Federal Court halts PS3 mod chip sales

Possible international implications if Sony's case is successful

The Federal Court of Australia has slapped a temporary ban on a handful of local retailers selling or importing hardware, commonly known as “mod chips”, that allows unauthorised software to run on Sony’s PlayStation 3.

The ban applies until 31 August while court action initiated by Sony Computer Entertainment’s Australian and European arms against three local retailers goes ahead. The the ban will be lifted if the gaming giant’s lawsuit is not successful.

According to court documents filed late last week, the four Australian retailers banned from selling the mod chips are OzModChips and an individual who appears to be involved with the business — Ryan Caruana, Global Solutions International (trading as Quantronics) and Ken Tolcher (trading as Mod Supplier).

Furthermore, the court has required that the four parties actually hand over to Sony any PlayStation mod chips they have, until the 31 August date.

OzModChips has responded to the lawsuit in a mmessage posted on its site.

“This is not OzModChips versus Sony,” the response reads. “This is not OzModChips, Quantronics, Modsupplier versus Sony. We would go as far as saying that it is not even everyone in Australia versus Sony.

“This will affect everyone that plans to buy such a device worldwide. It already sets a dangerous precedent. Everyone that was using OtherOS, everyone that has had a faulty PS3 laser … and those interested in PS3 custom firmware and homebrew applications.

“We cannot do it alone, we need the support of everyone in the homebrew community, the media, engineers that understand the inner workings and anyone else that can provide support.”

OzModChips also linked to a forum posting which the company said was by Quantronics, responding to the temporary injunction slapped on the three retailers.

Quantronics wrote that the injunction was “baseless”, and it was very unlikely that it would be continued or become permanent. “OzModChips, Modsupplier and myself are all close friends, share lawyers and have sought senior counsel for this matter,” wrote Quantronics.

The retailer added that the trio started in the gaming industry as kids with an ideal of changing Australia’s views on copyright law, fair use and “freedom”. “To this day, we stand for the same beliefs, values and will at any cost fight for what we believe in, the rights we should have, and in a David versus Goliath battle, we will give it our best,” they said.

Comment is being sought from Sony Computer Entertainment.

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Renai LeMay

Computerworld
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