DS and Wii devices that enable piracy may actually be legal, says EU court

Nintendo and PC Box argue in court.

Luigi delivers the news to Iwata.

A European court has ruled that devices made to enable piracy on consoles, such as the DS and Wii, may actually be legal.

The dispute has arisen after a case between Nintendo and PC Box, with the latter making devices that allows unlicensed software--and subsequently enabled pirated games--to run on the former's devices.

Nintendo believes that PC Box's tinkering is mainly to enable people to circumvent the copy protection of its games, whereas PC Box claims that users should be allowed to play their own movies and MP3 files on devices they own.

"The Court of Justice next states that the legal protection covers only the technological measures intended to prevent or eliminate unauthorised acts of reproduction, communication, public offer or distribution, for which authorisation from the copyrightholder is required," the court rules.

"That legal protection must respect the principle of proportionality without prohibiting devices or activities which have a commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent the technical protection for unlawful purposes."

The court has now ruled that the Milan District Court must now look at ways people actually these devices, and to consider whether Nintendo could implement any other measures that would disable piracy while also enabling more consumer choice for unlicensed--although not illegal--software.

Written By

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Discussion

51 comments
Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Hmm... So is it illegal to develop a technology specifically meant to defeat the copyright enforcement technology of another company, even if the other technology is not used in any way during the development process (assuming this is even possible)?

I guess to put it another way: is it illegal to develop a device whose sole purpose is to hot wire cars?

pszone
pszone

Nintendo be more out pocket . Look I didn't know president of Nintendo had a lawyer called   Luigi  saying lie to the court.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The Wii and the DS are still barely on the market. So by this point everyone who has used these devices on a DS or Wii has done so. So Nintendo has lost this court case. Which is right they should have, The court has ruled in favor of the consumer.


Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Good.  Finally courts ruling in favor of the consumer being able to do what they want with their property.  Shove it Nintendo.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

It's no different than jailbreaking your smartphone to expand features beyond what the device was intended for. Game portables and consoles have been benefiting from this for a long time like for example Gameshark, larger memory card expansion, import mods. These technologies have no direct correlation with piracy since you can play illegal games through only software on your PCs and smartphones, buying a gadget is not necessary. Nintendo's only intent here is to have total control to force pricy proprietary hardware or software on its users.

Kamina85
Kamina85

Mario: Hey, drop the Sprixie, Bowser!

Bowser: MWAHAHA, this is an official Nintendo bottle (with some slight modifications), so Mushroom law is on my side, losers!

Toad: He's right, according to the ruling of Kammy vs. Rosalina, Bowser is fully within his rights.

Peach: I'm afraid our hands are tied.

Sprixie: Are you kidding me?!!!

franzito
franzito

Piracy is the new DIY game library.

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

I ripped all my Gamecube and Wii games using my Wii. I now play all those games on my PC. Is Nintendo going to try ban the Wii because you can potentially use it to pirate games with it?

anfunny
anfunny

I'm sure they are going to argue that VCRs should be illegal too.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

What do they mean by "look at ways people actually these devices"? Oh, I mean except for the word "use" that Martin forgot to... use. Do they mean surveillance? Because I can see how that can turn very ugly very quick.

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

No obviously its for pirating games.. 

They should not win this and if they do its bulls**t

Lhomity
Lhomity

People mod their consoles to watch movies and play mp3s. 


*schoolgirl giggle*


How do the PC Box lawyers keep a straight face in the courtroom?

michyeosseo
michyeosseo

Honestly, I feel even region locking should make it legal to pirate. I'm not even asking for translations of video games nor to distribute the game in other regions, but why should Nintendo be able to dictate which games in their catalog I am able to play and which ones not. If I buy a Japanese game online, I want to be able to play it in my European DS. That way I'm happy, the developer's happy and Nintendo should be happy too.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

Maybe this will open up the possibility for an Xbox 360 emulator so I can play the games I already own on my laptop or PC.

Talavaj
Talavaj

If you once buy a product, you buy it with full acknowledgement of its capabilities. You pay for THOSE capabilities and you buy the product acknowledging its terms of use.

Modifying a hardware with third party modifications that allow it to do what it was not intended to do should be against the tos and illegal by definition.


This "consumer protection" bullshit is ridiculous, flashed devices are and will always be used for piracy and piracy only. Same goes for unlocked and flashed phones.

It does not protect consumer laws, it condones piracy if anything.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

WiiU has no mods or homebrew

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

power to the people and by that i mean let me mod my 3ds to the extremes. 

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

Take away those region locks from your system, Nintendo

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

@Unfallen_Satan No different then selling lock picking kits if it's not meant for illegal activity even if it can be used for it. And yes they legally also sell kits to unlock cars.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

@GH05T-666 Your wrong. These type of products that enable users to jailbreak and expand their device for other features not currently present are part of the evolution of technology for as long as the history of electronics. Smartphones, PCs, Game Consoles and other electronics have benefited and are actually encouraged by many companies. The giant Apple couldn't legally stop jailbreaking of their iPhones so what makes Nintendo think that they should get special treatment.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@LhomityThe same way Nintendo keeps a straight face when it claims region locking is to prevent piracy.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

@LhomityThe same way Nintendo keeps a straight face when announcing their "next gen" systems. (Wii and Wii U)...

Although to be honest, I think there may be some truth to the Movies and Music thing. It's not like the Wii is exactly the best console to play games in... Many people have theirs just collecting dust, it's only natural some people want to get some use out of it...But they would be wiser to just sell it...

