Nintendo Wins $1.5m Aussie Piracy Settlement

Piracy is bad. But chasing 'file sharers' is bad PR. Today Nintendo showed other industries how to get it right, nailing the Aussie directly responsible for releasing New Super Mario Bros Wii onto the net.

The Federal Court action against the unnamed Australian has resulted in a settlement of $1.5m in damages. What has us pleased about the case is that Nintendo describes their use of forensic tech to work out who first made the copy available, then obtaining a search order and having that person arrested.

With some going after ISPs, and others going after anyone allegedly sharing files, this is a case of using high-tech resources to nail the person who created the file that was later distributed illegally.

Full Nintendo Australia Press Release below.

Nintendo Takes Action To Combat Video Game Piracy

Australia, 9 February, 2010 –

Nintendo confirms the settlement of a Federal Court action against an individual in Australia for illegally copying and uploading to the Internet the first game file of Nintendo’s highly-anticipated video game, New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the Wii™ console. The game file was first made available for illegal download worldwide on 6 November, 2009, a week prior to its official release in Australia. This legal proceeding was commenced to protect the creative rights and innovation of game developers, and to combat the growing international problem of Internet piracy. Under Australian law, copying and distributing games without the permission of the copyright holder is a breach of the Copyright Act.

The legal proceeding resulted in a settlement in which the individual will pay to Nintendo the sum of $1.5 Million dollars by way of damages to compensate Nintendo for the loss of sales revenue caused by the individual’s actions.

Upon the game being uploaded to the Internet, Nintendo was able to employ the use of sophisticated technological forensics to identify the individual responsible for illegally copying the file and making it available for further distribution. On 23 November, 2009, Nintendo obtained a Federal Court search order in respect of the individual's residential premises. This led to the seizure of property from those premises in order to gain further evidence against the individual.

Nintendo guards its intellectual property rights in order to protect the interests of its valued consumers, its own interests, as well as the interests of game development companies. Nintendo will pursue those who attempt to jeopardise our industry by using all means available to it under the law.

Nintendo has been working to combat piracy for approximately 20 years. Piracy is a significant threat to Nintendo’s business, as well as over 1,400 game development companies working to provide unique and innovative games for the Nintendo platform. Fewer sales of Nintendo’s hardware and software systems means fewer resources that Nintendo, its licensees, developers and publishers have to create and market new video game products which is ultimately to the detriment of video game enthusiasts. When there is a decrease in game development, there is also a decrease in the number of jobs in the industry. The existence of piracy jeopardises the strength of the video game industry overall.

For more information about Nintendo’s global anti-piracy activities, please visit: http://ap.nintendo.com


Comments

    Now let's see them get that $1.5m out of the guy, the reason they choose to sue ISPs over individuals is because they can make money out of it normally. But yeah this is a proper step towards discouraging piracy.

      They probably won't get all of their money, but the guy will be living on the bare essentials until he pays it off. This means the punishment for uploading someone elses copyrighted property without their permission is long term restrictions on what you can afford.
      I think that's suitable.

        Not really. He'll be declaring bankruptcy tomorrow. Doubt Nintendo will get anything other than some good headlines in the paper.

        Unlikely, he'll declare bankruptcy and that'll be it. That much money is more then most people will ever see in a lifetime.

        While it seems a suitable punishment for the guy involved, he does have a family and children. How will this affect their lives? Probably very badly.

      You are right that they can make money by going after organizations with money. But that is what I like about Nintendo's method. They are out to protect their revenue, they are not out to find a new source of revenue by suing everyone.

    Finally a company doing it right. You seeing this music and film companies? stop sueing iinet and getting your asses kicked and start sueing the people actually committing the offense...

    There was a Federal Court ruling last week also (Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v iiNet Ltd for anyone interested) that basically said ISP's are not responsible for being copyright police, a good decision for Australian internet users seeing as if they were the costs would be passed on to us when we're already overcharged.

    But Minister Conroy, the same guy who wants a mandatory filter on Australia's internet, has still got ISP's in his sights as yet another way to make internet access in this country more difficult.

    Admirable effort on Nintendo's part. That said, few organisations have the resources available to Nintendo. This approach is hardly feasible in the majority of circumstances,

    Good job guys, nice to see a company doing things the sensible responsible way. With any luck they'll help stamp out pre-release piracy. Day 1 piracy is bad but a week early can be a disaster

    I like that they're going after the person responsible for putting it on the internet, and not the people who downloaded it.

