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FBI Cracks Down on Piracy of Obsolete Game

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the i'm-not-sure-i-get-this-one dept.

Nintendo 191

Alien54 wrote to mention a story detailing an FBI crackdown on pirated...NES games. From the article: "More than 60,000 pirated copies of Nintendo game consoles were seized Wednesday during raids in New York and New Jersey, prosecutors announced. Four people were arrested in the crackdown on the theft of popular games such as "Donkey Kong," "Mario Brothers," "Duck Hunt," "Baseball" and others, according to a release by federal authorities and papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Nintendo told the FBI that individuals and companies copy the video games and sell the pirated versions throughout the world, costing the company millions of dollars in lost revenue annually, according to the complaint."

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Do nentendo still sell the games? (3, Interesting)

richy486 (781114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240446)

Do nentendo still sell the old games?

Re:Do nentendo still sell the games? (1)

TRIEventHorizon (744457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240507)

isn't this platform abandoned, therefore nintendo doesn't LOSE money on the platform?

they no longer sell it, so what's to lose

above was not a reply to parent; it was placed here to be on top

Re:Do nentendo still sell the games? (1, Funny)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240912)

Nentendo? Is that anything like Nintondo [orcon.net.nz] ?

Re:Does nintendo still sell the games? (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241398)

Yes. They sell old NES games for the GBA such as Super Mario Brothers, Ice Climbers, and Donkey Kong. They also include NES games in Animal Crossing, which is a selling point for that game.

Really? (5, Interesting)

ReverendRyan (582497) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240463)

copy the video games and sell the pirated versions throughout the world, costing the company millions of dollars in lost revenue annually
Then I should be able to go buy an NES and Super Mario Brothers from Nintendo, no?

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

happymedium (861907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240555)

The so-called "millions of dollars in lost revenue" actually come from remakes and compilations of these old games for the GBA/SP/what-have-you.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241222)

Then, again, we run up against the complete unlikelyhood that these sales were actually lost, since the vast majority of those people probably would not have bought a GBA just to play some 15-year-old games.

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241404)

*Deletes NES rom collection*

Re:Really? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241767)

However, money and time invested into pirated games is money and time not invested into genuine games. If someone paid 50 bucks for a pirated collection of NES games that's 50 bucks that went to pirates instead of some other industry.

Re:Really? (1)

BlueArchon (531981) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241897)

And that's 50 more bucks for the pirates to spend on some other industry...

Re:Really? (1)

SB5 (165464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241698)

So they use the same math that the RIAA uses?

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240558)

Not an NES, or at least not easily... but you CAN get Super Mario Bros., in a version very close to the original, for the Gameboy Advance.

Re:Really? (0, Redundant)

clu76 (620823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240571)

Then I should be able to go buy an NES and Super Mario Brothers from Nintendo, no?

You are able to go buy a GBA and Super Mario Bros from Nintendo.

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240583)

No, but you can buy a GBA, SP or DS and the re-released version of Super Mario Brothers. Duck Hunt however is another story.

I always thought that Nintendo and other old game companies should just make an emulator, and give it away for free. Then sell ROM downloads for like 50 cents each. They would make a killing and their claims against pirates like these would actually have some more meaning. This is yet anothe reason we need IP reform. If you aren't currently making money from that IP you shouldn't be able to claim damages if someone else does. That will provide the most benefit to society by legally providing a supply of goods which are in demand. As it stands there is a demand for goods that IP holders refuse to produce, that is not good for people.

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

King Fuckstain (864155) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240614)

"As it stands there is a demand for goods that IP holders refuse to produce, that is not good for people."
The people should have created the original IP if they want to dictate when and how long a particular property should be produced. There needs to be IP reform in terms of how long the rights are held by a company but just because a company decides they are no longer going to produce a given product does not mean they should lose all rights to that product.

And how do you know that Nintendo would make a killing? You have any proof to back that up? Marketing studies? They seem to be making a killing off of their old properties by re-releasing them for the GBA.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241347)

One could argue that the length of time could be based on what is given to the public. What public interest does is there in someone being a dick and withholding what he has prevously released? I realize that the creator might not like it the funny thing is that copyright is for the public not the creator.

Or perhaps after a certain time frame there could be a very low cost compulury license so that the creators dont get a say it what happens after a certain point but still get money. There is alot that could be done other then just changing the length.

none of it will happen any time soon but these are nice thoughts while we wait for the IP and Copyright to crumble away....

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

King Fuckstain (864155) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241395)

"the funny thing is that copyright is for the public not the creator."
Huh? Copyright exists to protect the rights of the individual. Just because you state something does not make it true or even a valid argument.

