Tecmo lawsuit tackles volleyball voyeurs
Ninja Gaiden publisher accuses Web site of promoting hacking in a copyright infringement case taken to a US District Court.
Tecmo today publicized a lawsuit it filed last month targeting the proprietors of www.ninjahacker.net, an online meeting ground for those intent on hacking Team Ninja-created games.
Filed in the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, on January 25, the lawsuit names Mike Greiling and Will Glynn as "creating, hosting and contributing content to a forum created to foster and facilitate the knowing infringement of Tecmo's proprietary software for its video game titles." The lawsuit claims the pair trafficked in technology designed for the purpose of circumventing copyright protection systems built into the games, which violates the US Copyright Act, among other laws.
The complaint also addresses violations that include "various modifications to the source code for Tecmo games" including the creation of "several skins…designed to make Tecmo Characters appear naked." Games the alleged hackers are accused of applying their energy toward include Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, and Dead or Alive Ultimate.
"This is not play money," Tecmo general manager John Inada told GameSpot. "What we've invested [in our games] is millions and millions of dollars…this is real cash, not play money."Regarding the M-rated skins, Inada said, "It's not an issue of nudity. It's simply the violation of our IP (intellectual property) and the code."
Tecmo says it has hired a forensics firm to "go after the worst violators." In a statement, the company says it "has pursued and will continue to conduct a widespread investigation to find and identify all offenders in this case."
The claim lists six counts or instances of violation, including direct copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, circumvention of copyright protection systems and trafficking in circumvention technology, violation of the Uniform Unfair Trade Practices Act, and common law unfair competition. Tecmo is seeking a jury trial.
Inada said the company has long pursued hackers in Japan, taking violators to the supreme court in that region. The company intends to track as many of those who participated in the exchanging of code, although it is starting its pursuit in this case only with Greiling and Glynn.
As for Microsoft's involvement in the case (as the claims revolve around only those games released on the Xbox platform), apparently there is none. Inada said, "I understand why they can't come and rescue us. I know they have a full team of lawyers [for game and Windows-related issues." He added, "These [hackers] must have a modified Xbox--it should be of great concern to them."