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Legality and distribution


Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Apr 30, 2007
It wasn't so long ago that Sony successfully made modchips illegal in their PS2's - however their legal team must be full of very ambitious lawyers, considering that every DVD player Sony sells (in Australia) is region-free; hence breaching the official DVD patent.

Modchips are now defined in the same general way as encryption technology in the law:


Which is called Access Control Technological Protection Measure. If you care to read the above section of the copyright act in relation to ACTPM, you'll find that including regional-lockout is actually a legal licence to install a modchip. This is, I suppose, similar to BD+, and ICT; which would both appear to be legal to circumvent. You can clearly see that HD movies are included in the definition of "computer program":


This doesn't make all use of AnyDVD legal, after all it's not legal to back-up movies - but with that said, it is the pretence for defining a program such as AnyDVD legal under Australian law (even when Game Jackal may be illegal). The reason why this is, is that Game Jackal doesn't defeat either restrictions on regions; or on "compliance hardware" such as HDCP; which AnyDVD does do; GJ simply defeats a copy protection that does not infringe upon a customer's freedom to play legally imported products on their choice of hardware configurations.

As previously mentioned all DVD players sold in Australia are region free; this is done without legal ramifications, and therefore one can reasonably contend that the circumvention of region coding does not breach the copyright act. I suppose I should note that despite all Sony's cases, Modchips are legal again; when used in the correct pretence.

It's not legal to play back-ups, but it is legal to play legally imported games using modchips. Another interesting fact is that it may also be legal to create a back-up for the sole purpose of circumventing regional lockout; supposing your BD player only plays region "B" and you were to make a back-up copy of a region "A" movie so that you could play it on your region "B" player. Sony had tried to make modchips illegal on the basis that a copy of the computer program had to be put into digital memory (and argued this constituted an infringing copy); but in court this "in-between" stage was deemed necessary to play a non-infringing copy; and was not found to breach the copyright of the work. This of course would have to come before court to legally determine, and it may be that it would be determined that copying a BD to circumvent regional-lockout does indeed constitute creating an infringing copy.

I'm also wondering if the Slysoft-Team has considered expanding their distribution base; after all not everyone has Visa, and not everyone wants to use their Visa card on the internet. Australia is one country in which importing movies and games is very popular; even though it can't be done in retail. I would certainly be interested in discussing these possibilities.
This doesn't make all use of AnyDVD legal, after all it's not legal to back-up movies

It's legal to do so where I live.

I'm also wondering if the Slysoft-Team has considered expanding their distribution base

Slysoft is physically based in Antigua, which is a DMCA free zone. Slysoft is fine where it is. Why would they want to expand to Australia, which is where Game Jackal's original developers felt they had to stop selling GJ?

after all not everyone has Visa

Use Mastercard
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Yes, we're free of DMCA too - we have our own laws.

I've already explained clearly why Game Jackel may have been illegal, but this certainly doesn't make AnyDVD illegal. Modchips are currently legal, and DVD players are released region-free (however they did crack-down years ago on Macrovision-free players).

Game Jackel was primarily used by lan-centres, where they would have several games like World of Warcraft, Warcraft III, Counter-Strike, etc; and these games require the original media to be in the CD-drive to play. So they use a program like GJ so that they don't have to change discs, thus keeping their customers happier, while owning many legitimate copies of each game.

GJ only circumvented the inconvenience of having to insert the original media; whereas AnyDVD circumvents the encryption, thereby allowing customers to use alternative playing software, allowing customers to use non-HDCP compliant hardware (yes I know ICT hasn't been used yet), and allowing customers to play imported movies; and also allowing customers to avoid paying for upgraded keys for BD drives. All of these are situations which make circumventing the encryption legal.
Yes, we're free of DMCA too - we have our own laws.

I've already explained clearly why Game Jackel may have been illegal, but this certainly doesn't make AnyDVD illegal.

I sincerely doubt Slysoft is going to expand anywhere it feels sales of its products may be challenged in court--but I don't represent Slysoft.
Slysoft has always done fine with the way things are. With the current amount of programs that have recently been shut down due to DRM..ahem..Sony, I feel better if things were left just the way they are. Certain programs recently got shut-down when they decided to incorporate FixVTS into their program and I still wonder if thats what caused the problem. Some things are better left un-changed! ;)
Sony has tried many times to shut down modchips in Australia; and they've been somewhat successful in the past - however it was short-lived because even though Modchips are formally illegal; the law2 they come under (see the link above) expressly grants the legal right to use a modchip for interoperability (so long as that is the sole-purpose of the Modchip). I would suggest that this would even including the use of AnyDVD to allow the playing of DVD's under Linux.

So essentially, if Sony's PS3 did not contain regional-lockout (which it does) it wouldn't be legal to sell or use modchips in their consoles; however since they do it is perfectly legal to sell modchips for the PS3 (I have no idea whether they even exisit, the Wiikey exisits for the Nintendo Wii which I plan to buy soon). With that said, it would still be legal to purchase a modchip to remove the DVD regional-lockout or the Bluray regional lockout even if the PS3 was region-free for games. I'll quote the section of the copyright act in context:

  1. An owner or exclusive licensee of the copyright in a work or other subject‑matter may bring an action against a person if:
    • the work or other subject‑matter is protected by an access control technological protection measure; and
    • the person does an act that results in the circumvention of the access control technological protection measure; and
      iia. the person knows, or ought reasonably to know, that the act would have that result.
  2. (...)

  3. Subsection (1) does not apply to the person if:
    • the person circumvents the access control technological protection measure to enable the person to do an act; and
    • the act:
      • relates to a copy of a computer program (the original program ) that is not an infringing copy and that was lawfully obtained; and
      • will not infringe the copyright in the original program; and
        iia. relates to elements of the original program that will not be readily available to the person when the circumvention occurs; and
      • will be done for the sole purpose of achieving interoperability of an independently created computer program with the original program or any other program