"What public interest does is there in someone being a dick and withholding what he has prevously released?"
A person is a "dick" for retaining their property? There's an interesting thought. Seems like Lenin would be right behind you on that one. Honestly, Nintendo doesn't want their Mario property dilutted because they still make money off of it. They're not being "dicks", they're just making smart business moves. I think it is childish to label someone a "dick" because they are taking advantage of the laws that exist. Perhaps the laws need to change, perhaps not. But playing by the rules currently in place doesn't make someone a dick. Do you hold any copyrights? Perhaps if you did, you might realize that you're not exactly seeing this issue clearly.

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241793)

Copyright exists to protect the rights of the individual.

False:

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
The US Constitution specifically states that copyrights are to promote progress; it does not mention any protecting any rights of individuals. In fact, it is explaining why it is allowing congress to take away rights that individuals would otherwise have over their own physical property just because it happens to have information fixed on it that came from somewhere else.

Any rights that copyright gives to the creator at the expense of others is a windfall side-effect for the creator. The primary goal as stated in the clause is basically economic stimulus. These rights are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

Just because you state something does not make it true or even a valid argument.

True, as you've just demonstrated.

Re:Really? (1)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241846)

Thank you. I was going to reply but my reply would have been FAR less pleasant then yours. He almost seems like a troll to me,except that i think he means what he says.

Re:Really? (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240615)

ROM downloads for fifty cents?

That means they could drum up, oh, four or five dollars in revenue from each typical customer. In 5-15 separate transactions.

That's a heck of an interesting business model.

Re:Really? (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240750)

What about a monthly subscription (either access to the library) or a random title each month or biweekly for say $10-$20 bucks a year.

Re:Really? (1)

QMO (836285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240757)

Sure is interesting. The downloads would be a lot cheaper to produce than iTunes type downloads. (Smaller files, Nintendo doesn't have to pay anyone else royalties on them)

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241888)

So if you aren't making money by using your *fill in the blank*, I should be able to make money using your *fill in the blank*, and you can't say anything about it.

Brilliant reasoning.

I'll be by your house tomorrow, seeing which of your possessions you are not making money with.

Re:Really? (1)

voisine (153062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240612)

Well, technically, even if Nintendo doesn't sell the old games anymore, the people who own ligitimate copies are seeing the value of their old games reduced by illegal copying. I'm not saying I agree that that's something a person should be removed from society for, as very few legitimate owners would care, but it is something.

Weird.... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240910)

Maybe the copyright owner should be compensated (_depends_), but so what if owners of copies see the value of their copies reduced.

Are you saying that if I buy a copy of a book and someone makes cheaper copies of the book, then I should be compensated?

That's weird man. Weird.

Re:Really? (1)

Flendon (857337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240920)

That is utter BS! If someone has a legitimate copy then the value has gone up because it has collectors value in the physical cartridge being an original. A software ROM will not affect the collectors value of a physical cartridge to any real collector. And since only a real collector would pay any noticable amount of money nothing is lost to the owner. And in that case Nintendo has already sold the cartridge and makes nothing off of the resale of the cartridge. Others have pointed out ways in which Nintendo is losing real money on some of the games mentioned, but your reasoning is wanting.

Re:Really? (1)

voisine (153062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241304)

I agree that in this particular case the values involved are basically nil. However, in the general case, if we take the assumption that copyright law is based on at face value, that information is property (an assumption I happen to disagree with, it has some attributes of property but is not the same), then creating unauthorized copies does devalue legitimate copies. In the general case, people would not be willing to pay as much for something if they know it will be valueless when they are though with it. I know I mentally think about how much I can get selling a computer game used when I decide to purchase it. I don't want to pay $40-$50 for a game I'm going to play for a month and then discard. If I can get $20 for it used after playing it for a month, that helps defray the cost. Also rental stores won't buy as many copies if people just make illegal copies instead of renting legitimate copies. Again, I'd like to point out that I don't think information as property is the best system. Users of information have rights that have more value the value lost through illegal copying. There's got to be a middle ground.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241828)

If you are truly buying a licensed copy of a copyrighted work and not just the media itself then by all right the consumers should be able to force Nintendo and Music CD companies and software companies to provide replacement copies of works that were sent on defective/degraded/stolen media forever.

When that happens I will no longer insist on my right to backup copies of media I buy and I will no longer download those albums that I have had stolen/lost/wrecked cd, old cartridge that won't work etc.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240732)

For the record, there's an even better version of Super Mario Brothers for the Game Boy Color. Screen ratio is a bit off, but it came loaded with extras, including The Lost Levels.

Since everyone else has mentioned the GBA port, I just thought I'd point out that there's another way to get it too, even though it's not in production anymore.

