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Jail possible for XBOX modder


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22 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   bobukcat

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 02:06 PM

I have some mixed feelings on this one:

1) Is modifying the hardware really pirating s/w if you don't sell / provide the pirated software??

2) The defense may have to present some other "benefit" that these mods provide to make a case.

3) Do we really have Federal Agents chasing this kind of nickel-and-dime violation?? It's not like the guy is doing thousands of these or mass-marketing his service.

In a landmark case, one gamer is being taken to court for installing chips in Xbox consoles enabling users to play illegally obtained games.


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#2 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 02:28 PM

1) Is modifying the hardware really pirating s/w if you don't sell / provide the pirated software??


Wouldn't it be the same as modifying a box to receive encrypted programming (either cable or satellite) that wasn't paid for?
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#3 OFFLINE   neomaine

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:01 PM

I thought the judge threw the whole thing out or at the very least the prosecution simply gave up because of all the crap the judge called them on.

As far as I know, the guy is freed from all charges.

#4 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:23 PM

The federal prosecutor made a ginormous discovery blunder so the case was blown on a technicality.

The prosecution probably won't make the same mistake next time.

I think it very unlikely that the modders will get their DMCA exception as it doesn't bring anything tangible to the experience outside of the option of running pirated software.

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#5 OFFLINE   Marlin Guy

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 04:44 PM

1) Is modifying the hardware really pirating s/w if you don't sell / provide the pirated software??


What article are you reading? Because the one you linked states this right off the bat:

"Crippen was arrested in August 2009 after he was paid to install chips in consoles in order for users to play pirated games."

#6 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 04:50 PM

What article are you reading? Because the one you linked states this right off the bat:

"Crippen was arrested in August 2009 after he was paid to install chips in consoles in order for users to play pirated games."


Yeah, that's one of five (or four) mandatory points in judge's handbook when he is dealing with DMCA cases - financial gain !

#7 OFFLINE   bobukcat

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

What article are you reading? Because the one you linked states this right off the bat:

"Crippen was arrested in August 2009 after he was paid to install chips in consoles in order for users to play pirated games."


Yes, he was paid to mod the boxes but nowhere in that article does it say he sold and / or provided pirated software. If you mod the box but never play pirated software on it how is that breaking any law????

#8 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:07 PM

Yes, he was paid to mod the boxes but nowhere in that article does it say he sold and / or provided pirated software. If you mod the box but never play pirated software on it how is that breaking any law????


Doesnt matter when you live in the country of the worlds highest incarceration rate:

More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world.

http://www.csmonitor...02s01-usju.html

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#9 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:12 PM

Yes, he was paid to mod the boxes but nowhere in that article does it say he sold and / or provided pirated software. If you mod the box but never play pirated software on it how is that breaking any law????


From Wired:

The government charged that Crippen, a hotel car-parking manager, ran a small business from his Anaheim home modifying the firmware on Xbox 360 optical drives to make them capable of running pirated or unauthorized games.

It was the nation’s first jury trial to test the anti-circumvention provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act as applied to game consoles. The law makes it a crime to offer a product or service that circumvents a technological measure designed to protect copyright material. Each of the two charges carried a maximum five years.



#10 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:12 PM

Wouldn't it be the same as modifying a box to receive encrypted programming (either cable or satellite) that wasn't paid for?


Say What ???

This is a XBOX device !

Then point to selling kitchen knife would be killing ppl.

#11 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:13 PM

I have some mixed feelings on this one:

1) Is modifying the hardware really pirating s/w if you don't sell / provide the pirated software??

2) The defense may have to present some other "benefit" that these mods provide to make a case.

3) Do we really have Federal Agents chasing this kind of nickel-and-dime violation?? It's not like the guy is doing thousands of these or mass-marketing his service.

Did you even read your own link??? :confused:

An undercover agent approached Crippen and offered $80 for the service, and recorded a conversation in which Crippen admitted to modifying three Xbox 360s a week. According to the prosecution, Crippen was running a small business with this operation. He was arrested and released on $5,000 bond. If convicted, Crippen faces a maximum of three years in prison for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The dude is a crook! :nono2:

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#12 OFFLINE   bobukcat

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:41 PM

Did you even read your own link??? :confused: The dude is a crook! :nono2:


I assure you all that I read the article in detail before posting it.....:)

I agree that what he is / was doing was not completely above-board but I think the nuances of it are worth discussing. People can sell chips for cars / trucks that completely alter their horsepower, emissions, etc. but the government never stops those businesses, it's the end user that installs those chips and then uses the vehicle(s) on public roadways that's breaking the law.

