Distributors of the HDLoader software—used to store full games on a PS2 hard drive—were ordered to pay over $9 million in fees in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA).
Defendants Divineo Inc., Divineo UK and Divineo SARL, along with one Canadian and one French resident, incurred fees totaling $9,541,600 for trafficking mod chips and the HDLoader software. Such items facilitate the illegal copying of game software.
“Mod chips and HDLoaders are key elements in facilitating video game piracy because they allow people to play illegally copied games on illegally modified video game consoles,” said Ric Hirsch, senior VP of Intellectual Property Enforcement for the Entertainment Software Association. “This Court order is very important because it recognizes the significant damage that mod chips and HDLoaders cause the entertainment software industry and delivers the clear message that trafficking in circumvention devices that enable game piracy will result in heavy penalties.”
The ruling was made by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
In December 2005, Sony Computer Entertainment America won a case against Ohio resident Steven Filipiak, a seller of mod chips for PlayStation and PS2. That civil judgment surpassed $6 million.
The DCMA was enacted in 1998, and prohibits the manufacturing, sale or distribution of items or services that allow for the copying of copyrighted materials.
The ESA called the ruling a “major victory.”