The High Court in Australia today ruled unanimously that chips used for modifying the Sony PlayStation so that it plays cheaper overseas Sony games is not against copyright laws in the country. The ruling is the end of a 4-year battle.

It began when Sydney-based Eddy Stevens supplied and installed the "mod chips" onto the Sony consoles, making the company's regional coding obsolete. The regional coding on a PlayStation works similarly to the coding on DVD players.

Stevens's lawyer, Nathan Mattock, said of the ruling: It's a victory for consumers, but also business people as well. It will likely increase competition in the market and possibly reduce prices in the market for gaming." Sony did not comment.

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