busting video game pirates
On Wednesday U.S.
officials cracked down hard on illegal mod sellers and video
an year-long investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, the Feds raided over 30 homes and businesses across
16 states on Wednesday. The total number of the arrested is
unknown yet, but all are under investigation for importing,
installing, selling and distributing foreign-made mod chips
which were smuggled into the U.S.
The ICE office in Cleveland, Ohio, led the
latest crackdown. States where raids were conducted are
California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. This
is believed to be the largest U.S. domestic operation targeting
modification hardware of this kind.
The mod chips aide the illegal distribution
of pirated video games made for consoles such as Playstation 2,
Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Once the mod chip is installed on the
console, they allow gamers to play pirated copies of the video
games and movies, bypassing the copyright controls. A gamer with
a mod chip could simply go online and download the game from the
thousands of torrent websites and burn them for use on his
According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the
country loses over $200 billion annually because of
counterfeiting and piracy. Entertainment Software Association
says that global piracy cost the gaming industry alone $3
billion in 2004.
Microsoft, the maker of the popular
consoles Xbox and Xbox 3600 issued the following statement
today, addressing the raids: “Microsoft applauds ICE for its
effort to reduce piracy and protect the intellectual property of
Microsoft and its industry partners. This is an important step
in the continuing fight against piracy and the threat it
presents to the global economy and consumers throughout the
And as Nintendo Wii's popularity grows, so
do the mod chips. According to ICE, more than 60,000 mod chips
for the Wii have been seized since April 2007. Meanwhile,
Nintendo America claims that the company has lost over $760
million in the past year due to piracy.
Published on 08/02/2007