US conducts nationwide raid on mod chip shops

Written by Joe Martin

August 2, 2007 | 12:34

Tags: #360 #america #chip #copyright #customs #fbi #pirate #ps2 #ps3 #raid

Companies: #microsoft #mod #nintendo #sony

In the US, federal customs agents have raided more than 30 businesses and homes across 16 states in search of illegal console mod-chips, according to reports.

ICE, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, has refused to reveal the names of those who have been targeted in the nationwide raid but has confirmed that the raid involved more than 32 search warrants and that these warrants targeted those who are "allegedly responsible for importing, installing, selling and distributing foreign-made devices smuggled into the US."

The raid was not targeted at a specific console device or mod-chip and has involved the Wii, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360.

The mod chips used in consoles are classified as illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and it is estimated that the piracy business costs the games industry around $3 billion a year, without counting internet piracy.

Nintendo are especially active against console piracy and the Nintendo of America anti-piracy unit has helped law enforcement seize more than 61,000 modded Wiis since April, despite only being a five-person team.

The recent raids were the result of a year-long investigation which saw the co-operation of the US Attorney's Office, ICE and several companies and private trade groups who are attempting to combat piracy.

"Illicit devices like the ones targeted today are created with one purpose in mind, subverting copyright protections. These crimes cost legitimate businesses billions of dollars annually and facilitate multiple other layers of criminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering." Said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, in an official statement.

Microsoft has publicly applauded the raid, though they refuse to disclose the losses caused by piracy of Microsoft products. Our guess? Microsoft is losing more than anyone else.

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