Federal Court halts PS3 modchip sales


Australia’s Federal Court has slapped a temporary ban on a handful of local retailers selling or importing hardware — commonly known as “mod chips” — that allows unauthorised software to run on Sony’s PlayStation 3.

The ban applies until 31 August while court action initiated by Sony Computer Entertainment’s Australian and European arms against three local retailers goes ahead — although the ban will be lifted if the gaming giant’s lawsuit is not successful. We first saw this story reported by the BBC.

According to court documents filed late last week, the four Australian retailers banned from selling the device are OzModChips and an individual who appears to be involved with the business — Ryan Caruana, Global Solutions International (trading as Quantronics) and Ken Tolcher (trading as Mod Supplier).

Furthermore, the court has required that the four parties actually hand over to Sony any PlayStation modchip devices they have, until the 31 August date.

OzModChips has responded to the lawsuit in a message posted on its site. “This is not OzModChips versus Sony,” the company wrote. “This is not OzModChips, Quantronics, Modsupplier versus Sony. We would go as far as saying that it is not even everyone in Australia versus Sony.”

“This will affect everyone that plans to buy such a device worldwide. It already sets a dangerous precedent. Everyone that was using OtherOS, everyone that has had a faulty PS3 laser … and those interested in PS3 custom firmware and homebrew applications.

“We cannot do it alone, we need the support of everyone in the homebrew community, the media, engineers that understand the inner workings and anyone else that can provide support.”

OzModChips also linked to a forum posting which the company said was by Quantronics, responding to the temporary injunction slapped on the three retailers.

Quantronics wrote that the injunction was “baseless”, and it was very unlikely that it would be continued or become permanent. “OzModChips, Modsupplier and myself are all close friends, share lawyers and have sought senior counsel for this matter,” wrote Quantronics.

The retailer added that the trio started in the gaming industry as kids with an ideal of changing Australia’s views on copyright law, fair use and “freedom”. “To this day, we stand for the same beliefs, values and will at any cost fight for what we believe in, the rights we should have, and in a David versus Goliath battle, we will give it our best,” they said.

Comment is being sought from Sony Computer Entertainment.

Image credit: włodi, Creative Commons


  1. And when Apple made it OK to root their devices in the US, folks were telling me that Modchips were fine in Australia despite recent rulings. What a crock.

    • I’m not sure of the technical situation, but certainly there is a freedom of speech issue here. It’s my opinion that once you buy a product (ie, a PlayStation 3), you should be able to do what you damn like with that product (as long as you’re not killing, murdering people etc).

      If Sony can prove that an individual is using a mod chip to pirate games, then go after the individual and prove that. But attacking mod chips — which can be used for legitimate purposes — is not the way to go about enforcing its rights.

    • You can’t “mod” the PS3 with a “USB stick and a file downloaded online”. psjailbreak is a custom piece of hardware (that connects via USB), and OtherOS support is long gone.

  2. I suppose the issue is that Apple have given the go-ahead for this kinda thing, where DS and Sony continue to contend they can control a product’s usage patterns after it’s been purchased. Still smells an awful lot like the car company complaints against Repco et al.

  3. Thought there was a ruling for ps2 mid chips allowing them in aus and few years back

  4. Everyone has rights, but don’t forget Sony’s right to protect it’s products from piracy. It is obvious that this would be used for stealing games. I hope Sony puts some of these functions in the console as long as they can prevent stealing games, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • I wouldn’t be tempted to support the chippers if Sony still had the ‘Other OS’ option.

      • It allows you to play backups of games, which includes backups of games you don’t own.

        Currently, the only way to create “homebrew” requires use of Sony’s proprietary tools.

      • It does indeed allow piracy. You could simply borrow your friend’s games and copy them to your hdd. Then give them their games back and continue to play from your hdd. This is stealing!

        • Actually its not stealing, its copyright infringement……

          And so its actually how people are using the mod chips that are the issue?