Come to think of it, there's Super Mario Brothers All-Stars for the SNES, and that includes SMB as well.

And if I'm not mistaken, there's a version of it in Animal Crossing for the GameCube.

The point that I wasn't planning on making when I started this post: Nintendo is still making money off of the game, by rereleasing it on occasion. If someone has a pirated copy and doesn't buy a rerelease because of that, Nintendo has lost revenue.

Re:Really? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241789)

Damn, yeah, I've always wanted that but haven't seen it in stores ever since I got the money together... Now I gotta do with a ROM on my PDA instead.

Lost Revenue on 20-yr Old Games (1, Insightful)

TheSpeedoBeast (863070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240470)

Gotta be selling it to be losing out on the profits... unless you include repackaged versions of the game, maybe?

Re:Lost Revenue on 20-yr Old Games (0, Redundant)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240504)

<advocate employer="devil">
"Why would I buy newzeldatitle when I still haven't beat ZeldaII?"

Re:Lost Revenue on 20-yr Old Games (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240597)

"Why would I buy newzeldatitle when I still haven't beat ZeldaII?"

Maybeifyoupracticedusingthespacebaralittlemoreof te nyou'dbeabletomastertheAandBbuttonswellenoughtobea tthegame.

Re:Lost Revenue on 20-yr Old Games (1)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240729)

DudeYouMadeTehFunny.

Re:Lost Revenue on 20-yr Old Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241367)

methinks the real poetry comes where slashcode inserts an involuntary space in the middle of a word

How do they calculate? (4, Insightful)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240477)

How do they figure out how much selling games that aren't sold any more is costing companies? If Nintendo was still selling say "Solar Jetman" or "Duckhunt" for the NES then I would understand it could cut into their bottom line. But seeing as they don't how is this calculated?

Re:How do they calculate? (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240505)

"But seeing as they don't how is this calculated?"

$50 x Inflated estimate of the number of copies 'pirated'.

Re:How do they calculate? (1)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241131)

The take the largest price they can charge, with a straight face, for the game, and multiply it by the number of people who did not yet have the game.

Oh, crap, I forgot.. (1)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241153)

Crap, I forgot part of the equation. Then they add the aforementioned price times the number of people who have not yet been born.

Re:Oh, crap, I forgot.. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12242129)

you forgot the re-buy rate based on the number of lost and number of accidentally damaged units

How ridiculous. (3, Funny)

DeanMeister (868655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240485)

Next we'll be arresting people for making flash animations of copywrited material with really bad translations. Psh. So how much does a NES game go for these days? Buck and a quarter? Buck Fifty? Thank god the man put these criminals at bay. All your base.

Millions of HAWK shop $$ (1)

arcadum (528303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240490)

If they don't sell the titles but may intend to in the future, how can they justify the current loss of income?

Re:Millions of HAWK shop $$ (1)

richy486 (781114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240502)

Maybe they sell them on e-bay under a different name.

Crappy consoles. (5, Interesting)

Pentomino (129125) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240497)

I think the biggest impact these consoles are having is not in revenue, but in brand damage, as is the case with most counterfeit products.

The games are all there, but often the titles or copyright notices are removed, or the graphics are askew, the little built-in light gun doesn't work, or the sound is off for some reason. The controllers are badly designed, such that you don't know which button is Start, which is Jump, and what the deal is with the turbo buttons.

I do think Nintendo is missing the opportunity to sell consoles like this themselves. But it seems they'd rather sell us old NES games for $20 each on the Game Boy Advance.

Re:Crappy consoles. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241171)

Hmm... I must say that Nintendo did a lot of brand damage itself. That blinking red light still haunts my dreams. It's just blinking. No. No. No. Will it work this time? No. No. No. Load the game? No. No. No. Load the game! No. No. No.

I cleaned you, I washed you, I bloodied my fingers rubbing erasers across your contact points. (...No No No...) And this is the way you repay me!? (...No No No...) WORK DAMN YOU WORK!

No. No. No.

(sob)

Re:Crappy consoles. (2, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | more than 9 years ago | (#12242156)

They do sell a controller packed with games on a ROM chip, just not in the US. I think it's in China and Korea if I remember correctly. Google for Nintendo iQue. Last time I was at the site, Lik Sang carried them.

Pirated...consoles? (1)

Monthenor (42511) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240514)

Are talking about cartridges or consoles here? I know all about pirating game cartridges -- ahem -- but I've never really heard of a pirated console.

Re:Pirated...consoles? (3, Interesting)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240639)

NES/FC and SNES/SFC clones have been a hot commodity for many years, especially in Asia and Brazil. For a selection of pirated systems, check out this page [nesplayer.com] .

