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Nintendo Sues Korean Sites Over Copyright Violations

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the danged-interweb-pyrates dept.

Nintendo 46

The Korean Times is reporting that the Korean branch of Nintendo has filed suit against several websites over copyright issues. The suits come just nine months after Nintendo first opened up the Korean market (officially) with the introduction of the Nintendo DS. From the article: "'They infringed on our copyright by posting Nintendo's game titles through the Internet without our permission,' a Nintendo spokesperson said. 'The legal action was taken against only some sites and users this time but we will take further measures if such a violation continues to take place.' She declined to comment on how many sites and people are involved in the piracy suit. The legal action came after Mineo Koda, the Japanese chief executive of Nintendo Korea, had expressed concern about the lingering problem of piracy in South Korea that he said would pose a challenge to his company's business here."

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news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20640531)

Police arrest car thief for stealing a car!
Kids who cursed at parents get spanked!
Man who sticks finger in saw looses finger!

....
Click here to donate to the legal funds of these poor souls.

What exactly is being distributed? (1)

K.os023 (1093385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640551)

Are we talking about sites offering old NES ROMS for download, or some sites offering newer titles? Nintendo has been known to go after people for posting ROMS to old defunct games before.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640599)

Does it particularly matter?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20640703)

Yes, it does in fact matter. This is the latest in a long line of atrocities by Japan against Korea. In WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army tried to force young children into schools aimed at wiping out the Korean language. It also raped Korean women en masse, some as young as 8. It's a pattern that continues to today, when Nintendo repeatedly denies South Korea -- a country like 10 miles away -- legal access to new games and systems until they're intolerably old.

It sickens me, and it makes me feel like a cultural genocide is happening all over again.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640735)

WTF are you on about? Nintendo going after ROM sites equals rape of Koreans? Did I just fall into some weird parallel dimension?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641183)

That guy was being sarcastic.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641209)

No dimensional travel. Just a dumb ass troll. It's best not to feed them. In general, not reading AC comments is a very good policy.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

K.os023 (1093385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640753)

Legally speaking, no. However, there is a big difference between 1) trying to stop people from distributing your latest software and 2) trying to stop people from distributing ROM images to games that are no longer available for purchase.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640819)

> Legally speaking, no.

And legally speaking, that's all that really matters. Not to mention, as someone else pointed out, Nintendo distributes old games on the Wii now, so Nintendo has a current financial interest in protecting their older games.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641421)

And not legally speaking...

One of the most common rationales for downloading ROMs or Songs was that the copyright owner did not provide a legal method, or provided the content but at an absurd price (Like $7/song for no DRM). With the introduction of these titles onto the Wii, that is no longer justification.

Certainly people may feel that $5 for an old NES game is more than it is worth, but it is definately not an absurd price when you consider that unlike music, which often is little more effort than running a file conversion program, converting an old piece of software to run w/o serious bugs on new hardware does require some work. They aren't making ringtones here (which ARE often at absurd prices).

What I'm saying is that Nintendo has provided a method to purchase these games, and if they can ensure that they work bug-free on the Wii, probably plans to release as many titles as they can.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641521)

I purchase old NES titles all the time now...but prior to them coming out with this service, I downloaded and played ROMs like crazy.

That being said...why hasn't Nintendo released a system (perhaps they could even do this with a firmware update to the Wii?) in which you could buy "packs" of old NES, SNES, and N64 games on CD? I mean think about it...charge 30 dollars, put 6-10 games on each CD, and presto: they suddenly have hundreds upon hundreds of titles they can resell (or sell for the first time). I know they would get plenty of business from me if they had officially created and supported re-releases of old games...just on a more "complete library" level. Or hell, release the entire library of each system on a DVD or two and charge a 100-150 for it...I would be willing to bet quite a lot that they would sell them by the truckload.

They are just now getting to see what they can earn off their older stuff...if you were to tell me I could buy a system created and built by Nintendo that had the ability to play NES, SNES, and N64 games, and then proceed to release the ENTIRE LIBRARY of those three systems on a retail level again...hell yes people would buy it.

It sure would beat the hell out of spending exorbitant amounts of money on Ebay for those hard to find titles....AND they would be making more money on complete, ready to play titles.

Virtual Console is nice, don't get me wrong...but I sure hope it's only their first step. They are sitting on a veritable gold mine and would be missing out on a lot of cash if they didn't do something more...substantial.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (2, Insightful)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642949)

I imagine there's a balancing act involved here. I don't buy enterprise bandwidth or press CDs, but I can imagine it being just as cheap or cheaper to offer downloads as it is to press CDs. Certainly, after you consider the cost in warehousing and retailer's cuts, it seems reasonable to assume that it's cheaper. I imagine it's also a pathway to test selling downloads, in hopes of improving bargaining with retailers. Not to mention you can release games in VC when they're ready, and have recieved ESRB ratings. Imagine trying to get a rating for a "150 in 1!" game. Negotiating property rights for a "every NES game ever made on one disc" product would also be a nightmare, and you'd probably get knocks from having to charge more for the entire NES library disc than the Wii itself costs.

