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Oz court backs Sony PS mod chips (kinda)

Narrow legal victory

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Sony has failed persuade an Australian Federal Court that using modification chips necessarily violates copyright laws.

Honourable Justice Ronald Sackville ruled that Sony had failed to establish that mod chips constituted a "technological protection measure" that protected the copyright of its games software. If mod chips don't protect copyright then selling them does not violate copyright laws, he reasoned.

On this narrow basis the judge rejected the console maker's claim for damages against Sydney businessman Eddy Stevens for supplying mod chips. Stevens, however, was seperately found guilty of selling pirated games, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Although the ruling is been seen as a victory for PlayStation owners who use mod chips to play games bought outside Australia, the case merely establishes a lower threshold for what can be seen as effective copyright protections measures.

This is narrow victory for mod chip users, and one achieved , judging by the court documents, mainly made because Sony messed up the presentation of its case.

Because of different TV formats, PlayStation consoles in Australia differ from those sold in the US and Japan. Using mod chips, people can play games purchased legitimately overseas; but it can also permit the use of pirated games.

The court was told "chipping" allows people to play legitimately bought overseas games and copies of games, but also pirated games. ®

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