Australia’s Federal Court has extended a 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 court in late August had initiated the ban — with a temporary cessation date of 31 August — while court action initiated by Sony Computer Entertainment’s Australian and European arms against three local retailers goes ahead. The action stemmed from the retailers’ importation and advertisement for sale of the PS Jailbreak device — a USB key which defeats Sony’s protection on the PlayStation 3.
According to court documents filed late last week, the 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).
However, after further court action last week, Justice Dodds-Streeton, according to court documents posted online, extended the ban indefinitely. It is believed the ban may apply to other retailers not named in the suit — due to the use of the ‘Jane Doe’ and ‘John Doe’ terminology — may also be prohibited from selling the mod chip until the case is resolved.
The retailers are prohibited from importing the PS Jailbreak device, according to Dodds-Streeton’s order, distributing it, offering it to the public, providing it to another person, or otherwise dealing in the device.
Furthermore, the retailers have been ordered to give what stock they have of the modchip — or what stock may arrive as a result of prior orders — to Sony, who will hold the devices until further court order.
As of today, OzModChips.com is still advertising the product (although the site has a “sold out” logo on it. But it does not appear that the other two retailers have the device listed any more. Delimiter has been unable to contact any of the retailers for further information on the matter.
According to a lawyer who defended a client against Nintendo in a similar case earlier this year, the Sony case could be just the first of many gaming giant-initiated cases in Australia on the issue of mod chips.
“If history is anything to go by, I envisage many more cases to be settled in favour of the gaming giants before a court is given a proper chance to consider and decide on these highly contentious matters,” said Berrigan Doube director John Cheng last week. “It will take an extraordinary person to really take the fight to the gaming console companies due to the significant resources required and the personal risks attached to defending the allegations raised against them.”
But one of the defendants, OzModChips, has vowed to fight the case, in a public statement that has since been removed from its website.