Here in Aus anywayz... Might not be for long, but we can still savour the moment! hehe
Originally Posted by AustralianIT
OCTOBER 06, 2005
THE High Court of Australia has unanimously ruled that mod-chips are legal, but the implications of the case for game manufacturers are not clear.
The mod chips circumvent technology designed to stop Sony PlayStation consoles from playing illegally copied game discs.
The mod chips also allow gamers to ignore manufacturers' regional coding systems and purchase games and DVDs designed for markets outside of Australia, which are often cheaper than those from local suppliers.
All six High Court judges held that widely-used mod-chips were legal.
While the decision is likely to please gaming enthusiasts - settling a long-running dispute over the legality of the chips under Australia's current copyright laws - their victory is likely to be short-lived.
The federal Government has agreed to amend Australia's copyright laws to outlaw mod chips as part of its trade agreement with the US.
The courts have been testing the legality of the chips since to 2001 when Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) filed a suit against mod chip supplier Eddy Stevens in the Federal Court.
Sony asked the court to include the chips among devices that are outlawed under the Copyright Act.
However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) intervened in the case and argued that region-coding was detrimental to consumer choice. It said that Sony's prtoection technology created artificial trade barriers between Australian and overseas games and DVD markets.
Federal Court Justice Ronald Sackville ruled in favour of Mr Stevens but Sony's claim was eventually upheld on appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court in July 2003.
Mr Stevens appealed to the High Court to overturn the decision in February this year.
The High Court quashed Sony's argument that the mod-chip was a practical way to prevent copyright infringement.
However, under the terms of the FTA, Australia has until January 2007 to give copyright owners stronger mechanisms to take action against individuals who circumvent "technological prevention measures" under theCopyright Act.
The High Court also tackled a second issue: whether the act of playing a computer game - which necessitates copying data on the RAM of the computer or game console - was a breach of copyright in circumstances where the manufacturer does not specifically grant a licence to copy the data on RAM.
The court ruled that the consumer was not making an illegal copy of the game by playing it.