Tecmo defeats DOA hackers in court

Supreme Court of Tokyo finds "naked Kasumi" hack to be in violation of Tecmo's copyright.

TOKYO--Mainichi Interactive reports today that game publisher Tecmo has won another decision in a long-standing legal battle concerning its Dead or Alive franchise. The Supreme Court of Tokyo has ruled that a small software publisher called Westside infringed upon Tecmo's copyright when it released a utility that allowed PlayStation 2 owners to remove the clothes from the character Kasumi when they played Dead or Alive 2.

Two years ago, the district court of Tokyo also found Westside to be in infringement of Tecmo's copyright. Westside appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Tokyo. The decision of the Supreme Court was no different from that of the district court, ruling that Westside was "causing violations of copyright laws by allowing purchasers to use the [hacking] software."

The verdict against Westside was small on its face--the company must pay only two million yen ($18,205) in damages--but the financial damage may actually be worse, considering how much the company had spent on its legal fees up until now. Westside continues to operate in the video game data-hacking business, releasing tools that can modify or extract data from various games. The company sells its utilities by way of a bimonthly periodical “Otanoshimi CD," as well as through its corporate Web site.

The outcome of this case might have been completely different in the United States. In the early '90s, American courts continually upheld the right of Lewis Galoob Toys to produce its Game Genie accessory, which let Nintendo Entertainment System users alter their video games in a similar, temporary manner. Nintendo asserted that the device infringed upon its copyrights, but the courts did not agree.

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Discussion

5 comments
Astarsis
Astarsis

@thumbsdown01x I saw you just pasted your info from a website, you didn't follow the case way back, did you ? So I'll add some more info in case someone is curious. I couldn't find the old site where Glynn wrote something, but I found an article with deeper coverage that contain the same info I had. The only thing missing is that I think Glynn said he did gave the list of users because Tecmo menaced to sue and he could get bankrupt from it. Glynn was just the site owner. Anyhow, the link to the article is here. It seems a safe site. And it present both sides. It only lack the interview with the judge. But I summed it up with "suing peoples for playing the game they make". He seemed to have found the case verry weak, if not utterly ridiculous. http://www.securityfocus.com/news/10466 The base of Tecmo lawsuit is the same as Disney preventing peoples from using Mickey Mouse in advertisments without permission. But since they were not movie characters, it's a bit weak. There are probably articles elsewhere on the Westside case. @vgmkyle Ninja hackers were not hackers, just modders, appart from the nude skins, they did a lot of costumes.

Astarsis
Astarsis

@thumbsdown01x The article is misleading because it wrap two different cases into one. The westside case, judged in Tokyo, was won. Westside was making a tool that allowed to flip a switch and activate "dead code" on the PS2 version of DOA2, the exact same code that allow you to play naked Kasumi. It was won because it defamed Kasumi and was considered copyright infringement. Judgement might have been different after the Dreamcast release ;D The second case is ninja hackers, it was not judged in Tokyo, and it was dismissed. Tecmo LOST. The judge said that he found ridiculous that a game company would sue players for playing a game and having fun with it (modding it). Now, the reason why Ninja Hackers disapeared was made public. The laws has flaws. One of those flaw is that it allow you to sue repeatedly, even without cause. So that's what techno did, they sued repeatedly to the point the site owner would not be able to face the legal cost. They forced him to reach an agreament through bullying. Eventually Tecmo could face charges for legal abuse/harassment, but I doubt a fan would sue his favorite company. But there was an heavy cost for Tecmo among his fanbase, and it played a role in its financial trouble latter, combined with Itagaki misadventures, and him finally leaving the company. So what Tecmo "won" was simply for Ninja Hackers to stop.

thumbsdown01x
thumbsdown01x

@ Astarsis The judge dismissed the case ONLY because of a settlement reached between Team Ninja and Glynn. Federal Judge Charles Kocora would re-instate the case if the settlement wasn't finalized within 30 days. Neither Glenn, or his lawyer would comment on the settlement that was released. Either way, Ninja Hacker is gone, and that is what Team Ninja wanted. You criticized Gamespot for inaccuracy while you are wrong yourself.

Astarsis
Astarsis

Gamespot, I'm very disapinted. Usually we can trust your news 100%, but not in this case. Can you fix this news item ? Starting with the misleading title ? It's completly wrong. Tecmo never defeated DOA hackers in court, they lost the case against Ninja Hacker. In fact they were dismised by the judge who found the case silly. (suing players for playeing the game ... ???) The case they won is against a CORPORATION that was SELLING a naked patch for DOA2. Actually it wasn't even a patch since the nude content was on the original CD and even accessible with cheat code. (in the original DOA2 game) The lawsuit they lost has nothing to do with enabling the nude content and everything to do with making money on the DOA franchise back illegaly. This would be illegal in all coutries even if no nudity was involved. That's one awfully misleading title you got for this article ! What I don't understand is this is the only article out there on that subject that completly screwed up the facts... All the other articles on other sites on that specific lawsuit are clear as crystal. From title to content.