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Reports claim Australian court rules mod chips legal

An Australian high court has rejected an appeal by Sony Computer Entertainment in a case which ruled that mod chips were legal, according to reports which have appeared online - apparently contradicting a ruling to the contrary last month.

Online reports claiming that an Australian high court had effectively ruled that mod chips are legal were based on an outdated case from over a year ago, it has emerged this morning.

The reports claimed that the ruling by the Federal Court threw out an appeal by Sony against an earlier ruling by the Victorian Supreme Court which ordered it to pay the full legal costs of, and make a public apology to, two Melbourne companies which had advertised mod chipping services for PSone and PS2 consoles - in clear contradiction of a ruling to the contrary last month.

A search of legal case archives in Australia turned up no case which matches this description, and it now emerges that the stories are based off an original report dating from July 2002 - long before Australian courts settled the matter of mod chipping.

Last month Sony won a case against one Eddy Stevens, who was ordered to cease providing mod chips and to pay Sony's legal costs in the case - with a decision about damages still pending. Only last week the USA claimed that it was pulling back slightly in its "negotiations" with Australia over copyright laws, mollified mostly by the Stevens decision which established that "copyright circumvention devices" (like mod chips) are illegal there.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.