In a landmark ruling for the gaming industry, an Australian court has ruled that mod-chipping is legal.
Specifically, the High Court ruled that it was legal to mod-chip Sony PlayStation game consoles so as to play games
sold outside Australia. Therefore, if you go out and chip a console to play pirated games, still won't be on the right
side of the law.
The court case was based around a four year battle between Sony Corp. and a Sydney businessman called Eddy Stevens. He was facing charges from Sony based around his selling of Playstation mod-chips and unauthorised copies of several Playstation 2 games. The six judges involved in the case found that mod-chipping did not involve a breach of copyright law and so therefore it's not illegal.
The theoretical effects of this ruling are far reaching and drastic. If people in Australia want to import cheaper and more recent games from other regions that have it first, there will be nothing to stop them. Other countries might follow suit and rule that modding to bypass region coding is legal. After all, region coding is not a system upheld by law and some people claim that its mere existence is against the standards of the World Trade Organisation?s free trade agreement.
Practically, it?s likely that we?ll see several commercial companies advertising mod-chipping for consoles. Game retailers might even offer chipped consoles out of the box. However, most Australians will probably stick to buying Australian region coded consoles and games. Modding isn?t exactly a mainstream affair and it?ll take some time for this news to reach the average gamer?s mindset.
To be frank, this whole affair seems slightly illogical. Think about it; a court has said that it?s legal to go out and pay for some dude to solder chips to your console, purely so you can bypass an unfair and (practically illegal) corporate system of region coding. Wouldn?t a better remedy have been to address the system that is making people mod their consoles? That way the problem of people modding their consoles for piracy is bypassed and consumers get more choice on which game they want to buy, where they want to buy it from and therefore how much they are going to pay for it.