Nintendo wins Aussie DS modchip lawsuit

Australian R4 cartridge distributor ordered to cease sales; company ordered to pay Nintendo A$520,000 ($466,000) in damages.

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R4 cartridge company ordered to cease sales down under.

On the heels of its A$1.5 million ($1.3 million) victory against a Queenslander for uploading a copy of New Super Mario Bros. to the Internet, Nintendo Australia has reportedly won a landmark lawsuit against a local distributor of the R4 cartridge, which allows users to pirate Nintendo DS games.

Nintendo has not yet responded to a request for comment, and the other party, RSJ IT Solutions, who operates the gadgetgear.com.au Web site, declined to comment on the matter. The reported judgement has not yet been made available online.

But iTnews.com.au today reported that the Federal Court of Australia had today ordered that RSJ cease to sell the chip and pay Nintendo A$520,000 in damages. Two affiliated respondents, Patrick Li and James Li, were also named in the case and ordered to pay Nintendo a further A$100,000.

The R4 cartridge--which is popular internationally--runs its own operating system for Nintendo’s DS handheld device. Individual games and other applications, some of them purporting to be legal, can be downloaded from the Internet as small files and simply added to the chip’s storage.

The cartridge is then slotted into the top of a Nintendo DS as any other cartridge would be. It does not permanently modify the handheld console. It is sold by a number of Australian and international distributors

The news comes as Nintendo Australia appears to be ramping up its fight against game piracy. Last week, it was revealed that it had successfully sued a Queensland resident for uploading to the Internet a copy of its Wii game New Super Mario Bros. a week before its Australian release in November last year.

The Queenslander--James Burt--has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay Nintendo A$1.5 million. At the time, Nintendo said it would pursue anyone who breached its intellectual property rights “using all means available to it under the law.”

Discussion

42 comments
BlazikenTails64
BlazikenTails64

Bad! So this is what my friend has! He owns one! I better tell him about it.....

HappyBB
HappyBB

This is such a bad news! The greedy and evil Nintendo is now making money by suing people of selling legit devices. This is another sad story. Nintendo went after the wrong target!

shaunn191
shaunn191

i would love to see how this 25yo living at home with his parents is going to pay back 1.5 mil. His largest asset is probably a 96 hyundai excel haha

tekken220
tekken220

Now, if only Sony successfully killed PSP CFW...

the_mitch28
the_mitch28

Good work Nintendo, you sued an individual for 1.5 million when your company basically prints money. I'm sure people will be really sympathetic when it comes to pirating your games now.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

It should be noted that Nintendo has released improved anti-piracy for the DSi, there's been a number of system updates that will brick the system if a flash card is used. So Nintendo is taking a pretty smart approach to stopping piracy.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

Testing the game is a stupid argument. As is backing up games that you "misplaced". The simple fact of the matter is it's stealing. R4 is a pretty big brand though, but although it's the most popular flash cart, there's newer, better ones like M3, DSTT and Akio. And the R4 is sold by more than just one store. 500,000 seems like a pretty small fine though. I mean one R4 cart can pirate an unlimited number of games, so for every R4 sold that's probably 10-20 DS Game sales lost. So that would be a loss of about 1,000 for each R4. Now I think about it though, selling 500 R4 carts is possible. You'd think that if Nintendo was cracking down on them though, it would be a bigger number.

wyan_
wyan_

Good for Nintendo! Pirating is cheap ass BS and needs to be stopped!

Paul2004
Paul2004

While they won this, i wonder if nintendo will ever see the money ?. Most ppl when sued for such a large amount take measures to protect their stuff (Giving their things to family ect). I dont think any company could win this battle, even if they stop one chip another will just take its place. This will never end, i stopped caring about these cases a long time ago :)

maxgil2
maxgil2

Good for them :) can't afford it don't steal it. Be content with what you have/own. Yea testing the game ..right? like anyone would believe that.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

While I agree with the company not being allowed to sell the R4 any more, I think it's the customers who bought them that should be paying for the damages. Either way this is a blow against piracy and for that alone I'm happy. Still can't believe that seemingly intelligent adults still think they can excuse stealing from other people.

