The two owners of a Hollywood video game store and a third man who worked with them were indicted today for pirating video games by pre-installing games on specially modified Xbox game consoles sold through the game store. The men installed illegal modification chips on the game systems which allowed users to store and play pirated video games.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment today alleging that the owners of ACME Game Store, together with a third man, modified and sold Xbox game consoles that allowed users to bypass copyright protections and play pirated video games.
The five-count indictment accuses the three of conspiring to: 1) traffic in a technology used to circumvent a copyright protection system; 2) infringe on a valid copyright for financial gain; and 3) willfully infringe a copyrighted work by reproducing and distributing pirated works worth more than $1,000.
The indictment additionally alleges two felony violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits trafficking in technology designed to circumvent digital copyright protection technology, as well as copyright infringement and copyright infringement for profit.
This case began when the Entertainment Software Association reported to law enforcement that its private investigators had purchased a modified Xbox gameconsole, pre-loaded with pirated games, from ACME Game Store in May 2005.
According to court documents, Jones and Bryant had modified Xbox game consoles, with over 50 different pirated games on each, running as demonstrators in ACME Game Store and would describe in detail to customers the advantages of the modifications. Customers would pay from $225 to more than $500 for the modifications and the pre-loading of pirated video games, depending on the extent of the modifications and the number of pirated games that were pre-loaded on to the hard drive. Cai would pick up game consoles to be modified from ACME GameStore, modify the systems at his home, and then return the game consoles to ACME Game Store to be picked up by ACME Game Store customers.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of all five counts in the indictment, Jones, Bryant and Cai each could be sentenced to as much as 17 years in federal prison.
All three defendants have been summoned to appear for an initial appearance in United States District Court in Los Angeles on January 30.
This case is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Release No. 06-005