Space Ramblings

These Were the Mod Chip Wars

In the escalating war of copyright rhetoric, we now have the FBI raiding mod chip companies. I’m so glad we won that whole war on terror thing, destroyed organized crime and ended child pornography so that the government is free to concentrate all its efforts raiding people who haven’t actually committed a crime.

Federal customs agents Wednesday raided more than 30 businesses and homes in 16 states, looking for devices that allow pirated video games to play on Wiis, PlayStation 2s and Xboxes.

Here Osama, go ahead and ship the nukes through our ports. Just don’t ship through any mod chips. But here’s where the distortions begin. First is the claim that mod chips allowed “pirated games” to play. You can use them to play pirated games but then again you can use a pc for that too. It’s dishonest from the start.

ICE declined to release the names of those targeted but said they are allegedly responsible for importing, installing, selling and distributing foreign-made devices smuggled into the U.S.

Horror of horrors! Foreign made devices entering America. You mean like iPods and flash memory and the other 90 percent of computer components that are foreign made? Why is this suddenly different.

Illegal chips and other devices used on gaming consoles violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Sales of counterfeit or illegally obtained games costs the industry about $3 billion a year globally, not including Internet piracy, estimates the Entertainment Software Association trade group.

These days sneezing violates the DMCA too. Just because a company decides to lock down their console, should that mean that the FBI should be defending their business model? If we had the DMCA back during the Nintendo vs Atari squack, would Atari have been raided by the FBI? For that matter why wasn’t RealNetworks raided by the FBI when they did the same thing to iTunes? Oh right because those are major corps.

Oh and of course we’ve got the usual wacky 3 billion figure. Should I even bother asking how the ESA arrived at that figure and whether it includes computer games?

“Illicit devices like the ones targeted today are created with one purpose in mind, subverting copyright protections,” Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, said in a release. “These crimes cost legitimate businesses billions of dollars annually and facilitate multiple other layers of criminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering.”

It’s not a crime and it doesn’t cost anyone any money. If someone really wants to play pirated games, they still can without a mod chip. And why is Nintendo a legitimate business while a company selling mod chips isn’t? Aside from revenue size and lobbyists?

And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Julie Myers an incompetent who got her job because she’s the daughter in law of Michael Chertoff, who’s currently running Homeland Security?

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