News Article

Nintendo "Confident" in PC Box Anti-Piracy Case Following European Court of Justice Decision

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It's complicated

Nintendo has been involved in a number of legal cases to shut down and cease the sale of products used for "modding" its consoles, with the resulting uses circumventing the official functionality of the hardware. A current ongoing case in Italy is with PC Box, with Nintendo pursuing a case due to the company marketing and selling devices designed for console mods. Nintendo has issued a press release following the most recent "guidance" by The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in order to make clear that it's pleased with the result; the final outcome of the dispute with PC Box is yet to come.

In a fairly lengthy ruling, it's clear that the CJEU hearing has stated that Nintendo has a valid case to suggest that the modding products sold by PC Box infringe on Nintendo's copyright with its hardware, in terms of potentially circumventing the copyright of its games. Despite this, PC Box claims that its equipment is designed to allow the use of video and MP3 content on the hardware, and therefore isn't liable under existing EU copyright law. The crux of the decision is that it's for the Italian court — in the civil case — to determine whether the PC Box products were intended for non-game and non-copyrighted activity, or whether their functionality would infringe on Nintendo's content and enable illegal copies of games. Like we said, complicated.

Nintendo's press release makes clear that it's happy with the CJEU ruling, and is confident moving forward to the full court case with PC Box.

The CJEU’s interpretation of the Copyright Directive appears to be in line with the international obligations of the European Union and its Member States under the WIPO Copyright Treaty and furthermore, supports those national Courts in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK which have already considered and applied the same provisions of EU law consistently resulting in many positive decisions against sellers of circumvention devices.

Nintendo will continue to fully engage with the Milan Tribunal, from whom the reference to the CJEU arose, in order to allow it to reach a considered reasoned decision in the civil case between Nintendo and PC Box. Furthermore, since Nintendo only ever utilises technological protection measures which are both necessary and proportionate to prevent widespread piracy of its intellectual property, and since the preponderant purpose of the circumvention devices marketed by PC Box is to enable piracy of legitimate video games, Nintendo is confident that the application of the guidance set out by the CJEU relating to proportionality will enable the Milan Tribunal to determine that the sale of circumvention devices is unlawful.

In the meantime, Nintendo maintains that the commercial dealings in circumvention devices infringe copyright laws as well as other intellectual property laws and Nintendo will continue to pursue those involved in the distribution of such devices.

As console mods do often allow users to play games they don't own, that's perhaps the grounds for Nintendo's optimism in this case. Nintendo hasn't won this battle yet, but clearly feels it has good odds.

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User Comments (34)

Heng-Yu

#1

Heng-Yu said:

I don't understand why there is not yet an article about the new Nintendo consoles "Fusion DS" and "Fusion Terminal".

www.nintendonews.com/2014/01/nintendo-fusion-could-be-nintendos-next-gen-hardware-name/

The website got a good reputation when it comes to leaked information.
This would put a totally different light on the WiiU and its future.

mch

#3

mch said:

@Heng-Yu
I'm not sure if I really want to engage in reading an article about that "Fusion"-thing here and at this point.
I would be shocked if Nintendo wasn't working on something in this direction, but that is to launch when? I say in 5 years. So I don't care now. I am way to busy in enjoying my Wii U day in day out :) The Wii U won't be discontinued, basta!

ThomasBW84Admin

#4

ThomasBW84 said:

@Heng-Yu We, like many other sites, decided not to post on this. The premise (old web domain renewed again) and nature of anonymous source meant we didn't feel it merited an article.

Personally, I feel the timing was 'convenient' after Nintendo had a lot of bad press, and there's the fact that Nintendo is probably, to some degree, working on hardware every day of the year, it's iterative. Once we get nearer a realistic time-period for a new console, and when we have large sources with past pedigree (such as those leaking Project Cafe / Wii U a few months before E3 2011), THEN I'll - as an individual - be interested. I won't talk for the day to day policies of the site, though my first paragraph in this response does in this particular case.

Anyway, this isn't on topic for this article, so perhaps one for the forums? Thanks.

SetupDisk

#5

SetupDisk said:

Does anyone remember the hardwate whose makers tweeted it could run roms? Was it this one?

BakaKnight

#6

BakaKnight said:

Kinda funny to see in the comments regarding an italian legal case an off-topic about the next Nintendo consoles...

Considering the speed of the italian legal system at the earliest this legal case will be over in 2024 ...or probably much later, I'm being optimistic here ^^;

We will already have in our homes the next Nintendo's consoles (and the XL version of the handhelds even!) when Pc Box will be found guilty XD

SpookyMeths

#7

SpookyMeths said:

The Nintendo Fusion has been discussed to death on the forums already. Consensus is that it's oddly-specific unsubstantiated rumour at best, utter hogwash at worst.

