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Nintendo Wins Piracy Battle In Dutch Court
Nintendo Wins Piracy Battle In Dutch Court
July 21, 2010 | By Kris Graft

July 21, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Nintendo won a legal battle in the Netherlands as a court found 11 online retailers guilty of infringing on the game maker's intellectual property through sales of R4 cards and mod chips for DS and Wii.

Software pirates use R4 cards to store and access hundreds of illegally-obtained DS games on one cartridge. Mod chips installed in consoles also allow users to play pirated versions of video games.

"Nintendo protects its intellectual property rights globally and takes action to prevent the distribution of pirated software and devices that allow illegally downloaded software to be played," the company said in a Wednesday MCV report.

The retailers' defense was that Nintendo was practicing unfair competition by objecting to the sale of the products, but a Hague District Court denied the claim.

Nintendo is particularly active in its efforts to curb piracy. In May this year, the company filed a lawsuit against an R4 card seller in NXPGAME, an online retailer based in Queens, New York. In June, the company updated the Wii's firmware to disable pirated and "homebrew" content on the console.

Nintendo recently blamed R4 cards for a 50 percent drop in European DS software sales. The upcoming 3DS will incorporate more means to combat piracy, according to THQ, which is making games for the handheld.

Last year, Nintendo also spearheaded a DS piracy lawsuit against R4 sellers that included 53 other plaintiffs. Capcom called the cards "illegal instruments" that cause significant financial damage.

Nintendo's statement on the latest case added, "Nintendo takes this action not only for the company’s sake, but in the interests of its partners who spend time and money legitimately developing software for Nintendo video game consoles and systems, and customers who expect the highest standards and integrity from products bearing the Nintendo name."

Japan's CESA trade organization claimed last month that portable console game piracy has cost the worldwide game industry $41.5 billion over five years.

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E Zachary Knight
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"Nintendo protects its intellectual property rights globally and takes action to prevent the distribution of pirated software and devices that allow illegally downloaded software to be played"

That is all fine and good, but I must ask, "What about all the legally downloaded software Nintendo's actions are now blocking from the market?"

Yes people use R4 and other carts for piracy. But plenty of people use them for legal homebrew/indie software and games. By blocking these carts you are encroaching on the rights of those other software developers.

Once again, I link to my blog "Of Betamax and Modchips"

Jason Pineo
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Judging by the part of the article referring to the Wii update killing off 'homebrew', I suspect they just don't care.

Bryson Whiteman
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I feel that's a naive perspective, Ephriam. Even though I've never known anybody that used a R4 type of device for strictly homebrew development, I think the sales numbers are hard evidence.

PSP and DS move more hardware while software sales drop. I don't think there's anyway to argue around that.

Tom Baird
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It's important to note that Indie/Homebrew DS games are also bypassing the certification process of Nintendo. This process makes Nintendo revenue

It's no Software Developer's right to develop on Nintendo's device. They can use a PC, or construct their own handheld touch screen. It is however current developers intellectually rights being infringed by R4 carts being used for piracy.

Michael Smith
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Poor Nintendo. I guess massive profits isn't massive enough.

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When I was just a wee lad, all I wanted to be was a pirate. Now, *sniff* Nintendo is crushing my dreams.

Lol, Nintendo may have won the battle, but they're not going to stop piracy with a lawsuit. Not that I pirate, but I know many people who hack the DS to play very old Nintendo games that they own a physical copy of. That doesn't make it necessarily right, but they at least paid for it once...

Marco Bodenstein
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Nintendo probably profits a lot from homebrew software, its a good way of seeing new ideas and also to find taleted people. Anyway I think they should also be more open for transfers from old platforms to the DS. Download software is the future, Nintedo wants to stick by there policy from the 80th, ok, they get money for every cardridge they sell, but they close there eyes for what the people want.

I would never download games for the DS illegally but I also don't pay for them more than 5-15 euros and 15 only when its brand new and worth it.

Anyway I think people are right about the sales drop, on the other side when you know that you can use free software like "colors" on our DS and use it as MP3 player and Video player, without changing the cardridge. It s nicer than an IPOD.

Sorry for bad written english

Matt Ross
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@Ephriam Knight:

IS Homebrew "Legal"? surely it would at least be against their EULA

either way, blocking Homebrew is incredibly LAME! Nintendo, you are now on my Evil tech companies watch list!

Glen Isip
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I'm all for reducing piracy to a minimum, so this is good news. Even if Nintendo is one of the bigger developers, if they can do something about piracy it still helps smaller developers get support against pirated games.

Majed Al-Aleeli
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I remember when piracy had ethics, at least gave in the old days, developers had 2 weeks to 2 months head start before pirated products where in the market, nowadays you can find some games pirated before the release date.

eyal erez
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From all the console manufactures Nintendo is the easiest one to get on board as an indie. the legal way.

I'm glad they are pursuing legal actions against piracy and winning as well. I hate the fact that outside the US there are legitimate retail shops that sell a pre-mod wii straight out of the box with a cd full of games.

As far as Nintendo as a corporate.... well they are obligated to answer their stock holders, not the homebrew community.

Merc Hoffner
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@ Tom

So long as homebrewer's develop their software and libraries through reverse engineering, they're well within their rights under fair-use laws. Once you buy a product you own it and can do with it what you like. If I want to use a bicycle as a toaster I can, and if I want to use a DS as a VPN client I can.

If however the 'homebrewer' is developing their software using Nintendo's private SDKs and libraries obtained illegally or outside of licensing agreements then that's a clear violation which Nintendo has every right to protect against.

It's all gotten muddy since the DMCA, because platform holders as diverse as Lexmark (yes the printer company) are invoking it to say that reverse engineering a security protocol no matter how stupid or part of public knowledge is a circumvention that breaks the law, despite the presence and intent of the fair use laws saying it's within the people's right. Seriously, who does it serve if a 3rd party print cartridge maker is barred or even fined for trying to make a cartridge that works on Lexmark's printer?