Amidst the release of Nintendo’s newest console, a Canadian federal court has ruled in favor of Nintendo of America Inc. in its case against Jeramie King and his affiliated business, Go Cyber Shopping Ltd. King. Through his business he’s been selling and distributing “circumvention devices” (flashcarts, modchips, and game copiers), as well as offering hardware modification services via several online websites and even a physical storefront. These devices allowed for users to override Nintendo’s console security, enabling them to download and play illegal copies of video game software –- which is in violation of Nintendo’s copyrights and trademarks.
The federal court’s decision found the distribution of circumvention devices to be illegal. This landmark case is the first of its kind, and acted as a test of the Canadian Copyright Act’s Anti-Circumvention law. The test ended in Nintendo’s favor, with the court awarding Nintendo $12.76 million (Canadian Dollars) against Go Cyber Shopping Ltd., including $1 million in punitive damages.
With regards to the case Devon Pritchard, Nintendo of America’s general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs, said this:
“Nintendo continues to be a leader in bringing innovative gaming platforms and software to our fans and millions of gamers across the globe… Nintendo has an established track record that demonstrates our resolve to protect our iconic characters and franchises. We will continue to protect the creative works of our developers and vigorously enforce our intellectual property rights against those that attempt to steal or misuse them.”
Over the years, Nintendo has been criticized for its stance against modding or emulation when it comes to fanmade games based off its franchises. Some may be inclined to think that decision is about the same thing, but it’s not. Nintendo’s policy when it comes to fan created content is a story for another day, but this was a case about piracy and theft. The devices that were being sold were created for the explicit purpose of downloading cracked versions of full retail games for free. Nintendo always been very protective of its intellectual properties– for good reason. Piracy is something that many artists struggle with daily, and it’s nice to see Nintendo stick up for its developers and artists.
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