Man May Face 10 Years in Prison for Modding an Xbox

Scott Bullock

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Nov 11, 2010
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Man May Face 10 Years in Prison for Modding an Xbox

A jury has been officially selected for the criminal trial of a young L.A. area man accused of violating copyright law by modding Xbox 360s.

Last year, 28-year-old Matthew Crippen ran a bustling Xbox modding business, getting paid from $60 to $80 to circumvent some Xbox hardware that prevents the running of homebrew software and pirated games. Today, he faces up to 10 years in prison for breaking the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, should he lose this landmark case.

After modding an Xbox 360 for an undercover federal agent, Crippen was indicted, and is now facing an uphill legal battle.

Crippen's primary defense was to claim fair use in modifying the consoles, as modifications could be used for non-infringing purposes such as running homebrew software. Judge Philip Guitierrez, however, saw things differently, and barred the fair use defense, stating, "According to Mr. Crippen, if circumvention facilitates later fair use of a copyrighted work, then there is no protected copyright interest and no violation of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions. This argument also must fail in light of the text of the DMCA and relevant case law."

Crippen's lawyer then tried to compare the moddification to jailbreaking an iPhone, an action explicitly allowed by the DMCA, but the Judge again disallowed the defense, stating that the iPhone case does not pertain to game consoles.

As of today, the 12 members of the jury have been selected, and are ready to begin the week-long trial.

Source: Wired [http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/xbox-jury/]


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Megacherv

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Sep 24, 2008
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Oh, I thought that this was for stuff like case-modding and the sort

I was worried for Ben Heck's safety for a second
 

mindlesspuppet

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This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the system, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
 

Mrsoupcup

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Jan 13, 2009
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Megacherv said:
Oh, I thought that this was for stuff like case-modding and the sort

I was worried for Ben Heck's safety for a second
You can do whatever the hell you want with your 360's body, all it does is void the waranty. My friend put in a custom air conditioning system int o his 360, the guy at xbox support said it will just void the waranty should he get the RROD, if he were to have got a mod chip to play pirated games then he could be in some real trouble.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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mindlesspuppet said:
This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the system, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
Yes, but these modifications allow people to play pirated games. Which is probably what the lawsuit is all about. And chances are, more then a few asked for the modifications for that reason. He can say that the people asking for modifications said they wouldn't play pirated games, but chances are they were simply lying.
 

Arkhangelsk

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He gets 10 years, and rapists and dog killers get 5 years? The juridical system is fucked.
 

jumjalalabash

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mindlesspuppet said:
This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the hardware, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
And he doesn't have any. He is doing it to let people pirate games.
 

GiglameshSoulEater

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Jun 30, 2010
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Unfortunately, that's the result of breaking laws.
Harsh, but legal.

Sure, people brought it legally. But doing illegal things with them is still illegal.
 

Xaryn Mar

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jumjalalabash said:
mindlesspuppet said:
This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the hardware, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
And he doesn't have any. He is doing it to let people pirate games.
Actually he is doing it so that people can use it for whatever purpose they so choose. If he somehow sold pirated games alongside it then, and only then, could you say for certain that he did it to let people play pirated games.
 

mjc0961

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Nov 30, 2009
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Remember the teachings of Maddox, kiddies. "Civil disobedience is still disobedience."

Whether or not what he did should be legal or illegal, it is still currently illegal and thus he's subject to the punishments of the law. If you want to change the laws, you need to write your congressman or whatnot. Breaking the laws is fine if you want to be a martyr, but if not, you'd better not do it because the courts don't except "but it should be legal!" as a defense.
 

Hoplon

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Mar 31, 2010
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mjc0961 said:
Remember the teachings of Maddox, kiddies. "Civil disobedience is still disobedience."

Whether or not what he did should be legal or illegal, it is still currently illegal and thus he's subject to the punishments of the law. If you want to change the laws, you need to write your congressman or whatnot. Breaking the laws is fine if you want to be a martyr, but if not, you'd better not do it because the courts don't except "but it should be legal!" as a defense.
Actually the case is to prove if it is legal or not.
 

Arkhangelsk

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Zeithri said:
Arkhangelsk said:
He gets 10 years, and rapists and dog killers get 5 years? The juridical system is fucked.
-nods-
Imagine if this was our country.
Yeah, imagine [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105683-Swedish-Court-Rejects-Pirate-Bay-Appeal]...
 

mindlesspuppet

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Jun 16, 2004
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jumjalalabash said:
mindlesspuppet said:
This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the hardware, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
And he doesn't have any. He is doing it to let people pirate games.
And you know this because you personally know the guy? Some people do this sort of thing just for the challenge. It's a skill like any other, he's free to market that skill, he's not responsible for how people use his work.

Also for all those saying "he broke the law, it's illegal" or something to that extent, feel free to let us know what law he actually broke, being you all seem like such keen legal minds.
 

Eri

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Feb 21, 2009
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mindlesspuppet said:
jumjalalabash said:
mindlesspuppet said:
This shouldn't even be a case, he bought the hardware, he's allowed to do what he wants with it. So are the people he enabled to do the same. There are plenty of legit reasons someone would want to mod a 360.
And he doesn't have any. He is doing it to let people pirate games.
And you know this because you personally know the guy? Some people do this sort of thing just for the challenge. It's a skill like any other, he's free to market that skill, he's not responsible for how people use his work.

Also for all those saying "he broke the law, it's illegal" or something to that extent, feel free to let us know what law he actually broke, being you all seem like such keen legal minds.
Almost no one does it for the challenge, and secondly, obviously he broke a law, he's been INDICTED.