Sony Computer Entertainment v Owen

Reference: [2002] EWHC 45 (Ch); [2002] EMLR 34

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: Jacob J

Date of judgment: 23 Jan 2002

Summary: Intellectual property - Copyright - Infringement - Injunction - Additional Statutory Damages - s.97(2) Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 - Summary Judgment - CPR Part 24

Appearances: Jacob Dean (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Harding Evans for the Defendant


The Defendant distributed in the UK a “modchip” which enabled the users of the Sony Playstation to play games which were not officially sanctioned by Sony for playing within the UK. Sony sought an injunction to prevent further distribution.


Whether potential lawful uses of the chip meant it was not caught by CDPA s.296 which outlawed devices specifically designed to circumvent the copy protection.


Potential lawful uses were irrelevant once it was established that the chip circumvented measures employed by Sony to prevent unlawful copying.


This was the first and also the last case on CDPA s.296 which has now been amended by The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003. (The Federal Court of Australia came to the same conclusion for interestingly different reasons, see Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment v Stevens [2003] FCAFC 157 (30 July 2003)