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Playing with video games can lead to hard time, just ask Matthew Lloyd Crippen.
The Cal State Fullerton student was arrested Monday on federal charges that he illegally modified Xbox, Playstation, Wii and other video game consoles to enable the machines to play pirated video games. Crippen, 27, of Anaheim, was taken into custody Monday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The arrest follows his indictment by a federal grand jury on two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Specifically, the college student is accused of modifying for personal financial gain technology affecting control or access to a copyrighted work, according to an ICE statement.
Each criminal count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The charges against Crippen stem from an ICE investigation initiated late last year after the agency received a tip from the Entertainment Software Association.
Last May, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Crippen's home, where they seized more than a dozen Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony video game consoles.
“Playing with games in this way is not a game -- it is criminal, said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE investigations office in Los Angeles.
Crippen was expected to make his initial federal court appearance late Monday in Los Angeles.
For those who are not aware of what Section 1201 of US Code Title 17 says (the Anti-Circumvention section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), here are some clips from:
"No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. "
# (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -
* (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;
* (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or
* (C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
# (3) As used in this subsection -
* (A) to ''circumvent a technological measure'' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
* (B) a technological measure ''effectively controls access to a work'' if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
And the ESA's press release and interviews since the arrest make it clear that this is just the first of many prosecutions they seek to make. They have made a decision, as an organization, to get aggressive on this subject