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DoJ seizes ISOnews site over Xbox mod chip sales

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The US Department of Justice has seized the ISOnews web site, which was a kind of bible for the discerning software copier, and is turning it into a repository of anti-piracy propaganda. The site's remarkable switch of role stems from the sale of Xbox mod chips, in violation of the DMCA.

David Rocci, 22, of Blacksburg, Va, handed over the domain, iSONews.com, in plea bargaining, after pleading guilty to "conspiring to import, market and sell circumvention devices known as modification (or "mod") chips in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act".

Rocci imported 450 Enigmah chips illegally from the UK and sold them through the site for approx $28,000. For this crime, Rocci could face a fine of up to $500,000 and 5-years in prison, which seems somewhat harsh for a 22 year-old enthusiast trying to make a little money on the side. Maybe his big mistake was promote the device to the WareZ community.

Says the DoJ: "David Rocci developed a public website that specifically catered to the underground piracy community. He attempted to profit by marketing circumvention devices to that community knowing they would be used to play pirated games."

In some countries, mod-chips are legal, in many they are not. The Enigmah mod chip circumvents security controls and regional access controls. So that means you can play back-up games, probably pirated, and imported games - which publishers and hardware makers don't want you to do, because it buggers up their release schedules and their price differentials.

Here is the DoJ press release. ®

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