Arrested for Modding Xbox?

BY Andrew Miesner / August 6, 2009

Just recently, California State Fullerton student, Michael Crippen, was arrested by homeland security for performing the commonly utilized mod on his Xbox. The mod, which allows the Xbox to play copied disks, is often used by many for the ability to play backups of their legally purchased games. Below is an excerpt from the article on CNET:

In an indictment provided by, authorities claim Crippen “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain, circumvented a technological measure that effectively controlled access to a copyrighted work, more particularly, used software to modify a Xbox machine’s Optical Disc drive so it would circumvent anti-piracy measures contained on the original unmodified Optical Disc Drive.”

Speaking to’s Threat Level blog, Crippen admits he modified consoles for $30 a job, but claims “This is for your legally made backups. If you’re talking about piracy, I’m not helping you out.”

Crippen faces two counts of violating the DMCA and the possibility of ten years in prison. He is currently free on $5,000 bond.

With the recent arrest of Michael Crippen, several questions have been brought up. How free are we really? Just because modding could result in piracy, does that mean it should be illegal for personal use?