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Australia Hardware Hacking Nintendo Portables (Games) The Courts Games Build

Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Over R4 Mod Chip Piracy 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
schliz writes "The Federal Court has ordered an Australian distributor to pay Nintendo over half a million dollars for selling the R4 mod chip, which allows users to circumvent technology protection measures in Nintendo's DS consoles. The distributor, RSJ IT Solutions, has been ordered to cease selling the chip through its gadgetgear.com.au site and any other sites it controls, as well as paying Nintendo $520,000 in damages."
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Nintendo Wins Lawsuit Over R4 Mod Chip Piracy

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  • by bbqsrc (1441981) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:22AM (#31182444) Homepage
    Did the Playstation chipping case occur before or after the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement? If you weren't aware, our copyright laws were heavily modified by that "trade" agreement.
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:29AM (#31182486) Journal

    Oh goodie. Yet another thing to thank Johnny Howard for.

    Given I'm talking about the original playstation (which is when I heard about this legal loophole that allowed stores to openly selling their services to chip playstations) and the PS2 came out in 2000, I'm going to assume it happened before the free trade agreement ;) (I don't remember the exact date I saw stores openly selling playstation modding services, but I do remember being quite surprised and either seeing something about it on the news or looking it up on the internet).

    That said don't misconstrue this as to have any actual sympathy for people selling devices to get around copyright protection. I understand that these devices can be used for homebrewing. And I'll support the first to support any company that actually tries to make a business out of homebrewing for the Nintendo DS. But first that company will have to do a pretty damn good job convincing me they really are trying to make a business out of homebrewing and aren't using it as a legal pretext to allow people to pirate DS games.

  • by Zedrick (764028) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @08:07AM (#31182696)
    Only one legal defence should be needed: I have the right to do whatever I want with stuff I've bought.

    Luckily I live in a free country where I'm able to do that (and buy/sell modchips for whatever purpose) - at least for now.
  • by mustafap (452510) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @08:29AM (#31182802) Homepage

    >Sure you do but profiting off it is another matter.

    I hope you don;t mean that.

    If I buy object "a", and create useful additions to that object, I bloody well should be able to profit from it.

    If the leased me the DS then it would be a different matter. But I purchased it, so I shouldn't be considered a criminal if I hack it, paint it, blow it up, whatever. It's now mine, and my business what I do with it.

  • Re:TPM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @08:56AM (#31182992)

    It most obviously does NOT mean "technical measures which protects from running unauthorized code", because then the R4 wouldn't exist.

    If there was such a thing as a 100% reliable technical protection measure, there would be no need for such a law to exist.

  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:20AM (#31183220)
    I do agree (partially) with what you say in principle, but it's not quite that black and white. If you buy a gun you're not free to remove the serial number, nor are you free to fire it indiscriminantly into the air. If you buy a car you're not free to add a nitrous system to it if you want to drive it on the street. You buy a house you're not free to add a massive extension without permission. Life is full of these little rules that are there for good reason.

    I'm sure Nintendo don't really care if you crack open your DS and start playing about with it. They do care if you crack it open, modify it to circumvent their security and start playing pirated games on it. Similarly, they're obviously very concerned about a device that, let's face it, is used almost entirely for playing pirated games.
  • It's your system (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:41AM (#31183430)
    You should be allowed to do what ever you want to your system. Are they going to sue me for putting a mod chip in my Game Cube? Modding my SNES? Even modding my Gameboy. If you paid for the system you can do what you want to it.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:19AM (#31183904)
    It's funny now to go back and look at "Mad Max" and realize that the premise of that movie was that the future of Australia would involve too much lawlessness and a lack of legal enforcement (criminals going free, no law to protect citizens, etc.). Now here we are in the actual future and Australia of late is looking at actively censoring the internet, banning any videogame that shows blood, imposing criminal and civil sanctions on people for modding their videogame consoles, and even banning criticism of lawmakers. It seems that the Australia of 2010 turned out to be more of a police state than a free-wheeling lawless anarchy. Turns Tina Turner was right. We didn't really need Max at all.
  • by Tjebbe (36955) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:19AM (#31183916) Homepage

    True, and in this case it's not even a chip, just a game card where you can insert a memory card, and run your own stuff.

