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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Modchips now legal in Europe (as long as they’re not 'naughty')

    A follow-up of Nintendo vs PC Box.

    Here's a clarification about the legal status of modchips in the EU.


    A few weeks ago, we informed you that an European court ruled out that Nintendo cannot prevent the use of hacking equipment on its consoles.

    Well, site Gamer Law has added further clarification on the legal status of modchips in general in Europe.

    In summary, they are now basically legal over there, as long as they are primarily used for legitimate, non-infringing purposes, like homebrew:

    A TL;DR summary of the law on modchips in the EU following Nintendo v PC Box:

    • Console manufacturers can use “technological protection measures” (which are physically linked to either the console or the game itself) to restrict acts which they do not want users to be able to carry out.

    • However, modchips intended to circumvent those TPMs are not illegal per se: you have to look at what the modchip is doing and whether its usage is proportionate to the actual harm done.

    • If the primary use of the modchip technology is for infringing purposes (e.g. to pay pirated games), this suggests the modchip would NOT be being used legitimately and proportionately.

    • However, if the mod chip is used primarily used for legitimate, non-infringing purposes (e.g. home brew games), this suggests the use of the modchip may be used legitimately and proportionately.

    • The evidential burden is on the console manufacturer to show on the facts that an attempt to circumvent their TPMs is unlawful.

    • So: modchips are not ALWAYS illegal – it all depends on whether a user is using them in the right and proportionate way.

    In practice, will this really change much? On one view, maybe only a little: the pendulum has swung away from the device manufacturers in the EU (who were, as Angus put it excellently, at one stage trying to use the law to create an exclusive ‘console manufacturers’ right’) and towards modchip makers and users. However, all the CJEU has really done is put a balancing test in place between these opposing sides: there still needs to be litigation in order for the balancing test to be applied in any particular situation. IF litigation does kick off, the modchip maker or user will find stronger legal defences for their activity than they found previously. But in practice how many will have the necessary financial resources and resolve to face down a console manufacturer in order to bring those legal defences into play?

    On the other hand, these things are seldom as straightforward as they seem, particularly given the ability of legal changes to shape business behaviour over time. What if, for example, a group of users decide to petition (or even sue) a console manufacturer to build modchip type abilities into a device right from the outset? What if a console manufacturer itself decides that this kind of case shows that there is both user and legal support for modchip type abilities and decides voluntarily as a business to introduce new functionality themselves? (Actually that’s happened before, when Sony introduced “OtherOS” functionality to the Playstation 3, before later removing it).
    There you have it. More details on the link below!

    NEWS SOURCE: ModChips now legal in the EU'ish (via) GamerLaw

    Our thanks to 'Gauss' for this news item!


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  3. #2
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    Reminds me of the Xbox modchips which shipped with cromwell to make them legitimate.

    This could be good news but it depends on how far it goes e.g. region restrictions, RGH glitchers, etc.

    I'm actually finding this funny since earlier I posted about how Nintendo could have just included a homebrew mode, thanks to them they may have now legitimised something which can lead to the thing they're trying to prevent.

    I'm not saying whether this is good or not since it still seems to be a grey area (unless I'm reading this wrong) although I'd like it to be good news.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tech3475 View Post
    Reminds me of the Xbox modchips which shipped with cromwell to make them legitimate.

    This could be good news but it depends on how far it goes e.g. region restrictions, RGH glitchers, etc.

    I'm actually finding this funny since earlier I posted about how Nintendo could have just included a homebrew mode, thanks to them they may have now legitimised something which can lead to the thing they're trying to prevent.

    I'm not saying whether this is good or not since it still seems to be a grey area (unless I'm reading this wrong) although I'd like it to be good news.
    I would like to think that this is great news, but as with all legal or government things... You have to beware of how it is implemented.

    But skimming over the surface of it, it looks like they said "OK yeah allowing imported games via a chip? Sure go for it. Play some homebrew? Again it's good! Play burned copies of something because the chip has a copy of the drive ROM in it and is using that to bypass all protections... No..."

    At any rate my take on this? Good news everyone

  5. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to JonathanD For This Useful Post:

    Artlover (02-17-2014), billysastard (02-17-2014), gDrive (02-18-2014), tech3475 (02-18-2014)

  6. #4
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    In Italy it was always legal, because you are adding something to console. Because it dosen't modify a software copyright protected.


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