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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 aussie_a (778472) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:14AM (#31182404) Journal

    The distributor advises consumers to use their modification devices for legal reasons only, such as playing legal copies of games from different regions

    Wait, what? I thought handhelds (both the Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and PSP) weren't region-locked, but were in fact region-free. This allows people to play games from any region without having to resort to "chipping" their devices (which can often cause permanent damage). If the Nintendo DS is region-free, how could this be a legal purpose for this device? Or is it, in fact, region-locked?

  • by bbqsrc (1441981) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:18AM (#31182422) Homepage
    This article seems rather flawed. R4 is a cartridge that takes micro-SDHC cards that could use homebrew applications on your DS. The DS is not region-locked whatsoever. They're evidently attempting to apply previous understanding of consoles to this one and falling rather short.

    This is also not the only homebrew cartridge available for the DS, and by far not the best, but probably the most well known. I bought one so I could use emulators and DSLinux :)
  • Re:TPM? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:20AM (#31182434) Homepage
    But by that logic, couldn't you simply state that the entire system is a technical protection measure, and that by using anything with it that is unlicensed by $company is suddenly breaking the law? That seems to be what happened here.
  • by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:20AM (#31182440) Journal

    Modding consoles, selling chips to mod consoles and selling services to mod consoles have been deemed legal in Australia in the past due to the justification that they allow you to play backed up versions of games you've legally bought. Of course this is a valid reason to want to mod a console, but its also a "nudge nudge, wink wink" situation as the people who would actually mod their console only for playing backed up versions of their game would be in the extreme minority.

    But this bullshit justification has always been enough in the past to stop people from facing the consequences of selling chips to get around DRM in consoles. So how come the excuse didn't work this time? Is it because its a civil trial? I understand the burden of proof is much less in civil, but if this was a successful avenue for corporations to take, I'm sure Sony would have done it years ago with the original Playstation. Did the defendants in this case mess up and get caught actively encouraging people to use their chip to pirate games?

    I RTFA, but it was completely silent on how Nintendo managed to win this court case.

  • How the... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @08:57AM (#31182998) Homepage

    Considering this is Slashdot, how has no one explicitely pointed out that the R4 isn't a modchip?

  • Re:TPM? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:56AM (#31183650)

    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.

    Most laws exist without any need for them.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:04PM (#31185510) Homepage Journal

    I have an R4 which I use to load my own code to the DS. I never used it to play pirated ROMs. The R4 does have legitimate uses as a development tool.

    From my experience you are probably amongst the exceptions. I always find it odd that while the DS is one of the biggest selling consoles and ranks high in sales charts, its games don't - I don't whether this is due to the impact of the R4 or some other factor that I am not taking into consideration.

    It would be nice to see lower priced games for the DS, especially a good number of them seem to have had the same development effort as some of the games for the iPod Touch.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:24PM (#31185818) Homepage Journal

    If that isn't a lawsuit in the making then I don't know what is.

    I don't know much about copyright law in Australia, but at least in the United States, an argument from a copyrighted boot sector doesn't hold legal water, not even after the DMCA. See Sega v. Accolade and Lexmark v. Static Control Components.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:27PM (#31185864) Homepage Journal

    It did not say:
    (3) You can copy almost an entire game verbatim in order to exploit it to run your own code

    Sega v. Accolade didn't, but another case did [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:30PM (#31185902) Homepage Journal

    I gotta admit I can list off about 16 people who all own DS's and Modchips, and half of them have yet to pay for a legal copy of a game for the DS. The other half run *mostly* modded games. None of them use the R4 for any legal 3rd party applications.

    Then add tepples as #17 and replace "None" with "One". The microSD card that I used with my R4 back when I was still into DS includes MoonShell, DSOrganize, Colors!, Lockjaw, and a couple saved game management utilities, but no pirated DS games.

  • freedom protection (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sixsixtysix (1110135) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:00PM (#31186364)
    i don't care if 99% use something for piracy, the other 1% should never be affected. i should be allowed to tinker with whatever i buy, and if i can do something myself, i should be able to pay someone else to do it for me, whether it be modding my own hardware(or am i licensing the hardware?) or archiving my legally purchased media to whatever format i choose(seeing as i am allowed to record and archive content off the tv, why can't i use the internet as a dvr?).
    what's even more ridiculous is the bullshit development licensing consoles have in the first place. anyone for that system, would have to be for development licensing fees on windows, linux, mac, etc. they are all computers ffs!

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