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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.


R4 cartridge company ordered to cease sales down under.
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 Web site, declined to comment on the matter. The reported judgement has not yet been made available online.

But 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.”

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