A UK man found guilty in 2008 of installing mod chips into Xbox, PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles has seen an appeal of his conviction denied.
Christopher Paul Gilham sold the hacked consoles, which enabled users to play counterfeit games, from October 2003 through January 2006.
The appeal focused on the issue of “whether the playing of a counterfeit DVD involves substantial copying of a copyright work.” Following some discourse on the term “substantial,” the Court wrote:
The various drawings that result in the images shown on the television screen or monitor are themselves artistic works protected by copyright. The images shown on the screen are copies, and substantial copies, of those works. If the game is the well-known Tomb Raider, for example, the screen displays Lara Croft, a recognisable character who has been created by the labour and skill of the original artist.
The Court concluded that:
It is not necessary in future to show that a substantial copy of the game is made in Random Access Memory (RAM), all that needs to be shown is that some copyright work contained within the videogame is substantially copied e.g. the image of a game character.
The Entertainment and Leisure Publishers Association (ELSPA) applauded the decision, saying that it welcomed the copyright clarification.
ELSPA Director General Michael Rawlinson added:
Protecting intellectual property (IP) theft is an important issue for the country’s videogames industry. This judgment strengthens copyright law and will be a significant step in helping us protect the industry.
Text from the full judgment can be viewed here.