A complaint affidavit alleges that owners of a game store sold Xbox game systems that had been installed with modification chips.
Two store owners and a third man were charged in a federal copyright infringement case, for selling modified Xbox game consoles that allowed the machines to play pirated video games copied onto a hard drive installed in the console.
A criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Los Angeles accuses the three of conspiring to traffic in a technology, used to circumvent a copyright protection system, and conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement.
The complaint affidavit specifically alleges that the owners of a game store sold Xbox game systems that had been modified by a third man who installed modification chips and large hard drives into Xbox consoles. The modification chips and hard drives allow the user to copy rented or borrowed games onto the consoles for future playback.
All three are charged with a felony count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The defendants will be summoned to appear in a United States District Court in Los Angeles in late January.
This case began when the Entertainment Software Alliance contacted federal law enforcement, and reported that undercover private investigators had purchased a modified Xbox game console, pre-loaded with several copyrighted games, from the game store in May 2005.
According to the criminal complaint, two of the charged, had modified Xbox game consoles running as demonstrators in the store and would describe in detail to customers the advantages of the modifications. Customers would pay from $225 to more than $500 for the modifications, depending on the extent of the modifications requested and the number of games that were pre-loaded onto the hard drive.
The third man would then pick up game consoles to be modified from the store, modify the systems at his home, and then return the game consoles to the store to picked up by customers.
The charge of conspiracy carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in federal prison.