As for the analogy to a hacked IRD for satellite or cable programming: in that case you are creating a device that illegally descrambles the exact same signal that is broadcast by the provider. The modded XBOX would NEVER violate a copyright unless it is fed specifically pirated s/w, not the same copy-protected s/w that you would have to pay for.

Do I agree with someone running around helping people violate copy protection, of course not - but I question who is really committing what crime (as the law is written). I also think enforcement efforts could be more wisely spent than going after some small-potato like this guy.

#13 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:08 PM

I'm sure you're right...I'm just an ornery old cuss whose sole purpose in life is to take the romance out of illegal hacking and modding. I know there's worse crimes...I believe that movies should be viewed as the director intended and chips should function as the designer intended.

Call me old fashioned but that's just me... :whatdidid

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#14 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:16 PM

Do I agree with someone running around helping people violate copy protection, of course not - but I question who is really committing what crime (as the law is written). I also think enforcement efforts could be more wisely spent than going after some small-potato like this guy.

Generally speaking, any act, including modifying something, to knowingly permit someone else to commit a crime is to conspire in the commission of the crime.

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#15 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:22 PM

So, what the statue of DMCA we are talking ? We can't generally cover all of them.

#16 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:22 PM

I assure you all that I read the article in detail before posting it.....:)

I agree that what he is / was doing was not completely above-board but I think the nuances of it are worth discussing. People can sell chips for cars / trucks that completely alter their horsepower, emissions, etc. but the government never stops those businesses, it's the end user that installs those chips and then uses the vehicle(s) on public roadways that's breaking the law.

As for the analogy to a hacked IRD for satellite or cable programming: in that case you are creating a device that illegally descrambles the exact same signal that is broadcast by the provider. The modded XBOX would NEVER violate a copyright unless it is fed specifically pirated s/w, not the same copy-protected s/w that you would have to pay for.

Do I agree with someone running around helping people violate copy protection, of course not - but I question who is really committing what crime (as the law is written). I also think enforcement efforts could be more wisely spent than going after some small-potato like this guy.


I think your comparison about modding vehicles is a little bit off. All of those modifications can legally be performed by the user or installed by a third party. The illegality occurs when the vehicle is used on a public roadway. If the user wants to drive that vehicle on private property all day long, there is no violation of law. Hence, the parts being sold to modify the vehicle have a legitimate purpose.

In this case, the subject was modding the Xbox with the sole purpose of allowing someone to play pirated software. There was no legitimate purpose for what he was doing.

Another example about illegal use of a legal item would be those little glass tubes you see for sell at gas stations that have the little rose in them. They are sold as a decorative item, yet in reality, they are generally bought by people to be used as crack pipes. Because of how the person uses the legal product, it becomes illegal.

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#17 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:24 PM

I think your comparison about modding vehicles is a little bit off. All of those modifications can legally be performed by the user or installed by a third party. The illegality occurs when the vehicle is used on a public roadway. If the user wants to drive that vehicle on private property all day long, there is no violation of law. Hence, the parts being sold to modify the vehicle have a legitimate purpose.

In this case, the subject was modding the Xbox with the sole purpose of allowing someone to play pirated software. There was no legitimate purpose for what he was doing.

Another example about illegal use of a legal item would be those little glass tubes you see for sell at gas stations that have the little rose in them. They are sold as a decorative item, yet in reality, they are generally bought by people to be used as crack pipes. Because of how the person uses the legal product, it becomes illegal.

- Merg

Is it mean gas station's clerk must be jailed ?

#18 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

Is it mean gas station's clerk must be jailed ?


No, which is my point. It's a legitimate item used for an illegitimate purpose. In the case of the Xbox, there is no legitimate purpose.

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#19 OFFLINE   redfiver

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:50 PM

No, which is my point. It's a legitimate item used for an illegitimate purpose. In the case of the Xbox, there is no legitimate purpose.

- Merg


What about running 'unapproved applications' as stated in the article? Pirated software, that's another story as you're stealing something. But what about modding the device to run unsigned software, like jailbroken iPhones. That was recently ruled as being okay. Couldn't that defense be used for an xbox as well?
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#20 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 09:47 PM

What about running 'unapproved applications' as stated in the article? Pirated software, that's another story as you're stealing something. But what about modding the device to run unsigned software, like jailbroken iPhones. That was recently ruled as being okay. Couldn't that defense be used for an xbox as well?


Anything is possible... :)

I, myself, modded my Wii to enable use of an external harddrive. While Nintendo obviously doesn't like that, there are definitely uses of it that are not illegal. I do it to keep from having to swap out games everytime I want to play a different one. I also use it so that my original discs don't get scratched up from my kids putting them in and out of the Wii.

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