Re:Pirated...consoles? (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241702)

I've looked around online, and I've yet to see an SNES/SFC clone; sure, there are NES/FC clones that look like SNES, Playstation, or whatever. Could you perhaps point to one? Legal cloned game systems (ie, ones without pirate games built-in) interest me.

The tragedy of copyright (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240520)

If you had to pay a yearly fee to maintain your copyright this kind of crap wouldn't happen. As soon as a game/book/movie/whatever is no longer being sold it should pass into the public domain. Not that the public domain will exist in 5 years.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240628)

That would mean 'back catalog' games/books/movies would be perpetually available, for 10 times the original price.

Or does your mechanism for forcing the publishers to keep everything in print also prescribe a price they need to sell it at?

Re:The tragedy of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240688)

The concept of maintaining copyright at a fee is not to force it to remain in the market, but to allow works that the copyright holder doesn't really care about to pass into the public domain instead of being orphaned.

There's another popular idea that tries to force works into the market, but as you say, there is a massive loophole.

Do you really expect though, if Nintendo had to pay a dollar a year for every copyrighted work they wish to hold onto, they'd still hold onto things like Duck Hunt?

The dollar a year for copyright concept is attractive because it is not onerous to the people who are actually making their works available, while also discouraging people who wish to hoard their works away from the public domain.

Remember the only reason copyright exists is to promote growth of the public domain, so holding copyrighted works without marketing them is really an abuse of copyright rather than a legitimate action.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240723)

Worse yet is the fact that there's no registration of copyright works, so if you find some old game that you think is great and would like to distribute it you have no idea who you have to contact to get permission. I recently ran into this problem with a game called Flashback. There's an interesting open source project which can read the original content of this game and present it on Windows/Linux/Mac etc instead of just DOS (and I think some old consoles too). This was a game I played when I was a kid and really enjoyed and I think the casual game players of today would like to play it too. Unfortunately the company that wrote the game is no longer around and I have no idea how to track down who actually owns the copyright. Of course, there is one way: I could just distribute the game and wait for them to sue me. But by then asking for permission would be a bit too late.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240745)

Remember the only reason copyright exists is to promote growth of the public domain,

Funny how I don't remember that. Perhaps that was part of the boilereplate rhetoric expounded when the copyright act was passed.

Everything that is ever created is copyrighted. Should Federal Marshalls axe down the bedroom doors of nine year old girls because they refuse to freely publish their diaries? I'm certain there is a 'market value' for their writings, and an audience of interested readers.

Why is it any different in the case of someone who, say, decides to publish a 1000 edition release of his fiction, and never publish another copy?

This is complicated stuff.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240781)

Funny how I don't remember that. Because you've never looked at Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution?

Re:The tragedy of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240853)

Everything that is ever created is copyrighted. Should Federal Marshalls axe down the bedroom doors of nine year old girls because they refuse to freely publish their diaries?

They don't need copyright protection at all because they aren't distributing their diaries to other people, are they?

If you are going to be sarcastic, at least think it through first.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240897)

They have copyright protection, however. By default in the US.

If they choose to let their best friend read a page or two, are the floodgates opened?

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240818)

If you had to pay a yearly fee to maintain your copyright this kind of crap wouldn't happen.

I'm sure it would, unless you could somehow make the yearly fee a variable amount.

Hmm, maybe the yearly fee could be based on the declared value of the work. So if Nintendo wants to claim that pirated versions of Duck Hunt cost them a million dollars a year in revenues, then they've got to put up say 0.1%, or $1,000/year to keep it copyrighted.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241180)

Not that the public domain will exist in 5 years.

What do you mean '5 years', have a look http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200504122 25604578 [groklaw.net]

The short course is that (at least in music) while the copyright for the creator, (songwriter, musician, etc.) may expire, the publisher continues to have 'common law copyright' on anything produced pre 1972. With the extension of copyright currently to between 75 and 95 years, it's going to be 2067 before anything music wise goes into the public domain, by copyright expiration, again. (Longer if Disney decides that Mickey might get in the public domain too early, in say 2020 or so...) Expect to see similar effects in software, games, and other media shortly unless the supreme court shoots the ruling down.

-Rusty

Re:The tragedy of copyright (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241814)

Thanks. So whenever I make something that would ordinarily fall under copyright I must pay fees to some US American government office to keep any rights?

Please realize that corporations aren't the only ones who have copyright.

Re:The tragedy of copyright (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241952)

No, what I'm saying is that if you want the protection of the US government and, as this story shows, the FBI, you should have to pay for it. It hardly makes sense that the majority of people, who don't make works for which they want copyright protection, should have to pay for the minority of people who do.

Not obsolete... (5, Interesting)

nuxx (10153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240527)

They obviously aren't obsolete if they are still selling.

