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    Mod Chips - Legal position in the UK

    I was wondering if people are allowed to sell or install mod chips for gaming consoles in this country?

    Also, if you are allowed to have one backup copy of a game you own - how are you supposed to play it?

    41 Comments

    I understand the first question (and don't know the answer) but could you clarify the second question? Not sure what you mean...

    MS ban modded consoles, so there must be some legal ramifications behind it?

    nightswimmer;2089580

    ]It was made illegal to sell them in 2004.



    As well as declaring the sale of the mod chips illegal, Mr Laddie said that the use, advertising or possession of them for commercial purposes should be considered illegal too.

    says it all really....

    nightswimmer;2089580

    ]It was made illegal to sell them in 2004.



    However, in Italy a judge threw out Sony's case saying it was up to owners of a console what they did with it.

    Similarly in Spain, mod chips are seen as legal despite the EU copyright legislation




    I think we live in the wrong country..... great article link

    he means that if it is legal to backup up a game, how can you play it if modchips are illegal.

    it is illegal to sell the chips under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which states it is illegal to sell tools to bypass copywrite protection]

    anyway, if its yours you can do what you want with it (just dont tell anyone)

    amansk;2089585

    MS ban modded consoles, so there must be some legal ramifications behind … MS ban modded consoles, so there must be some legal ramifications behind it?



    they ban them from xbox live because it breaks the terms and conditions, not because theya re illegal

    amansk;2089594

    As well as declaring the sale of the mod chips illegal, Mr Laddie said … As well as declaring the sale of the mod chips illegal, Mr Laddie said that the use, advertising or possession of them for commercial purposes should be considered illegal too.



    Ooops, missed that bit. :oops: Thanks for pointing it out as well

    Original Poster

    So, are we legally allowed to make 1 backup copy of a game we own?

    There are plenty of UK websites that openly promote installing of mod chips... I wonder if they have any legal backing?

    Diekund;2089614

    they ban them from xbox live because it breaks the terms and conditions, … they ban them from xbox live because it breaks the terms and conditions, not because theya re illegal



    ah, cool. thanks for clarification.

    so its illegal to sell, but not illegal to have one in your possesion, from what ive read in that article.

    redondo5;2089648

    So, are we legally allowed to make 1 backup copy of a game we own?



    yes

    amansk;2089651

    ah, cool. thanks for clarification. so its illegal to sell, but not … ah, cool. thanks for clarification. so its illegal to sell, but not illegal to have one in your possesion, from what ive read in that article.



    i thought this and posted it earlier but edited it out of my post in case i was wrong

    Original Poster

    Diekund;2089603

    he means that if it is legal to backup up a game, how can you play it if … he means that if it is legal to backup up a game, how can you play it if modchips are illegal.it is illegal to sell the chips under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which states it is illegal to sell tools to bypass copywrite protection]anyway, if its yours you can do what you want with it (just dont tell anyone)



    What if you don't "sell" the chips ...only USE them to bypass copyright protection?

    Diekund;2089658

    yesi thought this and posted it earlier but edited it out of my post in … yesi thought this and posted it earlier but edited it out of my post in case i was wrong



    I dunno, its a thin line between right and wrong, that article is good but can be viewed in the wrong way just by lack of understanding. Doesnt matter if you are wrong, someone will come on here to correct you if you are

    redondo5;2089663

    What if you don't "sell" the chips ...only USE them to bypass copyright … What if you don't "sell" the chips ...only USE them to bypass copyright protection?



    from my understanding of the article linked above, its only illegal to sell them.

    possesion and use should be considered illegal, but it isnt

    by the way, that article is four years old and there may have been updates to the rules.

    redondo5;2089648

    So, are we legally allowed to make 1 backup copy of a game we own?



    If my understanding is correct, under EU law you can make 1 back-up copy. However, you must still own the original version and have it in your possession (i.e. you can't lend the original to a friend and keep using the backup yourself). And you can't use the backup to say run the program on a seperate computer in you house, whilst still using the original copy.

    Banned

    nightswimmer;2089702

    If my understanding is correct, under EU law you can make 1 back-up copy.


