07 August 2007

Stupid people

US swoop on mod-chip shops | Australian IT
US FEDERAL customs agents have 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. Consoles ... US federal authorities have raided 30 businesses and homes after a year long investigation into illegal mod-chipping operations.

The alleged sale and distribution of illegal modification chips and copyright circumvention devices for the popular consoles and others
included 32 search warrants in 16 states, said the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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 US.

Illegal chips and other devices used on gaming consoles violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Sales of counterfeit or illegally obtained games cost the industry about $US3 billion ($3.5 billion) a year globally, not including internet piracy, the Entertainment Software Association trade group estimates...

... "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 ofcriminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering."

Spare me - what is the USA doing? Homeland Security??? Where does that fit? As for Julie L. Myers read this or this or this or this.

As for the claim by Myers that mod chips facilitate smuggling and money laundering... these things may in fact be part and parcel of getting the things into the country in the first place, but it's actually just all part of the one activity. The problem here is that the entertainment industry has somehow had laws made that give them protection afforded to no other. It's not like I can't
modify my car to make it go faster, handle better, stop faster or have a great sound system.

Everyone I know who uses a mod chip does so to maximise the utility of their device. The XBOX is a piece of rubbish until you mod it and install Xbox Media Center. It then becomes an amazing device to play back your legally acquired music, your own photos, your home videos, browse the internet, use YouTube, watch online move trailers, watch CNN news, get the weather and other information, and so much more, as well as work as a DVD player
without an add-on infra red dongle (that doesn't work so well).

The resources used by the USA government in this raid are amazing, yet it does nothing to improve the lot of US citizens, it does nothing to improve the security of US citizens, it does nothing to improve peace or human rights or living conditions in any country, it does nothing to benefit anyone at all except the commercial interests of company owners and shareholders (who no doubt contribute greatly to US politicians personal campaign funds).

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