back to article Alleged games console modder faces DMCA charges

Federal agents have arrested a Californian student over allegations he specialised in modifying games consoles to allow the machines to play pirated video games. Matthew Lloyd Crippen, 27, of Anaheim, California, was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Monday, following his indictment over two …


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  1. PT


    Finally, a real case that could be the first step on the road to the Supreme Court. The EFF must be salivating.

  2. Cris E

    Student? He's 27!

    When I begin my life of crime I'm going to carry a cane and wear a sweater so all the news outlets can refer to it in stories. I'll garner all sorts of sympathy from folks not paying attention. "Elderly, benign cripple arrested" they'll say, and juries will swoon.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How sad is it

    That 10 years passed, and this is the first case of someone actually being charged under the intended use of the law?

    All laws are abused and used outside their original purpose eventually, but this stupid law has *only* been used outside its purpose. Can we just rule the blinkard thing as unconstitutional already?

  4. Robert E A Harvey


    It's the name. crippen. Can't get away with anything, that family.

  5. John F***ing Stepp

    an Orwellian subculture

    I mean really.

    I have perfect pitch (at least I have been accused of this) and so will not download some SOBs bit of auditory torture. Off key is always off key and the singers miss it so much.

    I am looking at the information geek who thinks that knowledge must be free and finds out that the jackboot can still come though his door; poor baby.

    OK, I feel for you, OK, given that the crap that is produced as music today is worse than useless (I cannot listen to this s**t) it seems really harsh to condemn someone who wants to commit suicide by audio.

    But games.

    Damn games.

    Do we, as a species, keep our heads up our ass for the warmth?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    USA gone mad

    They might as well just hand law enforcement and legislation over to the media companies.

    The USA is not as police state, it's worse than that, it's a corporate state.

  7. Mectron


    DRM in console is (because of the their very nature) illegal in the 1st place. the kid might be guilty of selling pirated GAME (if the police find some at his home) but he did not break any valid laws. Only laws illegally put in place by know terrorist organisations sunch as the MPAA and RIAA.

  8. Alastair 7

    Good riddance, bad rubbish, etc.

    I own a modded Wii. It's great- I can use an mplayer port on there to watch all my divx-y videos, use it as a music jukebox, even run a SNES emulator outside of the big N's watchful eye. Same goes for the modded Xbox I had a few years back. This DMCA crap irritates the hell out of me, as it holds me back from doing what I want with my hardware.

    However, both times I've modded consoles I first looked for someone to do it for me. Everyone offered me modding and about 20 pirated games thrown in as well. I resent the throwing together of modding and pirating, they're not the same bloody thing. One should be legal and one should not- asshats like this confusing everyone help no-one.

  9. Peter 4

    NOT a Mcartney moment (twat)

    I am crippled and I already have the cane, but wearing a sweater is really going too far...


  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "Elderly, benign cripple arrested"?

    Weak. I would go down as "Mad Scientist, did horrible experiments on captured politicians, irresponsible civil servants and crooked lawyers in his underground lab."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He didn't do any piracy for profit right?

    I'm just guessing here but he could have modded the consoles for legit purposes such as homebrew.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    So according to the DMCA, software such as slysoft anydvd is breaking the law... then how come it's still being openly sold to the general public?

    I'm not against this type of software.. in fact I'd like to see a "fair use" policy that lets people that have legitimately purchased movies/games protect their investment by being allowed to make a copy so the original doesn't get broken/scratched and then have to pay more money for it.

    Software/film/music companies should invest the money in making better protection for their property if they don't want people to copy it really.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    So he's not pirating games, but modifying legally-purchased consoles. Seems like he is only guilty of voiding the warranty. Wouldn't fair use state that this allows console users to back up their media and play the backed up copies?

    So by this standard, if I in any way facilitate someone else's possible criminal activity---if I sell a DVD duplicator or install software on someone's computer that can be used to dupe DVDs, or something as innocuous as owning an AV company and installing DVRs for people---anything that can be used to circumvent a copyright, I'm liable for prosecution? It seems to me that it's legal to create, sell, and buy cable boxes that have descramblers, just not use them legally---how does this differ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What;s in a name

    Well, with a name like Crippen he's got to be guilty :)

    Did you know that Dr. Crippen was the first criminal to be caught thanks to radio? No swooning juries there...

  15. JC 2

    @ Student? He's 27!

    Nothing wrong with being a student at 27, 47, or even 77. Many people change careers over their lifetime and need or want proper training. The designation of student is merely one of either one's aspirations or how they spend the majority of their time.

    Would it be better if everyone just thought to themselves that they are only "allowed" formal courses of study till 22 yo? Most 22 year olds are hardly finished learning, at that point they are merely better educated but not properly job trained at a uni vs a technical school.

  16. Jeremy 2


    How did they get the case?

    Haven't they got anything better to do, like jumping through the windows of illegal immigrants houses or busting cocaine smugglers or something?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Cris E

    You can be a student at any age, There called "Mature students" in Britain, I should know, I was one.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hope they hang the scum

    Facilitation of piracy is a crime and I hope they hang this scumbag.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Simple defense

    Assuming they didn't find any pirated games, then he could claim he was modifying them to allow the playing of backup copies for when the original disks got scratched beyond repair.

