British Court Convicts Chipper Xbox Pirate
A 22-year-old Welsh man was made an example of by becoming the first to be convicted of modifying and selling copyrighted Xbox game consoles.
The young, unidentified Cambridge graduate was found guilty of “chipping” Xbox consoles and selling them.
Chipping is the term used to describe modifying a game console by soldering chips to the main circuitry to bypass copyright controls.
The young man had added a 200 gigabyte hard drive to the machines and included 80 preinstalled games and was selling them on his website for about $450.
The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) estimated that the modified consoles, if sold in this fashion, would run over $5000.
The investigation, indictment, and conviction at Caerphilly Magistrates Court was led by ELSPA’s anti-piracy team.
The man was sentenced to 140 hours of community service, to pay a $1300 fine, and to forfeit three computers, two printers, three Xbox consoles, and 38 hard drives.
“This case today sets a major precedent which marks a milestone in the fight against piracy and in protecting the games industry’s intellectual property,” said Mike Rawlinson, deputy director general of ELSPA in a statement.
“It sends a clear message to anyone tempted to become involved in “chipping” consoles that this is a criminal offense and will be dealt with accordingly.”
The conviction reflects the enforcement of a 2003 law enacted by the EU’s Copyright Directive Act making chipping consoles as well as advertising and selling parts to be used for chipping illegal.