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Category — Criminal Convictions

British ‘While You Wait’ Chipper/Modder Convicted

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsModding Cases

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. 

Sources: Hexus | PC Pro | Gamasutra | This is Lancashire | News&Star 

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Another Game Piracy Asset Seizure: $474,000

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

After serving a 12 month jail sentence for PS2 and XBox game related piracy and counterfeiting offenses, 46 year old Merseyside England woman Susan Roach has had $474,000 in assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sources: Gamasutra  |  Northwest Enquirer  |  1Up.com  |  Computer Active

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Two U.K. Men Jailed for Game Piracy

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

Two men were jailed, one for 18 months another for 3 years. They were found with illegally-copied PC and Xbox video games worth an estimated £58,000.
 
Sources: BBC  |  Myth Games

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British Game Pirates Ordered to Repay $1.114M

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

An ex-couple, Andrew King (53) and Angela Susan Jones (42), were ordered by a Liverpool court to pay $4378K and $835K respectively within six months or serve 21 months/six years in jail. If they fail to pay by the deadline and serve the jail sentence, they will still have to pay the outstanding balance.
 
Sources: Gamasutra  |  Myth Games  |  Hexus  |  PC Pro

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British Man Jailed For Mod Chip Possession

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsModding Cases

David Hoang, 43, of Essex in south east England has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for being in possession of modified games console chips. While banned in Britain and the United States, several countries, including Australia, Italy and Spain, permit the use of mod chips for importing region-coded games that may be delayed or never released in a country. Mod chips often, but not always, also permit the play of pirated games.
 
Sources: Gamasutra  |  GameIndustry.biz  |  Hexus  |  Press Start Online  |  virgin.net  |  iafrica.com

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UK Game Pirate Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

During a 2003 raid, more than 13,000 items were seized including pirate videotapes, CDs and DVDs. The pair had been selling pirate copies of games and film both online and from their store. They were charged with conspiracy to produce counterfeit product, with Forhad sentenced to serve 15 months and Ajad nine months.

Sources: Gamasutra  |  GameIndustry.biz
 

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ELSPA Aids British GameCube Pirate’s Sentencing

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy CasesPolice Actions

A retailer was ordered to pay 3,310 pounds ($5,768 USD) in fines and serve 240 hours of community service for manufacturing and selling counterfeit games for all console systems after being apprehended by a joint operation of the ELSPA, Staffordshire Trading Standards, and the local police.

Source: Gamasutra

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Ice Cream Pirate Sentenced in Scotland

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

William Agnew, aged 50, of Hamilton in central Scotland, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service after admitting to trademark offences. 4,000 pirated DVDs, CDs and games on PlayStation, Xbox and PC platforms were seized during the raid on Agnew’s business premises. Agnew was known to sell the goods from his ice cream van.

Source: Gamasutra  |  Engadget

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Texas Video Game Pirate Sentenced

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy Cases

Texan, Ponce de Leon, is sentenced to three years, ten months in prison and ordered to pay a $1.154 million fine for criminal video game piracy over the Internet.

Sources: U.S. Immigration & Customs | Gamasutra | Gamespot | Next Generation

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Maryland Video Game Pirate Sentenced

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsDMCA-TPM CasesPiracy Cases

Biren Amin, owner of Pandora’s Cube, is: (i) sentenced to five months in prison, (ii) sentenced to three years of supervised release, including 5 months of house arrest, (iii) fined $$247,237.05; and (iv) ordered to complete 80 hours of community service, for copyright infringement and DMCA violations.

Sources: Xbox Solution | Next Generation | CNet | ESA Press Release

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Pandora’s Cube Pirate Sentenced

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsModding CasesPiracy Cases

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland hands out a four-month jail sentence to an employee of Pandora’s Cube, a major retailer of pirated software and modified consoles in the Washington, DC area.

Sources: Next Generation | ign.com | Gamespot | Team Xbox | Softpedia

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United Kingdom Convicts For XBox Modding Piracy

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsModding CasesPiracy Cases

A 22 year old Cambridge university graduate has become the first ever person in the UK to be convicted for the illegal modification of video game consoles, alongside more conventional game piracy charges, following a trial at Caerphilly Magistrates Court in Wales.

Source: Gamasutra  |  BBC  |  Pocket-Lint

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Chinese Gamer Sentenced to Life

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsCriminal ProsecutionsVirtual Crime CasesVirtual Property Cases

A Shanghai online gamer has been given a suspended death sentence for killing a fellow gamer. Qiu Chengwei stabbed Zhu Caoyuan in the chest when he found out he had sold his virtual sword for 7,200 Yuan (£473).

Sources: BBC | MSNBC | PC World | CBC News | CNet UK | China Daily | American Chronicle | NewsSGD.com | CNN Money

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Xbox-Modding Retailers Plead Guilty to DMCA Violations

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsDMCA-TPM CasesModding Cases

Several retailers in Maryland have pleaded guilty to selling modified Xboxes, called “Super Xboxes” by the group, thereby violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The maximum penalty for first-time violators of the DMCA is five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.

Source: Gamasutra
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Record 3.5 Year Prison Sentence for UK Game Pirate

Categories: Criminal ConvictionsPiracy CasesPolice Actions

A 45 year old man in South Wales was sentenced to the longest sentence ever imposed by a UK court for game piracy, three and a half years. John Lamb was caught with a counterfeited game inventory estimated at 1/4 Million pounds. He had marketed his pirated games with spam e-mails.

Sources: GameIndustry.biz | ELSPA Press Release | Play.tm

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