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

@michyeosseo I think its stupid too but in some cases there might be legal wrangling's copywrite issues ect which means they are unable to sell certain games in certain regions, but why go to all that trouble to prevent it is beyond me.

Stebsis
Stebsis

@michyeosseo They don't want your money, they just want to make you wait 2-3 years or more for translation for god knows why.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@TalavajI'm sorry, I didn't buy a license to use a DS, I bought a DS.  This is not software - I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with my hardware.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@TalavajFirstly... tell ANY user of android that the reason they unlock or root their phone is just to pirate apps. Most do it because they want control of their device to do what they want it to do.


Secondly... it's a tricky thing, saying what can and cannot be allowed. Look at bittorrent (the technology). An ingenious way of mass distributing files utilising every person's internet connection that uses it. Then look at the negative connotation with "torrents" due to the majority use of them for distribution of illegal material. 


I'm pretty sure there's been more than a few lawsuits brought against bittorrent to try and get it shut down due to this, and each one has been thrown out, because at the heart of it, the technology itself is doing nothing wrong. Just because the users use it for illegal activities can't fall on the creators shoulders if its intended use wasn't solely for illegal means.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Talavaj You buy pasta to lunch, in the back of the package there is a recipe that teach you how to cook the pasta, but you prefer to cook your way, should that be considered illegal too?


No, you paid for it, as long you don't use to inflict harm on anyne it ain't illegal, the same goes for owning a pirated copy of a game, movie or series you own, you paid for the dvd/bd right, if they broke the original is a license that grants you the right to posses a copy as backup.

zrex2metagor
zrex2metagor

@Talavajif you own it, then do whatever the fuck you want with it as long as you dont distribute it to others, or as long as it doesnt affect anyone else but you. You paid the price, its yours, you're responsible for it. So get over it

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

@Talavaj 

Ok; modifying the console should void it's warranty or whatever but what has that got to do with the people selling the other product you put in/on this device to allow you to use/play other stuff?

The Nintendo consoles are not being pirated. The device is simply made to run games, via a Nintendo console, and it's the users who chose whether those be illegal games or not.

You can't or at least shouldn't ban these products just because Nintendo doesn't like that people can use them for nefarious purposes when the products themselves can in fact be used perfectly legally and in and of themselves do not pirate Nintendo games.

It's like saying you shouldn't let some company make a 3rd party SD card that works on Nintendo hardware because someone might use it to play pirated games. That's not the SD card manufacturers fault.

Do you get it?

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@b74kd3thJust like how all the 3rd party developers are skipping Wii U, the hackers are skipping it too.

gamingnerd121
gamingnerd121

@freedom01 Region locking shouldn't even be a thing, but it seems like Nintendo thinks the opposite.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Kiaininja That sounds reasonable. Let's take the question a step further. Can it be argued that a tech designed specifically to defeat the DRM (I use it as example for copyright enforcement) of another company be used non-illegally? If a program's sole function is to defeat, say EA's Origin, from EA's games, is it illegal to design and make it? Is it illegal to distribute it? Is it illegal to use it, beyond the breach of EULA and provided the user did not steal his copy of the game in the first place? I can understand arguments that are made regarding lost keys and locksmith, but what of copyright enforcement?

Where is the edge of legality here? Or is tacking on some seemingly innocent use the only way to skirt the boundary? That's fine but seems a bit boring to me. These questions are just rhetorical. I am not trying to entrap you or anything. :)

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

@Stebsis@michyeosseoIncorrect. They want you to buy a second console to be able to play games from that region.
 Same reason many games keep ditching Splitscreen... no splitscreen means you gotta get a second copy to play...

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

@Sohereiam @Talavaj 

good explaining but this is different to cooking pasta. 

people do this to steal (pirate) games from the internet for free and play them so they don't have to spend money on the 'pasta' (games) in the first place.


spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@zrex2metagor@TalavajThere is a law (in the USA) that was put in place back in the 1970s that says that. This law was created to address the fact that people were buying albums at the time and recording them on to cassette tapes. And the music industry tried to stop it and failed.

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

@amaneuveringActually it's like a company making a FLASH CARD, not a SD card.  But those aren't illegal either, but I'm sure no one actually uses those for anything except piracy.  lulz.

Tao_and_Zen
Tao_and_Zen

@gamingnerd121@freedom01So does Sony. At least my PSP was region locked. I couldn't get it unlocked even with custom firmware -- for watching region 1 movies on a region 2 device.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@Thanatos2k Sounds like an excuse more than anything. Region lock does literally nothing to thwart piracy. I'm sure the higher ups at Nintendo know that, otherwise they've got bigger problems. That guy interviewed more than likely has no idea what he's talking about (or isn't allowed to)

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@GH05T-666@Sohereiam@TalavajSo what?  The act of installing a pirated game is the illegal act, NOT modifying the console to be able to run them.  Punish the former, but the latter absolutely should be allowed.

tristanxalbion
tristanxalbion

@GH05T-666 @Sohereiam @Talavaj Assuming that someone already owns a copy of said game they are downloading, it's not illegal. You're assuming that these people don't own anything. For convenience, people might want to run emulator on their Wii so they don't have to have 4 different consoles sitting around. 

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@spartanx169x @zrex2metagor @Talavaj I remember that, for those unaware one of the biggest defendants of this practice was Sony, and years later Microsoft.


Time really do changes people(and companies).

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

@Tao_and_Zen @gamingnerd121 @freedom01 I hate region locking on wiiU and many of the x360 games are also region locked. PS Vita is another device where only one account could be logged in on a memory card. to log another account you have to restore system settings and do some crap. its not as easy as ps3.