Microsoft Corp. today issued the following statement in support of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) anti-piracy enforcement actions taken against distributors of modification chips designed to circumvent copyright protection on popular game consoles, including the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ game consoles:
"Microsoft applauds ICE for its effort to reduce piracy and protect the intellectual property of Microsoft and its industry partners. This is an important step in the continuing fight against piracy and the threat it presents to the global economy and consumers throughout the world."
The Nintendo Press release:
Today U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents executed 32 federal search warrants in 16 states as part of an investigation into the alleged sale and distribution of illegal modification chips for various video game consoles, including Nintendo's Wii™ home video game system. The mod chips designed for the Wii console circumvent the security embedded in the hardware and allow users to play counterfeit Wii software.
This Immigrations and Customs Enforcement investigation represents the largest national enforcement action of its kind targeting video game piracy. Nintendo has worked closely with this branch of the Department of Homeland Security, and fully supports its actions and other investigations currently underway.
"Nintendo and its developers and publishers lost an estimated $762 million in sales in 2006 due to piracy of its products," said Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America's senior director of anti-piracy. "Nintendo's anti-piracy team works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to seize mod chips and counterfeit software. Since April, Nintendo has seized more than 91,000 counterfeit Wii discs globally."
The ESA press release:
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today commended U.S. law enforcement agents and prosecutors' work in undertaking the nation's first and largest anti-piracy raid of its kind. The action, code-named "Operation Tangled Web," targeted retailers selling modification chips through the Internet for the Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony game console systems. Law enforcement executed 32 search warrants in more than 20 localities across the country within a 24-hour period.
"Plain and simple, selling and distributing products to illegally bypass game consoles' piracy protections is a crime with real-life consequences. This is not a game; we're talking jail time. Enforcement initiatives of this scope send a clear message to both the public and pirate community that this illegal activity will not be tolerated," said Michael D. Gallagher, president of ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "We commend Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the participating U.S. Attorneys' offices for targeting individuals and groups selling 'mod-chips' and pirated game software."
Modification chips or "mod-chips" are typically installed in video game console systems to circumvent the technological protection measures and enable the user to play pirated game software. These chips, as well as other circumvention devices, are illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
"As an industry, we protect our intellectual property, encourage our government to crack down on those who break the law, and urge other governments to take similar action against video game pirates. Yearly worldwide piracy costs total over $3 billion and it impinges on businesses and employees who create, develop, and distribute innovative products," said Gallagher. "The ESA will work with federal law enforcement to ensure that those engaged in the illegal trade of circumvention devices are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."