for it.

The Bush administration essentially blew off the IIPA’s previous entreaties to target Canada. It’s doubtful that the group will have any better luck with the Obama team.

Meanwhile, as we were preparing this story, the ESA dropped a press release on the topic with the obligatory doom-and-gloom piracy quote from CEO Mike Gallagher:

Piracy is the single greatest threat to the innovation, artistic commitment and technological advancements enjoyed by millions of consumers worldwide. Piracy is a job killer that the world economy cannot afford in these difficult economic times. Countries that skirt obligations to combat piracy need to understand the unacceptable damage they are facilitating —and those countries that invest  in protecting intellectual property rights and ensure that piracy is not tolerated at any level should be lauded.

The ESA also cited what it termed "alarmingly high volumes of illegal game downloads" on P2P networks BitTorrent and eDonkey.

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  1. Wolvenmoon says:

    Some research for anyone agreeing with the ESA on this!

    Find the following:

    Number of unsolved rape cases in the U.S. each year:

    Number of unsolved murder cases in the U.S. each year:

    Number of suspected operating meth and/or other labs in the U.S.:

    Dollar amount requested by police forces for these cases:

    Number of raids against pirates:

    Cost in dollars of said raids:

    Measurable benefit to economy because of raids:


    The short answers are: lots, lots, lots, a ton, many, a ton, and zero.

    Why not just outright say it? These people care nothing about true justice and are perfectly willing to use every resource of our police force to chase down what amounts to a teen stealing a candy bar. (Often times it is teenagers who have no income!)

    Is my post/reasoning too extreme or far fetched for you? I think it’s pretty far fetched and ridiculous too. About as much as their arguments for DRM, banning modchips, and raiding modchippers.


  2. BrandonL337 says:

    I thought it was Alf.

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  3. Spartan says:

    Fuck DRM and the IIPA and its ilk!


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  4. JB says:

    "Americo-Australianian relations are at an all-time low. As I’m sure you remember, in the late 1980s the US experienced a short-lived infatuation with Australian culture.  For some bizarre reason, the Aussies thought this would be a permanent thing.  Of course, it wasn’t. Anyway, the Down Under fad fizzled and the diplomatic climate turned absolutely frosty."

    A beer for anyone who gets this!



  5. SimonBob says:

    At this very moment, Canadian artists are speaking to a CRTC commission in Gatineau to try and convince them to levy artistic-creation funding on ISPs, similiar to funds already in place for television broadcasters.  That’s right, America, raw socialism is happening in your backyard.

    What the IIPA needs to remember is that copyright is designed as much to protect the consumer’s right to use media as it is to give the producer a fair stake in distributing it.  If I want to void my warranty by plugging in a chip, that’s my right as a consumer and a Canadian.

    The Mammon Industry

  6. sheppy says:

    Out of curiousity, don’t canadians pay a higher tax on burnable media already because of the whole music copying scare?  I read that somewhere, wasn’t sure if it’s true.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  7. robotco says:

    not only are we downloading any software we can get our mittened hands on, we also eat puppies, and we’re stealing your women.

  8. shamrock says:

    I’m Canadian and this kind of blows me away. What a list of countries. Yikes. It’s like drug laws, the US wants and needs us to pull the same rope otherwise we are the bad guys. I don’t know about this one. Even though somebody may claim that the sky is purple, we all know that it is actually blue. Make sense?

    I’m new!
    My sites Dora The Explorer & Buy Tel Domain & Dot Tel Domain

  9. JB says:

    Why do I picture the IIPA as Sheila Broflovski singing "Blame Canada"

    Blame Canada, Blame Canada
    With all their beady little eyes
    And flapping heads so full of lies
    Blame Canada Blame Canada
    We need to form a full assault
    It’s Canada’s fault!

    They’re not even a real country anyway



    My name is Joe, and I AM CANADIAN.

    (my name’s not really Joe BTW)


  10. Bennett Beeny says:

    Mikuru IS incredibly sweet.  Heck, I’d marry her if I wasn’t already married – and if she wasn’t pretend.

  11. TBoneTony says:

    Same thing happens in Australia.

    There are some court judges who believe that cartoon characters are real people.

    But in reality, if cartoon characters are real people, why can’t we marry them?

    Kinda like that person in Japan who wanted to marry Mikuru Asuhina from the Anime the MElancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.


  12. catboy_j says:

    Let’s take a look at what modding a ps2 allowed.

    Playing Burned games or ISOs (Including games never released in America burned to a CD like SRW4 which will NEVER come out in the west.)

    Region free DVD playing which can be used to DVDs that are from other nations. A lot of times in Japanese horror or anime you can get a superior quality alternate region DVD or a DVD never released in America which is actually a feature on a lot of DVD players comming out now.

    Homebrew, Always great. A PS2 is far better specs for playing games then a computer for someone who was really devoted to their own game developement. (RPG Maker anyone? to give a really base example)

    It really comes down to comapnies in America wanting TOTAL control.

  13. Afirejar says:

    Let’s face reality for a moment – yes, there are legal uses for these devices, but come on…

    You guys almost make it sound like you really believed, rampant piracy came after measures designed to fight it.

  14. Icehawk says:

    Have to remember though that the non-illegal (legal) purposes mentioned are still a slap in the face of a big company CEO.   They are not making money from home brew titles or imports, so are (or at least feeling like they are) getting cut out of the pie, so it ALL has to be quasi legal at best. 

