A California man charged with violating the DMCA by installing mod chips in Xbox 360 consoles won’t be allowed to claim “fair use” at his scheduled jury trial next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday — a decision potentially devastating to the defense, and not particularly favorable to anyone who thinks they have the right to tinker with hardware that they’ve bought and paid for.
Matthew Crippen, 28, faces three years in prison on two allegations of violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for financial gain. Crippen, who’s from Anaheim, allegedly had a business modding Xbox 360s for between $60 and $80 a pop, allowing the consoles to run pirated games or unapproved homebrew software. He was indicted after allegedly performing the silicon surgery for an undercover corporate security investigator with the Entertainment Software Association, then again for an undercover federal agent.
His trial is set to begin on November 30 in Los Angeles, and would be the first federal criminal prosecution for console-modding to reach a jury.
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