Console hacker not so chipper at £5,000 fine
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 8 Dec 2006 at 13:00
A UK man has been found guilty of modifying games consoles and ordered to pay more than £5,000 and serve a 120 hour community service charge.
Stephen Fitzgerald of Torridon Road, Bolton, was sentenced by Carlisle Crown Court 23 November for his while-you-wait 'chipping' activities which he carried out at computer fairs and via a website 'www.mods-and-sods.co.uk'.
'Chipping' is the practice of altering games consoles in order to get around copy-protection technologies, thus allowing pirated games to be played and disabling the region-coding for DVD playback.
Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to nine charges relating to 'chipping' games consoles, contrary to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (copyright circumvention offences) and ordered to pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs. He was also subject to a Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) confiscation order for £2,710, to be paid by 23rd May 2007, or face three months in jail.
The maximum penaly is two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Fitzgerald had previously argued that a console game was merely a computer program and not subject to the copyright protection afforded to artistic works, animation, music and film. However, the court found otherwise.
Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA (Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association), said: 'We have always believed that 'chipping' consoles is a clear criminal offence and the result of this case has confirmed it. This means that people who modify games consoles to enable them to play copied games will now face the full force of criminal law which can lead to substantial fines or even imprisonment.'
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't