  15. Geoff says:

    Fine, argue semantics with me ya bastard.

    The more I read crap like this from the industry, the more I’m starting to come around to the idea that their real goal is to have full control over distribution.  I’m not throwing on a tin-foil hat and proclaiming that it’s a full blown conspiracy  yet, but I wouldn’t hold it pass the industry to do something like that.  Most likely I’d say they started with a legit problem (piracy), tried to come up with a way to combat it, found that their method could also be used to control distribution and decided to push through with it in the hopes of getting more control.

    Basically I figure they found an unintended function within their anti-piracy technology and are running with it in the hopes of getting more monies.


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  16. Hackangel says:

    Well actually, the Parti Québécois is a provincial party. The Bloc Québécois is a national party that only gets votes and representatives in Quebec.

    I guess the reason it’s there (and still quite strong) is because Quebeckers (if it’s a word) feel that their values and their interests are not represented well enough within other National Parties (excepted maybe the NDP). Quebec can be considered to be mostly liberal so the Conservative Party is out and the Liberal Party screwed Quebeckers on more than one occasion (like in the Lake Meech accord). Strangely enough, a lot of Liberal Party leaders were Quebeckers.

    If the Bloc Québécois ever disappears, I expect the votes to go to the New Democratic Party.

  17. Lost Question says:

    hey i like the minroity government it means both sides must agree as opposed to one side pushing something through (although having both sides agree isnt always good)

    and can someone tell me why the Bloc Quebec(wa) is in national politics its a provincal party (for those in the states think a political party in lets say texas that exists only in texas being in national politics)

  18. insanejedi says:

    Hey man, anythings legal in Canada. Even if it does get to the Canadian government, our federal law system is so slow and messed up (because it’s a minority government) that most likely people will give up trying to get a law passed. You have to get support of at least the conservatives+any other party like NPD, Liberals, Bloc Quebec. Or you need the NPD, Liberals, and Bloc to all support it. It be pretty impossible to get this special interest group law passed.

  19. Michael Chandra says:

    They tried to teach us 4 at school but I ended up with 2. Not sure what the fifth is supposed to be.

  20. Firebird says:

    IIPA: "Hey, what’s that you’re playing?"

    Gamer: "It’s a mod game on my PSP"

    IIPA: "It’s illegal. You are pirating a game"

    Gamer: "No I am not, its a homebrew game based on Mario"

    IIPA: "You are using the likeness of a character, that’s illegal"

    Gamer: "No it ain’t, he has different colored clothes and custom levels, and his name’s Nario."

    IIPA: "Its illegal in America!!"

    Gamer: "But we are in the Atlantic, its boring as hell out here!"


    Gamer: "Ouuuch……., bitch!"

  21. sheppy says:

    Kiull region locking in your consoles and allow homebrew to run natively and I’ll quit modding my consoles.  It’s as simple as that.  These devices are often created by hobbyists to support hobbyist.  It’s just a side effect that allows piracy to happen.  Eliminate the core need for these products and you’ll take a HELL of a chunk out of the market.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  22. Geoff says:

    I’ll take your coffeehouses over the crappy Starbucks we got here any day of the week.

    Also reminds me of another good Eddie Izzard line.

    "But the Dutch speak five languages and they smoke marijuana."


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  23. Michael Chandra says:

    So they want the USA to tell the rest of the world what is a crime and how high the penalties for specific crimes should be. "This guy made a backup copy of his game in case the CD got scratched, he should get a far higher punishment than you guys are willing to give him!"

    Can’t wait for them to tell the Dutch to put a year of jailtime for smoking a joint at a coffeeshop. (Our coffeeshops aren’t for drinking coffee. You want coffee, go to a cafe or a restaurant.)

  24. Praetorian says:

    "…even when it’s done for personal use…"

    Here’s is where I have a problem with DRM and piracy. If I bought the game, it is no one’s business what I do with it. If i choose to install it on all three of my PC’s and burn a copy to use on my laptop so the original one doesn’t get all scratched up, then that’s my choice.

    I can see the problem if I was making copies and selling them to people on the street for two bucks a CD/DVD, that makes sense.

    You’ll be more likely to lose sales if you expect people to buy more than one of the same game for each PC you own.


    "I’ve been told I’m the resident skeptic, but I wouldn’t believe that."

    ECA Seattle Chapter

  25. E. Zachary Knight says:

    non-illegal Don’t you mean "legal"? 

    I do agree. Mod-chips, p2p and all other such "piracy tools" that these companies are complaining about have quite a number of legal uses and those legal uses should not be swept unde rthe rug in order to fight piracy.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

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

  26. Geoff says:

    Hope they continue to be ignored.  Got no sympathy for a group of rich CEOs who can’t keep up with technological improvements.  They complained about tapes, CD/DVD burners, and other such innovations in the past using almost the same rhetoric.  But lo and behold media entertainment is still alive and kicking, quite well actually.

    Also mod chips can be used for piracy, but they can also be used to help promote homebrewed games and other non-illegal activites. 


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  27. DCOW says:

    as a canadian I MUST say this.


    Dear IIPA


    On behalf of all canadians: GO TO HELL.


    you are a powerless organization that thinks it has enough teeth to tell other governments how to govern, especially in a recession where there is already more than enough political instability. So Unless you can get us out of a depression, shut the hell up and LEAVE CANADA ALONE.


    Yours Truly, DcoW

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