Home Forums General Discussion Australian High Court rules PlayStation mod chips legal

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Steph 12 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #4643

    gizmo
    Participant

    Now I’ve never understood the need for the region lock on the discs for the PS/PS2 and now it seems that the Austrailian courts don’t either.

    The High Court’s decision found that the PlayStation chips whose functions are circumvented by mod chips to allow unauthorised (pirate or import) games to be played are not primarily copy protection devices, and thus not covered by copyright laws which prevent the circumvention of such devices.[/quote:3bf6501b6c]
    Fair enough the mod chips which are used to play pirated games are bad but I would have no qualms using the mod to play imported discs if need be. Anyway I think they’ve learned their lesson with the PSP being region unlocked…that said now they can hunt down the homebrew guys.. :?

  • #25993

    jediboy
    Participant

    “Hunt down the home brew guys”

    What do you mean by that? Don’t tell me its illegal to cook up your version of Zelda for the PSP?

    Region Locking ALWAYS sucked. It was the most blatant GREEDO mechanic ever seen in the Games Industry. I for one, am damn glad to see the back of it.

    As for Mod Chips, Well I always thought that once I buy a product (PS1, PS2, PSP) it belongs to me. If I want to turn it into a toaster or weld a panini machine on top of it, its my right. I paid for it, its mine!

    Just my 2 cents…

  • #25996

    lk_
    Participant
  • #25998

    gizmo
    Participant

    Indeedy I am, the new firmware upgrades plug the exploit that let people downgrade their version to be able to utilise the home brew code…not nice tbh.

    And as for Sony’s stance on the mod chip issue. If they didnt have region locking on their discs then the ONLY purpose of the mod chip would be for playing pirated games to which there is no defence and no judge would dare rule in their favour, hence problem solved for Sony. Now that may be a very simple breakdown but one has to wonder why they didnt think of that at the time…

  • #26035

    Steph
    Participant

    Now that may be a very simple breakdown but one has to wonder why they didnt think of that at the time…[/quote:bbc3882497]

    It isn’t (a “very simple breakdown”), and they probably did think of it at the time. But then also probably concluded that segmentation of markets through region locking would bring much more riches than not doing it… and particularly so after taking & receiving some (favourable) in-depth legal opinions on matters of IP infringement for those that would (inevitably) circumvent it.

  • #26055

    gizmo
    Participant

    Thats the thing though, what advantages does region blocking bring? I mean how do they weigh up against the possiblity of mod chips being legal in the eyes of the law?

  • #26056

    Steph
    Participant

    Put it that way…

    (i) Mod chips have only been ruled legal in Australia (nowhere else, AFAIK).
    (ii) How big is the AU market compared to, say, the US and Europe?

    :wink:

  • #26075

    gizmo
    Participant

    Well doesnt that set a precidence that other groups/countries could follow?

    What effect the ruling will have outside Australia remains to be seen, although the legal arguments used by Stevens’ team will no doubt be examined closely by firms involved in mod chipping or import gaming all around the world.[/quote:c6d043b3e5]
    Which is what sparked the comment.

    *points to complete lack of legal experience in the matter to cover himself* :D

    Oh and now its Spain, Italy and Australia that have ruled them legal. Sure they’re not massive markets but its a start. My opinion on the matter was mirrored in the Italian case..

    The chips “avoid monopolistic positions and improve the possibilities for use of the PlayStation,” according to the ruling, which described Sony’s attempts to limit the uses of the PS2 as “absurd,” pointing out that the console cannot play titles from other geographic regions or home-made software products.

    “It’s a little like Fiat marketing its cars while banning them from being driven by non-European citizens or outside towns,” the court commented[/quote:c6d043b3e5]

  • #26083

    Steph
    Participant

    Well doesnt that set a precidence that other groups/countries could follow?[/quote:4bd3602637]

    No. The ruling is not binding. A UK Court may look at it, if having to issue a ruling in a similar case in the UK, but is not held to follow its logic and/or conclusions. The same applies for any other jurisdiction.

    The chips “avoid monopolistic positions and improve the possibilities for use of the PlayStation,” according to the ruling, which described Sony’s attempts to limit the uses of the PS2 as “absurd,” pointing out that the console cannot play titles from other geographic regions or home-made software products.[/quote:4bd3602637]

    Well, so much for the Italians and Spaniards – but again, these are not EU-wide rulings, and whilst the EU Market mechanics may allow you (say, in IE) to purchase a chip legally avalailable in IT or ES unemcumbered, it doesn’t necessarily equate with the chip and/or its use being legal in IE (so long as an IE Court has not ruled it so).

