The Australian Federal court has confirmed that games consoles and DVD players which restrict the use of copyright material in geographical regions will not be given special protection under Australian law.
Following Sony’s failure to have mod chips ruled illegal in 2005, amendments have been made to Australia’s copyright laws which are expected to be passed this week and will make it legal for consumers to use mod chips, even if they also circumvent anti-piracy technology.
Although illegal in the U.S. and UK (but not other European countries such as Spain and Italy) the use of mod chips is particularly prevalent in PAL territories, such as Europe and Australasia, where a significant reason for their use is to import and play games not currently available in those countries.
Website Australian IT quotes law firm Minter Ellison as suggesting that changes to the law incorporated in the Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 only outlaw chips in cases where they have the sole purpose of overcoming anti-piracy technology. The Australian attorney general subsequently rejected recommendations that the bill's wording be amended to outlaw the chips that overcome region coding.