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US mod chip retailer jailed and fined

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gamesindustry.biz logo A US man found guilty of selling mod chips on his website in breach of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been sentenced to five months imprisonment and a $28,500 fine.

David Rocci, who sold the Enigmah mod chips for the Xbox from the site, Isonews.com (the domain was seized by the US Department of Justice last month, but the site is still operating here), pleaded guilty to breaching the DMCA by selling illegal copyright circumvention devices last December.

His full sentence is five months in prison, five months of home detention, three years of probation and a $28,500 fine - that's £18,355 in real money. While we certainly don't approve of helping people to pirate software, we see this as a massively harsh and disproportionate punishment for a man whose crime is selling devices that allow people to modify their own equipment.

However, one thing is certain; the sentence will send an extremely powerful message to anyone else involved in the production or sale of Xbox mod chips in the USA (so far, the attempts of the US Department of Justice to extend the reach of the DMCA beyond its borders have - thankfully - been a failure). Expect a lot of mod chip projects and websites to quietly disappear in the next few days.

© gamesindustry.biz

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