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Sony fights mod chips down under

US Free Trade Agreement opens the door for another attack on chips from SCE.

Changes to copyright laws in Australia have opened the door for a fresh legal challenge to mod chips, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, which has instructed its lawyers to prepare a new case against the devices.

Australian IT reports that the company is planning to base its new case on changes to local copyright laws which have come about as a result of Australia's new Free Trade Agreement with the USA, which came into effect in January.

The legal tussle over mod chips in Australia has been watched with interest around the world ever since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intervened in a case taken by Sony against mod chip supplier Eddy Stevens in 2002.

The ACCC argued that the platform holder was abusing its copy control mechanism to create artificial trade barriers between markets, thus depriving Australian consumers of the right to purchase games or DVDs overseas.

Stevens subsequently won the original case, although that ruling was overturned by a full bench of the Federal Court after Sony appealed in July 2003, and a further appeal has now been filed by Stevens in the High Court.

At the time of the original case it was rumoured that the European Union was also considering taking action against console platform holders and DVD manufacturers for creating artificial trade barriers with the region coding systems - a system which often penalises European consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices for goods than their American counterparts.

According to Sony Computer Entertainment Australia boss Michael Ephraim, Sony will "take more steps to crack down on street-level piracy in the second half of the year."

"We will wait for the outcome of the Stevens case," he said, speaking at the launch of Gran Turismo 4 in the region. "However, the world has changed a lot. So we will continue our fight against chipping on the PS2."

Source: Australian IT

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