And also, these are the crappy 1000-in-1 games-in-a-controller things for sale at malls. The problem isn't so much that they cause Nintendo to lose money, but instead diminish Nintendo's brand.

See, many of the games in these systems are literally hacked ROMs with various sprites replaced, and often the ROMs don't work and simply crash. Since the consumer thinks "this Nintendo sucks", they are less likely to buy a Nintendo product down the line, thinking it'll be similarly crappy.

Not to mention that the consumer got ripped off in the first place, as these systems tend to be sold for US$60 or so in mall kiosks and are of absolutely piss poor quality which would likely break under moderate use.

Re:Not obsolete... (2, Informative)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240799)

They obviously aren't obsolete if they are still selling.

Right. I used to be in the abandonware-should-be-public-domain camp until I saw Nintendo rerelease old games, e.g., the SNES Zelda for Game Boy Advance, and many NES games for the E-Reader. Granted, we can talk about the incentive for innovation of a long copyright period, but these works are firmly within their copyright (they're only about 15 years old) and Nintendo has shown that they're definitely not abandoned.

If anything, we should shorten copyright. Abandonware and other arguments don't apply here.

Oh, and "lost revenue" can also mean "they misappropriated our IP, started a company, and consumers who would have bought our modern products bought their console running our games." That's as valid as "they didn't buy our games because someone was selling the exact same stuff". You can't legally compete with someone by pirating their software.

Re:Not obsolete... (2, Interesting)

nuxx (10153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240826)

Well, also, this is completely different from someone like you or I downloading old ROMs to play them. This is some folks profiting off of such copies, and doing so in a manner which can demonstrably damage the reputation of Nintendo.

I think NOA is completely in the right here... In fact, I've called NOA before to report such items for sale, and ended up in a conversation with one of the employees about how copying old games for personal use is not that bad, but this sort of thing just isn't right.

With all the mighty powers, (3, Insightful)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240546)

all the mi-i-i-llions of taxpayer dollars, thousands of person-hours of deep investigative efforts using the latest in 1990s technological know-how and tools, our beloved Homeland Security leaders bring us ... NES pirates.
Nice try, people, but there're things you're *not* telling us and cases you're *not* showing us that keep some of us fearful - not respectful, given the above, but fearful.
Controlling the media to portray you, our beloved federales, as incompetent clowns is only halfway effective - which half varies depending, and I'm afraid of clowns.

Arrrr !! (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240565)

"our beloved Homeland Security leaders bring us ... NES pirates."

Arrrr! They be only 9 pixels wide, and be made of 3 colors, but arrr, these NES buccaneers have me shaking in me sea-boots!

Remarkably Sparse Article (1)

JExtine (691267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240560)

That article is a horrid write up on the incident, it says that 60,000 game consoles were siezed in the raid.
Do they really mean 60,000 consoles or is it 60,000 cartridges as the article implies earlier?
Also, I really wanna know if these guys were "pirating" NES games or if "Donkey Kong" and "Mario" were the only nintendo properties that the article writer knew. Herm.

Re:Remarkably Sparse Article (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240878)

It's consoles. It's one of those things where they put a nes-on-a-chip and solder on the contents of an xx-in-1 game cartridge which contains lots of pirated mapper 0 games. Usually it's built into an N64 controller type shell and plugs directly into a TV.

A few points in Nintendos favor (4, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240575)

1) Nintendo has on occasion re-released old NES games for new platforms, so they are still able to make money off of those titles.

2) Many 8-bit games have new incarnations, and as far as I know, its a good idea to control the IP in all its incarnations if you dont wish to lose that control.

3) This is about as blatant a case of piracy as one can name. It was both wholesale and flagrant. And Nintendo went after the source, not the customer.

This is not anything like the RIAA / MPAA suing individual users.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:A few points in Nintendos favor (3, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240608)

"This is not anything like the RIAA / MPAA suing individual users."

You're right. I would also add that Nintendo will definitely want to continue to own the copyright to these titles. If clones or rips are made and sold without permission, Nintendo's basically giving them the green light to keep going. They can't just wait until a big one comes along that uses one of their franchises that are still active.

All-in-one consoles? (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240621)

This article has to be referring to those "100 games in 1" (or whatever) consoles that they sell in the mall. I just don't see the market for a quarter of a million pirated NES consoles otherwise, not to mention games you can get at Gamestop for a buck.

Uhhh... The FBI? (3, Insightful)

OmgTEHMATRICKS (836103) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240645)

Don't these guys have anything better to do? Like tracking down murderers and rapists, for instance?