    I have one, and it only contains one game; nethack-ds. I fail to see how that would be illegal.

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:37AM (#31184124) Journal

    So GP posts to a site about a homebrew/indie game to give an example of a reason to legitimately own an R4 (or similar device) and you come back with "The R4 used entirely for counterfeiting and piracy?"

    Do you work for Nintendo's PR department, or are you just functionally illiterate? And if there is a legitimate use (even if it is, as you claim "Very little") then why the hell would those who use it as such NOT cry foul at the sale of the device being banned?

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:12AM (#31184640) Homepage

    This nonsense is why I never used an xbox as an HTPC. Although I used a hacked AppleTV in this capacity for awhile.

    Then cheaper, open, PC hardware surpassed both of those "consoles".

    Still, being able to do what I want with those physical things that I own
    can be very handy and can add value to "appliances". The notion that you
    assume by default that such hacks are only for piracy is fundementaly
    anti-democratic.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:12AM (#31184646) Homepage

    I wrote a fairly popular DS app a few years ago, but I saw the writing on the wall for this platform. Between Nintendo making it harder to get these chips, and cell phones becoming more open, I don't see much point in writing for the DS. It's a shame: I think Nintendo could be where Apple is today with the iPhone, had they opened the DS. It had so much potential. Now, it is simply out of date.

  • by boondaburrah (1748490) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:07PM (#31185552)
    Y'know, I was actually thinking about getting a DS, but now that I can't load up emulators for older systems (like my GameBoy Pocket) or homebrew games, I might have to get a PSP. It seems you can't have both a system that's well known for a good library of games, popular, and a system that's open to homebrew (officially or otherwise) in the same package. Of course, there's Windows, I guess - but I'm tired of dealing with all of the slight-little driver issues to full blown failures of my computer and such with PC gaming, and would like a console that's open for development without this app-store xbox-live approval (sdk costs money) nonsense. It would appear that game publishers would avoid a console like that like the plague though, for fear that someone will develop a "Game Backup Tool." Of course, if consoles create a legal, fair way to backup games and do homebrew, then there would be little to no reason to hack except for piracy. Unless you're hacking for hacking's sake, in which case you probably don't care about whatever online service they'll ban you from anyway.
  • by rattaroaz (1491445) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:26PM (#31185854)

    If I buy object "a", and create useful additions to that object, I bloody well should be able to profit from it.

    I hope you don't mean that. If your rights interfere in a corporation's ability to make money in even a theoretical, possible, not necessarily plausible way, you no longer have any more rights. Now, if you were a multi-billion dollar corporation, then okay, your statement is accurate.

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:32PM (#31185946)

    I'm not entirely up to speed on the whole thing, but I think that that mentality (which frankly is pretty stuck on itself in the first place) is upset when the company provides a service, such as online play; if your unauthorized additions may cause tremendous upset in online play, such as by allowing hacking in online play, then those people are detrimental to the future of your platform, not merely game sales.

    You see it a lot in online games on the PC; in order to prevent cheating on multiplayer, they have to have draconian addons running in the background to monitor for hacks, memory viewers/editors, etc. These systems are also themselves imperfect and have in many cases caused PCs to crash, etc. I don't for a moment believe that popularity of gaming on the console as opposed to PC is unrelated to this. Frankly, the existence of a console that it is forbidden to mod is also the reason why they don't have crippling DRM; they simply assume that a cartridge is either good or it isn't, and that's that.

    So by all means, force them to implement harsher and harsher restrictions in software merely so that they can keep their platform's reputation and game sales. What possible repercussions could there be?

  • Re:How the... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:51PM (#31187046) Homepage

    That's just it though, it doesn't modify the functionality of the internal hardware in any way...as far as the DS knows, a normal game cartridge has been loaded into the cartridge slot. That's why you can use it without modifying the DS handheld.

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