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Nintendo Australia Piracy The Courts Games

Nintendo On the Hunt For More Scalps 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-not-literally dept.
rjch writes "After its recent win against mod chip piracy in the Australian Federal courts, Nintendo is now on the prowl for other companies to sue. 'Nintendo will pursue those who attempt to jeopardise the gaming industry by using all means available to it under the law. In particular, Nintendo is currently contemplating bringing further actions against other sellers of game copying devices in Australia.' The game company said since 2008 it had pursued over 800 actions in 16 countries to stop game piracy, confiscating 'well over' half a million game copiers for the Nintendo DS. The company said piracy affected sales, the price of video games, and employment in the video game industry." Reader daria42 sends in a related piece asking whether Nintendo is being too harsh over this and the recent $1.5 million settlement with a man who leaked New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
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Nintendo On the Hunt For More Scalps

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  • It's all about the business model.

    Another way around it could be to actually offer the game itself for free, but it's restricted until you connect to an online service where you can upgrade and interact with other players.

    But that only works for some games and consoles.

    It's a balancing act to get everything right since if you get it wrong you will insult your customers and loose the business.

    • That's just another way of wording DRM. If someone offers "free" servers or hacks for online games then they'd go after them with full force of the law.

      And it's terrible idea. The reason people like consoles is because it's so simple to just buy a game and play it. I for one hate online pay-for-in-game-items games and excessive monthly subscriptions. I want to buy a full game and play it as much as I want.

  • Right to Tinker. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:35PM (#31211016)
    Conveniently what gets forgotten with "anti-piracy" jackbooting is my right to tinker [freedom-to-tinker.com]. I don't give a damn that console makers want to totally lock down "their" systems. It's not "theirs" its mine, I bought it at the store. All this crap preventing me from running Linux on my XBox without screwing up Live (if I wanted it) is bull. Go away, it's mine - you don't like that? In a perfect world it wouldn't be my problem, but hey, we get the best laws money can buy.
    • Conveniently what gets forgotten with "anti-piracy" jackbooting is my right to tinker.

      There are devices designed for tinkering, such as Macs, other PCs, PDAs running Maemo (now MeeGo), PDAs and phones running Android, and PDAs and phones running Windows Mobile. There are devices designed for controlled tinkering, such as Xbox 360, iPod Touch, and iPhone. And then there are devices not designed for tinkering, such as Sony or Nintendo video game systems and "feature phones". If you plan on tinkering, take the potential for tinkering into account before you buy a device.

      All this crap preventing me from running Linux on my XBox without screwing up Live (if I wanted it) is bull.

      It's Microsoft saying "T

      • by headkase (533448) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @02:12PM (#31211266)
        Where I'm coming from is that it's mine, it's sitting in my living room. I actually can live without Live if it came to that but here's where they get me: someday there will be a system update. This proverbial update will brick my hardware because it assumes that I don't own it. All I'm asking for is a menu option: "Boot other OS" It's simple, and if mandated by government - you know Microsoft won't do it - then there is zero percent chance the proverbial system update will take away my hardware.
        • All I'm asking for is a menu option: "Boot other OS"

          I understand that. Have you tried a used fat PS3 instead of an Xbox 360? And have you tried joining XNA Creators Club, which (incidentally) Apple copied for the iPhone developer program?

          It's simple, and if mandated by government

          I don't see that happening any time soon. In 2002, when the current President of the U.S. Senate was a senator, he introduced anti-counterfeiting legislation [theregister.co.uk] that would have pretty much criminalized homebrew for being "counterfeit".

        • All I'm asking for is a menu option: "Boot other OS"

          In other words, all youre asking for is that they change the product to suit you. The product you bought does not have that option, nor was it advertised as such, and i think it is unreasonable to demand that they call in their developers to modify the product for your preferences.

          Some day you will understand that in the real world, you cant just go buy an iphone, then jailbreak it, then apply an update and brick your phone, and expect to be reimbursed for it. When you take a product out of spec, it is

          • by headkase (533448)
            The root of the issue is that over the last two decades or so law has been continually pushed towards corporate favor. By the time I reached the age where I could reasonably add my voice to the debate the issue has become mostly moot. They stole it, not with this device but over the history of devices. I want my devices back, I don't expect to get them back but at least I can show you as well why I think it is wrong.
        • by nomadic (141991)
          Where I'm coming from is that it's mine, it's sitting in my living room.