Anyway, I actually don't like how closed-minded a couple of the console companies can be about mods. IP theft and unlicensed emulation, yes, that's bad, but modding on games you rightfully own can actually be quite fun and provide a tailored game experience. It's the biggest advantage of PC gaming, in my opinion. A game like Skyrim is meant to be modded.

Local only, of course. Mods don't belong in online multiplayer.

MadAdam81

#8

MadAdam81 said:

@CaviarMeths All console mods are designed to play illegal games. To keep up with the competition, they also allow media playback and homebrew, maybe even allow mods for games people actually own. Regardless of these other features, they are still primarily about playing games illegally and should be shut down. If I wanted to do all these other things, I have many ways I can do so legally.

MysticX

#9

MysticX said:

@CaviarMeths The issue is that modding games and copying them require pretty much the same tools ("modding" copy protection away, so to speak), so you can't really allow modding and still prevent copying, so Nintendo decided to just go all-out on the "no modding whatsoever"-route

goonow

#10

goonow said:

The specs for the fusion consols are so rediculous that it would be unlikley for nintendo to release a console like that in 5 years. It is like putting a gtx titan in a nintendo console LMAO

shaneoh

#11

shaneoh said:

So they are selling premodded DS and Wii consoles. Well it's a risk they take, unfortunately it has brought them legal trouble.

whodatninja

#12

whodatninja said:

I wouldn't mind modding Gamecube functionality on my Wii U (which should be patched in someday) but other than that i do not intend on hacking it.

Kirk

#13

Kirk said:

Modifying a console directly should void it's warranty under the terms and conditions, or whatever, but what has that got to do with the people selling another product you put in/on this device to allow you to use/play other stuff?

These devices are simply made to run games, via a Nintendo console, and it's the users who chose whether those be illegal games or not.

You can't or at least shouldn't ban these products just because Nintendo doesn't like that people can use them for nefarious purposes when the products themselves can in fact be used perfectly legally and in and of themselves do not pirate Nintendo games.

It's like saying you shouldn't let some company make an unlicensed 3rd party SD card that works on Nintendo hardware because someone might use it to play pirated games. That's not the SD card manufacturer's fault and it's certainly not engaging in any illegal practices by selling such products.

That's how I see it anyway.

Light

#14

Light said:

Let me say that i was against modding at first. Yes, most people probably do it to play pirated copies of games. However, my tone has changed since then. My originall wii is soooo much more useful as a modded console! I can play internet radio stations, watch DVD's, and even use it to stream content from a pc in another room. Even now, i'm shocked at how utterly under utilized the wii u hardware is! Such potential, especially with the tablet controller and the upgraded graphics and faster hardware, but sadly nintendo will never fully realize this. Therefore, i will definitely be modding my Wii U when the process matures, especially since i see the console becoming stale extremely fast. It will be the only way to keep it relevant!

Kirk

#15

Kirk said:

@Light

Totally agree 1000%.

Without modding my Wii it would have been a totally useless piece of sh*t that I used once in a blue moon for the rare game worth playing on it. Now however, I've at least got some additional use out of it as a basic movie player under my TV for playing avi movie files. It's also let me try out some cool homebrew games too, like Quake Wii that actually shows off the pointer control in an fps game better than the vast majority of third and first party games on the console. I've even been able to use an external hard drive to store and access far more Virtual Console and Wii Shop games far more easily than I would via Nintendo's own official storage solution. Outside of this my Wii has mostly served as a dust magnet...and some people actually wonder why there's such negativity around the system among most core gamers and entertainment consumers, now similarly with the Wii U too.

If Nintendo could just have this kind of stuff in their from the start, rather than totally gimping their systems in almost every imaginable way, maybe more people outside of the most stubbornly loyal FANS might actually give a genuine sh*t about their consoles these days.

Light

#17

Light said:

@Kirk

Exactly. If nintendo would make their consoles more versatile from the beginning, then they would definitely have more of a fighting chance and this is coming from an old school gamer back from nintendo/atari/commodore 64 days. I've enjoyed all of their consoles including the snes, GC, N64, and wii. Now, I currently own a wii u, but it will be my last nintendo gaming console guarenteed. The only games they have left which attract me are Smash Brothers and Mario Kart, but this will probably be my last generation of those games that i play anyway since I am getting older and have more important priorities. So without some more useful features, I no longer see it as being worth the money. It's sad to see nintendo go down this way, but it is inevitable if your business does not change with the times, especially with technology.

