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Xbox Modder and Software Pirate Gets Jail Time

by Rainier on Sept. 15, 2005 @ 6:21 p.m. PDT

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that a major retailer of pirated games and illegally modified Microsoft Xboxes in the Washington, DC area, has been sentenced to five months in prison with three years of supervised release, including five months of home confinement.

Mr. Amin, owner of Pandora's Cube, was also fined $247,237.05 and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service as part of his sentence.

"We are grateful for the work done by U.S. law enforcement agents and prosecutors in bringing these defendants to justice," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "Sentences of this magnitude send a clear message to game retailers that selling pirate products has serious consequences, including prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."

Last week's conviction is the fourth in a series of guilty convictions of Pandora's Cube employees, all of whom were sentenced for conspiring to commit felony copyright infringement and conspiring to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Amin, the owner of retailer Pandora's Cube, was sentenced by Judge Peter Messitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Amin's sentence comes after three of his co-conspirators were convicted and sentenced for piracy activities at Pandora's Cube. Defendant Mguresh Amin, a store manager, received a sentence of six months home confinement, twenty-four months probation and 150 hours community service. Herbie Walker, a senior retail manager, was sentenced to six months home confinement, paying for the costs associated with electronic monitoring, twenty-four months probation and 100 hours of community service. Hitesh Patel, a store manager and technician, received a sentence of four months in prison, with two years of supervised release including four months of home detention.

The Pandora's Cube employees modified Microsoft Xbox video game consoles, in violation of the DMCA, and turned them into what Pandora's Cube called "Super Xboxes." These "Super Xboxes" were designed solely to defeat the Xbox's copyright protection system and permit the user to avoid purchasing and paying for legitimate Xbox video games. The Pandora's Cube employees also loaded illegal copies of video games onto the hard drives of the Super Xboxes, in violation of federal copyright law.

Enacted in 1998, the DMCA prohibits the manufacture and distribution of products or services that circumvent technological protection measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to and copying of copyrighted materials.

The cases against Pandora's Cube employees were the result of a joint effort of the United States Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section ("CCIPS"), the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, and the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE").

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