Sony Computer Entertainment America Applauds Canadian Conviction of 'Mod Chip' Distributor

Company Assists Canadian Authorities in Precedent-Setting Case; Further Demonstrates Its Commitment to Fighting Piracy and Unlawful Circumvention Devices


Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. joined its trade association, Interactive Digital Software Association, in applauding the Canadian Department of Justice and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for a precedent-setting conviction for the illegal sale and distribution of circumvention devices. The conviction marks the first time a defendant has been convicted under criminal statutes in Canada for selling modification chips ("mod chips"). Mod chips mimic the PlayStation technological security system to allow counterfeit and pirated PlayStation format game discs to play.

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"This is an important case of first impression in Canada," said Riley Russell, general counsel, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Sony Computer Entertainment America has been fighting circumvention devices like these within U.S. borders for years. We are pleased that our neighbor to the North has recognized the illegitimacy of these devices under applicable law."

In this precedent-setting case, defendant Robert Garby pled guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa to six counts of criminal code violation and copyright law infringement. Using evidence procured by the Canadian Department of Justice and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Federal Prosecutors detailed Garby's actions to sell illegal mod chips and pirate games under the name "Kustum Komputers." Garby was fined $17,000 and sentenced to twelve months probation.

The U.S. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in October of 1998 that made illegal "circumvention devices" that circumvent a technological measure designed to control access to a copyrighted work. Sony Computer Entertainment America has successfully argued that mod chips are illegal circumvention devices under the DMCA in the United States, and the recent Canadian conviction recognizes that such devices violate copyright laws in other areas of the world.

  Previous recent rulings on mod chip cases in the United States include:

  -- On July 12, 2002, defendant Howard Chen of Howie's Hi-Tech Games in
     Milpitas, California was preliminarily enjoined under the DMCA from
     selling, advertising, installing or otherwise trafficking in mod chip
     and game enhancers.
  -- On May 24, 2002, defendant Rick Oliver was sentenced in the United
     States Court for the District of Nebraska for willful circumvention of
     a copyright protection system for commercial advantage under the DMCA.
     Oliver was sentenced to seven months of jail time and was ordered to
     pay restitution to Sony Computer Entertainment America in the amount of
  -- On June 9, 2002, Sony Computer Entertainment America obtained summary
     judgment and a permanent injunction against Digital Stuff, Inc. of
     San Jose, California, for advertising, distributing, promoting and
     selling game enhancers.
  -- On November 4, 1999, Sony Computer Entertainment America obtained a
     preliminary injunction against Michael and Carol Chaddon, doing
     business as GameMaster, Inc. in San Leandro, California prohibiting
     them from advertising, distributing, selling or purchasing game
     enhancers or devices that contain a mod chip function.

Sony Computer Entertainment America remains committed to assisting authorities to prosecute manufacturers and sellers of circumvention devices and pirate game products.

About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era.

Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.



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SOURCE: Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

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