Nintendo Wins Court Battle Against Game Pirates

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Game pirates have felt the strong hand of the law after being prosecuted for selling equipment that facilitates game piracy on Nintendo consoles.

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The popular R4 linker

The Paris court of appeals ruled against six companies for selling “linkers”, such as the R4, reports foreign gaming site Gamasutra. The companies were raided in 2007 and 2008 and caught distributing equipment that made them, according to Nintendo, the “most prolific importers, distributors and sellers of these devices.”

Nintendo took the manufacturers to court in 2009, where it was decided that Nintendo could not prevent them from manufacturing linkers. Linkers enable the running of unapproved code, usually illegally copied games, on Nintendo’s DS handheld. 

But after a successful appeal to France’s second highest court, the distributors have been ordered to pay over 5.2 million euros (AU$7.32 million) in damages and fines to Nintendo, with some pirates receiving suspended prison terms. 

“Nintendo supported this criminal action not only for the company’s sake, but for the interests of its game developer partners who spend time and money legitimately developing software for Nintendo’s game platforms, and customers who expect the highest standards and integrity from products bearing the Nintendo name,” Nintendo France managing director Stephan Bole said in a statement.

A similar ruling was handed down last year in Australian, English and Netherland courts, while German, Italy, Belgium and the US have seen similar decisions delivered earlier. 

 

It is legal to use linkers to run homebrewed, non-copyright infringing games, but many users abuse linkers loading them illegally with commercial games. According to Japan’s CESA, such piracy has cost software developers $41.5 billion within the small window of six years. 

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