          A car can go above the speed limit, but its not the car manufactures fault or the road authorities fault. (or the mechanic that moded the car)

          • Really? You think it’s not stealing to make a copy of a game you DID NOT BUY and play the game without paying for it? That is stealing in every sence of the word. It is no different then going to a store and taking a game and leaving without paying for it. You have NOT purchased the game. Therefore it does not belong to you.

          • You can make mods to cars as long as the car is still road legal after. Some mods are illegal on cars. btw if you mod your PS3 you can still use it you just can’t use the PSN.

          • No, if you take the physical copy from a shop you are stealing that physical copy.

            If you make a copy or download a soft version of the game. You have breached copyright infringement and it isn’t theft, it isn’t a criminal matter it is a civil matter

          • It is still taking content without paying for it. That is theft. wether in a criminal court or a civil court it’s still wrong. You can argue what to call it all you want. It’s still taking something that does not belong to you.

          • I do believe in the eyes of the law it is copyright infringement and not theft.

            All them ads about “you wouldn’t steal a car” etc when talking about downloading movies, are wrong and are using scare tactics. Copyright infringement isn’t theft.

            You are not stealing the original copy. You are duplicating it, copying it, making a backup, etc etc. The original copy is still where you left it and isn’t stolen.

            Yes you are taking something you haven’t paid for, but its copyright infringement, not theft.

          • STEAL v. stole (st l), sto·len (st l n), steal·ing, steals. v.tr. 1. To take without right or permission dishonestly . This is what I’m talking about when I say steal or theft.

          • But since its a copy, who actually owns the copy?

            The company that produced the Original content don’t own the original once its sold on a media format.

            So if you copy the original (that someone bought) don’t you become the owner of the copy?

            The law states you can’t make a copy of something as you will breach copyright.

            You are not stealing something.

            What if the copy you made was from a mate who gave you permission to copy it. You are not stealing it from your mate as he has authorised you to make a copy.
            But you are infringing copyright.

          • And if we are playing the dictionary game.

               /ˈkɒpiˌraɪt/ Show Spelled[kop-ee-rahyt] Show IPA
            the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.


               /ɪnˈfrɪndʒ/ Show Spelled [in-frinj] Show IPA verb,-fringed, -fring·ing.
            –verb (used with object)
            to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress: to infringe a copyright; to infringe a rule.

            So when you make a copy of something that you don’t have authorisation from the copyright holders. You are infringing copyright.

            If you stole the game, you would be taking the original.

          • Unfortunately the only people that will come out of this happy are the well paid lawyers. Well was a good debate, but I am tired and am going to bed.

  5. As long as media companies insist on shipping devices with anti-competetive regional locks that prevent consumers from taking their purchased media between countries, there will be a good case for the legal availability of mod chips. The PS3 is remarkably progressive in that it doesn’t use region locks for games, but it still has region locks for Blu-ray discs and DVD video.

  6. The problem is that Sony is like a leech, they have done the same scheme since day 0 create a device that uses a revolutionary format which coincidentally is proprietary and whoever wants to sell in that format has to pay Sony a slice, but that scheme is dead, and so will their company if they don’t change their politics people it’s not stupid like 20years ago ipod blew because you can put any mp3 onto it. It’s like EXXON manufacturing cars that only runs with their gas that costs twice as much. Sony needs to decide its future, devices or content.
    And…if the modders are not using any part of Sony’s code i don’t see why they should stop selling the mod after i paid for my system i can do whatever i want with it as long as i do not duplicate it. The mod has many legitimate purposes like increasing load speed, prevent premature wearing of BD laser, conservation of physical media, convenience (not having to change discs to change game) are a few.

  7. Alright so plain and simple this is one he’ll of a creation no matter how he did it :) and yes it is wrong to do this! But in the end if you purchase a product say a ps3 and do jailbreak it yourself it should b alright as you buy consumer products and often modify them to suit, just like making additional holes in ur jeans or painting your shoes once purchased this doesn’t seem to get you in trouble once u do it! The only thing I see wrong with this whole jailbreaking issue on today’s society is that it gets spread world wide! But if you are smart enough to jailbreak it urself for your own use GOODLUCK to you, if you want to stay out of trouble just keep it away From the public and are out of any harm :)

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