3DS Software Famed For Piracy Hit With Nintendo Takedown, Creator Says

Freeshop is homebrew software touted as a tool used to download 3DS games that you already own. Most people, however, know Freeshop as a thing you can use to download entire 3DS games, free of charge (hence the name). Today, Freeshop's main distribution source was hit with a DMCA notice.

If you visit the old Freeshop page on Github, this is what you'll see:

Meaning: Freeshop can no longer be downloaded here.

Previously, users could use Freeshop to download games straight from Nintendo's servers, provided it was available through the official Nintendo eShop. Apparently, legally purchased games are issued "tickets" that allow 3DS consoles to download titles from the eShop, except those tickets are stored locally, not online — which is what Freeshop could exploit. While it the tool could theoretically be used by people for backups and other arguable legal purposes, the first few links that come up when you search "3DS Freeshop" are tutorials on how to download games for "free" — and they have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The murky grey area here is that Freeshop itself didn't provide people with the 3DS keys, so it technically isn't a piracy tool.

Another Github page circulating online right now claims that the takedown notice read as follows:

What work was allegedly infringed? If possible, please provide a URL:

The freeShop application provided at infringes Nintendo's copyrights, because the application circumvents Nintendo's technological protection measures in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Nintendo encrypts the game files available from its eShop servers to prevent users from accessing those files without paying for them. Nintendo believes the freeShop application circumvents Nintendo's protection measures by decrypting the game files accessible from its eShop servers, allowing freeShop users to access and play Nintendo's eShop games for free.

The freeShop application also contains unauthorised copies of the Nintendo 3DS Logo Data file, covered by U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0001781880, which further infringes Nintendo's rights.

The Github Freeshop page was created by a user named TheCruel, who does not seem happy about this turn of events.

"Fuck Nintendo," TheCruel wrote. "If anyone wants to know whether I'm going to counter it, I'm not yet sure. That could permit them to file lawsuit against me... to claim [Freeshop] circumvents any protections is laughable, though I'm unsure if it's legally sound (law is often laughable itself). It only circumvents protections if people utilise title keys they did not purchase or obtain legally. If people illegally obtain the password/PINs of a person's bank account, you can't criticise the banking website for facilitating theft."

Despite the DMCA, Freeshop is not necessarily dead. Users are now disseminating it through other means, and the software itself still functions. Additionally, Freeshop is not the only tool used for these purposes, so it's not as if Nintendo has successfully shut down 3DS piracy with one DMCA. Instead, this seems to be the latest saga of Nintendo's battle against pirates. Earlier this year, Nintendo announced a $US20,000 ($27,840) cash bounty for people who found security exploits on the 3DS, though if software like Freeshop is any indication, it sounds like the 3DS has already been cracked wide open.

We reached out to Nintendo about Freeshop's DMCA takedown, but had not heard back at time of writing.


    So why would you need a tool to download games you already own, when that feature itself is already within the eShop? Also - The 3DS already has back up function for save game data within it. Not great, but it's there. To back up my games, I just take the SD card out and back it up manually (Its a 64gig card and full)

    Did it download faster? If it downloads games faster I may be interested, but otherwise, I don't see any point at all to this software, aside from obtaining games illegally

    Anyone try it? Was it any good?

      I think it's for people who don't like carrying around a dozen cartridges, they 'transfer' their physical game into a digital one. I think that's what they are talking about, could be wrong. I haven't actually tried it.

      Of course, once that game has been downloaded, you could then sell your physical copy.

      Personally, I wish I could have all my games digital. I hate changing carts and bringing them along for the ride. I don't really mind that I can't resell them.

      Hm? It has always been an excuse that "I deserve the right to make backups of game and I am entitled to download game backups of game I own online"

      People kept using that excuse to justify their piracy. Couldn't care more about people whining about it.

      If you ask that question, people will even answer you "because I want to try the game before buying it" when 3DS does have demo for majority of their big titles.

        Couldn't care moreWell that's a new one.

      I think you misunderstand. This app allows you to download ANY 3ds game, regardless of if you own it or not, and allowed you to access all regions eShops too. It then allowed the 3ds to pretend you had bought the game through the normal eShop in case of patches, DLC etc. I can totally see why this got shut down, even if there's many similar apps out there.

      freeShop had no region restrictions so you could search and install Japanese and Korean titles and such. If you buy physical imports, you cannot play them. And Koreans (and others like Chinese) get a really shitty game selection on eShop.

      Also you could not get banned on freeShop. Many people could use this to evade their eShop ban (like the recent one from Pokemon Sun/Moon leak players) and get games they bought.

      Many people also like the interface more. You could queue up multiple game to install and continue browsing while the installed. Search was a lot quicker and nicer imo, can compare for yourself: https://youtu.be/FV7vDPBYupA?t=8m13s

    I think the owner is well aware what his app is designed for. He is just feigning ignorance.

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