News Article

Nintendo Gives US Government Recommendations on Tackling Piracy Abroad

Posted by Andy Green

Brazil, Mexico, China, and Spain are the biggest culprits

Every year copyright holders get the opportunity to make anti-piracy recommendations for the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 report.

The report gets published on an annual basis and identifies countries that, in the eyes of the US, are not doing enough to put a stop to copyright infringement.

Nintendo has submitted a letter, written by Jacqualee J. Story, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs, with plenty of facts and figures showing how it is suffering major losses at the hands of video game pirates. In the letter the company said the damage has been much greater in recent years.

Nintendo, along with its publishers and developers, is injured by the prevalence and ease of illegal online distribution, as well as the continued manufacture, assembly, distribution, import, export and sale of counterfeit Nintendo video game products across the globe.

In the past few years, the scope of online piracy for Nintendo has grown dramatically. Every month tens of thousands of illegal Nintendo game files are detected on the Internet. The legal environment to limit the flow of these files remains extremely challenging.

The company says it wants the government to add Mexico, Brazil, China and Spain to its copyright watch list this year, and has made some recommendations that it believes should take place in each of the countries. According to Nintendo, these four nations have a high prevalence of video game piracy, and do not do enough to enforcement copyright law.

Nintendo singled out Brazil in particular as a key culprit, and makes several recommendations as to what should be done to tackle the problem. It wants new laws to be adopted and for them to be strictly enforced. It also wants internet service providers to take responsibility for facilitating piracy under some circumstances and wants them to be required to remove infringing content when notified.

Other recommendations for Brazil include:

Publicize legal actions and raids taken against infringers, especially for online piracy, to increase awareness and deterrence.

Bring criminal prosecutions of major infringers, including those facilitating piracy on the Internet. The courts must impose stronger penalties against IP crimes (both traditional forms of piracy and online piracy) to raise awareness and foster deterrence.

China's exporting policy also comes under scrutiny from Nintendo, with one of the key recommendations being:

Customs at export must actively seize illegal products – especially illegal circumvention devices leaving China for shipping abroad. The national government must place greater emphasis and dedicate increased resources to improving customs’ ability to halt the exportation of infringing items.

For Spain, Nintendo wants the US government to alter Spanish legislation - something it has been involved in with recent copyright law developments. It recommends Spain reform the penal code to include new amendments that should help tackle pirates.

Nintendo also wants Spain’s Intellectual Property Commission to block foreign file-sharing sites, which are harbouring pirated downloads.

Possibly the most bizarre thing about this is that many of the recommendations have not even been carried out on US soil. While copyright holders are demanding illegal sites be blocked in foreign nations, people in the US can gain access to these sites without any issues.

What are your thoughts on video game piracy, and the best way to tackle it? Do you approve of the recommendations Nintendo has made? Let us know in the comments section below.


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User Comments (53)



Squiggle55 said:

there's no defending pirates, even though some people are going to try. Brick their systems, throw 'em all in jail.



carlocunanan said:

I do think there shouldn't be pirates but you have to realize there is also a lot of illegal pirates in our soil (Canada and US) as well but obviously not to the same extent...



SpecialHam said:

The US government is corrupted and lead by the the big corps.

Chris Brown gets 300 hours of community service for beating Rihana while pirates can get 10 years for downloading a damn song. Fines upp to 230.000 USD per illegally downloaded song can easily ruin peoples lives. I'm disgusted by people who support anti piracy laws.



Haxonberik said:

The Wii and PS2 have easily become the most pirared systems ever in my country (Ecuador). I know some people really cant afford games any other way and that just buying the console is a hige investment, but for everyone else Id like to see this stop. New generations have made the disc piracy fall a lot, but online piracy is growing and normally the only people taking advantage of this are the higher classes.



Haxonberik said:

@specialham As much as Im against piracy, I do think the fines are way to big for the crime. Something more reasonable would do (say, a hundred dollars for an illegal song)



Phantom_R said:


So you're saying we should work only on our biggest problems and ignore all the other ones? The fact is, piracy destroys industries and something MUST be done about it. The fines ARE excessively punishing, but that's because we need to set an example for pirates out there--make them understand how much damage they're causing, not individually, but as a group.

I may be an art thief, but everything you steal has to be paid for by someone who did nothing wrong.



Alphack3r said:

Honestly, I wish there was some way to make piracy incredibly hard, then make it legal...crazy I know, but just think of how many people would be inspired to learn highly technical skills because of it - kind of like a back-handed stimulus to computer education xD.

