Raids Seek to Thwart Video Game Piracy

U.S. federal customs agents raided more than 30 businesses and homes in 16 states last week, looking for devices that allow pirated video games to play on Wiis, PlayStation 2s, and Xboxes.

Allegations about the sale and distribution of illegal modification chips and copyright circumvention devices for the popular consoles and others included 32 search warrants in 16 states, said the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The agency declined to release the names of those raided, but contended they were responsible for importing, installing, selling, and distributing foreign-made devices smuggled into the United States.

Illegal chips and other devices used on gaming consoles violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Sales of counterfeit or illegally obtained games costs the industry about $3 billion a year globally, not including Internet piracy, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group, estimates.

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