          And before it was in your living room, it was in their factory and they built it the way they wanted to, and when they sold it to you they told you what it would do, and I'm fairly sure "run other OSes" was not part of that communication.
          • by headkase (533448)
            They provided me with the initial OS. A cabal of circumstances is preventing me from changing that. As long as something gives and I am able to legally change the OS, or rather supplement it so I don't lose functionality, then I'm happy. Preventing me after the fact says I don't own it even though I bought it.
        • by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>my right to tinker

          Except it was long ago decided that some kinds of "tinkering" are not allowed, under the laws of the U.S. Constitution (and other constitutions around the world). For example during the 1800s you were not allowed to tinker with some scrap metal and make a Cotton Gin out of it, because that invention was the exclusive right of Eli Whitney.

          Neither are you allowed to "tinker" into existence a printing press that makes paper dollars or coins. And by extension, you are not allow

      • I installed linux - ubuntu - on my fat PS3, which was a process actually supported by Sony.
        shame that the newer ones don't support this. anyone would think that sony caught wind that someone had broken the security on the ps3 ;-)
        • Or maybe it hit them that all these researchers were getting really powerful computing devices at a massive discount and at Sony's loss. They dont make money on the console, you know, its the games that make them their money back.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All this crap preventing me from running Linux on my XBox without screwing up Live (if I wanted it) is bull. Go away, it's mine - you don't like that? In a perfect world it wouldn't be my problem, but hey, we get the best laws money can buy.

      You're half right. You own the XBOX, you should have the freedom to tinker. You don't own Live. It's a service, which runs on servers owned and maintained by Microsoft. They (rightfully) are able to do whatever they want with their networks, including but not limited to kicking off modded consoles.

      • by headkase (533448)
        I just want to be able to boot into Linux, have all the fun I want compiling my kernal or what-not *THEN* shutdown Linux, boot normally into XBox and join a live game and *NOT* have my console banned because some nefarious unsupported hack was detected.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And conversely, Microsoft wants people who will be connecting to their matchmaking systems to have stock, default hardware. Microsoft wants to mitigate issues causes by people interested in cheating online. Microsoft wants to minimize the time that they have to spend on CSR because of the modding community.

          I just want to be able to boot into Linux, have all the fun I want compiling my kernal or what-not *THEN* shutdown Linux, boot normally into XBox and join a live game and *NOT* have my console banned because some nefarious unsupported hack was detected.

          Microsoft gives you this option. Go buy a developer kit for several thousand dollars. You can have your cake and eat it too.

          {Writers note: don't get me wrong. I hate the DMCA, I hate copywrong restrictio

          • by tepples (727027)

            And conversely, Microsoft wants people who will be connecting to their matchmaking systems to have stock, default hardware.

            That's not what headkase was talking about. He wants something similar to the "Other OS" support on early revisions of the PLAYSTATION 3 console: an Xbox partition that can see Live but can't see the Linux partition and a Linux partition that can't see Live or the Xbox partition.

          • You are correct, but only to a degree.

            Microsoft should be able to say "We will not accept modified consoles on our servers." It's their server, they can accept or reject whatever they like from it. That's absolutely their right.

            What is not their right, however, is to try to stop (through licensing terms, etc.), anyone from making an alternative server setup glad to accept modded consoles. That's MY server, if I run it, and I should be able to do so if I have the technical chops to make it happen.

            The issue a

            • Although I think with blizzard the issue may also have been the fact that some of the code was probably copyrighted by Blizzard....
              • I'm not entirely sure if that was the case. Even then, I would think myself that using portions for interoperability, for something the original copyright holder has explicitly stated they have no interest in doing, should generally be fair use. But I'm talking about developing something entirely on my own, that just happens to interoperate with what you make. Say, for example, a mod chip that happens to fit a device you make. That's absolutely freedom to tinker and reverse engineer.

        • You bought the wrong product; the device youre looking for is called a "PC", and it is advertised with this ability.
    • by Duradin (1261418)
      And why exactly should any company be required to provide a service to an out of spec or non-compliant device? Other than you wanting to eat your cake and have it too? Especially when part of the service is providing a gaming service between supposed equal consoles and to provide a level playing field.
      • And why exactly should any company be required to provide a service to an out of spec or non-compliant device?

        Car analogy time. In fact, it's so blatantly obvious I won't even bother writing it down. Instead, I'll turn your claim on its head. Why exactly should any company be allowed to refuse to provide a service to a compatible device?

        • Why exactly should any company be allowed to refuse to provide a service to a compatible device?