[Yeah, I understand it's virtually impossible to do that, but it's not like piracy's gonna go away :I ya know?]



markross said:

(I'm sorry for my awfull english)

Hi. I'm brazilian and had to register after seeing this: the taxes here sucks! It's a recurring joke over here every time a new console arrives. Our monetary system is the "Real" and each dollar is approximately 2 Reais. So, if you use some logic, a Wii selling for U$ 130 should cost R$ 260, right? Wrong... It's over R$ 700 (U$ 350) in some stores.

The XBox domains brazilian marketing because has lower taxes since the console started to be produced here. But, even so, it cans cost over R$ 1400 (or U$ 700). The Wii U didn't launched here yet, but we're expecting something around R$ 2000 or higher. The PS3 should be more expensive than a car.

Btw: the games are also way expensive! 'Till today, Mario Galaxy 2 costs R$ 140 (U$ 70)... No wonder the country I live has lots of piracy. I have 8 original games on my Wii, there's no homebrew on it, but that cost me a lot. A friend of mine, that has a XBox with 200 games and up, all pirate copys, call me idiot for not embracing piracy.

Me and many others, who still keep buying original content, get those only importing from paraguay or even in US... I think the solution here is only one: lower taxes on eletronics =/



Shane904 said:

Yes Nintendo. Preventing us from circumventing region lock so we can't play a game that wasn't released here makes perfect sense! /sarcasm



Void said:

@SpecialHam Wouldn't you have had to chosen to download the song illegally in the first place to bear the penalty of a crime?



shinokami said:

I truly want to say that piracy is bad, yes, but there is a lot of people in this countries that live out of piracy. I'm from Mexico and I knew a lot of people that sold piracy not because they wanted to nor because it was a good business but because they had to in order to survive. It's also one's fault for counterfeiting products instead of buying them legally. Unless you truly have the good intention of checking out the game before buying it (original hard copy of course) you shouldn't pirate a game.
Also some companies are at fault. They should release more demos and stop region locking their stuff (I'm pointing at you Nintendo). Not only that but video game prices have skyrocketed since the early 2000's.
I'm an animator and I know the effort and cost of games, but companies are getting greedy as well which leads people to look for cheaper products eventually. Companies profit from a game selling at 40 so why get greedy and sell it for 60? Nintendo drops prices drastically once the goal has been reached

to conclude, it's everyone's fault, not only the people's so if they want to stop this problem, they should take the matter into hand first and everyone would follow.



Phantom_R said:

@shinokami "Not only that but video game prices have skyrocketed since the early 2000's."

Funny you should say that... because, if you do the math and account for inflation, the prices of video games have actually TANKED. They're dirt cheap compared to what they used to cost. Some SNES games, for example, would run you a converted $130+.



Ryno said:

OK, so if the government does all these things will you finally release Pikmin3?



C7_ said:

Piracy's always a sticky subject isn't it?

Yet we've proven repeatedly that the US government has no clue about this industry because it's stuck at least half-a-century in the past, and every single anti-piracy law they've come up with is absolute garbage that destroys small indie companies and helps big corporations, while taking away rights from people and catering to lobbyists.

Gabe Newell had a pretty good take on this. Something along the lines of if you want to stop piracy, offer a better product than the pirate. It's why steam's such a massive hit. There's absolutely no excuse to pirate things, but the game's industry has to realize that you can't stop pirates with crippling DRM or asking a government that doesn't understand the situation, but by coming out with systems that people want to use. Steam has crazy sales regularly, as well as a very good community system and accessibility to publishers to make users want to have their games on it. Why don't you take a hint from them Nintendo?



McHaggis said:

Dear Nintendo,

Try to build your console security a bit stronger than a house of cards.

Sincerely yours,
The Government



ShadJV said:

And I'm disgusted by people who think they have a right to something they did not pay for. Crime is crime. The problem is not the punishments, it's the lack of morality. Piracy is stealing. Everyone needs to make a living. If you go into a store and shoplift, you're a criminal. If you go to a car dealer and carjack, you're a criminal. It's no different with digital content. You didn't pay for it, you have no right to it. Throw the pirates all in jail, fine by me, some countries if you steal from a shop you could have your hand cut off, ten years of jail time is kind compared to that.



DarkEdi said:

It could be better if Nintendo give a fair price the games. A Wii U is $350 dlls and here the stores sell it to 7000pesos (like $540 dlls). The same for digital purchases.

The company Latamel does what it want with distribution and prices and Nintendo doesn´t do anythings and they wash their hands and now they are angry about piracy, it is better Nintendo be honest and begin with themselves giving fair prices. I don´t like the two-face that Nintendo does in Mexico and Sudamérica.



DarkEdi said:

I talk about Mexico situation, and Nintendo wash their hands and looks another side while Latamel apply its own prices.



