Feds Bust California College Student for Modding Consoles

August 4, 2009 -

A 27-year-old college student arrested yesterday by federal agents is charged with modding video game consoles.

Matthew Lloyd Crippen, who attends Cal State Fullerton, was charged with tweaking systems from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. The arrest was made by agents of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reports NBC Los Angeles.

Modifying consoles to circumvent video game copyright protection measures is a federal offense under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The investigation into Crippen's activities came following a complaint by the Entertainment Software Association; the trade group lobbies on behalf of U.S. video game publishers.

Special Agent in Charge Robert Schoch, who heads the ICE office in L.A. commented on the bust:

Playing with games in this way is not a game -- it is criminal. Piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers.


Comments

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Well I've bought my last console then. Game consoles are luxury items I can easily do without. Agent Robert Schoch should really consider pulling his head out of Mike Gallagher's ass.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Its about damn time these idiots stert getting the punishment they deserve. People forget that once they buy and use a game console, they don't have the right to mod it. Its in the licence agreement in the back of the manual.

I want to see more of this happen to modders. Many of them who probably posted here defending the imaginary right to mod/pirate.. I enjoy any chance I have to report someone pirating games..

Damn bootleggers. Buy your games, like normal people do.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

wow this sounds almost as bad as this guy i knew that said video/pc game (the game it self not the system) modding is illegal. glad im mostly a pc gamer. no mod chip necessary to do evil

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

This is why things like this make no sense to me:

I have a computer. This computer has a DVD burner. Because my computer has a DVD burner, it is theoretically possible that I might use it to burn illegal copies of games.

Now read that again but replace the words "computer" and "DVD burner" with "console" and "mod chip."

Both mod chips and DVD burners have legitimate uses as well as illegal uses, but one is legal to use and the other is not.

It is a mystery.
 
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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Becuse they make money of DVD players,recoders and blanks, if they made money off mod chips this would be a moot issue.


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

What a crock os shit. Billions of dollars and jobs - my ass.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I assume that most of you have read "The Merchant of Venice." The lawyer Shylock demanded his "pound of flesh" (heart) but was told that he could take it, only if he could do so without spilling one drop of blood, to which he had no claim.

 

You can mod your hardware all you want, but when you bought that hardware, you did NOT buy the software installed on it. Do what you want to the hardware, but if you do anything that alters the performance of the SOFTWARE, you're breaking the law.

 

Not to mention that Microsoft is one of the most sued companies in history because people think there's money in it. The first kid that is electrocuted opening his console is going to try to hold Microsoft to task for it. Microsoft has no recourse but to aggressively pursue anyone who tried to get into a sealed system. They cover the seals with special labels. They use special screws to secure the console. It takes an obvious effort to violate that rule. Did it not occur to this guy when he when he had to go to these great lengths to open the console that maybe... just maybe... he wasn't supposed to be doing it?

 

(PS I don't know what Sony uses to secure their system, but Nintendo uses special screws too, to dissuade people from opening their consoles.)

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

So far, Sony's PS3 has been uncrackable by conventional means though that has not stopped people. I see ISOs for these games popping up all the time.

The Wii does not need a hardware modification to be cracked. That can be done through a software glitch. All you need is a game, a controller, and an SD card.

The Xbox 360 on the other hand... Everyone's getting a turn with that thing.

"Not to mention that Microsoft is one of the most sued companies in history because people think there's money in it. The first kid that is electrocuted opening his console is going to try to hold Microsoft to task for it."

Considering the electricution warning on the side, that point is moot.

Additionally, all you need is a Torx screw driver to open the Wii and the 360. Both are more than easily obtained.

"You can mod your hardware all you want, but when you bought that hardware, you did NOT buy the software installed on it. Do what you want to the hardware, but if you do anything that alters the performance of the SOFTWARE, you're breaking the law."

I hate to tell you this but by purchasing the hardware, by de facto, you gain a license to the software contained therein.

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

You can mod a console without opening it.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Even better you can mod a console without a modchip :P


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Hold on, ICE? As in Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Since when are they in the business of enforcing copyright law?

Ima need a refresher on my federal jurisdictionses. 

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

They've been busting people for mod-chips for years. Check the article history here.

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Because...they are not going after illegal immigrants, they have to harass someone that is their job as enforcers of revenue...I mean law.... =^^=

 


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

He was probably modding them to play games that North America doesn't and probably never will get.