    “It’s a little like Fiat marketing its cars while banning them from being driven by non-European citizens or outside towns,” the court commented[/quote:4bd3602637]

    Well… I don’t profess to be able to show a Judge a thing or two, but… no, the analogy is wrong – it’s not (like FIAT, etc.): SONY never had anything against grey importers and you could buy a US/JAP PS1 or PS2 and play respective US/JAP games on it.

    The ‘right’ analogy would be more:

    “It’s a little like Fiat marketing its cars to everyone while banning aftermarket parts manufacturers from selling tuning parts” the court commented[/quote:4bd3602637]

    And, well, that was until the PSP, that is – this is a new escalation about that whole Region-coding thing:
    * the PSP is region free, but it’s distribution is not
    * back in PS1/PS2 early days, it was the reverse. PS1/PS2 were not (still aren’t – PS3 will be interesting in this respect) region-free, but their distribution (more or less) was.

    See, SONY needed the grey importers and the region-coding to build the PS brand to where it is now: get the *bigger* markets (EU, US) to salivate about GT, GT2, etc. for months, build the HW/SW pricing structure for AAA/AA/A titles and the pre-ordering practice to the current level of market acceptance, etc, etc. All part of a modular but very well integrated and orchestrated commercial strategy: make the products must-haves…THEN… At the current level of market pre-eminence, they don’t need to fuel the hype (with the early adopters who are the staple resource of the grey importers) any more: it builds itself, even the mass media regularly comment upon PS-this and PS-that.

    [/conspiracy mode] :lol:

  • #26084

    Skyclad
    Participant

    SONY never had anything against grey importers and you could buy a US/JAP PS1 or PS2 and play respective US/JAP games on it. [/quote:615bc3aa82]Didnt sony try to stop companies importing and selling the psp pre-release?

  • #26085

    Steph
    Participant

    rer-read the post :wink:

  • #26089

    gizmo
    Participant

    Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me Steph.

    Skyclad, I think this is what you’re thinking of…Clicky!
    As was said, it was regarding Sony trying to get a cease and desist order on importing PSPs into Europe by retailers rebel as they hadn’t secured trademarks for PSP or UMD within Europe.
    AFAIK despite the ruling Lik-Sang continued importing them, yes?

  • #26090

    gizmo
    Participant

    Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me Steph.

    Skyclad, I think this is what you’re thinking of…Clicky!
    As was said, it was regarding Sony trying to get a cease and desist order on importing PSPs into Europe by retailers rebel as they hadn’t secured trademarks for PSP or UMD within Europe.
    AFAIK despite the ruling Lik-Sang continued importing them, no?

  • #26092

    Steph
    Participant

    As was said, it was regarding Sony trying to get a cease and desist order on importing PSPs into Europe by retailers rebel as they hadn’t secured trademarks for PSP or UMD within Europe.[/quote:c69184fa91]

    They (SONY) did get the injunction, but I believe that the matter is still pending. And Sony has provisionally secured some device trademarks for PSP in Europe (still in opposition period, though).

    (device trademark = logo, ‘PSP’ is a word mark).

    AFAIK despite the ruling Lik-Sang continued importing them, no?[/quote:c69184fa91]

    Lik Sang is HK-based (with depot in Germany), so unconcerned with any UK ruling or injunction. Sony could ‘go up against’ UK based importers/parallel retailers, but would have to go against each individual importer (ordering from LS in HK) in respect of the LS stuff, whether it comes out of their HK or German warehouses.

    SONY have filed suit against LS in HK, but scored a spectacular own goal in the process of doing so. Again, I believe that the matter is still pending.

    But PS1/PS2 differ drastically from PSP in respect of the region-coding and legality of mod chips questions: I understand that PSPs are not hardware region-coded, and that SONy has decided (forthe time being?) not to software region-code either, so what would be the point of a mod?

    So, since PSP is region-free, the only possible HW hack I can think of right now (that would make sense) would be a chip to downgrade the firmware ‘physically’ (with an additional EPROM & switch, say), e.g. to temporarily run homebrew/EMUs from a MemStick no matter what the SW upgrade currently doing the rounds. Can’t see that as easy or cheap, either, so a bit of a non-issue, IMO.

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