We will occasionally hear about console modders getting taken to court to get them to cease what they are doing. Less often, however, do we hear about people pirating games en-masse - especially for profit. That is exactly what a man from California was up to and has now been caught for, among other things. For selling pirated games and for modding consoles (though one is clearly worse than the other), Frederick Brown is facing 10 felony charges. Among mod chips, thousands of pirated games were found at his home.
It is not exactly like he tried to hide his piracy, however. Apparently he made his services as a pirate quite public, advertising on Cragislist:
"Brown had allegedly built up a thriving business selling counterfeit games and installing mod chips, having advertised his services on Craigslist and other web sites. He allegedly sold pirated games from his Vista, CA, residence as well, including both discs and hard drives preloaded with games that he would install into customers' Xboxes and Xbox 360s"
The merits of modchips and console modding aside, pirating games for profit is not a grey area, and increasingly pirates are seeing jail time or lawsuits rather than getting away with it. It doesn't help that modchips are often relied upon to make pirated games playable.
It is unfortunate that the console manufacturers look at both groups with such discontent, as there is a lot to be said for the hobbyist community that wants to be free to tinker with the hardware they own. Nothing is mentioned in the article about exactly how much money was estimated pass through the piraters hands, nor what sort of other penalties he faces.