Re:Uhhh... The FBI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240700)

Most rapes and murders are not federal crimes and are handled by local authorities. Copyright infringement is a federal crime and is handled by the FBI. I don't see what's so hard to understand about this.

Re:Uhhh... The FBI? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240749)

What's hard to understand is that copyright infringement hasn't been a criminal matter for very long. We're all siting here thinking shit, that seems like a waste of FBI resources, maybe if we had some control over our government we could repeal these stupid laws.

Re:Uhhh... The FBI? (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240794)

It became a criminal matter in 1897. So I'm not sure what you mean by it not having been a criminal matter for very long.

Still, it is stupid that it is, and I do support making it exclusively civil.

Re: Sig (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241205)

"I am not your lawyer,.."
In that case, can I have the retainer back??

Re:Uhhh... The FBI? (1)

OmgTEHMATRICKS (836103) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240887)

I just don't see why 20 year old videogames no longer being made are somehow more. . . criminal than murder or rape.

Official theft vs copyright infringement thread (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240661)

Four people were arrested in the crackdown on the theft of popular games

How many times does it have to be explained that copyright infringement is a different offence to theft?

If somebody put a game up on the Internet where it was downloaded thousands of times, that can cause far more harm than if somebody went into a shop and stole something.

If somebody copied games that you can no longer buy, it can cause less harm than if somebody went into a shop and stole something.

Copyright infringement and theft are fundamentally different actions, with different consequences, governed by different laws. Even the Supreme Court has ruled that copyright infringement is not theft (Dowling vs US, 1985).

There is a perfectly good term to use when somebody copies something illegally. It's "copyright infringement". People who insist upon misusing the term "theft" are only seeking to cause yet more pointless arguments. There is a word for these people too. It's "troll".

Re:Official theft vs copyright infringement thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12240785)

It takes one . . .

Re:Official theft vs copyright infringement thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241242)

"Arrr, here there be copyright infringers."

Re:Official theft vs copyright infringement thread (1, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241567)

How many times does it have to be explained that copyright infringement is a different offence to theft?

I don't know - how many times will it take until the people who claim that "it's not theft" learn English?

Not all theft is illegal or even wrong. "Mediocre artists borrow, great artists steal," as some great artist once wrote. Shakespeare stole the plot for Romeo and Juliet from some Italian writer. Block and Adler stole the plot of Forbidden Planet from Shakespeare. None of them did anything wrong; in fact both of them made the world a better place, IMO.

Copyright infringement is a form of theft that (like plot-stealing) doesn't involve any physical loss on the original owner's part. Nevertheless (unlike plot-stealing), it's a form of theft that is illegal.

I understand what you're trying to say, and even more or less agree with it. But I'm sick of people mangling the English language for political ends, even when I agree with the politics. "Theft" is not just limited to physical property. A girl stole my heart once, but I wasn't even slightly tempted to have her arrested for it! :)

How about this... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240733)

Nintendo made those games. They own the rights. They should be allowed to do what they want with it. How about that? I don't get it why people want everything to be free after a while. If Nintendo judges it can still make money off these games in a few years, then it is in their own right to arrest people who steal from them.

Re:How about this... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240868)

If Nintendo judges it can still make money off these games in a few years, then it is in their own right to arrest people who steal from them.

If Nintendo were doing the arresting, this wouldn't be nearly as bad. But instead they've got the FBI doing it for them.

If stories like this aren't a good reason for having highly progressive taxation, I don't know what is.

Re:How about this... (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240879)

The only problem is this: nobody is stealing from anybody else, the cime is piracy and copyright infringement. Nintendo can't nessecarily arrest for this.

Re:How about this... (1)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241500)

Are you trying to say that Nintendo should be able to have it's own police force? Or maybe even it's own code of laws?

Re:How about this... (1)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241782)

I dont understand why people want to control what is my hands or in my head. I own what is inside my head, however it got there. i should be able to do whatever i want with that. Why do people want to charge for everything??

Content creators only have rights as a privilege. As proof, there are special laws for it because it IS NOT the same as property. There should be a middle ground but when there is every any doubt the needs of the many should out-weigh the needs of the few or the one.

Hold the fucking phone... (4, Interesting)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240737)

I'm a bit confused here.

Back in november, when Nintendo asked for your help in tracking down these "N64 controllers" full of hacked roms [slashdot.org] , everyone thought it was great, lined up at their e-door to help

Now when they've finally raided the warehouse and put a stop to it, there's nothing but "bitch bitch bitch copyright is teh suck".

Fuck you guys, I'm going home.

Re:Hold the fucking phone... - Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241264)

I'm a bit confused here.

Back in november, when Nintendo asked for your help in tracking down these "N64 controllers" full of hacked roms, everyone thought it was great, lined up at their e-door to help

Now when they've finally raided the warehouse and put a stop to it, there's nothing but "bitch bitch bitch copyright is teh suck".


