British ‘While You Wait’ Chipper/Modder Convicted
Stephen Fitgerald offered a while-you-wait chipping/modding service at computer fairs contrary to the U.K. Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (copyright circumvention offences). He offered pre-chipped consoles and/or would install copy-protection and region-code defeating chips in PS2s and Xboxes while customers waited.
After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, ordered to pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs and was subject to a confiscation order for £2,710 under the British Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). He has until May 23, May 2007 to pay-up, or face three months in jail. The maximum penalty is two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Dale's Comment: Gamasutra characterized this case as being "in stark contrast" to Australia's recent legalization of region-code defeating mod-chips. While Australia did make it legal for users to mod game consoles to defeat region-coding, Australian has not made it legal to install chips to defeat copy protection systems.