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Nintendo The Courts Wii Games

Man Fined $1.5 Million For Leaked Mario Game 287

An anonymous reader writes "A Queensland man will have to pay Nintendo $1.5 million in damages after illegally copying and uploading one of its recent games to the internet ahead of its release, the gaming giant says. Nintendo said the loss was caused when James Burt made New Super Mario Bros Wii available for illegal download a week ahead of its official Australian release in November of last year. Nintendo applied for and was granted a search order by the Federal Court, forcing Burt to disclose the whereabouts of all his computers, disks and electronic storage devices in November. He was also ordered to allow access, including passwords, to his social networking sites, email accounts and websites."
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Man Fined $1.5 Million For Leaked Mario Game

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  • Re:Proportionality. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:30AM (#31070682)

    In most countries bankruptcy does not delete money owed in judgements. I don't know how that works in Australia though.

  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <{moc.tfosnacram} {ta} {rotceh}> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:41AM (#31070744) Homepage

    95% of the modchips out there are trivial to detect. They'll have stupid stuff like custom commands that can be used to identify them, and broken or flat out incorrect implementations of standard commands. Seriously. They aren't even trying. This isn't even remotely in the same league as Xbox 360 hacks and the like, which have evolved to be quite a bit stealthier due to Microsoft's detection efforts.

    As for the exploit, it's the downgrade hole originally used by Comex's DVDX34 installer (which was quickly abused for other means) and more recently still used by Trucha Bug Restorer. We refuse to use this for homebrew because it involves altering (downgrading) system software, which we consider harmful, but it's there and it acts as a convenient fast-track for piracy (downgrade system software to vulnerable version, use that to install your favorite warez-pack). The exploit itself is rather silly: start installing something, which causes the system to copy the signed metadata to a temporary location. The FS permissions are set wrong, so you can delete it, write your own version with an artificially low version number, and finish the install. Then the system thinks you have an older version and will let you install any random ancient vulnerable version, as they only check signatures initially, not once things are installed.

  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by RockinRobStar ( 693613 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:44AM (#31070756) Homepage
    He was a manager at a computer games store. I would imagine they sent copies early to his store so they had stock to sell on release day. (From what I understand it was a world first release date).
  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:2, Informative)

    by davetv ( 897037 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:56AM (#31070834)
    Reading the story on this link : http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/09/2814726.htm [abc.net.au]

    It contains - "The matter was settled between Mr Burt and Nintendo last month."

    I assume some sort of settlement has been agreed upon.
  • Re:Proportionality. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:22AM (#31071010)

    In AU, there is the very rare "Part X" bankruptcy, which does wipe all debts completely after a decade or so. It's mostly intended for people who somehow owe so much money that they will never pay it off (happens a lot more that you would think, since eg. banks force people such as directors to be jointly and severally responsible personally for company debts even when acting with due diligence, and so on).

    It does have serious downsides (something pretty close to "no more credit, ever", plus an awful lot of disqualifications from holding office in a corporation, and so on), so no lawyer or financial adviser will ever suggest it. Other types of individual bankruptcy are usually recommended instead; no other alternative ever voids or reduces (court-registered) debts.

    Basically, if you owe less than a few million dollars, bankruptcy won't get you out of paying it eventually.

    On the other hand, in this case, his choices are essentially:
    1) Do prison time for copyright infringement. Have the stigma of being a criminal for years (or sometimes forever). Maybe get slapped with a civil judgment also, see (2)
    2) Declare Part X bankruptcy. Have the stigma of being a bankruptee years (or sometimes forever).
    3) Agree to pay millions in damages, probably over several decades.

    I imagine his counsel recommended (3) as the best option, and he is very probably correct in the general case.

  • Re:Proportionality. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:28AM (#31071072)

    I read TFA (I know, I know).

    He hasn't actually been fined a single cent. The $1.5 million is an out of court settlement.

    From what I understand (I don't know how true this is, IANAL), when settlements of this nature are made it's not uncommon for the company getting the settlement to make no real effort to actually get the money. They just wanted a big news headline saying "Man has been stung for $1.5 million for pirating our product".

    Though if it's an out of court settlement, I daresay bankruptcy would probably make it go away altogether.

  • It's mostly IRC logs, but I can put up a more detailed report if you're interested.

    The gist is that libogc can be mostly broken down like this:

    • "Imported" libraries like lwip, lwbt, wiiuse, etc. that were developed separately and then merged into the tree. These should be OK
    • LWP threading system. I think a bit of this might have some remnants of the Nintendo stuff (maybe in exception handlers or the like), but most of it is shagkur's original work. As a threading system it totally sucks, but that's better than being illegal.
    • New Wii stuff to interface with IOS. This can be broken down into basically stuff shagkur (the "author" of libogc) "wrote" by decompiling the Wii SDK, and stuff that everyone else wrote. Thankfully the former isn't too much and could be replaced given some effort.
    • The old Gamecube drivers. This is where the huge problem lies. Stuff like handling of pads, memory cards, EXI/SPI devices (RTC, ROM, etc.), audio, DSP, video, graphics, and even the matrix math library. These are all inherited in Wii mode and required. The problems range from identical APIs but different code (not too common), through mostly manually decompiled code with the same APIs (most of it), to straight ripped assembly code (matrix math library and a few system tidbits) and at least one binary blob ripped verbatim from Nintendo (the DSP program to perform memory card unlocking).

    The big fat problem is the GX driver (graphics). Everything else could be replaced with little to average effort, and the hardware is documented enough to get it to work.

    Personally, though, once the large obstacle that is legal GX is overcome, I'd advocate developing an entirely new system from scratch, based on Linux or eCos or some other embedded OS, working on top of mini and ditching Nintendo's IOS. I've tried to get people interested in such a project for quite a while but haven't really found any significant support, and by now I've mostly move away from the Wii and on to other systems.

  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#31072306) Homepage

    Was Nintendo deprived of the game completely? No?

    Then it was breach of trade secret or infringement that the person that we're discussing is guilty of, not theft. It's neither correct nor insightful to call it stealing- because, sadly, it still isn't that.

  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:1, Informative)

    by Rasperin ( 1034758 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @12:49PM (#31073732)
    What do you call public schools? How about a police force? Or the court system? Or the Military? All of these are publicly funded infrastructures; I'm sure you may nowhere near the amount as warren buffet does into the public system but you are rewarded with the same protection by the military as he is. You say we don't extort communist ideals, I call you a liar.
  • Re:Pro-piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:08PM (#31074980) Homepage
    You seem to be missing the point.

    This is not some guy who shared a wii game. He stole (and yes, in this context that is the correct term) an unreleased game from his employer and released it to the world. This is the same action that just landed that chinese guy a 15 year jail term--taking your employer's proprietary information is straight up illegal. We call it espionage when you take it to benefit a competing company/government...we call it leaking when you take it to spread around...but either way you commit a crime and become a criminal.

    This has nothing to do with sharing a CD or something amongst your friends (or even your closest thousand torrent "friends")...that activity all occurred *after* this crime had been committed.

Happiness is twin floppies.