A Japanese man has been arrested for modding and re-selling a PlayStation 3. The act violates both Japanese copyright laws and the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.
In most cases, modding game systems are illegal, and perpetrators are subject to the full effects of the law if caught. While arrests are generally reserved for more serious cases, such as the Japanese man that threatened to burn down a games company, arrests for modding game consoles for pirating purposes will also occasionally happen.
44-year-old Tadaaki Abe was arrested for modding the PlayStation 3, after selling it to a man in Tokyo last year for 15,555 yen, or approximately $145. The PS3 was modded so that when a game was inserted, the system would copy the disc data and the disc wouldn't be needed again. Abe's modded console was clearly modded so that pirating games would be easy, as the owner would only need to borrow a disc once and be able to play a chosen game whenever they want. This is different than the case of altered games getting cease and desist letters from publishers, as the man hacked the hardware to work beyond its intended purpose.
According to police, this breaks the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which states that companies are allowed fair competition amongst each other, and that unfair competition will not be allowed by law. Jailbreaking a PlayStation 3 and giving the console features that were not intended by Sony constitutes as the creation of unfair competition, according to the law. In addition, modding a PS3 in this way breaks multiple copyright laws.
Pirating games aren't really anything new, with multiple games having internal processes to stop pirates from enjoying the games they've stolen. However, game preservation often skirts the line between pirating and the legal grey area of ROMs and emulators. Fan remakes such as the GoldenEye 007 remake are great to the larger gaming community, but they also run the risk of being shut down by developers and publishers, as technically they aren't legal endeavors.
Regardless, though, it's clear that Abe wasn't modding these PS3s to preserve game history or support the fan game community. The Japanese man went on record saying that he did it for the extra income, and the additional PS3s found in his home suggests that he was intending on continuing this illegal side business for a while.