It's probably because of a misleading summary. If you miss the single word "sell" at the end, it might sound like Nintendo is suing people sharing files noncommercially, when really they're suing a huge commercial operation based on copyright infringement.

After reading the article, I have no problem with Nintendo's actions in this case. The summary made it sound more like the RIAA lawsuits.

BTW, don't be surprised when the thousands of Slashdot users don't agree with each other.

That'll be the day. (1)

nsaneinside (831846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12242029)

>>
BTW, don't be surprised when the thousands of Slashdot users don't agree with each other.
Hell, don't be surprised when thousands of Slashdot readers don't agree with themselves.

Re:Hold the fucking phone... (1)

Brainboy (310252) | more than 9 years ago | (#12242068)

everyone thought it was great, lined up at their e-door to help

perhaps "everyone" was a bit strong. Certainly its not to hard to fathom, that a lot of people agree with one side, but a lot of people take the opposite side. On Slashdot, groupthink hits both sides of any issue.

This is sad (-1, Troll)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240768)

I apologize for making such a vacuous comment, but this is just sad. Was it just a slow day for the feds, or do they really not have anything better to do with their time? If it's the latter, maybe we should start laying off FBI agents.

These guys wouldn't know theft if... (1, Insightful)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12240854)

Four people were arrested in the crackdown on the theft of popular games such as "Donkey Kong," "Mario Brothers," "Duck Hunt," "Baseball" and others, according to a release by federal authorities and papers filed in U.S.
These guys seem like they wouldn't know theft if it bit them in the rear end. The crime is copyright infringement, not theft. Why are the police not involved if it is theft? Why is the IP "stolen" still in Nintendo's posession? Because what is going on is a violation of copyright laws/contracts. This may not make it right, but this statement proves that our English language is being twisted to support agendas and make things sound worse/different than they really are. [quazi-philosophical rant ahead:] I am one of possibly few left growing up being taught that stealing (or theft if talking legal terminology) requires loss. That in order for something to be stolen somebody has something, but somebody else took it away from you, depriving you of it, while gaining him/her possession of said item. Slowly this concept is being replaced rapidly every day with a different, easier to use concept. Now people are growing accustomed to the idea that theft/stealing doesn't require the "owner" to loose things they had "stolen," or that loosing something you don't even have but wish you had is theft. This surfacing ideology really scares me from a philosophical viewpoint. Before I try to reason why this is scary, I will first attempt to identify reasoning behind this. I think the answer as to why the definition was changed in the mindset of possibly millions is due in part from the pushing of certain agendas on people, which shall be a basis on my explanation. The agenda pushing is in part from the recording and movie industries attempt to show people a negative side to file-sharing, mainly that it can be used to violate copyright. Either through thinking copyright infringement was too light of a word to stir up support, or possibly because they though copyright infringement was too complex for somebody to explain, they instead went with calling unauthorized duplication of data theft or stealing. This brings in another factor right into the issue, that is that they might be too lazy to try and define in a balanced way fee from biased the basic ideas behind copyright laws without resorting to toying with the sometimes fragile world of emotions. The flaw with the decision here is, if you followed the definition of theft/stealing I was taught, duplicating pieces of data, simple 1's and 0's, without depriving them of the same bits of data doesn't fall under this definition. Sure copying something copyrighted without permission in some cases is wrong, but why not call it what it really is, and try to make it wrong in it's own sense instead of "stealing" stealing. The only thing that somebody would possibly be deprived of is the potential to earn some money. The potential meaning they have a chance, but fate can work in or out of their favor, but is not required under law to fall in their favor. I shall close this explanation of this piece with a fitting analogy. If we follow the mindset of the industries at work in media (music and movies), maybe it can be considered theft to tell people that a particular movie, or CD, or book is bad/not worth spending money on because you decrease the value of it to those people who want to buy it. The only flaw here might be that freedom of speech is protected under law here in the U.S, but there have been cases where the justice system has failed us on protecting the first amendment. You the reader have probably been reading through this and wondered where the reasoning for the redefining being scary will come into play. The English language is very rich in words and phrases. There is more than one way to describe one act, but only one way to describe it accurately. To me, what we were taught in elementary school, piled on to what "copying" is, and adding on to that what is being fed into our brains from debates on controversial issues like the file-sharing debates can be a lot of acts to sort through, but if you think though it logically, copying a file on a CD, and shoplifting a new CD from a store have fundamental differences that don't negate any wrongness they might have, but keep them from being complete equals. It is the combining of these differences as true similarities that is the scary part, manipulating different acts as the same either because a message you want to get out isn't being effective, or out of sheer educational laziness that threatens the barriers that keep logic thinking that one act and another that are different as different acts. This is truly a wrong that must be recognized now, because the sooner we say two fundamentally different acts are the same for whatever reason, the sooner we start to try manipulating logic or truth to further dreadful goals or achievements that no man wants to face, but may be facing already without knowing it because it is being well hidden under manipulated language, almost in a way like in George Orwell's 1948 classic, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Re:These guys wouldn't know theft if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241463)

Paragraphs are your friend. I have no desire to read something that long with no formattting.