When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Intent doesn't change the fact that its illegal.

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Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Slavery was legal..abuse of slaves legal.....alcohol was illegal but no one cared really becuse it was a part of life and basic right of the individual.

 

You've picked the wrong side of the fight mew thinks .......

 


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Yes, and UNTIL those decisions were reversed, the original rulings stood. While alcohol was illegal, it was illegal. No excuses. While slavery was legal, it was legal. No one busted down George Washington's door and demanded that he release all his slaves.

Right now these sorts of mods are illegal. Until that decision is reversed, that's how it is. Don't like it? Get it changed.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

And how is that without having people break it and show both gov and public that it's unfair? Any movement like this is multi headed. You have the strife caused by the illegal or poorly constructed law that builds public support to have it changed it makes those that organize around it job a bit easier.

 


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

The majority of commenters here are going about this the wrong way. Please don't defend this guy, it only makes the rest of us look bad. You KNOW that he was modifying these systems so that they could play pirated games and you shouldn't support that under any circumstances.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Actually, no, I don't know. Neither do you nor anyone else on this site for that matter. Frankly, anything we find out through these channels is truthfully nothing short of hearsay.

Now you may have your opinion as to what he was doing, but none of us know for a fact what he was doing.

For all we know, he'd legitimately made CDR or DVDR copies of his games and burned them. Though that is unlikely, it is entirely plausible since ICE has a history of busting people for possession of a grand total of 1 single mod-chip (search Game Politics for that article). Likewise, for all we know, this guy was shipping out hundreds of modified consoles a month to people who download copies of these games in order to play them without buying them.

The simple fact of the matter is that we do not know.

Now do I defend his actions? If he was actively engaged in intentionally breaking DRM because he wanted to play Pirated games, then no.

However, if he was performing perfectly legitimate actions such as homebrew development, then yes, I not only agree with his actions but I support his right to take those actions.

I feel if I've purchased something with my hard-earned money, then I have every damn right to do what I wish with it however I damn well please. Consoles cost money. It's owned by me. Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo can't just one day stroll into my house and take ownership of it because they developed, manufactured, and sold the console. I purchased it. It's legally owned by me. I should be able to do with it whatever I want.

On that note, I'd like to remind you all of one nice little tenant of American law, though it seems to have gone out the window in recent years: Innocent until proven guilty.


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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Unfortunately, that little tenant has turned into:  Guilty even if proved innocent.

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I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Indeed it does seem to have been twisted into such.

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Unfortunatley it has. Sigh.  We already got people making assumptions.  To be fair though, if this guy got a jury trial from random people that post of game politics, it would probably be a hung jury.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Nowhere in the article does it say he was doing it to pirate games. He could very well have been doingit because he wanted to import and play games.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Kotaku mentioned that he was arrested after an investigation by the ESA. If that's the case, I seriously doubt that he did it for personal purposes.

The article I read also mentioned that he modified more than one console of each type, so he probably modified many as a service (for money and this IS piracy).

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I don't know how to mod my Xbox, my favourite sport is cricket and I live in the USA.  Please tell me how, without getting someone to break the law and mod my system, I can play a cricket game like 'Ashes Cricket 2009' on my system?

It shouldn't be illegal to mod a system to play foreign-made games.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Intentionally modifying consoles for the purposes of commercial profit? Yeah, that is undoubtedly piracy.
 
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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Holy crap you guys are so quick to shout about freedoms, and how what he was doing wasn't wrong. It's illegal, plain and simple.

Your country has decided that doing what he was doing is illegal. If you dont like it, get it changed. Dont just whine and complain when someone is arrested for it.

You have a democratic system in the USA, right? Use it! You all come across as whiny spoiled brats.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Definitely trolling

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Why, because he makes a point?

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Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

No, YOU'RE a whiny spoiled brat. Get out.

There is a discussion going on here. Saying "OMG STFU AND DO SOMETHING" is not contributing. Saying "Here's how you can do something about it" is. There is a BIG FUCKING DIFFERENCE.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

In return, a feel it necessary to say YOU, sir, are a whiny spoiled brat, etc. 

If you wanted to do something about it, you should've not voted in a president who brought JOE FUCKING BIDEN with him.  Look at Biden's role in this whole thing. 

The fact of the matter is, this individual KNOWINGLY broke the law.  And he broke it repeatedly.  Is this law unjust?  Yes.  Is it the law?  Yes.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

"If you wanted to do something about it, you should've not voted in a president who brought JOE FUCKING BIDEN with him."

