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Video Game Industry Hails Nationwide Piracy Raids In "Operation Tangled Web"


Washington, DC -- The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today commended U.S. law enforcement agents and prosecutors’ work in undertaking the nation’s first and largest anti-piracy raid of its kind. The action, code-named “Operation Tangled Web,” targeted retailers selling modification chips through the Internet for the Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony game console systems. Law enforcement executed 32 search warrants in more than 20 localities across the country within a 24-hour period.

“Plain and simple, selling and distributing products to illegally bypass game consoles’ piracy protections is a crime with real-life consequences. This is not a game; we’re talking jail time. Enforcement initiatives of this scope send a clear message to both the public and pirate community that this illegal activity will not be tolerated,“ said Michael D. Gallagher, president of ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. ”We commend Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the participating U.S. Attorneys’ offices for targeting individuals and groups selling ‘mod-chips’ and pirated game software.”

Modification chips or “mod-chips” are typically installed in video game console systems to circumvent the technological protection measures and enable the user to play pirated game software. These chips, as well as other circumvention devices, are illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

“As an industry, we protect our intellectual property, encourage our government to crack down on those who break the law, and urge other governments to take similar action against video game pirates. Yearly worldwide piracy costs total over $3 billion and it impinges on businesses and employees who create, develop, and distribute innovative products,” said Gallagher. “The ESA will work with federal law enforcement to ensure that those engaged in the illegal trade of circumvention devices are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7.4 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2006, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit


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