Fusion_Master
Fusion_Master

@ballben2002 I was just trying to suggest a way in which 'piracy' might be handled in a less abusive way to the creators of the products being pirated. I'm not suggesting it's what I do, just simply a few ways in which in a perfect world it might be defendable. I was mainly taking it from the perspective of smaller developers and the wider appeal it could achieve, through my music analogy, and perhaps helping more than hurting. As for the R4, correct me if I'm wrong but it also plays freeware games? It's like companies getting worked up about console modchips in the case of consoles which have region locks, as they also allow for legally purchased games from other countries to work in a PAL/NTSC zone, whichever being the opposite to your local code. I think companies are quick to forget the positives of these hardware devices, though I am aware that they are losing a tonne of money in many cases. I'm simply trying to look at it from the other side too.

Tamat2009
Tamat2009

Pirates knew what they were doing was illegal from the get go. I can slightly understand if these people were 8 year old kids who didn't know any better, but these are ADULTS. The only way piracy is going to end if if we do more than slap these people on the hands. Kudos to Nintendo of Australia for having the balls to take on these pirates. (Now if only they could do something about the horrendous pricing and localization times...) -T-

ballben2002
ballben2002

@Fusion_Master Pirating games to see if you like the game does not excuse the process of pirating. I don't think I know a single person who pirates games just to try them out and then goes out and buys it... Also many stores have a 7 day return policy for exactly this purpose... to see if you like the game or not... if you don't then you return it and get your money back. Also in regards to pirating just to test a product out most games now have demo's available for free to download on consoles like xbox360 and playstation3...

Fusion_Master
Fusion_Master

its a steep asking price of 100 or so dollars to purchase a brand new wii game or 65-70ish in some cases for new ds games, which all adds up to a pretty significant investment. piracy in many cases allows individuals to test out a product they werent so sure about buying at full price. if they then like it, i think you will find most people will buy it. in the music industry, i believe it helps, because when small bands are trying to make their name known, you get the chance to hear their stuff and purchase based on whether you like what you hear, and even makes the product available in countries it wouldnt retail, reaching a wider audience. i believe the games industry is no different. nintendo might think they are helping themselves here but i would disagree in many respects.

ballben2002
ballben2002

I completely support what Nintendo is trying to do in Australia. Pirating is wrong. No if's or but's. Pirating is on the same level as theft and stealing and should be treated in the same manner. I don't believe anyone would like having their work or services being utlilised by someone who doesn't want to pay the appropriate price for that work or service. Piracy can be seen as ONE of the reasons why the price of things like movies and video games have increased so dramatically as these things cost money to produce. If people go and pirate a movie or video game it is robbing the industry of money that it needs to keep producing movies and games. I believe that is one of the reasons why DLC has also become more common among console games. It does in some way punish people like myself who always buy my games when they come out however it means that at least some money is given to the makers of the game. I believe that people like James Burt who get caught deserve everything and more that Aussie courts can dish out towards them.

Poodger
Poodger

Man, I am way glad I got all my R4 cards already. They really are fun tools to use for apps and homebrew. They dont have to be used for only piracy. On another note, though, Nintendo should provide their own version of the R4 which lets people download all the games they already own onto one chip. I for one hate carrying all my cartridges around.

Barighm
Barighm

I know some real-life pirates and I know some good, honest guys who prefer to buy everything. The pirates always share the same traits: a history of lying, deceit, theft, or general mischief. Doesn't matter if they can afford to buy everything or not. Then there are the guys who just don't have the money (95% of the time they're just lazy; I've yet to meet anyone who lacks the money simply because it's impossible. My handicapped friend in a wheelchair with a mental instability has a good job for crying out loud!). Clearly pirates are criminally minded and have issues. If you're a pirate, I suggest you seek therapy.

volume_three
volume_three

I was suprised to find that R4's were readily available on the gadgetgear site as were CFW PSP's. I don't support piracy but wouldn't Nintendo's $ be better invested in anti-modification measures for their future consoles and handhelds?

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

While I wouldn't necessarily classify the R4 and similar devices as modchips, this situation definitely bears a resemblance to the Napster debacle at the turn of the millenium... the only way these companies will be able to stay in business is to remove features that allow the execution of illegal ROMs, otherwise they'll share the same fate as that company.

