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.