WaxxyOne said:

This is a dangerous area to tread as trying to be too heavy-handed can lead to a PR backlash, but I have always approved with Nintendo's efforts. They continue to provide great games at outstanding prices, avoid the types of products that people just WANT to steal because of ridiculous and self-serving "features" like DLC, anti-reselling measures and overbearing copy protection schemes. But they also have an active legal department that keeps a watch out for websites hosting their IP and gets them to remove it. This is the type of action that a responsible IP holder should do while avoiding stepping on the toes of their loyal paying customers. They might end up losing some more money by not going the RIAA route and litigating their own customers into oblivion, but they'll also continue to be respected by their fans, and I firmly believe that can only help them in the long run.


As a consumer, which trade-off would you rather have? Complex copy-protection schemes that cause a hassle only to the paying customers and have the potential to brick systems, or more hands-off protection that can be slipped through easier, but coupled with a responsible company that keeps a close watch out for illegal distributors? I know which I'd choose, and it's nothing the MPAA or RIAA would approve of.



Zombie_Barioth said:

@Phantom_R You don't even need to take inflation into account. I usually look at the adds in old game magazines for nostalgia's sake, and it was pretty common to see games hit the $80 mark. A good part of it was cartridges were more expensive and a different economic climate at the time as well.

Game prices are also more standardized now. Back then handheld games were $20-$30 and console games were at least $50, now they're $30-$40 and $60 respectively. Games haven't gotten cheap, only cheaper.

@DarkEdi Nintendo only sets the MSRRP, from there its the retailer's decision. Then there are taxes, exchange rate, import/export cost, ect. to consider. I'm not saying its right but theres not much any company can do either, if Nintendo were to say anything the retailers could flat-out refuse to sell their products.



WaxxyOne said:

It doesn't make sense to you. It makes a whole lot of sense to the people trying to make a fair return on the product they made with their time, money and effort. Region locking may be a necessary evil, but the key word is necessary. The world is a large and complex place, and economies vary heavily. If every consumer in the US could choose between going to Walmart to drop $60 on a game or import it from China for $20 and shipping, which option do you think they'd take? Yeah, it sucks when you just can't play a local version of a game you'd like to try, but the blame there lies firmly at the feet of the developer and/or publisher, who usually aren't Nintendo.

The best (legal) way to play a game that's not released in your region is to let them know you're interested. It's risky to release in a market where you're unsure your product will sell, and if they know there's more interest that can only help your cause.



Hetsumani said:

How the hell do they expect to get rid of piracy and have better sales in Mexico when their new consoles are much more expensive here than in the US. At retail stores the Basic WiiU sales for $430 US Dollars, the Deluxe sells for $586 US Dollars, new games sell for $70 to $100 dollars depending on the popularity of the game, the 3DS sells for $330 US Dollars, the XL for $383, the Wii $240. Of course there's going to be piracy.
EDIT: They don't need new laws, they need better pricing.



Urbanhispanic said:

@ #4...I'm Ecuadorian so it was interesting to read your post as I didn't think either one of the console systems you mention were that popular over there. Piracy is everywhere and it's not going away unless we all do our part to not support, which isn't as easy as it seems.



sector19 said:

I think this is a tread that has a lot of discussion first of all because the taxes outside US are exagerated but then again if Nintendo really cares about his system, then they should try to see why is there so much piracy in México, Brazil, China and Spain, that way they can demand or give recommendations. I do not support piracy and I have every game and system fairly legal but then again here in México the prices are way too high for us to pay for everithing so I can understand why is piracy such a business, and yes crime is crime.



rayword45 said:

@SpecialHam Celebrities get special treatment all the time. Chris Brown gets off ofassault charges, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton have escaped crack charges how many times now? And Scarlett Johansson threw the guy who exposed her breasts in jail for LONGER THEN MURDER AND RAPE CASES.

Now then, I challenge you all, tell me you never downloaded an illegal song. If you can honestly say that good (though iTunes also sucks and buying from anywhere but the label is spiked prices)



Yang777 said:

-> Have record profits many years straitgth
-> Those very same years, piracy is thriving like never before on their current gen consoles
-> Release new systems, with currently unbroken DRM
-> Suffer huge profit loss
-> Blames piracy for loss

[/Nintendo logic]

-Quoted by Knut Harald.



Bryon15 said:

I personally don't think it's wrong to pirate games that nintendo no longer makes money off of. This includes everything from nes to gamecube. Another thing to think about is the rareness of a game. Metroid prime trilogy and xenoblade chronicles both sell for $100+ on eBay and amazon. The average person can't afford that. I can't. And if a person does pay that price, nintendo won't see any of that money since it's a used game. So people should be able to pirate them in that situation. Anyway this won't work. They tried to shut down megaupload and it came back a year later. This is a nice effort but I doubt it'll do anything.



