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Retail

R4 cartridges ruled illegal in the UK

Wed 28 Jul 2010 12:22pm GMT / 8:22am EDT / 5:22am PDT
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Nintendo wins High Court battle against import, sale and advertising of piracy devices for DS handheld

London's High Court has ruled that the sale, import and advertising of DS copying devices such as the R4 cartridge is illegal in the UK.

The ruling was made against Playables Ltd, a supplier of gadgets and electronics devices to the UK, ordering defendant Wai Dat Chan to stop selling the items immediately.

Playables had argued that the devices, readily available to buy on the internet for as little as 10, allowed uses to play homebrew software, but the court noted that Nintendo's security systems must be circumvented before any software can be played on the DS.

Nintendo said it takes action against piracy not only on its own behalf, but to support the 1400 development companies creating games for its devices. It said that in the UK over 100,000 copying devices have been seized since 2009.

Last week Nintendo won a case in the Hague District Court against 11 retailers accused of selling Wii and DS piracy hardware.

30 Comments

Shane Sweeney
Academic

349 250 0.7
ha. Deemed legal in the US one day, and illegal in the UK another.

Posted:4 years ago

#1

Josef Brett
Animator

296 0 0.0
This won't stop anything. A few will be seized from one company, but another will fill it's place to sell more.

Posted:4 years ago

#2

Florian Schwarzer
Producer

8 0 0.0
When you're the most successful platform owner on the planet, keeping things the same is rather the point.

Posted:4 years ago

#3

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Shane, it's still not legal in the US. That new bill only allows you to crack security to investigate potential security risks to yourself. If you cant' document that was your intent, it's illegal. And it applies to PC games only. See text below:

4) Video games accessible on personal computers and protected by technological protection measures that control access to lawfully obtained works, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of good faith testing for, investigating, or correcting security flaws or vulnerabilities, if:

(i) The information derived from the security testing is used primarily to promote the security of the owner or operator of a computer, computer system, or computer network; and

(ii) The information derived from the security testing is used or maintained in a manner that does not facilitate copyright infringement or a violation of applicable law.

Posted:4 years ago

#4
About time. Nintendo will start recouping some of their losses from the individuals profiting from the sale of the devices.

Lets see what they have planned for the 3DS.

Posted:4 years ago

#5

Martyn Brown
Managing Director

136 33 0.2
Horse has already bolted.

Posted:4 years ago

#6

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

730 411 0.6
I don't begrudge Nintendo and other companies going after the pirates.... However, i seriously doubt there'll be much increased revenue from otherwise 'lost sales'. Michael, how will they recoup their losses? Where does the money suddenly come from? I doubt that the people who did pirate DS games (the only person i ever knew who did so was for his son) will want to actually be spending the money in the first place. Not only that but those people already have R4 devices and they already have the games that they wanted....

[edit]
The good thing with this ruling is that it sets the precedent for future devices on both the DSi and 3DS.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 28th July 2010 2:57pm

Posted:4 years ago

#7

Graeme Struthers
Project Manager

9 0 0.0
horse turned up. bloody fat

Posted:4 years ago

#8
James, surely Nintendo are playing the long game here. The R4 has done its damage, by attempting to limit its effects now they can prepare for the 3DS and stop it happening again and for future consoles.

It doesn't matter that "the horse has bolted".

Posted:4 years ago

#9

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

945 161 0.2
This won't exactly stop it but every step counts right?

Posted:4 years ago

#10
While I think it's a good thing that this makes piracy more difficult, I think it's a bit of a shame that it also has a negative effect on homebrew.

I think homebrew console development is and has been a very positive thing for the industry, both by allowing newcomers the ability to practice their skills on real console hardware, and by encouraging more interesting and unique games to be made, as was the case in the days of the ZX Spectrum.

To be fair though, Sony and Microsoft have done a lot to encourage this with Net Yaroze, Playstation 2 Linux, and XNA, so it's not like there aren't any options left.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bryan Robertson on 28th July 2010 4:01pm

Posted:4 years ago

#11

Martyn Brown
Managing Director

136 33 0.2
Try getting a decent 3rd party dev deal for DS/Wii, if the horse hasn't bolted.

Glad we're out of that.

Posted:4 years ago

#12

Graeme Struthers
Project Manager

9 0 0.0
making glue now

Posted:4 years ago

#13

Saehoon Lee
Lead technical artist

50 3 0.1
maybe it will come back with different name :D

Posted:4 years ago

#14

Florian Schwarzer
Producer

8 0 0.0
Martyn, I agree, but there's a justified argument for another product bubble two years from now, when the 3DS has saturated the market. Maybe the horse has bolted, but it might just come galloping back anyway.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Florian Schwarzer on 28th July 2010 5:43pm

Posted:4 years ago

#15

Christopher Bowen
Owner, Gaming Bus

118 0 0.0
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Kill the R4 and similar devices, and others will simply take their places. Whether or not they're "illegal" has no bearing on the people who would use these devices for what is their intended use (don't believe the "homebrew!" crap for a second).

I'm typically against anything that is a victory for Nintendo, because Nintendo only acts in their own best interests and does not care about the consumer. But it is hard to really justify the R4 on its merits.

Posted:4 years ago

#16

gi biz
;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Correct me if I'm wrong - more games sold equals increased revenues for publishers only (unless Nintendo touches a percentage on sales), and possibly less game units sold (those going for an "initial investment" and for free games later will turn away), so it seems this will favour publishers (and maybe small devs) now, and Nintendo only in the long run. They're being indirectly not selfish :)
Still, I bet you can get an R4 online from some remote country rather easily, which risks to create black market sales on ebay and similar.
Guys, piracy is such a mess.