MadAdam81

#18

MadAdam81 said:

@Kirk 99% of console mods are done to allow people to play stolen games. It's illegal, and no amount of wishing a console had more features can change that. For every Nintendo console that gets modded, they lose many sales - how many people have bought more than 3 games after modding a console? Most don't even buy 1.

unrandomsam

#19

unrandomsam said:

@MadAdam81 Could be used for that reason but could not be. (Many parents buy DVD's and give the kids copies so they don't scratch them which I think is totally reasonable.)
Most of the reasons for having a gun are bad but that doesn't stop America.
None of the sensible logical reasoning behind the legality of non licensed NES cartridges and the Game Genie seems to apply any more even though the methods are pretty similar.

unrandomsam

#20

unrandomsam said:

@SetupDisk Microsoft (One of their PR Agencies anyway) they won't so Microsoft because they use too many Microsoft Patents. (Some of which no doubt not licensed but kept back for such situations).

noctowl

#21

noctowl said:

@unrandomsam protecting my family is a bad reason to own a gun? What's the first thing you do when there's trouble? You call someone with a gun. Do some research. Cities like Chicago have tight gun laws, but insane amounts of gun crime. Other towns REQUIRE by law every household own a gun and have hardly any crime. please stop being so ignorant

DarkKirby

#22

DarkKirby said:

I am adamantly against the concept that you don't actually own a console you "buy", but you "permanently rent" it from the company that manufactures it, and you don't actually own it and are not allowed to do certain things to it.

Sure void the warranty, that's within a companies right, but to say a company can take action against someone who modifies something they purchased is ridiculous.

I don't understand how Apple lost the case for the iPhone on this but Sony won for the PS3.

Kirk

#23

Kirk said:

@MadAdam81

Console mods are not illegal (they just void the warranty). Selling and/or distributing illegal games is illegal.

Hyperstar96

#24

Hyperstar96 said:

@MadAdam81 Console mods are for many things that aren't piracy. You can google them if you like.

Please, just know what you're talking about before ranting.
Knock it off with the insults and the specifics. People can google things if they're interested — TBD

ghosto

#25

ghosto said:

It's one of those situations where if you give either side an inch they will take a mile :/

unrandomsam

#26

unrandomsam said:

@DarkKirby Be interesting what might happen if someone sold a mod chip for the PS4/Xbone where the stated purpose was to allow someone to install a legit copy of Windows. (And it worked). Then it was circumvented by a 3rd party to mod the original software. Would the second action override the potential benefit of the first.

Problem with the legal system we have at the moment is when something might go against a company then it never ends up in court.

cdude

#27

cdude said:

More proof that nintendo has no idea what it needs to be focused on, as far as im concerned. People do tbe same things with xbox and playstation and are left alone, and sometimes even celebrated by the companies themselves. Ms and sony dont worry about this sort of crap, at least not publicly. When people find themselves bored with their machines, they just release more compelling hardware.

Like nintendo used to.

unrandomsam

#28

unrandomsam said:

@noctowl Most of the world seems to do fine. The US just holds on to an outdated vision because of the constitution. (The government has far better stuff so it is of no use for that purpose).

Sceptic

#30

Sceptic said:

People should be allowed to do what they want with the hardware they purchased. There were it is being used to pirate copyrighted material, it should be stopped, but only there.

Other than that, Nintendo should invest more money in developing games, instead of legal fees fighting of perceived threats to their IPs.

UpdateNightmare

#31

UpdateNightmare said:

I want to play BluRay and MkV files on my Wii U...

Any modding and piracy can be quickly made irrelevant if there was official support or just a great pricing model that required zero effort from the user's point of view. What if Wii U had the Steam sales equivalent for the virtual console where every game went for 50cents -> $1?

I'm also annoyed that I can't put a PDF file on a memory stick and read it...

sarethums

#32

sarethums said:

If they want to stop other improving their wii experience then maybe nintendo should br proving this service?

Pichubby

#33

Pichubby said:

@unrandomsam (Looks at afg, IraN/Q, Ukraine, Mexico, Russia, Egypt, etc.) Yeah, um, no. Most of the world has no "gun control laws", and does not do fine. Also, America is 4th in line of annual murders. Take away the 4 top cities where gun control laws are met, and you have America, 4 countries away from least amount of murders per year. AND most of the government is trying to stop guns.

Pichubby

#34

Pichubby said:

@noctowl So true! I auctually said that, and then saw your comment. Guns were made to protect and fight, and the fighting ones will keep theirs, protecters should too. As someone once said, "Outlaw guns, and only the outlaws will have guns".

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