    I beleive you are thinking of the US fair usage policy (or whatever it is called!) - which indeed does allow you to make a back up. Thats not the case in the UK under this EU law. Its actually illegal to do so, unless the license tells you to do so
    But, no one is going to get done for making a copy of something they legally own. Its unfortunate that the people making the laws haven't got a clue - but nothing new there!

    Original Poster

    I thought the whole point of having a backup was so that if anything happened to the original. The first Xbox 360 wrecked a whole of Original discs when people moved the console while the disc was spinning.... point is... you can't even use the backup copy unless you use a way around the copyright protection (i.e. Mod chip)


    So what is the point of allowing people to own a 1 backup copy if you're not allowed to use it?

    EDIT: OK, just read the post above ^ ....so it's illegal to own a backup copy in the UK under EU law?

    Original Poster

    According to one website in the UK, that provides a chipping service:

    "For those who are a little unsure on the legal aspects:- In the UK you are allowed to have 1 backup of every original game you own. To play this perfectly legal backup you require the installation of a Modchip, or Modified Firmware. We provide Modchip services for this purpose.
    On certain consoles the game region restriction is also defeated. This allows you to play legally purchased foreign games from different regions."

    SOURCE: playbackups.com/

    guv;2089734

    I beleive you are thinking of the US fair usage policy (or whatever it is … I beleive you are thinking of the US fair usage policy (or whatever it is called!) - which indeed does allow you to make a back up. Thats not the case in the UK under this EU law. Its actually illegal to do so, unless the license tells you to do soBut, no one is going to get done for making a copy of something they legally own. Its unfortunate that the people making the laws haven't got a clue - but nothing new there!



    Turns out it's UK Law - ]article about it

    ]ELSPA say the same thing

    I think the fair use policy in America allows you to make a backup of Music/Film DVDs/CDs, where as in the UK, this is illegal. Software over here is treated differently though.

    Lock me up! Lock me up! Throw away the key! I'm a repeat offender!

    Original Poster

    According to that ELSPA FAQ.... the law (even though it dates back to 16-bit machines/floppy drives) states you are allowed to make a backup copy.... ELSPAs view is that it's not neccessary.... Surely the law should take precedance or otherwise be changed. In my opinion it is still neccesary, look at Xbox 360 discs for a good example why.

    Anyway, it still doesn't solve the contradiction....in making it illegal to circumvent the copyright protection (i.e. use a mod chip / Drive firmware update) - that allows you to USE your legally made BACKUP COPY

    redondo5;2089824

    According to that ELSPA FAQ.... the law (even though it dates back to … According to that ELSPA FAQ.... the law (even though it dates back to 16-bit machines/floppy drives) states you are allowed to make a backup copy.... ELSPAs view is that it's not neccessary.... Surely the law should take precedance or otherwise be changed. In my opinion it is still neccesary, look at Xbox 360 discs for a good example why.



    ELSPA aren't the law, so just because they do not theink it's necessary, doesn't make it any less legal.

    Anyway, it still doesn't solve the contradiction....in making it illegal … Anyway, it still doesn't solve the contradiction....in making it illegal to circumvent the copyright protection (i.e. use a mod chip / Drive firmware update) - that allows you to USE your legally made BACKUP COPY



    Hence the PC Zone campaign.

    Original Poster

    nightswimmer;2089861

    ELSPA aren't the law, so just because they do not theink it's necessary, … ELSPA aren't the law, so just because they do not theink it's necessary, doesn't make it any less legal.Hence the PC Zone campaign.



    OK, good to see that.... but what are the government doing about this? and when are new laws going to be passed to put an end to the current stupidity? That PC Zone article is dated 2004... it's now 2008 surely within those 4 years they would have been able to see the contradictiions?

    redondo5;2089874

    OK, good to see that.... but what are the government doing about this? … OK, good to see that.... but what are the government doing about this? and when are new laws going to be passed to put an end to the current stupidity? That PC Zone article is dated 2004... it's now 2008 surely within those 4 years they would have been able to see the contradictiions?



