Jail sentence and fine for mod chip retailer

A man found guilty of selling mod chips on his website in breach of the draconian Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been sentenced to five months imprisonment and a $28,500 fine.

David Rocci, who sold the Enigmah mod chips for the Xbox from his site, Isonews.com (we reported on the site being seized by the US Department of Justice last month), pleaded guilty to breaching the DMCA by selling illegal copyright circumvention devices last December.

His full sentence is five months in prison, five months of home detention, three years of probation and a $28,500 fine - that's £18,355 in real money. While we certainly don't approve of helping people to pirate software, it's hard not to see this as a massively harsh and disproportionate punishment for a man whose crime is selling devices that allow people to modify their own equipment - we wonder what his sentencing would have been had he assaulted someone in the street instead?

However, one thing is certain; the sentence will send an extremely powerful message to anyone else involved in the production or sale of Xbox mod chips in the USA (so far, the attempts of the US Department of Justice to extend the reach of the DMCA beyond its borders have - thankfully - been a failure). Expect a lot of mod chip projects and websites to quietly disappear in the next few days.

News source: gamesindustry.biz

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