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3 men charged in Xbox tampering
CNET News ^ | 12/21/05 | rEUters

Posted on 12/21/2005 9:55:50 AM PST by BurbankKarl

U.S. prosecutors have charged three men with copyright infringement for allegedly selling modified Xbox consoles that enabled the original video game machine from Microsoft to play pirated games. The criminal complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday named ACME Game Store co-owners Jason Jones, 34, and Jonathan Bryant, 44, as well as Pei "Patrick" Cai, 32.

The complaint alleges that Jones and Bryant sold Xbox systems that Cai modified with chips and hard drives that allowed people to copy rented or borrowed games onto the console for future play.

All three men are charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The charge of conspiracy carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in federal prison.

Lawyers for the men, who will be summoned to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in late January, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Jones and Bryant demonstrated the modified Xbox game consoles in their Melrose Avenue store. They charged from $225 to more than $500 for the modifications, depending on the extent of the modifications and the number of games preloaded onto the hard drive, according to a statement from prosecutors and the complaint affidavit obtained by Reuters.

In other news: Scammers jingle all the way Playing favorites on the Net? AOL gets $1 billion boost from Google During the investigation, undercover agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid $265 to have a modification chip, a hard drive and 77 pirated games installed on an Xbox, according to the criminal complaint.

Microsoft released the Xbox 360, the new version of its game console, on Nov. 22 in North America. The premium version of the system sells for $400 and is sold-out at many retail outlets.

The original Xbox was released in late 2001 and now retails for around $150. Games for the system cost up to $50 each.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: xbox

1 posted on 12/21/2005 9:55:51 AM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: Sofa King

ping


2 posted on 12/21/2005 9:56:02 AM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: BurbankKarl

I bet Milton Bradley is rolling over in his grave, hearing that people can go to jail for tampering with a game.


3 posted on 12/21/2005 9:58:54 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: BurbankKarl
Lemme get this straight, I buy an X-Box, but Micro$uck still tells me what I can and can't do with it. It is MY personal property. If I want to modify it then I can.

If I buy a clock-radio that I want to make into a CD player by using parts from my portable CD player, I should be able to. GE can't come and sue me for modifying MY radio. If I want to add MP3 player capabilities to it, I can with off the shelf parts, the same rules apply to X-Box.

4 posted on 12/21/2005 9:59:15 AM PST by AntiKev (We pilots count our time in the air as if all other time is unimportant.)
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To: BurbankKarl
"with chips and hard drives that allowed people to copy rented or borrowed games"

You can't play games you've borrowed?

5 posted on 12/21/2005 10:00:35 AM PST by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: avg_freeper
Strike that. I should of read through it more better.
7 posted on 12/21/2005 10:01:39 AM PST by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: stuartcr
Do you people read the article?

In other news: Scammers jingle all the way Playing favorites on the Net? AOL gets $1 billion boost from Google During the investigation, undercover agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid $265 to have a modification chip, a hard drive and 77 pirated games installed on an Xbox, according to the criminal complaint.

I have no sympathy for the MPAA/RIAA/M$ etc... But this is the part I support. Modding shouldn't be an issue, but 77 pirated games certainly is.

8 posted on 12/21/2005 10:02:06 AM PST by SengirV
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To: AntiKev

These "mod chips" aren't the issue. You're right, you have the legal right to do whatever you want with an XBox you pay for.

The law is broken because modded XBoxes have a hacked version of the Microsoft COPYRIGHTED BIOS on them. (I know this because *cough* a friend of mine has a modded XBox.)

This modified BIOS causes the XBox to recognize a far larger hard drive than the one that ships with the system, and permits copying RENTED games or borrowed games to this larger hard drive, effectively allowing the owner to keep a game on the system he never paid for.

This second issue is called theft and/or software piracy.

To summarize, you DO have the right to mod your XBox. As soon as you drop a hacked BIOS on it, you are in violation of federal law, and will be prosecuted if caught. You exacerbate the crime if you choose to use your illegal XBox to pirate software.


9 posted on 12/21/2005 10:03:46 AM PST by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
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To: stuartcr

They can GO TO JAIL, GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200.,..................


10 posted on 12/21/2005 10:05:08 AM PST by Red Badger (And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him)
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To: AntiKev
At issue here, I believe, is that people were making a profit off of private mods. Hell, I upgrade components in my personal computers every month, but I don't have AMD/Asus/Corsair/Maxtor/NVIDIA/et al blowing my doors down. I agree that, to a certain extent, the DMCA goes way overboard to protect the income of already-wealthy companies, but in this case, these guys were ripping games to a disk drive and selling them for profit. This is piracy for sure.