    I'm guessing it won't ever happen. The problem is, in order to crack the copy protection, you have to break/use copyrighted material, which is in itself against the law.

    Banned

    redondo5;2089824

    According to that ELSPA FAQ.... the law (even though it dates back to … According to that ELSPA FAQ.... the law (even though it dates back to 16-bit machines/floppy drives) states you are allowed to make a backup copy.... ELSPAs view is that it's not neccessary.... Surely the law should take precedance or otherwise be changed. In my opinion it is still neccesary, look at Xbox 360 discs for a good example why.



    It would be up to you to prove you needed the backup, not for them to prove you didn't.

    Anyway, it still doesn't solve the contradiction....in making it illegal … Anyway, it still doesn't solve the contradiction....in making it illegal to circumvent the copyright protection (i.e. use a mod chip / Drive firmware update) - that allows you to USE your legally made BACKUP COPY



    No contradiction really. If you cannot play a backup unless you install a device to circumvent copy protection, then surely there is no need for the backup as it will be useless anyway.

    On another topic
    Why does this site allow itself to be a medium for selling illegal items anyway? Very dodgy grounds in my opinion.

    Banned

    colinsunderland;2089899

    It would be up to you to prove you needed the backup, not for them to … It would be up to you to prove you needed the backup, not for them to prove you didn't.No contradiction really. If you cannot play a backup unless you install a device to circumvent copy protection, then surely there is no need for the backup as it will be useless anyway.



    Precisely - plus the first site information is pretty old and is now obsolete.

    On another topicWhy does this site allow itself to be a medium for … On another topicWhy does this site allow itself to be a medium for selling illegal items anyway? Very dodgy grounds in my opinion.



    Its been raised before - but ignored when asked. Personally I have no problems with people selling R4s etc - but in legal terms, its no longer a grey area IMHO.

    Banned

    dcx_badass;2089934

    ?Mod chips aren't just for illegal purposes. For example alot of modded … ?Mod chips aren't just for illegal purposes. For example alot of modded xbox's were done for the homebrew, such as media centre.



    Very true, and before the last law on data and copywrite was passed, you could argue that case and win very easily. But because it curcumvents copyright protection, its now considered illegal to modify - despite the fact you own the machine!
    Why else do you think sites have been prosecuted in the UK for selling modded Xboxes? I know there are plenty out there that still do so, but that doesnt make it legal.

    Banned

    guv;2089950

    Precisely - plus the first site information is pretty old and is now … Precisely - plus the first site information is pretty old and is now obsolete.Its been raised before - but ignored when asked. Personally I have no problems with people selling R4s etc - but in legal terms, its no longer a grey area IMHO.



    its not just those, modded wii's, cable boxes etc could put the site in a dodgy position as they are providing a venue for them to be sold.

    Personally I don't care what people sell, but would be a shame if the site got closed because of it

    But suppose if the admin and mods don't give a damn then it doesn't matter.

    Original Poster

    colinsunderland;2089899

    It would be up to you to prove you needed the backup, not for them to … It would be up to you to prove you needed the backup, not for them to prove you didn't.No contradiction really. If you cannot play a backup unless you install a device to circumvent copy protection, then surely there is no need for the backup as it will be useless anyway.On another topicWhy does this site allow itself to be a medium for selling illegal items anyway? Very dodgy grounds in my opinion.




    Well, "the need of a backup" is just that...you backup "just in case" - And according to the law it is a right that every purchaser has... so why should I have to prove what is my right?

    If you read the article posted above, it argues this point against you. If the law is there that allows us to own one backup copy of some software we have bought, then they are breaking the law by not allowing us to have that right, by implementing a system that doesn't allow us to use the backup (i.e. copyright protection).

    So that's the argument the article puts forward, and I think it has a valid point from the legal standpoint. The law to allow us to own a legal backup was there first.....they came round and put this copyright protection in place which denies people the right to use a backup.

    Original Poster

    Also, why are Spain and Italy allowed to have these mod chips and don't consider it using copyrighted material?

    redondo5;2091807

    Also, why are Spain and Italy allowed to have these mod chips and don't … Also, why are Spain and Italy allowed to have these mod chips and don't consider it using copyrighted material?



