Makers of HDLoader Fined

Popular software program HDLoader, developed for the purpose of playing copies of original game software from hard drives, was virtually sunk by a California court decision ordering Divineo, Inc. and Frederic Legault, a Canadian resident, to pay 3.7 million dollars in damages for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infractions. Also included in the case was Divineo SARL, Divineo U.K. and French resident Max Louarn, who were ordered to pay over $5.7 million dollars collectively for violation of the DMCA.

The DMCA was written into law in 1998 and makes it illegal to distribute, manufacture or sell services or items which circumvent the protection schemes found in software to prevent illegal reproduction of copyrighted materials.

The ESA, a strong supporter of copyright protection and the prosecution of offenders of the DMCA responded to the news by saying, “Mod chips and HDLoaders are key elements in facilitating video game piracy because they allow people to play illegally copied games on illegally modified video game consoles. This Court order is very important because it recognizes the significant damage that mod chips and HDLoaders cause the entertainment software industry and delivers the clear message that trafficking in circumvention devices that enable game piracy will result in heavy penalties.”

Digital freedom advocates have called laws such as the DMCA an intrusion on the rights of consumers to freely make personal copies of material that they own. According to, they state the argument as a matter of legal ownership, “Your right to lend a physical book is protected by the ‘first sale doctrine., This law states that purchasers of copyrighted works such as music or books have the right to dispose of the works in any way that they wish: they can sell them, loan them, rent them, or give them away. But new copyright laws criminalize all of those activities for digital content such as electronic books.”

Joe Kraus, co-founder of DigitalConsumer said that many of the copy protection laws regarding entertainment media are unethical. "Under the guise of preventing illegal copying, I believe Hollywood is using the legislative process to create new lines of business at a consumer’s expense. Their goal is to create a legal system that denies consumers their personal-use rights and then charge those consumers additional fees to recoup them."

While mod chips and HDLoader programs are seen by many as merely a tool for the convenience of playing backup copies of owned software, the game industry and the ESA sees these sorts of programs and devices in an entirely different light-a means to pirate software.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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