  20. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Thumb Down

    Laws like this should not exist.

    per title

  21. Wallyb132

    @Anonymous Coward RE: AnyDVD

    The reason why AnyDVD is openly sold on the public market is because its maker Slysoft is based in Antigua, which is legally allowed to disregard all US copyrights trademarks and other forms of intellectual property thanks to a ruling by the WTO. The US abused its power in trying to criminalize online gambling and Antigua took them to arbitration at the WTO and won.


  22. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Mod Squad

    I see no reason why you can't buy a machine and then modify it to better suit your purposes.

    I can buy a car, change the engine, get it inspected and then go on my merry way.

    I can legally modify my lawnmower, fridge, dishwasher, what's so special about a computer?

    Oh, it's all about $$$$ and powerful political lobbying...

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Caution: May Contain Nuts

    Anyone else wonder if we could sue DVD suppliers for stealing our time by making us watch the "Piracy is Theft" crap at the start of every legitimate copy of a DVD? We can choose to watch their film, but get their "pay us or else" shoved down our throats every time we put a non-"stolen" disk in. Funnily enough, I've seen a few ripped DVDs and none of them still had the "PiT" advertorial on, which means the only peole who have to watch it are the people buying real copies - until they get so pi55ed-off that Sunday lunch is over before they even get to the film itself, and ask their mate down the pub if she can still get them knock-off copies...

    And is it just me, or does that nice little montage of zooming and flashing images and awful "music" seem to be getting longer? (Hey, mebbe we should get a few people with photo-sensitive epilepsy to watch it over and over again? I don't remember seeing any warnings about not watching, and I thought that was supposed to be required by law whenever flashing images were present?)

    Too many DVDs and not enogh excercise makes you a pirate - it gives you A Vast Behind!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Meh they should fine the companies for region encoding games meaning I either have three consoles (UK, US, Japan) or I chip it. Course with new consoles you run the chance of bricking your machine so owning mulitples is likely the only way forward. Theiving scum.

  25. Goat Jam

    @AC 21:21 GMT

    Nice attempt at trolling dude, but it doesn't quite cut the mustard. Keep on trying tho, perhaps if you were to drop the AC veil you might have better results?

  26. Ascylto

    Extradite him!

    Extradite him to the United States where he could face 5,000 years in gaol.

    What do you mean he's already there?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    NOT illegal in the UK !

    The yanks have laws against REVERSE ENGINEERING which means that when you buy the stuff you become bound not to 'reverse engineer' it. I suppose it was to stop competitors from copying products, but it hit home hard in the software markets. You cannot alter purchased software in the US of A.

    Here in the UK, we DO NOT have reverse engineering laws, so such provisos printed on such crap as Microsoft Windows, just doesn't apply here. You CAN'T copy it and distribute it, but you CAN modify it!

    So mod the consoles ? Of course you can ! Simple electronics and we do it as a hobby (or a business). I could set up a service fitting modifications to games consoles and no one can do anything about it. Hey, its the same as saying, 'I love my new car, but I had the tyres changed for Pirellis' Here, once you bought it, it is yours, not 'theirs'. Of course, you can screw the warranty ! This is very different from anything pirated !

  28. copsewood
    Big Brother


    Well, if this occurred in a regime which constitutionally respects freedom of expression, the only other thing he did apart from the expression of the engineering modification was the thinking behind the modification. And if the expression couldn't have been a crime due to the first ammendment, then the crime must have been the thought behind the expression.

    Clearly "intellectual property" for those who claim ownership of it isn't enough to satisfy them. They want to own and control the space inside your head in order to protect their claimed IP.

  29. Julian Cook 1

    what a crock of ****

    The American government has it’s head so far of tech firms backside they can no longer seem to understand how ridicules they appear. If you transpose the same scenario to say cars, the law would be that you can’t modify your car to run faster or use different fuels, which is insane. If I buy an xbox or ps3 it is mine, I own it, if I want to mod it then it is my choice it would also be my choice if I want to back up a game and play it on different consoles, now what rhymes with consoles ar…

  30. TeeCee Gold badge


    There's a Troll icon for you now.


    Also, that particular load of bollocks has become rather tired by repetition over time. Can you come up with something new please?

  31. MarkOne

    @ulian Cook 1

    The PS3 is unhackable, that's why it's games sell better...

  32. Jon 52

    @ Not illegal in UK

    If we had that law here would this also affect all those places with flashy neon signs for Phone unlocking that sprung up in every high street (especially old woolworths)?

  33. Julian Cook 1


    sorry but you are what they call wrong google ps3 mod chip

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Jon 52

    Jon, I suspect that it would affect phone unlocking. However, since the phone companies make you pay for the phone (in one way or another), they have more than a damned cheek making sure that they hold a MONOPOLY (illegal in he UK) on where it can be used. If it was of their own manufacture, then they could reasonably say that you can't use it on any other network. Provided they told you before you bought it. But, the phones are NOT manufactured by the phone companies and they don't make sure that you understand that it can only work on their network BEFORE you commit to it. Therefore, I see no reason why you (or anyone else) can't modify it (return it to the specification as stated by the original manufacturer). It became YOURS not theirs, so if you want to make it swim underwater in your bath, you are free to do so.

    The main point here is that REVERSE ENGINEERING is NOT ILLEGAL in the UK.

  35. John H Woods Silver badge

    Crippen was innocent!

    Does this mean this guy will only be exonnerated 100 years latel?

  36. Rob 44

    @ Robert E A Harvey

    You might want to read this....

    Enjoy :D

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