The Federal Court has ruled that content companies trying to apply region coding to prevent games, music or videos produced in one region from being played on a console manufactured for a different region have no protection under Australian copyright law.
Sony Computer Entertainment Australia had filed a lawsuit against a computer technician in Sydney who was selling PlayStation game consoles fitted with a modification chip, which enabled gamers to use software not coded for use in the region. Sony said that interfered with its ability to control how its intellectual property is distributed and thus breached copyright laws.
On Friday July 26, the Federal Court in Melbourne ruled against the Japanese consumer electronics company, saying its claims went beyond the provisions of Australia's Copyright Act, and that therefore the chip device was legal.
The ACCC helped with the defence against Sony's lawsuit, saying it has long believed that regional coding is detrimental to consumer welfare as it severely limits consumer choice and, sometimes, access to competitively priced goods.
Sony is expected to appeal the decision.