Zabimaru1
Zabimaru1

Wait, did they sue a random R4 user or the company that made the R4? Or maybe the sales man that ordered the R4 o.o Anyway, I'm pretty sure that there are other kinds other than the R4, also why do they only pick on Australia o.o

Kitty_Fields
Kitty_Fields

@Armony: My video game collection would like to have a word with you. Atlus USA sold me on Persona 3, and I've been pre-ordering almost all their games since. I also bought Theresia: Dear Emile and Retro Games Challenge, which I first played... well, you know. The World Ends With You, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Metroid Fusion, Little King's Story, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (reprint YES!), Disgaea 2... the list goes on.

fire2box
fire2box

This is a sad day for Australians, One of their own companies are being forced to pay damages, they didn't even commit, for a crime that didn't happen. Thank god this doesn't happen in the US. Otherwise car makers will be forced to stand trial for 3rd degree murder's since they made the car that a drunk driver plowed into a minivan.

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

In Australia, video games play you!

huntervaneg
huntervaneg

Come to Latin America and try to control piracy in each of its countries... Just with Brazil and Mexico the great N would have enough fun!! I agree that piracy is a crime but no go so extreme with common guys like James Burt, the payment that he has to do will ruin his life..!! Improve the tech on the hardware and software for the piracy and hack control, that is what Nintendo has to do!!

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

The sad thing in all this is, Nintendo does this knowing full well Australia's court will side with them. A country that has considered filtering the Internet, and censoring violent games. Are we living in the early 1900s?

-Goo-
-Goo-

How the hell are you supposed to come up with $1.5 million? Maybe if you're rich, but this guy apparently can't even afford New Super Mario Bros. Sucks to be him. :P

Armony
Armony

@DemigodUltima "If a person can pay full price for a game, they will do so. If they like a game they downloaded a lot, they go out and purchase the real game, same goes with movies and music." ...you don't know many pirates, do you?

Kitty_Fields
Kitty_Fields

Wait... so the SMBW pirate had to pay millions while these people only have to pay a triple-digit sum? What? On the other hand, poor, poor, Australians. Nintendo seems to be hellbent on making the lives of Australian gamers miserable.

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

In the end, who is the victim in all this? The gamers, Nintendo, or Queenslander? If a person can pay full price for a game, they will do so. If they like a game they downloaded a lot, they go out and purchase the real game, same goes with movies and music. The money these companies lose from piracy are from simply blind purchases from consumers who have no idea about the content of the game they are purchasing. The strict and borderline threatening stance Nintendo takes on piracy will surely stop or at least make people think twice before downloading illegally. But in the end, nothing will improve. Companies lose money all the time, eliminate everything that might attribute to these losses, and cross your fingers and hope that solves the problem. But really the problem is that their ideas and products are getting stale, people are making smarter choices because of financial and personal situations. New companies come and siphon money from the older ones. Gaming is becoming big worldwide, you need to bring out the big guns instead of blaming and taking the easy solution to making an extra million.

polodoro
polodoro

Thing is they won't get any cheaper. If anything the R4 improved DS sales. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who bought a DS because you can get so many games with chips. The best thing Nintendo can do is focus on releasing DS games in a different format because the DS is just too easy to hack.

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

i'm glad they are finally getting round to doing something about this, the DS can be hacked far too easily. If they can reduce piracy then hopefully the games will come down in price as right now I'm usually paying more for DS games than my PS3 ones, that does not make sense!

Dante200X
Dante200X

They just now are cracking down on the R4 and everything? Well at least those nintendo fanboy's can't claim nintendo is "okay with it" like they used to because of the PSP's firmware update that always killed pirated games and such (unless you use a custom firmware).

paperwarior17
paperwarior17

@SolemnJedi: The DS is region-free, as is the PSP; However, importing games does cost an arm and a leg.

SolemnJedi79
SolemnJedi79

Indeed there are reasons for piracy, most pirates don't just sit there and go "hey cool free stuff let's go" mostly it's done out of too high pricing, but more often, a lack of support in some countries (like australia which also overprice their games) of quality titles, release dates out of whack with the rest of the world etc. Region free consoles would stop at least 50% of piracy. The other issue is homebrew, IF a console is capable of say, as an example, playing DVD's but the console maker for some reason blocks the function. People will find a way to unlock it. Especially when there's no viable explanation as to why that function was blocked in the first place. Suing people and winning millions on top of the sales made from outrageous pricing will not stop piracy.

chappy_man
chappy_man

Well now we know what nintendo will be doing with all that extra money they made off the wii sales. I think its unfortunate people decide to pirate but at the same time pirating is brought on by reasons and as any company I would like to see why people pirate and stop the process before it ever reaches this point. Why not find what makes them do it and fix the issue. If its cost find ways to lower it, if its to try it before buying make more demos. Etc. I am just tired of all the back and forth over all this I would really like to see it all end.