Now if they were just selling the chips and instructions on how to modify the system boards, that's another story, as that, then, becomes a private property issue. If this were an issue, we'd have a society spiraling out of control in a litigious quagmire where everyone can sue anyone for anything at any time. We wouldn't want that now, would we... wait...

/sarcasmOff

11 posted on 12/21/2005 10:05:35 AM PST by rarestia ("One man with a gun can control 100 without one." - Lenin / Molwn Labe!)
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To: Heavyrunner
To summarize, you DO have the right to mod your XBox. As soon as you drop a hacked BIOS on it, you are in violation of federal law, and will be prosecuted if caught. You exacerbate the crime if you choose to use your illegal XBox to pirate software.

And you exacerbate the crime even more if you then sell the illegal Xboxes with pirated software to other people.
12 posted on 12/21/2005 10:06:51 AM PST by drjimmy
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To: SengirV

You seem to be a little too sensitive for the holiday season...you need to relax, and try to find some humor in things.


13 posted on 12/21/2005 10:08:53 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: stuartcr

Oh I have humor. FREAKIN OODLES OF FREAKIN HUMOR!!!!!

;)


14 posted on 12/21/2005 10:09:34 AM PST by SengirV
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To: Heavyrunner
As soon as you drop a hacked BIOS on it, you are in violation of federal law, and will be prosecuted if caught.

Is this right, though? The BIOS chips are removable EEPROMs that can be replaced, no? I've replaced BIOS chips in my comps all the time, but does a proprietary BIOS on a proprietarily run board mean that you can't pop out the BIOS and replace it with, say, an Award or Phoenix BIOS? If the board boots, it's ok, right?

I'd imagine if you popped the BIOS EEPROM out, put it into a reader and re-engineered the BIOS AROUND the proprietary system, then you'd be in violation.

In this case, I believe the "mod chip" they're talking about is something that has to be soldered onto the mainboard and circumvents certain registered media protections to allow burned games to be played. That is illegal, I believe, but I contend the BIOS switchout wouldn't be. Any thoughts?

15 posted on 12/21/2005 10:11:09 AM PST by rarestia ("One man with a gun can control 100 without one." - Lenin / Molwn Labe!)
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To: BurbankKarl
During the investigation, undercover agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid $265 to have a modification chip, a hard drive and 77 pirated games installed on an Xbox, according to the criminal complaint.

This modification may be illegal. But what does ICE have to do with modifying X-boxes? This appears to have happened in the United States. Aren't there some illegal aliens they should be catching?
16 posted on 12/21/2005 10:11:45 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: SengirV

I take it the caps were just raucus laughter??!!


17 posted on 12/21/2005 10:12:29 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: conservative in nyc

"This modification may be illegal. But what does ICE have to do with modifying X-boxes? This appears to have happened in the United States. Aren't there some illegal aliens they should be catching?"

That's Immigration and CUSTOMS Enforcement. Selling hacked toys is a trade issue (potentially high dollar too) and that would explain the ICE involvement.

Merry Christmas,
Top sends


18 posted on 12/21/2005 10:32:20 AM PST by petro45acp (SUPPORT/BE YOUR LOCAL SHEEPDOG! ("On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" by Dave Grossman))
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To: stuartcr

I thought he just signed with the A's? ;)


19 posted on 12/21/2005 10:34:54 AM PST by JZelle
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To: rarestia

You are correct in that a BIOS switchout is not illegal in and of itself. The BIOS itself is Microsoft intellectual property, and has been reverse-engineered and modified to support the altered XBox. As you stated, this is what makes it illegal.


20 posted on 12/21/2005 10:52:50 AM PST by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
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To: AntiKev

Nope your wrong so says the DMCRA. Reverse engineering, once a protected activity and considered to be integral to innovation, is now an illegal activity.

Just discussing how one might go about it is a crime.


21 posted on 12/21/2005 11:17:30 AM PST by Smogger
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To: BurbankKarl

When I saw the headline I thought this was about putting Linux on the XBox...


22 posted on 12/21/2005 3:52:20 PM PST by newzjunkey (Remember the less fortunate this season: "U.S. Marines Toys for Tots" "Salvation Army")
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To: AntiKev

the DMCA says its a crime.

and there are some new bills floating around backed by the MPAA and RIAA that essentially outlaws privately owned DVR technology.


23 posted on 12/21/2005 3:56:02 PM PST by oceanview
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