    Because each country has it's own laws regarding copyright.

    Banned

    redondo5;2091769

    Well, "the need of a backup" is just that...you backup "just in case" - … Well, "the need of a backup" is just that...you backup "just in case" - And according to the law it is a right that every purchaser has... so why should I have to prove what is my right?


    According to what law exactly? When you have bought your xbox game, it says on it thats its copywrite protected. ie they dont want you to copy it. If you do, youve broken the law - partularly since you will have to defeat copywrite systems in place to stop you doing so.

    If you read the article posted above, it argues this point against you. … If you read the article posted above, it argues this point against you. If the law is there that allows us to own one backup copy of some software we have bought, then they are breaking the law by not allowing us to have that right, by implementing a system that doesn't allow us to use the backup (i.e. copyright protection).



    Go ahead and sue them and see how far you get.
    I'm not quite sure why you would put forward what happens in Spain and Italy in your argument. The last time I checked, their laws dont apply here!:p (Though it would be nice to have Saudi Law on this as I dont think they recognise any copywrite... so you can copy away to your hearts content!

    Banned

    redondo5;2091769

    Well, "the need of a backup" is just that...you backup "just in case" - … Well, "the need of a backup" is just that...you backup "just in case" - And according to the law it is a right that every purchaser has... so why should I have to prove what is my right?If you read the article posted above, it argues this point against you. If the law is there that allows us to own one backup copy of some software we have bought, then they are breaking the law by not allowing us to have that right, by implementing a system that doesn't allow us to use the backup (i.e. copyright protection).So that's the argument the article puts forward, and I think it has a valid point from the legal standpoint. The law to allow us to own a legal backup was there first.....they came round and put this copyright protection in place which denies people the right to use a backup.



    If you think it has a valid point, perhaps you could point to the section of the copyright designs and patents act that specifically states you can make a backup?

    Last I heard, in the UK we can make as many backups as we want as long as we can satisfactorily justify it. However I don't really keep up with copyright laws

    Original Poster

    colinsunderland;2092662

    If you think it has a valid point, perhaps you could point to the section … If you think it has a valid point, perhaps you could point to the section of the copyright designs and patents act that specifically states you can make a backup?



    No I can't quote from that act because I've never seen it or read it. Just becuase I think it's a valid point, must I quote from that act??

    Have you read the PCZone article referred to above. They mention the laws that allow and give every software purchaser the right to 1 backup copy....if you think this is an incorrect understanding of the law or you think this is incorrect....then please state why with your proofs and all your references etc...

    otherwise you should accept it is perfectly allowed to own 1 backup copy of a game you have bought

    Original Poster

    nightswimmer;2091833

    Because each country has it's own laws regarding copyright.



    So why do the EU directive / laws only seem to effect UK? not Italy or Spain?

    Original Poster

    guv;2091999

    According to what law exactly? When you have bought your xbox game, it … According to what law exactly? When you have bought your xbox game, it says on it thats its copywrite protected. ie they dont want you to copy it. If you do, youve broken the law - partularly since you will have to defeat copywrite systems in place to stop you doing so.Go ahead and sue them and see how far you get. I'm not quite sure why you would put forward what happens in Spain and Italy in your argument. The last time I checked, their laws dont apply here!:p (Though it would be nice to have Saudi Law on this as I dont think they recognise any copywrite... so you can copy away to your hearts content!




    read the PCzone article ref above (2004) ... it mentions the law referred to, that allows us make 1 backup copy of PC software. By making 1 backup copy you don't break any copyright laws!!! That's what I've understood and that's based fundementally on the law that allows all people in the UK who have bought software to own 1 backup copy....Even ELSPA the Sony fanatics acknowledge this law....see ref posted above....They only argue that it was during the days of floppy disks (which were volatile media) and this law in their opinion does not hold much weight anymore in the era of DVD discs....of course that is only their opinion and of a judge or 2 who have made a few rulings in their favour.... the reason why you still find so many modders operating freely is because its hard for them to pin them down without hardcore evidence of piracy...e.g. many "backup" copies etc.

