Chastened Prosecutors Dismiss Xbox 360 Modding Case

A day after a judge chewed them out in open court, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles dropped their case against a man accused of running a modding business that allowed Xbox 360s to run pirated or unauthorised games.

Wired reports that Matthew Crippen, 28, is a free man, after prosecutor Allen Chiu told Judge Philip Gutierrez the indictment against him had been dismissed. The dismissal stems from the newly given testimony of an Entertainment Software Association investigator, which conflicted with his earlier reports and which the defence had not been privy to before today. That followed yesterday's angry lecturing from Gutierrez concerned that the ESA investigator's secret taping of Crippen might be a violation of California privacy law.

Crippen faced a potential 10 years in prison if he had been convicted of installing mod chips on the consoles, violations under the anti-circumvention provisions of the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Crippen's case was to have been the first ever to reach a jury; one was seated on Tuesday.

"It still has not hit me yet," Crippen told Wired outside court.

The investigator's testimony concerned Crippen himself placing a pirated video game inside the modded 360 to confirm it worked, which would have satisfied a legal test that Crippen knew he was breaking the law. Nowhere in earlier reports had the investigator said Crippen did such a thing; the prosecution said his newfound recollection came on Sunday.

Wired has much more on the details of the case and its dismissal.

Prosecutors Dismiss Xbox Modding Case Mid-Trial [Wired, thanks capeo; image via Wired]


    That's a shame in my opinion. By dismissing the case, the prosecution have left it open for them to go after someone ELSE. And presumably, next time they'll be better prepared...

      serves em right and next time when they do go after them they'll have the proof

      the guy should have got done.

      chipping a console is primarly done to play pirated games people can rant and rave about homebrew but you can do that with a bloody PC if it's that goddamned important to you(it's not hard in this day and age to hook a computer to a TV and then connect a 360 controller if your so inclined

        Xbox 360 agree. Original xbox I disagree completely. Xbox media centre was amazing.

        Wishing a man 10 years in jail for mod chips? You're a shitty person arn't you?

        The guy who chipped my Wii was a single dad with two five year olds daughters, working out of his garage.

        If I want to play music on my PSP while I'm playing games, I shouldn't go to jail for it. Large internet plans are used to pirate, should ISPs go to court?

    Just looked at that picture again, that is the original xbox mopd performed without the pins. Super hardcore.
    The pins gets rid of about 10 of those wires> whats funny is thjat looks like a new mod chip so someone just really wanted to make more work for them selves?

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