UK appeal court dismisses mod chip conviction
Devices not responsible for copyright infringement
The UK court of appeal this week ruled that games console mod chips do not bypass copy protection systems and are, therefore, effectively legal here.
The ruling comes more than six months after Neil Stanley Higgs of Speedwell Road, Speedwell, Bristol was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court of 26 offences under a 2003 amendment to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
At the time, Higgs vowed to appeal against the verdict - reached unanimously by the jury - and just as well: this week, the appeal court quashed all charges against him.
Higgs argued that the mod chips did not infringe copyright because that action had already taken place.
An Xecuter 3CE mod chip board
The games industry hates mod chips because they allow consoles to play copies of games. Gamers who've modified their consoles this way maintain they do so to allow them to use back-up copies of games if discs become damaged, but the industry claims it's done to allow them to play titles they haven't paid for.
Higgs essentially told the court that the copyright infringement was not carried out by the mod chip but by the user who copies the original disc. As such, he could be no more responsible for the infringement than, say, Sony is when one of its PCs is used to make an unauthorised copy of a DVD.
In 2005, the High Court of Australia also ruled that mod chips are legal Down Under for the same reason. However, Australia changed the law the following year to ban the use of the chips.
@ Mark Berry, re consumer rights
You're absolutely spot on.
In the UK, you're permitted to make ONE backup copy of any copyrighted title that you purchase, for your own personal use.
Copy protection came about because rules like this were flouted and abused.
And in response to the genius above that said 'killing the copy protection will kill the mod-chip/disc market' - you're right. Mod-chip development and retail has been caused by the very people who are trying to stamp it out. Common sense is one of those optional extras that gets binned these days, usually because it costs too much money.
I was under the impression you had a right to make a backup of computer software in the UK.
By only allowing copy protected discs, surely this infringes our rights?
Reason to Mod
I have never mod'ed any of my consoles, however I am tempted for the singular reason of allowing me to backup my discs. I have 2 youngish children and all optical discs have a life of around 2 weeks before they are scratched and unusable.
As a result, the consoles I do have are usually packed away and I rarely buy games (who wants to pay $100 for a new release only to have it destroyed within 2 weeks).
While I'm sure there are those that need to mod for playing games from different regions, this has never been a problem for me and As for pirating - I've never had any pirated console games and in 20 years I've probably only ever had 2 PC games that were not entirely legitimate and I didn't end up liking them anyway.
We all know optical discs are not indestructible like they told us back in the late 80s, and making backups of the games we purchase is a legitimate reason to mod a console. The console makers like the RIAA and MPAA need to learn that most of their customers are not out to rip them off.
The newer WRT54G is based on VxWorks, which is not a Linksys OS - it's by a company called Wind River, and is a very popular real-time embedded OS.
Also, the Linux version continues to be available as WRT54GL.
@frank denton wrt54g
also www.dd-wrt.com is the one I like since it's very easy to use and they have squeezed it into the smaller memory size.
AC, come off it, since when has smaller FLASH and smaller RAM been cheaper when those sizes are obsolete. Keeping the design exactly the same would have cut down on design costs and using the same memory it would have got cheaper anyway. In fact the origonal boards were tracked out for larger memory. Even worse they fit larger memory but cut the address line to reduce the memory size, this can be fixed with some soldering.
Trust me the reduction in memory size was not to save costs. This is an example of a company battling to retain control of it's products. They are deluded since allowing 3rd party firmware did not do the PC any harm and piracy is the secret of success of the PlayStation over the Nintendo 64.
The problem is that it changes the whole industry. A cheap router is then capable of out performing a far more expensive product. Answer: make faster hardware that still compatible with wrt54g. I was involved with a group who almost did this. Except we realised that Mikrotik do it far better than we could.