Student Arrested for Jailbreaking Game Consoles — Update
Homeland Security authorities arrested Matthew Crippen, 27, from his Anaheim home following his indictment for allegedly breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The Cal State Fullerton liberal arts student is accused of hiring himself out to circumvent copyrighted encryption technology on Wii, Playstation and Xbox games.
Prosecutor Mark Krause said in a brief telephone interview that, if the case went to trial, he could prove the illegal activity “a number of times.” The indictment (.pdf) charges Crippen with two counts, carrying a maximum 10-year prison term.
Crippen, in a telephone interview with Threat Level, said the purpose of the jailbreaking was not for illegal piracy, but to allow patrons to use decrypted copies of their own DRM-laden gaming software. The DMCA, however, is not on his side, especially because he is accused of profiting from his hacks.
“This if for your legally made backups. If you’re talking about piracy, I’m not helping you out,” he said.
With the Xbox360, he said, “It’s a given that any game will be scratched in that system. ”
The Entertainment Software Association tipped the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Homeland Security Department that Crippen was allegedly running the circumvention outfit from his house.
“Playing with games in this way is not a game, it is criminal,” Robert Schoch, an ICE agent, said in a statement.
The authorities said they seized a dozen consoles. Crippen said he charged about $30 a job.
The defendant suspected a former neighbor alerted the Entertainment Software Association. Federal agents then went undercover. “They got two systems done,” Crippen said.
Potential customers were alerted to him, he said, by “mostly word of mouth.”
“There was no advertising. There was none of that shit. I’ll tell you that much,” he said.
The DMCA, the law under which Crippen was charged, says, “no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.”
Crippen appeared in Los Angeles federal court late Monday and was released on $5,000 bond.
He said it took about 10 minutes to jailbreak a console.
Where did he learn the skill?
PHOTO: tvl’s photostream