Spitting chips: Modder sinks boot into Sony after victory in copyright case

"If Sony has any sense at all, they should be content with the money they make," Eddy Stevens said after his landmark victory against Sony Computer Entertainment Australia in the High Court of Australia on October 6.

Stevens, who runs a business that modifies and repairs PlayStation games console equipment was taken to court by SCE for copyright infringement in 2001.

It has been an up and down battle for the small businessman, who over the course of the four-year case has tasted success and defeat. In 2002, the case was ruled in his favour, but a year later overturned as Sony's appeal was upheld before the Federal Court.

Unable to pursue an appeal without legal representation, Steven's case was adopted by Gaden Lawyers on a pro bono basis.

"You could say our secret ingredient was pro bono," Stevens told Australian PC World.

In its unanimous ruling last Thursday, the court decreed that modifying Sony PlayStation consoles so they can play overseas versions of the company's games did not violate Australian copyright laws.

It added that while making a pirated copy of a game was illegal, playing a game using a mod chip was not.

Stevens said the ruling was a huge win for everyone while his lawyers heralded the ruling as a "landmark copyright case" championing the rights of consumers.

"If there was another court to appeal to, you could bet your bloody breath that Sony would," Stevens said.

The ruling will allow Australian consumers to buy offshore (at a lower price) and modify computer games and hardware.

"Sony did what they thought they had to do, but we weren't going to lie down and cop it sweet," said Stevens.

"If they wanted to win they should have picked on someone who would have caved in."

Part of Gadens Lawyers team, Nathan Mattock, said, "Fortunately for the consumer, the court has prevented a multinational corporation from further eroding consumer rights. It's a great win for the 'little guy in the street.'"

Sony was ordered to pay the legal costs, which will run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The company did not have any comment at this stage.

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