    I definitely think that this is the way to go, rather than the RIAA's approach of sueing a 14 year old girl for millions of dollars because of her music collection.

    I've of two minds about prohibitive fines against people who download, particulary cases like going after grandmothers for hundreds of thousands of dollars because the kids got on her computer like we have seen in the US.

    Going after an originator of the piracy itself is a good call IMO and I applaud Nintendo for going down this route.

    Quick question. Now that Nintendo has been compensated for the piracy of NSMB, does that mean we can all go and download it now?

      way ahead of you.

      No, legally speaking you haven't been granted a license to the software.

      Whenever you buy a game or CD or something, you legally only own the physical property of the disc, case etc, but the intellectual property contained on that disc, you are granted a license to use.

    Hardly an unnamed individual. The Age states his name, age and which suburb he lives in.

    Nice that Nintendo chose to go after the guy that was actually responsible.
    Now if only they could apply such sense to their console design and stop crippling it for the sake of preventing piracy.

    I think Nintendo did it this way because well, only one of their products was really affected here. Console piracy isn't a big problem for Nintendo, so they only really care when its a MAJOR title and released several days before launch. You might say the film and music industries should go after the people that upload the media, but think about how many Paramount or Universal films have been uploaded the internet; it's pretty much all of them, and thats ALOT of pirates to chase down.

    Funny thing, I saw this article somewhere else and they stated the guy's name. I won't repeat it here though, just in case.

    Good luck catching me, I'm behind 7 proxies!

      Lets hope George Zeleznik is not your real name, because then your 7 proxies will mean nothing

    Ok, I know I shouldn't have and it's all stereotypical and whatnot, but did anyone else laugh at the " as well as over 1,400 game development companies working to provide unique and innovative games for the Nintendo platform."

    I know this guy lol, I couldn't stop laughing when I found out. I also believe it didn't take much part or cost on behalf of Nintendo to get him.

      now he's forever indebted to them... assuming he can't afford the $1.5 million

    Good on them for going after the real target instead of the more profitable one. Not only does it maintain their credibility, but it's clearly a more winnable case. Going after ISPs (as with Roadshow vs iiNet) is vague and somewhat desperate, but pinpointing the source of the issue is much more clear-cut.

    So three guys can get fined $115,000 collectively for bullying a young woman in her work place so badly that she took her own life, yet a kid who uploaded an illegal video game is fined $1.5m?
    What a well balanced world we live in.

      Loss of revenue > Loss of life it seems,you shouldn't be surprised.

        POTENTIAL loss of revenue.

    $1.5 million for copyright infringement of one game is absurd.

    It simply does not fit the scale. It's quite wrong.

    James Burt or "Kongsnutz" as he goes by in the gbatemp hacking forums should also get tool of the year award.

    This dumbass went out of his way to getting a copy of the game before the street date by sweet talking the girl behind the counter at mt Ommaney shopping centre and then bragged about it on gbtaemp forum. Not only he told everyone he had the first copy before release, he then scanned his receipt with all his bank details and store info and displayed it on the forum to prove he purchased the copy. He then used one of the homebrew usb loaders and dumped the game and found out the game had new security, so he modified the header code to make it boot. After getting the game to boot he then uploaded the game to various torrent sites and even his own web site, bragging and telling people he got the game early & how to get the game to load.

    It really only took Nintendo 5 minutes to print out the transcript of the forum conversation which had pictures of his receipt attached, the name of the store and even the girls name who sold the game. Next they went to his blogs and web site which had his home address and phone number from whois. Nintendo's claim of using highly specialised forensic technology to track him down make me laugh when all his info and evidence was on forum and torrent sites. The only thing specialised was someone pushing the print button and using a touch phone to ring the lawyers.

    Kongsnutz gave Nintendo a open and shut case without having to do a single thing. Nintendo had to take action as he is a complete idiot and is dangerous to himself and to others on the internet. He deserves the tool of the year award and the 1.5 million dollar fine !!!

    Just search kongsnuts in google and you will be amazed what he has been up too.

      NOOBS IM BEHIND 12 PROXIES
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      jks

        I LIKE TRAINS!!!!!!!!

      Perhaps I wanted them to find me to take down GBATEMP and to take down all the other gaming sites posting roms, this was a self delete on all websites containing the file, which I made super easy to get and easy to get caught. I had nothing to lose and nothing to worry about, however here you are assuming just like all the other sheep, you also know all about the sites and the forums I attended, this makes you known by Nintendo and they have you on file. ;)

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