Revisions to Japanese law make console and save data modding illegal

    
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Japan’s Association of Copyright for Computer Software is going after console modders in some recent revisions to the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law. According to Kotaku, modding game save data and game consoles in Japan is illegal and “punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to 5 million yen ($46,000).”

While such a law would perhaps make sense as a way to curb the physical modification of consoles for the purpose of resale, the actual law takes it to a much more draconian extreme, making it illegal to “transfer” (as translated from the revision text) any tools or programs that can be used to mod save data, regardless of whether they are intended solely for personal use. As a result, many companies have stopped selling peripherals that allow players to edit their game data and “use cheats and patch codes,” such as Cyber Gadget’s Save Editor tool.

The revisions also make it illegal to sell unlicensed software serial codes or product keys. Though it’s unclear what exactly that entails, the wording of the revision seems to suggest that it would be illegal, for example, to purchase a game product key and then resell it online, as is fairly common practice here in the States (and dare we say, on the internet at large). It’s hard to say how strictly these laws are actually enforced, but it’s nevertheless concerning that Japanese gamers could face prison time and massive fines for modding their own game data.

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kgptzac

So games like Splatoon can’t bother to anti-hack so they get to have their government pass a law. sounds legit.

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Zora

A:So you want to become yakuza uh… what’s your criminal background?

B: I used to mod my PS1 to play illegal imports before I even was of legal age

A: YOU’RE HIRED, SON!

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Bruno Brito

Arresting people for modding their singleplayer games seems like a huge idiocy to me. But hey, we arrest people for smoking a blunt. We’re no better.

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Mr.McSleaz

“we arrest people for smoking a blunt”

Not in Canada we don’t :)

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Bruno Brito

True. We do here, sadly.

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Robert Mann

Interesting. I fail to see where there is a problem with modifying offline games, but… this is likely meant to fight a number of other battles. As to the key reselling, it is likely aimed at the grey market online, which is a nightmare for a number of high profile publisher/developers over in Japan. Hopefully it is a first step to taking the fight to them, instead of merely punishing the end user looking for a deal.

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McGuffn

It should be illegal to release games with save files that get corrupted.

This is a bigger problem with games that restrict saving to a single save file that also autosaves.

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Mr.McSleaz

Well, you better not back up that single save file or it’s off to prison with you.

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rafael12104

Is that still a thing? It used to be huge, but now?

At least here we don’t give a shit because modding provides no real advantage if MS or Sony can reach through the interwaves and brick your console. BTW, all within the confines of the EULA.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah, and modding consoles was done more outside of Japan…

Like I modded my PS2 so that I could play imported games on it + an English translated version of Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix (this was a few years before that stuff came to PS3/PS4). I doubt most people mod consoles in order to cheat or so on.

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Utakata

We should create a BAKA wall though…just incase. o.O

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Utakata

…err…just for clarity: This would be different from a baka who trying to get Congress to fund his wall. /bleh

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Armsbend

Probably should have featured a pic of a playstation or nintendo :P

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cursedseishi

But I’d imagine nobody would pray for a revision of themselves harder in Japan than Microsoft though…!

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rafael12104

Or that first Xbox which was a modders paradise. I put Linux on mine.

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Armsbend

I’ve never done it – I might do it to an old 360 I have laying around just for the hell of it. My WRUP project maybe now that things are slowing down for winter.

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PanagiotisLial1

I always jokingly referred to the first XBox as Ex Box due to how easily it could be modded