Nintendo has won a Federal Court case against an online retailer and distributor who sold modified chips notoriously used for playing pirated games.
R4 chips are modified cartridges that can be inserted into a Nintendo DS device to play download games. The chips has gained a huge following with numerous websites and small IT retailers selling the product. DS games can then be downloaded online and uploaded onto the chip.
IT accessories company, RSJ IT Solutions, now trading under GearCentro, sold R4 chips on a number of websites. In September, Nintendo initiated court proceedings against the organisation, which was then ordered to pay the gaming giant $520,000 in damages on February 16. Additional respondents, Patrick Li and James Li were ordered to pay $100,000.
Nintendo spokesperson, Heather Murphy, said the law is clear on how to deal with R4 distributors.
“Game copiers used to copy video game software without authorisation onto any type of memory device or the hard drive of a personal computer is illegal in Australia,” she said. “They infringe copyright in computer programs in Nintendo Products and infringe Nintendo trademarks.
“They are also circumvention devices. The manufacturing, importing or distributing of circumvention devices is prohibited under the Copyright Act.”
Murphy highlighted the impact piracy has on game sales and how it has a trickle down effect to the wider games industry.
“Less sales of our hardware and software systems means less resources Nintendo, its licensee, developers and publishers have to create and market new video game products,” she said. “Of course, when there is a decrease in game development, there is also a decrease in the number of jobs in the industry.
“The existence of piracy jeapordises the strength of the video games industry overall.”
The Federal Court further stated RSJ IT Solutions must stop the sale of the chip through any of its other retail websites including gadgetgear.com.au. The accessories company is also required to submit an affidavit to identify the names and contact details of all suppliers it stocked R4 chips from.
This is the second court case Nintendo has won in the Australian court this year. Earlier this month, Queensland man, James Burt, was ordered to fork out $1.5 million to the games company for uploading a copy of the Nintendo Wii game, Super Mario Bros, before its official release in Australia.
GearCentro were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.