A 20-year-old man who was charged with trying to download the code of a soon-to-be released videogame at a tech convention pleaded not guilty in court today.
On March 28, Justin D. May of Delaware was attending the March PAX East 2010 in Boston, where he allegedly used his laptop to hack into an Xbox 360 Test Kit that was demonstrating the game Breach, and downloaded the code. Atomic Games, a developer of simulations for U.S. military and intelligence agencies, said May had downloaded only about 14 megabytes when he was questioned by a company employee.
Once discovered, May snatched his laptop and fled the scene as Atomic employees chased him. However, he did not make it very far and was apprehended by a member of Atomic’s staff.
May was taken into custody by Boston Police Department and his laptop along with his modded Xbox 360, modded PSP and modded DS were confiscated. While some thought the attempt was a PR stunt to promote the game, it became quickly obvious that a real crime had taken place.
“Breach, and our Hydrogen game engine, are the result of millions of dollars of investment and years of hard work,” said Peter Tamte, president of Atomic Games. “It would have been very harmful if Breach had been posted on the Internet months before its planned release.”
May faces charges of larceny over $250 and buying, selling or receiving stolen trade secrets. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison or a $25,000 fine for the first charge, and up to five years or a $500 fine and prison time of up to two years on the second charge.