Defendant told by judge to stay off Xbox Live

Could you stay off Xbox Live for 18 months if it meant you could avoid going to court? That’s the deal facing a 21-year-old kid who tried to steal a game at the PAX East expo earlier this year.

It’s the case of Justin May, a kid who got a bit more than he bargained for when he went to the PAX East convention in Boston earlier this year. While there he sneaked his laptop to the Atomic Games booth and started transferring a beta file of the game Breach from one of Atomic’s PC stations to his computer.

Of course, it didn’t take long for one of the Atomic representatives to notice him and once confronted, May, ran away. He was chased after by expo officials, caught, and arrested. May, age 20 at the time, was charged with a count of “trade secret, buy/sell/receive stolen” and larceny. He posted $200 cash in bail and has been free awaiting his court appearance.

That appearance happened yesterday, where the judge seemed to show him some leniency. During the brief pre-trial hearing, May was told to “stay in school, not reoffend, stay off of Xbox Live web sites, and forfeit his computer, which was seized at the time of his arrest.” We’re pretty sure this ruling means he can’t access Xbox Live at all, even though the judge obviously doesn’t realize the difference between a “web site” and an online console game service.

If May complies for 18 months, the case will be dismissed and he won’t face any prison time. But if he strays off the path, his trial will continue.

As for Atomic Games, the company is pleased with the Distric Attorney’s handling of the case, and had a chilling remark about May’s relative good fortune. “Had he been able to post Breach on the Internet for download, and then been caught, he would likely end up serving time in jail,” said Atomic president Peter Tamte in a statement.