Nintendo Wins €4.8 Million Videogame Piracy Battle

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This month, France joins a growing list of countries taking a strong legal stance against videogame piracy. The Paris’ Court of Appeals issued guilty verdicts on 26th September against Divineo SARL, along with five other companies, for the importation, sale and distribution of videogame copier devices commonly referred to as “linkers” in France (in other countries, the devices may be called R4 cards or Magicom). The Court has imposed over 460,000 Euro in criminal fines, damages payable to Nintendo in excess of 4.8 million Euros and, in some instances, ordered suspended prison terms.

The decision of the Court of Appeals of Paris (France’s second highest Court) represents a strong message to French companies dealing in these devices, that such activities are illegal and will not be tolerated. Those who are caught risk prison terms, face substantial fines and obligations to pay damages.

This case arguably has involved some of the most prolific importers, distributors and sellers of these devices. Raids carried out in December 2007 and November 2008 across a number of locations in Paris, Marseille and Strasbourg resulted in the seizure of several thousand game copiers. This decision now brings France in line with other European territories, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium, based on decisions they already have rendered. It also is consistent with other court decisions that have been issued globally.

“Nintendo supported this criminal action not only for the company’s sake, but for the interests of its game developer partners who spend time and money legitimately developing software for Nintendo’s game platforms, and customers who expect the highest standards and integrity from products bearing the Nintendo name,” said Stephan Bole, Managing Director of Nintendo France.

The UK has seen many court actions involving the distribution of R4 cards in recent years, a device which has now be deemed not fit for sale. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on the R4 card controversy.

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