Re:These guys wouldn't know theft if... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241858)

Despite the lack of paragraphs, this guy has an extremely good point. Theft and violating copyright law are two different things. In many cases, if not all of them, here in the US, copyright litigation seems to be based on the principles of theft, where the plaintiff pleads that the copyright violation has 'stolen' their profits... or will steal their profits.

This is nearly the same as say:
If a drunk kills someone with a car, the family of that person sues the drunk driver not only for the wrongful death of one person, but the expected wages, family (sons and daughters) and other things that the family is now deprived of because of the death of one person in their family, even though there is no way to quantify or verify that these things were lost to the family, or that the family has been deprived of them.

I think we can all agree that this is not quite the right way to think of things, but this is how copyright litigation works. Sharing out copyrighted information does not involve creating wealth for the violator in the case of sharing movies and music files. There is also no precedent that the people who download those copyrighted works would actually have paid money for them if they were not available for download. Nor is there any solid evidence that the sharing of music and video files has reduced the copyright owners profits in any significant way.
(If anyone knows of such proof of loss, please tell me where it is)

Additionally, because the value of the perceived theft is intangible, and can not be quantified, there is no basis for assigning punitive damages based on the number of files shared or any other such measure.

Copyright litigation coming out of LA la land is monstrous, and a blight on both the legal profession and those instigating the litigation.

People with morals would find a better way to ensure their profits than try to effect law to prevent anyone from sharing what they have paid for, or trying to prevent anyone from using technology that 'MIGHT' let them share those files with others.

Sure, copyright violators are wrong, but the current fight against them is bogus, and dangerous in respect of how it bends the intent of both copyright and the law in general. Preventing people from profiting from your work is a good thing, a positive for all of us. Allowing anyone to run rampant and twist the law to punish people just because they might violate copyright law at some time in the future is insane.

If you violate copyright law, and reap financial reward from the violation, then clearly, this is theft as well as copyright violation.

The parent is right, its time that we start looking at this issue for what it is.

I'm Not Sure I Get This One (1)

Zonk (12082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241317)

I really don't understand....pirates are trying to make a quick buck, right?

The handheld console games from a while back were selling because they were easy to use and on the cheap.

Why would you bother knocking off NES consoles and games when most people who have the itch just buy GB versions or use emulators?

Wouldn't it make more sense to pirate Gameboy games?

What they mean. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12241775)

If any of you have seen those infinity-in-1 gaming systems: The cheap controller with a/v out that has a self booting emulator and roms flashed on. They sell a version with a gun for duck hunt as well. These are what they are talking about. Not cartridges.

Analogy (2, Insightful)

Dizzle (781717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241849)

The way I view it it's similar to records -> tapes -> cd's -> ???? -> profit!!!

Seriously though, Thriller first came out on vinyl. Everything was good. The tape offered portability. Everything was still good. The CD offered portability and sound quality. Still grand. You can buy these games for a song for the original NES, or you can pay 20$ for the portable version that has all the graphics of the original (sometimes improved) and maybe a few extras thrown in here and there. Sounds like a good deal to me.

The issue is this: some, if not most, of these games are not available for sale any more. I can't go to a store and pick up Double Dragon, for any system. I need to hunt hunt hunt for it. Now Nintendo may want to rerelease these games, they may not, but they can't say that they're currently losing millions of dollars in revenue. These guys have been stopped, I guess sales of old NES carts should start bringing in the big bucks for them again.

HOWEVER, that being said... these guys were profiting from counterfeit goods, and I'm sure no one can condone that.

Wtf? It's supposed to be legal... (4, Interesting)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12241925)

An anticircumvention ruling was issued by the Librarian of Congress on 10/28/2003. It protects - for the time being - sites such as ours at videogamemaps.net (my url). The pertinent clause:

(3) Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

Sounds like the FBI straight out fucked up to me.
http://www.copyright.gov/1201/

Re:Wtf? It's supposed to be legal... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12242042)

That would make it legal to extract the ROMs, but not to distribute them (or sell them, as these people were doing). Your site looks like fair use [wikipedia.org] to me (possibly with all 4 factors in your favor).
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