A Spanish judge presiding over a case against a video games store which offered Xbox and PS2 mod-chips to customers has ruled that the devices are legal thanks to a loophole in the country's copyright protection laws.
Barcelona-based store Innovagames was charged by the Guardia Civil after it was found to be offering the service to customers, modifying their machines to allow them to play games and DVDs from other global regions, or downloaded off the Internet.
While the judge in the case acknowledged that modding the consoles "might constitute a crime against the intellectual property of the equipment manufacturers," he dismissed the case, citing a loophole in Spain's intellectual property law.
The loophole takes the form of a clause which forbids the manufacture and distribution of devices designed to crack security codes on software. However, the same clause fails to mention videogames or equipment for video or audio software, and as such videogame console mods slip through the cracks.
The legal situation regarding mod chips across Europe is somewhat unclear, and several countries have had test cases which ruled the devices legal or illegal, only for those rulings to be overturned by later cases. The platform holders will be hoping that the EUCD - European Union Copyright Directive - laws, which have already begun to take effect in some EU member states, will clear up this situation in the coming year.
News source: Gamesindustry.biz