Oh, so you think the Americans should have voted for a party that got us into a whole parcel of messes instead?  Are you on crack?

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

So the old guy whos held up by strings whos out of touch with a know nothing bimbo VP is soem how a better choice?

Frankly if its not  a dim or a reaper I am voting for it now adays.......


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Hey Austin, it seems that you like to play the devils advocate in a lot of your posts.  I would safely assume that it is safe journlaism.  But if you beleive that the laws are flawed, and are taking the side of the "law" then why try and be a friend to the public opinion?  This being a comment area, I would think it could be more productive to take a side here.  Im not bashing your tactics so to speak, I would just be more inclined to see you take a stand and quit trying to take both sides.  I see your points though, and they are well thought out and educated.  Not to completely throw out that this guy "Modding" game systems was in the wrong.  The facts are that we do not know the details of this story to make up a rational opinion on this whole thing.  I will say however that IF they put him in jail for just modding Xbox's, then I think that is wrong and unjust.  For people to come out and call him a pirate is not a fair statement to make.  Just my 2.5 cents.  I actually like your posts Austin.  Don't take this the wrong way.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I'm not playing Devil's Advocate.  I'm saying that what he did is illegal.  I don't believe that it should be illegal, but that doesn't really matter.  The fact is, he broke a law.  He probably knew damn well he was doing so.  And when you break a law, you know that there are consequences.

Do I believe it's wrong to say he can't do what he will with his system?? Yes, to a point.  I think he should be able to mod his system, up until he begins to do things like pirate games.  Up until you do something illegal with what you own, there should be no problem with modifying it. 

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I am sorry but with a 2 party ruled govermernt you get either fcked in the butt or in the ehad, either way you are raped to better the noble order of polticaions.

 


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

The ESA and game companies don't care about case mods. They only care about the mods used to play copied games.

Since a lot of the systems any more don't have the territory lockout, there's very few legitimate reasons to mod a system.

Yes, you can do so to play legal backups of games you purchased. However, from my personal experience in dealing with people that mod systems, 90-95% of the time, it is to play illegally copied games, usually by downloading them off the internet.

The ESA and the feds aren't going to go after someone who mods their system for personal use, they go after the people selling the modded systems and the illegally copied games.

Get off your high horses people, this what really happens in the real world - the modifications are mainly for illegal purposes.

 

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Er...to put it nicely, "go screw yourself." I had a friend mod my original xbox in order to download/play a large amount of Halo 2 mod maps, and there was no piracy or ill usage going on at all. Are you calling me a pirate? Are you saying that I deserve to lose my xbox or get sent to jail or fined for modifying something that I BOUGHT?

I'm choosing to respond to you simply because I don't want to feed the trolls jeditehfreak and SeanB, but I wish to know, what is wrong with modifying an xbox to play mods to games (if you bought the actual source game), what is wrong with modding a system to escape regional lockouts (which still exist on at least 2/3 of the major systems), and what is wrong with modding a system to play games that you've made yourself? Regional lockouts are done on DVDs also, a dvd that I buy in Germany won't work on most American-made dvd players, but the DMCA would make it so if I altered my dvd player to play german dvds, then I'm considered a pirate? Wtf?

Yes, there are illegitimate uses to modding a console, but there are also legitimate uses. You can use wood to make a toy, or you can make a weapon, but to ban the "modding" of wood to prevent "criminals" that "might" use the wood for ill purposes is just assinine, as is the DMCA.

(Also, what is the point of regional lockouts anyways? The company gains nothing, the consumer gains nothing. If I want to buy a game that is sold only in Japan, I should be able to play it, and the company selling it will make money, so why lock it out of my system?)

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

What about XBMC? What about iRShell? What about GeeXbox for Wii? What about Cave Story PSP? What about Xbox Linux?Homebrew is what is known as a "significant non-infringing use", a la Betamax. Console makers refuse to allow the consumer to make their own games, so the consumer must modify his console in order to make and play homebrew software.

And if you claim homebrew is illegitimate in some way, I will find out your identity and pelt strawberries at you on your way to work.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Two words for you: 

Betamax

VHS

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

What does that have to do with modding systems and playing illegal copies?

That's like saying Blueray and DVD-HD.

 

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Everything.

Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

 

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Papa Midnight

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

The Wii and 360 has territory lockout in there systems (though on the 360 is a game by game basis). Dispite that I agree with you on the fact the people with modded systems are mostly in it to play pirated games.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

"Playing with games in this way..."

-They bought it legally, yet can play it illegally? Wut?

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Seeing this stuff happen makes my stomach sick.  I can go to jail for messing around with my Xbox? HA!!!

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

Only if the messing you do allows you to commit crimes with said Xbox.

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Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I don't think the DMCA fully bypasses fair use.... its jsut no one in power cares thus its aginst the law, and will remain so untill soemone with power and infulance questions why the baby is thrown out with the bath water on this.

I am sorry but shearing is the right of the populace, we need not a great a divide in information between the haves and have nots it smacks of draconian aristocracies.
Now don't get me wrong making any kind of money off someone else's work without a contract/license is wrong, if you make the public burden the cost of sharing and make donational/ for profit strictly limited(say a site sales stuff for the media industry and is allowed to share other stuff)  while the public is unrestrictive in their lending and archiving of anything(short of child porn) you balance the needs of business and individual I would not mind a 10% tax on all media devices,computer hardware and internet. Its the cost of doing buiness in the age of in-nobility(politicians are modern nobility only less closer to god and closer to the "throne" than ever..... )

If you want government and business to trample on individual freedoms thats all well and fine...just don;t beat around the bush you can't have restricted freedoms, they are either free or not.


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

For all we know, he could have just been doing those really cool case mods. 

Re: Feds Bust California College Student for Modding ...

I doubt that very highly.

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Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

 
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Matthew Wilsonits a bunch of script kiddies. ddosing is one of the easiest thing to do,and most companies can not stop it sadly.12/25/2014 - 5:05pm
MaskedPixelanteI like Nintendo as much as the next person, they're pretty much the only company putting out the games I want to play, but that was pretty embarassing to have NNID go down due to overuse.12/25/2014 - 4:35pm
MaskedPixelanteSee? It's NOT a repeat of last year's fiasco.12/25/2014 - 4:22pm
PHX CorpLizard squad is responsible for The XBL/PSN shutdown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSpZvsoWvig12/25/2014 - 4:17pm
IanCOh shut up bitching about Nintendo. At least they advised people to downloading updates before the big day. Sony/MS? Not a peep.12/25/2014 - 3:50pm
MaskedPixelanteBoth PSN and Xbox Live are down. Since I'm sure Sony and Microsoft have better online support than Nintendo did last year, this isn't from "everyone logging onto their new devices all at once".12/25/2014 - 3:48pm
prh99John Romero's Christmas present, a custom Icon of Sin sculpture. http://www.pcgamer.com/john-romero-gets-the-icon-of-sin-for-christmas/12/25/2014 - 3:37am
Matthew Wilsonthe interview will be on youtube/xb1/ andriod today.12/24/2014 - 1:05pm
james_fudge1900's?12/24/2014 - 12:56pm
james_fudgeYeah we could go way way back :)12/24/2014 - 12:56pm
E. Zachary KnightCopyright law in general has been broken since at least 1976. Could be even earlier than that.12/24/2014 - 12:24pm
james_fudgeWhat he said :) They want to make it worse than it already is.12/24/2014 - 12:14pm
Papa MidnightDMCA has been broken since 1998. Good luck getitng Congress to do something about it.12/24/2014 - 11:39am
Craig R.At least they owned up to the mistake. But doesn't change the fact that DMCA is thoroughly broken.12/23/2014 - 5:23pm
MaskedPixelanteSpeaking of Dark Souls OMG I'M MAKING ACTUAL PROGRESS WTH IS THIS WHAAAAAAA12/23/2014 - 10:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=144500932&postcount=740 Yup, DSFix was part of an unrelated take down, and is being resolved.12/23/2014 - 8:04am
prh99Of course had they not done such a rush on the port we wouldn't dsfix to make the game not look and play like ass. 720 internal renders aren't so hot scaled to 1080.12/23/2014 - 7:38am
Papa MidnightIt was most likely an automated tool. Happens all the time. Just another case of the broken DMCA Claim and Takedown process that puts the entirety of the burden of proof on the accused instead of the claimant.12/22/2014 - 10:09pm
Conster*applauds IanC*12/22/2014 - 7:37pm
MaskedPixelanteSounds like BN was going after an unrelated mod, and took out DSFix in the process. Probably once a counterclaim goes out, this'll all be sorted out.12/22/2014 - 7:04pm
 

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