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Friday, April 30, 2004
Xbox region-free modifications legal


A Spanish judge has ruled that modifications to games consoles to allow them to play DVDs and games from other countries "are not illegal".

According to El País, the ruling comes after the Guardia Civil charged Barcelona video games shop Innovagames with offering its clients "alteration of Play Station 2 and X-Box games consoles to allow them to read games from other parts of the world or downloaded directly from the Internet... by carrying out modification of their components as per diagrams found on the premises".

The judge noted that such modifications "might constitute a crime against the intellectual property of the equipment manufacturers", but he concluded that there is a legal loophole in the "Ley de Propiedad Intelectual" (Intellectual Property Law) which means that they are, by default, legal.

The loophole exists in article 270 of the penal code, which mentions "the manufacture, distribution or possession of means to crack computer programme security codes". It does not, however, cover "components of video games players nor, in general, equipment designed to run image or sound software".

The judge concluded, therefore, that he must reject the Guardia Civil's case.


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