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College Student Charged with Modding Gaming Consoles


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281w ago - According to CBS11tv.com (linked above), a southern California college student has been arrested on allegations of bypassing the DMCA by installing modchips into consoles.

The federal charges stated that he illegally modified video game consoles to enable the machines to play pirated video games, to quote:

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 27-year-old Matthew Crippen was released Monday night after posting $5,000 bond.

The California State University, Fullerton student who lives in Anaheim is accused of modifying Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents got a tip from the Entertainment Software Association and searched Crippen's home in May. He was indicted on two counts by a federal grand jury. Crippen faces 10 years in prison if convicted and is scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 10.



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#15 - ZBlacktt - 281w ago
ZBlacktt's Avatar
Guy was stealing and that's the bottom line. If you own a company (like I do) and this was happening to your business, you'd be PO'd too. Too bad they don't have a law against game hacker's that basically exploit licensed online games and ruin company profits because of the damage they do to sells. If it was a law, we'd see less BS in online gaming. Be lots of home arrests then posted daily too.

Just another thing that needs to be cleaned up. We see web sites all over the net on game hacks and codes that they charge you to get an use. Thus breaking the manufactures online game rules. Which in turn effects every person playing the game fairly and we all paid cash money to play the service. With buying the game and paying for the maps upgrades, etc.... Yet, we play it fair and the correct way.

just my 2 cents...

#14 - Kraken - 281w ago
Kraken's Avatar
Homeland Security authorities arrested Matthew Crippen, 27, from his Anaheim home following his indictment for allegedly breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

Anyone care to tell me what the hell modding consoles has to do with Homeland Security?

#13 - nekraks - 281w ago
nekraks's Avatar
On the engadget thread, this user made a good explanation of the situation.
anillaSpice @ Aug 4th 2009 10:32PM
You own hardware (and are free to mod it except as proscribed by the DMCA), but you only own a software license, you do not own the software. That license specifically prohibits you from extracting, reverse-engineering and modifying the software. Licenses are part of contract law. It is not legal to break contract conditions.

So please don't pull out the old "I bought it therefore I can do whatever I want with it" line - you did not buy the software, and therefore you are not allowed to do whatever you want with it.

Apart from everything else, the DMCA says - if you do anything (anything at all) that circumvents a protection system (DRM included) then you have committed a crime IRRESPECTIVE of a) how you broke the system, b) whether the system was any good, c) whether the system involves DRM or not, d) whether you own the hardware parts or not, and e) your intentions in circumventing the protection system (with some exceptions ... that this guy most definitely cannot claim).

If people were applying mods that achieved certain effects WITHOUT breaking the DRM system, then I'd have a different view. But no-one does! All modding is done to break the DRM. If you disagree with that, then tell me - how many mods are you aware of that do something, yet don't break the DRM? Yeah, exactly - none. And one wonders how hard the authorities would crack down on modding that didn't involve DRM-breaking and piracy ... I suspect that they would care far less about that.

nekraks

#12 - victorinox - 281w ago
victorinox's Avatar
well... last i checked you dont actually own the "system" like to sony, i might be Mac Address: XXXXXXXXXXX but last i looked, when you buy, you gain the right, to play a ps3 game... IE its just a contract, that you agree to when you buy... you get some terms, and blah blah... Last i looked, this is what a system was, so it wasnt a big deal.

However, Both sides are completely valid, I use to be a Senior Moderator on Wiihacks *bad site, dont go*... I posted 5,000+ times, and helped countless people... Nearly 100% of them, were pirating and it was very apparent thats all they wanted to do... most of these people couldnt tell me what the root of the SD card was... or how to fix their game, so i dont blame him for charging lazy people... you can justify it how you wish, but i dont see this charge passing

#11 - bababe - 281w ago
bababe's Avatar
here to clear the cloud guys... this guy just makes money off free hack... so he well deserves it: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/08/game-console-jailbreaking-arrest/
A Southern California man was taken into custody Monday on accusations of running a home business of jailbreaking videogame consoles so they can play pirated games.

Homeland Security authorities arrested Matthew Crippen, 27, from his Anaheim home following his indictment for allegedly breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The Cal State Fullerton liberal arts student is accused of hiring himself out to circumvent copyrighted encryption technology on Wii, Playstation and Xbox games.

Prosecutor Mark Krause said in a brief telephone interview that, if the case went to trial, he could prove the illegal activity "a number of times." The indictment (.pdf) charges Crippen with two counts, carrying a maximum 10-year prison term.

Crippen, in a telephone interview with Threat Level, said the purpose of the jailbreaking was not for illegal piracy, but to allow patrons to use decrypted copies of their own DRM-laden gaming software. The DMCA, however, is not on his side, especially because he is accused of profiting from his hacks.

"This if for your legally made backups. If you're talking about piracy, I'm not helping you out," he said.

With the Xbox360, he said, "It's a given that any game will be scratched in that system. "

The Entertainment Software Association tipped the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Homeland Security Department that Crippen was allegedly running the circumvention outfit from his house.

"Playing with games in this way is not a game, it is criminal," Robert Schoch, an ICE agent, said in a statement.

The authorities said they seized a dozen consoles. Crippen said he charged about $30 a job.

The defendant suspected a former neighbor alerted the Entertainment Software Association. Federal agents then went undercover. "They got two systems done," Crippen said.

Potential customers were alerted to him, he said, by "mostly word of mouth."

"There was no advertising. There was none of that. I'll tell you that much," he said.

The DMCA, the law under which Crippen was charged, says, "no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

Crippen appeared in Los Angeles federal court late Monday and was released on $5,000 bond.

He said it took about 10 minutes to jailbreak a console.

Where did he learn the skill? "Google, man."

 

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