          Discrimination against customers can be illegal if it is against customers in a legally protected group (e.g. race, color, creed, sex) or if the seller has "market power" in the relevant market. Microsoft has no monopoly in set-top video game players (Sony, Nintendo, and Acer make nice ones), and modders do not form a legally protected group. So this discrimination falls under freedom of contract [google.com].

    • Conveniently what gets forgotten with "anti-piracy" jackbooting is my right to tinker. I don't give a damn that console makers want to totally lock down "their" systems. It's not "theirs" its mine, I bought it at the store.

      Perhaps it gets forgotten because there is no such thing as the "right to tinker". Read the contract you agreed to when you bought the device. It's yours, but still you don't necessarily have the "right to tinker". People enter into contracts with one another which involves transaction
      • by headkase (533448)
        In effect I am being sentenced for the actions of other people. Really. Just because something is in a contract doesn't make it right, and eventually seen: legal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordLimecat (1103839)
          You agreed to the contract though! So you really dont have a leg to stand on-- and if this was a case of "shrink wrap contract" that "I didnt have a chance to read :( " then you should have returned it-- unlike software, 99% of stores have NO issue supplying refunds for consoles. It really sounds like youre bitter because the world doesnt revolve around you and MS didnt build the features you want into the device you purchased. Why dont you just build your own damn powerpc setup and tinker with it instea
          • by headkase (533448)
            Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. Before I broke free on my PC I was forced to use Windows to enjoy the right everyone else has: entertainment software. With no other manufacturer being better than any other, I bought an Xbox 360 to Free my PC. My PC now is Linux and my entertainment has been shifted to a different monopoly corner of my living room. Being a monopoly - collectively, no console maker now offers Freedom (sorry PS3 Linux) - I am still *forced* to agree to their terms to enjoy what everyo
    • Sony tried suing modchippers in Australia with no success I don't think nintendo will have any more luck.

    • Actually in the case of the DS and all past Nintendo portables, they were very easy to tinker with and it was only until the mass pirating on the DS that Nintendo decided to put region protection in the DSi for DSi only games.

      Things, like the R4 cart aren't new. The GBC has similar items but it's much, much more rampant these days and quite frankly I don't blame them. Your right to tinker also goes away if they go under.
      • by headkase (533448)
        If Microsoft put a "Boot Other OS" option in an Xbox 360 it would not magically get access to all the encrypted software that is included with one. I'm not asking to be able to cheat in or pirate games. I can boot another operating system on an Xbox 360 without doing either of those. Microsoft and other console makers are either conflating the issue or deliberately not clarifying it when it comes to tinkering. Preventing tinkering is a business decision not a technical one, that is the road to monopoly
  • by Scoth (879800) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:38PM (#31211030)

    Personally, looking at what homebrew was available and such for a DS was a large portion of the reason I bought it in the first place. I also got good use out of DSLinux for random stuff until I got my ipod touch (jailbroken, of course) which gives me everything dslinux has and more.

    It's a shame there's not a better way to separate out the homebrew and piracy. Although I suppose Nintendo probably wouldn't like the homebrew either since it's "competition"

    • Instead of buying hardware (DS, iPod) from hostile manufactures and having to crack them simply to use your own devices, why don't you vote with your money and buy a SmartQ V5 [pocketables.net]? It's small, cheap, waaay more powerful than a DS and it runs Ubuntu 9.10 and Android.

      Or the V7 if you want a bigger screen (warning: don't confuse them with the older SmartQ 5 and SmartQ 7).

      Or any of the many lesser known cheap Linux tablets/MIDs from small Chinese vendors. Many of them are just one apt-get away from being extrem

      • why don't you vote with your money and buy a SmartQ V5?

        Because it didn't exist in the fourth quarter of 2005 when I bought my DS. PassMe + GBA Movie Player did exist. I was going to buy a Pandora PDA [open-pandora.org] instead, but after it got delayed so much, I bought an Asus Eee PC and put Ubuntu on it instead.

      • by Scoth (879800)

        Same as tepples, there weren't a lot of those sort of things around when I bought the DS. Especially not at the pricepoint of a DS. The SmartQ is actually pretty neat looking, might look into it.

        It is very nice to see some very interesting things coming out of the Chinese manufacturers these days. For so long all you saw were crappy knockoffs (Pop Station) or incredibly cheap crap.

    • It's a shame there's not a better way to separate out the homebrew and piracy.

