Lik Sang settles with Sony

The Hong Kong mod-chip distributor settles its legal dispute with Sony Computer Entertainment.

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Lik Sang International, a Hong Kong-based company, today announced an out-of-court settlement with Sony Computer Entertainment over Lik Sang's distribution of devices that bypass PS2 security and regional lockout features.

According to Reuters, Lik Sang International, dismissing its appeal of a March court decision earlier this year, has agreed to stop selling the $45 product. It has also acknowledged various Sony copyrights and will refuse to publish information related to Sony copy-protection measures.

In September 2002, both Microsoft and Nintendo filed similar suits over copyright-circumvention devices, but Lik Sang insists that "the undertaking does not affect the court actions brought by Microsoft and Nintendo, which are still being defended and appealed."

Nintendo, whose anti-piracy efforts have largely targeted distributors of illegal software, insists that piracy costs the company around $650 million in sales each year. In June 2003, Nintendo won a settlement against Lik Sang for selling devices that enabled the copying of Game Boy games, and it was awarded approximately $645,000 in addition to legal costs. Up until that June settlement, Nintendo had reportedly targeted more than 135 manufacturers and retailers of pirated games, confiscating approximately 1 million units.

To date, the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube have not launched in China. However, perhaps ironically, in cost-saving measures begun early this year, Sony began moving a substantial portion of its PS2 manufacturing resources to Chinese facilities run by Taiwanese component makers Hon Hai Precision Industry and Asutek Computer.

In August, Sony reiterated its desire to launch the PS2 in China--a reputed hotbed of video game piracy--as early as the latter half of 2003, but the console maker says it has been slowed by the Chinese government and regional authorities, which have not yet granted approval for Sony to market and sell its hardware and software.

The PS2 is currently available in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. The reported settlement with Lik Sang may herald a Chinese launch in the near future, almost four years after the console launched in nearby Japan.

At press time, an SCEA spokesperson was unable to comment on the case.

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