Four years ago, Game Politics broke the news that the US government performed raids on mod chip sellers in a program they called "Operation Tangled Web". During this program, ICE agents ran sting operations and raids on more than 32 locations in 16 states. At the time, there was little information and no official indictments of those running mod chip operations. Since then, no new information has been released, until now.
Thanks to a very eagle eyed John Doe, we finally have news that the US government is bringing charges up on 10 individuals, including Manuel S. Diaz-Marta who was the only named target in 2008. Much like then, very little information is provided about the case and internet searches have not turned up any publicly accessible documents on any of the cases.
According to the official press release from United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, the following individuals have been indicted:
1. Robert L. Amos, age 43, of Astor, FL;
2. Christiano Budiman, age 35, of Elmhurst, NY;
3. Louis W. Daniels, age 44, of Maspeth, NY;
4. Leslie Lei, aka Leslie Louie, age 40, of New York City, NY;
5. Manuel Diaz Marta, age 30, of Dallas, TX;
6. John W. Moorhead, II, age 33, of Sterling, IL;
7. Jeffrey J. Reichert, age 27, of Northwood, OH;
8. William B. Silvius, age 53, of Homosassa, FL;
9. Hieu Trung Tran, aka Jack Lee, age 44, of San Antonio, TX; and
10. Adam Urban, age 24, of Wellesley, MA.
The only information regarding the charges brought up is as follows:
The indictments generally charge that the defendants knowingly manufactured, imported, offered to the public, or otherwise trafficked in technology, products, services, devices, components or parts thereof, which were primarily designed to circumvent technological measures designed to effectively control access to a work copyrighted under Title 17 of the United States Code, for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.
While little is known as of yet, we will continue to monitor the different cases and hope to see more information soon.
As a bit of editorial note, these cases are being brought up at the same time that the US Copyright Office is considering making exceptions to the DMCA anti-circumvention clause that would make similar actions by others legal in the US. While it is unclear how making an exception for jailbreaking game consoles now would effect the current cases, it is an interesting contrast in recent events.
– Game Politics Correspondent E. Zachary Knight