McHaggis said:

@WaxxyOne: who said it has to be complicated or have the potential to brick? Take a look at the PS3 security - on paper it is solid as a rock. Sure, they messed up big time with the key generation algorithm, but new consoles are unhackable without paying a lot of money for a drive emulator.

The Wii however, doesn't have good security even on paper. It's riddled with holes, and Nintendo have never made more than a tiny effort to fix the holes. Even the Wii U's Wii mode is completely hackable since launch, and they had a good chance to completely clear Wii piracy on the Wii U. Piracy on Nintendo consoles is down to their own incompetence more than anything else, and that they're asking the US government to bail them out? What they need to do is invest more into security on their consoles.

The more difficult it is to pirate, the less likely people are to do it.



arrmixer said:

In a lot of the countries mentioned especially in the western side have huge import taxes on electronics.... Even in the carribean there Are import taxes so my cousins just import their stuff from the us...
To me the governments them selves are causing the problems with their huge import tax on electronics...



Araknie said:

If some good laws, not some stupid tax for the user but a penalty for the cracker, that's the person they must search (and even a little tax, but little, for the user if they connect him, or a group of them, to the cracker), will be ever out...well this could be right.
But every country has it's own system and not every anti-piracy system is good, when there is one.

It's needed an international effort, taking Interpol to go and punish the sources, without an international set of laws this will never get done.

And we will still get region-locks and online passes...and so on.



ajcismo said:

I often wonder if all of this was inevitable, considering that Nintendo fought tooth and nail for so many years trying to resist using a disc format. But since DS and Wii flash cards are cheap and easy to find, they were probably screwed no matter what.



hngdmn said:

The Eshop could be a great alternative to piracy here(Brazil)...but Nintendo price their retail games 75US$.A high price,but still cheaper than Ubisoft games(90US$).



AlexSora89 said:

Gaming itself is an expensive hobby. That's the main reason gaming piracy even exists - heck, it's why software piracy exists at all. If a game's price was around 10€ or 20€ (bucks for you yankees out there, alright), no one (well, way less people anyway) would be pirating games.

I found the PSP Ape Escape in a Store last week. 3,90€ only, could you believe that? Of course, in a perfect world where games are just 5€ or 10€ more than such a bargain price, gaming piracy almost wouldn't exist. But that not being the case, we're stuck with it.

And bricking consoles? That's just a glove of challenge to pirates everywhere, so no, that's not a good solution either.

Developers and publisher just don't understand that, in some families, piracy is the only way to afford games.

I'm not defending piracy, just stating the reasons behind it. Especially with this economical crisis we're all stuck in, more or less.



hngdmn said:

Funny enough,Atlus and Natsume games are sold for 40US$,so i guess downloadable games aren't taxed here.Even so,Nintendo choose to charge us 35US$ more.



ClockworkMario said:

I understand that piracy is an issue and should be fought, but what on earth does the US government has to do with foreign copyright laws and why should it have the power to alter them like Nintendo seems to want?

They should confront these countries' governments directly if they want to change something.



AJWolfTill said:

Presumably because there is a ridiculous level of unemployment ~25%?
It's not a great place to be trying to make a living in right now.



dazana said:

Here in Brazil a 3DS game costs U$75 and a PS3 game US$ 100... even the digital ones have the same price. A nintendo 3DS XL costs officialy US$550 here. If the price of games and hardware were cheaper here, the piracy would be less popular.



Poketendo said:

It's just so stupid. Those piraters just don't understand that if Nintendo, or any other gaming company for that matter, shuts down, it's mostly their fault! I even know someone that tryed to defend them. ''It isn't illegal to download them! Uploading them is illegal.'' -_-



Morpheel said:

Sometimes I do feel like I'm the only person of my age in my town who buys his games...

I wish piracy wasn't so strong here.

But it's true, here in Mexico, the prices of games and systems get doubled... Even on the eShop. Gladly, only Nintendo does it on the eShop, 3rd party retail downloads are usually a lot cheaper.
Example: All of atlus' $40 games are sold for 500~ pesos on the eShop, while first/2nd party titles of the same price are sold for 800 pesos. Seriously.



AlbertoC said:

What does the US government have to do with Spain, Mexico, Brazil and China? The recommendation was to the US government to these countries to follow? Really? Like... Really? Is the United States government the fairy grandmother or something?

Put in very simple terms: WT*.

EDIT: Oh, and this: "Possibly the most bizarre thing about this is that many of the recommendations have not even been carried out on US soil. While copyright holders are demanding illegal sites be blocked in foreign nations, people in the US can gain access to these sites without any issues."



Commie said:

The approval rates of this article just show how good the propaganda is.
Gabe was (is) partly right when he says that it's a service problem (especially considering Nintendo's eShop). There is more to piracy than "it's stealing" and "some people don't have money".
How people don't find this disturbing is beyond me.

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