      There is a way, it's what the PS3 did: provide limited access to the hardware out of the box. This way, Linux tinkerers and emulator/homebrew players get (mostly) what they want, and pirates get nothing. Surprise surprise, the one system that followed this approach is still unhacked because not nearly as many intelligent people have had the motivation to hack it.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:51PM (#31211136) Journal

    Nintendo On the Hunt For More Scalps

    Certainly one way to look at it. Here's a spectrum of possible headlines:

    • Nintendo Promises Investors That Sales Will Be Protected
    • Nintendo Goes on Offensive to Protect Bread and Butter
    • Nintendo Values Low Percentage of Sales Over Homebrew
    • Nintendo Sets Legal Precedent, Proceeds to Push the Envelope with More Prosecutions
    • Nintendo On the Hunt For More Scalps
    • After Realizing Its Bloodlust Has Not Yet Been Satiated, Nintendo Creaks Open Its Coffin to Aim Its Legion of Lawyers on More Third Party Companies Just Looking to Make a Buck by Helping Hobbyists Only to Be Raped by Nintendo in Front of Their Own Children By Way of the Twisted "Justice" System the World Has Come to Embrace

    So, congratulations, you had one final step to go before I would have considered your headline over the top or 'spin.'

  • The 1.5 million dollar "Judgement" over the SMBW leak was actually an out of court settlement, it never went to trial and the agreement was sealed. The likely scenario is that Nintendo had him by the balls but offered him a deal...become the posterboy of "Piracy Baaad, Nintendo Gooood" and they let him off the hook. The way they have been wheeling around liking a walking public service announcement I highly doubt real money was involved at all. But so far its done the trick, lots of people freaked out.

  • by drej (1663541)
    The only reason I kept my Wii is because of all the homebrew you can run on it. If it weren't for that I'd have sold it a long time ago. Why is Nintendo so eager to alienate everyone who isn't a housewive or a "casual gamer"? Why are they trying so hard to alienate their entire former fanbase? First they stomp down on the fanmade Zelda movie, now they're prowling around sueing everyone they don't like. Why? As if piracy is really hindering their profits. The main customers for Nintendo are now casual gamers
    • by mark-t (151149)
      It has been made quite clear that Nintendo does not care if they lose the market segment that is not interested in utilizing Nintendo hardware within the parameters that Nintendo desires. Whether this sort of attitude makes any sense at all to other people is immaterial... it is still their choice to make.
    • Why Wii? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      The only reason I kept my Wii is because of all the homebrew you can run on it.

      What makes a Wii better for homebrew than, say, the Aspire Revo that drinkypoo mentioned [slashdot.org]? Is Wii's Hollywood GPU really that much more powerful than a GeForce 9400M, and if so, does homebrew really take advantage of it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drej (1663541)
        I'm not saying it's better. It's just the only reason I kept my Wii, which I've originally bought for the games oh so long ago. As there are barely any games left worth playing (at least for me) the ability to run homebrew relatively hassle-free (you don't even need a modchip) was a huge reason for me to keep it. Of course there are other, and probably better alternatives, but why buy another piece of equipment when you already got a working one you're not using for anything else? (I know I'm voicing only m
        • by tepples (727027)
          I understand your sentiment. I bought my Wii for Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy, and I'm keeping it for Wii Sports, Brawl, and homebrew, though I'm not planning to buy (or even pirate) any more new Wii games after 1. the disappointment that was Animal Crossing 3 and 2. Nintendo's actions against makers of tools used by hobbyists. But if I were starting today, I'd just get the Aspire Revo and not run the risk of Nintendo finally wising up and making Wii Menu 5.0 actually secure.
  • Next: North American Indians file "IP" infringement claim over the collecting of scalps.

    Then: Nintendo releases "Custers' Revenge", "Dr. Mario: Smallpox Edition"

  • I have no problems with them going after legitimate game pirates or real sea pirates. I DO however have a huge problem with them/corporations trying to make it illegal to tinker, modify, sell, wipe my ass with hardware that I own. I bought it and its mine if you don't like it you can come and pick up your "rented property" and give me my money back.
  • This is pretty much how this is going to end in meme form:

    First they came for those selling counterfeit games, but I did not speak because I don't play counterfeit games.

    Then they came for those rip games for personal use, but I did not speak because I don't rip modern games.

    Then they came for those who play decades old games on emulators, but I did not speak because I don't play on emulators.

    Then they came for those making novel romhacks, but I did not speak because I don't play romhacks.

    Then they came for

  • It was understood that you couldn't put any technology in your console that would effectively cut out competition (e.g. the console checks to make sure your copyright appears in the cartridge before it will let it run).

    Then the courts screwed things up.

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)

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