    In fact it is MS/Sony/Nintendo who have broken the law... as the PCZone article mentions....it is them who have put a barrier there that stops people from exercising their right to making 1 backup copy.

    And the point of mentioning Italy/Spain is the EU laws people are spouting off.....The question I ask...is why are they not bound by these EU directives?

    Banned

    redondo5;2092933

    No I can't quote from that act because I've never seen it or read it. … No I can't quote from that act because I've never seen it or read it. Just becuase I think it's a valid point, must I quote from that act??Have you read the PCZone article referred to above. They mention the laws that allow and give every software purchaser the right to 1 backup copy....if you think this is an incorrect understanding of the law or you think this is incorrect....then please state why with your proofs and all your references etc...otherwise you should accept it is perfectly allowed to own 1 backup copy of a game you have bought



    You said you thought it had a valid point from a legal standpoint, so I presumed you knew what the legal standpoint would be, or how would you know it was a valid point?

    I have read the pc zone article, but it means nothing, I can put on my site, in my view changing imei numbers is legal, doesn't make it so.

    The act (as far as I am aware) doesn't mention an exception to the law is to create a backup, therefore it isn't legal to do so.

    of course that is only their opinion and of a judge or 2 who have made a … of course that is only their opinion and of a judge or 2 who have made a few rulings in their favour



    Well that says it all, if a judge has found that making a backup isn't legal then it's pretty obvious it isn't legal

    In fact it is MS/Sony/Nintendo who have broken the law... as the PCZone … In fact it is MS/Sony/Nintendo who have broken the law... as the PCZone article mentions....it is them who have put a barrier there that stops people from exercising their right to making 1 backup copy.



    Got any links to recent case law where they have been taken to court - or any precedent at all to show this?

    colinsunderland;2092994

    I have read the pc zone article, but it means nothing, I can put on my … I have read the pc zone article, but it means nothing, I can put on my site, in my view changing imei numbers is legal, doesn't make it so.The act (as far as I am aware) doesn't mention an exception to the law is to create a backup, therefore it isn't legal to do so.



    This is the ]Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

    This is ]The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992, which is an amendment to the CDPA Act, and contains ]within it the following amendment:

    "Back up copies.
    50A.—(1) It is not an infringement of copyright for a lawful user of a copy of a computer program to make any back up copy of it which it is necessary for him to have for the purposes of his lawful use.

    (2) For the purposes of this section and sections 50B and 50C a person is a lawful user of a computer program if (whether under a licence to do any acts restricted by the copyright in the program or otherwise), he has a right to use the program.

    (3) Where an act is permitted under this section, it is irrelevant whether or not there exists any term or condition in an agreement which purports to prohibit or restrict the act (such terms being, by virtue of section 296A, void)."

    Original Poster

    dcx_badass;2093272

    @ redondo5,Is it so hard to click the goddam edit button.



    No, but I don't like using multiquote....



    Colin,

    In relation to those cases where the judges took action (the ones I'm aware of) is the one ELSPA like to use, where that guy who ran the website MrModchips got done ]http//ww…ted. He made over a million selling chips that circumvented the copyright protection on PS2s and other consoles. All those cases were clear cut cases where the defendant could make little defence as I beleive they had also been caught with illegal software... Although again, I don't know enough about the cases in detail to speak with certainty.

    From my understanding that case was a breakthrough for Sony/ELSPA etc. as they had previously failed in other countries. Now, I'm of the opinion it's a very grey area and while the tide is in favour of Sony/MS/Nintendo/ELSPA they don't really want to really try take people down who might fight the case back and win. As many people will be able to fight back with good reason as to why they chose to take the mod chip route. And then there would be a precendance and the tide would change in favour of the mod chippers/Pirates/Homebrewers - as is the case in Spain, Italy, Canada and many other places.

    Just because one judge takes makes a judgement it doesn't mean it should be set in stone and assumed he has based his judgment after viewing all the possible angles on a case. It's true it makes a precedent which can be used in future cases... but again it would require there to be similar circumstances.
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