Posted:4 years ago

#17

Shane Sweeney
Academic

349 250 0.7
Jimmy Webb, true but I think you can make a case that the R4 enables access to lawfully obtained third party content in the US now. Without the R4, I can't use my DS as an Mp3 player or use it to play Home Brew games which is a very real subculture of lawfully obtained content.

Just because the R4 and Bit Torrent is used 97% of the time to break copyright laws, doesnt mean the technology itself should be illegal.

Posted:4 years ago

#18

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Shane, that might be valid if the DS were the iPhone. These new exceptions still do not allow what you are suggesting. The "jail-breaking" exception applies to smart phones only. Not portable video game consoles.

Take a look at the actual government document. It might give you a better understanding of what is and is not a part of the new exemptions.
http://www.copyright.gov/1201/

Posted:4 years ago

#19

Pierre Vandenbroucke
Assistant de production

47 0 0.0
People that want to train in programming/game design/dev shoud try the GP2X/Wiz, don't you think?

Of course the audience is waaaaay smaller than the DS installbase (maybe even the R4 install base) but I think people that use the Wiz are more open towards the community, the console is well documented and I think people sharing their work have more feedback on their product than in the mountain of DS software.

People can also work on PC or flash games, no?

I'm no dev (but might have liked being a game designer), what do you dev people think?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GP2X_Wiz

Posted:4 years ago

#20

gi biz
;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Jimmy, I don't mean to personally attack you, and I don't really mind about R4 as I don't have a DS nor plan to buy one, but did you ever ask yourself if those laws you keep mentioning have a sense for you?
I mean, the law is the final product that represents what's been chosen asright and moral, not the manual to learn what is right and moral from.

Frankly, if I want to listen to my MP3s via the DS or the entry phone of the office building, why should anyone care?

Posted:4 years ago

#21

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
You work at a developer and you have to question why a console holder would be against products that allow people to damage you and your vendors business?

I understand consumer rights but rights should never infringe on someone else's rights. Consumers being granted the legal right to infringe on the copyright of another is a preposterous notion.

And those laws make perfect sense to me. I will utilize my DS in a manner I see fit so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

Posted:4 years ago

#22

Robin Clarke
Producer

18 0 0.0
So are Nintendo Europe now going to make available some of the games and applications they have European distribution rights for but don't make available either as a physical product or a download? Korg DS10/Plus for example.

I suspect that at least some R4 users are unserved customers rather than people who flatly refuse to pay for DS software.

Posted:4 years ago

#23

Damien Robson
Studying Games Software Development

15 0 0.0
If the cards are now illegal, why is it that you can go to any search engine, type in R4 etc. and be presented with a massive list of sellers? On a similar note, go to any search engine and do a search for DS roms. The list of results stretches into the millions, so surely something needs to be done about this too? Otherwise, you're just proposing a bigger challenge to people who are determined to avoid paying for licenced products.

Nintendo have already started proceedings against a number of sites, which now carry notifications that "...the owner of this game contacted us with concerns that our service was doing more harm than good, so ... we have complied with their request to remove their intellectual property".

Posted:4 years ago

#24

Jarryd Key
Analyst

13 0 0.0
If this was enacted to stop piracy, I certainly hope Nintendo sees a precipitous increase in revenue in the UK. Otherwise, the legitimate homebrew scene was trampled for no actual gain.

If R4s are deemed illegal due to their ability to illegally house copyrighted material, shouldn't that apply to all blank media. What of DVD-Rs? I'm sure there are many more DVD-Rs with swiped movies than R4s packed with pirated DS games.

Posted:4 years ago

#25

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Jarryd, I think the difference is intent. The majority of blank DVD media owners don't own it to pirate movies while the majority of R4 owners own one to pirate games. There s also the difference in being an open medium to a closed medium.

Besides, with blank optical mediums, there is a built in fee in the price that goes to the MPAA and/or RIAA. At least in North America there is. This extra fee added to the price is supposed to be a piracy fee that is collected to help regain the some of the losses due to piracy. Sadly no artist ever sees a dime of this money and legitimate blank media owners must also pay this hidden fee. But that is the reason they allow blank optical media to exist....because the representatives of the copyright holders gain millions every year from it.

Posted:3 years ago

#26

Christopher Bowen
Owner, Gaming Bus

118 0 0.0
Here's a question I've been pondering:

What about classic ROMs? They're still trying to make money off of those, why isn't Nintendo trying to shut down ROM sites? Have they given up (probably, if their poor Virtual Console support is indicative)?

I've been trying to ask this question for months, but anytime I ask for a response from a company about it, I'm ignored. I haven't even gotten a boilerplate, and these are from companies we're friendly with.

Posted:3 years ago

#27

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
I've read about ROM sites catering to classic games get shut down before so they are still actively pursuing them. The problem is volume and piracy from multiple fronts. You have to prioritize what legal resources you have can and I suspect classic catering ROM sites are a lower priority than sites that cater to modern games.

Posted:3 years ago

#28

Christopher Bowen
Owner, Gaming Bus

118 0 0.0
OK, but what ROM sites were they, specifically? For example, I've heard of ROM sites that have ROMs, but not *certain* ROMs; for example, they won't put up Mario games because the ESA asked them not to. Obviously, not everyone plays nice, but are the only ones getting shut down the ones that don't play nice and happen to be in a country that's somewhat tougher on copyright protection?

Posted:3 years ago

#29

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Christopher, I'm not on their legal team so I can only provide my viewpoints and logic. Again the issue is priority. Which infringements cause the most current damage to themselves, their vendors and publishers? That is the question they would ask themselves and would then follow through with whatever legal grounds they can use.

Don't forget that they aren't working alone on this. Many times they are simply the lead plaintiff in the suit with dozens of publishers also on board.

Posted:3 years ago

#30

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