From the demand side, they're faced with a rather difficult scenario of bundling games into a collection. Maximizing profit in this case is the same as maximizing bundles sold, so expect bundles with one good hit and several also rans. VC doesn't force this bundling -- people bitched about bundling a few years ago with CDs being a factor in pirating an album instead of paying 2 dollars for the one song they cared about. I'm sure they also love that their anti-piracy measures also make it so you can't transport VC games from one console to another.

From a technological standpoint, VC offers a kind of traceable identification and encryption that mass produced DVDs do not. As far as I know, each VC downloaded is encrypted for a different Wii. Don't ask me how the other side knows the key. I hear they've actually done the technology to put games on reusable carts in Japan, but the US is a much larger region, so again negotiations break down. You can't just walk up to 7-11, ink a deal and call it good, since for example, the nearest 7-11 to me is 60 miles away. It's possible they could do something with McDonalds, but the franchise nature makes it slightly problematic.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20643465)

I would think that the NES games would be exempt from the ESRB, even if re-released today, as they were created before the ratings were in effect.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#20644593)

I don't think you understand how that works. There is no "exempt", since it isn't a federal law to be rated. And even if there was (and there never will be, even movies are not rated because of any law...) what matters is when something is distributed, NOT when it was made.

Duh.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20648817)

Nintendo puts all VC games through the rating systems of the countries involved. Since those systems release lists of what they rated how that's often used as an early indicator for what's coming out soon.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20651143)

There's also the problem with dealing with licensees. Nintendo isn't just selling their games over VC -- they're also selling Capcoms, Activision's, Sega's....each of them probably signed a deal to allow their games to be re-distributed for various rates, and you'll notice certain games such as the original TMNT break from the mould and cost more than the normal rates. Imagine trying to work out a deal for each of 150 games, all of which will probably want some up front money, plus a percentage of the profit.

With the Wii, Nintendo is primarily the distributer, and just happens to be paying themselves as a licensee for their first party games. Kind of like Valve and Steam.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20644059)

"It sure would beat the hell out of spending exorbitant amounts of money on Ebay for those hard to find titles....AND they would be making more money on complete, ready to play titles."

You can't beat free. Only people that aren't aware of emulation or aren't hardcore might buy, this doesn't mean they'll make oodles of money. I mean if you're replaying entire libraries of old games you must have a LOT of time on your hands right?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

Physician (861339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20647737)

Why sell the whole library for $150 when you can sell each individual game (with many hundreds of selections) for $5-$10 a piece?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20641943)

converting an old piece of software to run w/o serious bugs on new hardware does require some work.
Maybe that's why these p1ra4t3d r0mz oneoneelevnone generally run on emulators, you shitcock?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642497)

Maybe that's why these p1ra4t3d r0mz oneoneelevnone generally run on emulators, you shitcock?

Where do you think these emulators come from? Your ass?

So maybe they don't actually 'convert' old software, but writing a software emulation layer is hard work too.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20646333)

writing a software emulation layer is hard work too.
Hard work that was mostly done in 2002 when Animal Crossing Population Growing came out, at least for the NES on GameCube-like systems.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#20648091)

Hard work that was mostly done in

"mostly done"

all software projects take 50% of the effort to get to 90% complete, and 50% of the effort to finish the last 10. Mostly done means half the effort still remains; usually more than half. :)

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642905)

They make it available. The fact that people don't want to pay for it doesn't justify the decision to pirate it at all. The remedy for not wanting to pay a set price is to not buy the item.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20643551)

converting an old piece of software to run w/o serious bugs on new hardware does require some work.
Nintendulator and Nestopia seem to run newly discovered and newly developed [nesdev.com] NES programs flawlessly, and given the amount of documentation that Nintendo still has about the NES, most of the work was done when Nintendo produced the acNES emulator for GameCube as part of the development of Animal Crossing. Most of the work is in recoding the game to be seizure-regulation-compliant (for example Link's death animation in Zelda II was changed [wikipedia.org] ) and getting an ESRB rating (for NES games that did not appear in ACPG or in Classic NES Series, and for Super NES games released prior to ESRB).

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (3, Insightful)

visualight (468005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641459)

"Legally speaking" is never all that matters.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642205)

"Legally speaking" is never all that matters.
That's what O.J. thought.

Avarice, it's for both Nintendo and Fred Goldman (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20645613)

"Legally speaking" is never all that matters. Money is all that matters.
That's what the Goldmans thought.
Fixed that for you, applicable both to Fred "Curse it if I'm not getting the cut" Goldman, or Nintendo.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20640843)

Ah, but with the Wii they've untapped that market. They now sell their old games, not all but a lot. So, they have a leg to stand on. Sites like that potentially take away from current sales.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20640733)

Most likely NDS games.

Also, Nintendo sells older games to the Wii, so they have reason to take down nes-games too.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

FreyarHunter (760978) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641919)

Judging from what I read, and I had to read it a couple times, it seems that they are going after ROMS that range from older NES titles to newer ones. (Possibly the DS itself.)

I agree that while downloading ROMS in terms of ethics was okay when the owner does not make a viable way to purchase the program, I feel that the owners of these ROMS are starting to understand that there is a good market for this. (Hence the Wii VC.), however I would point out that the article is poorly written, and that is why we are slightly confused.

As of now, companies are starting to give viable ways to buy old games, whether it be Wii VC, GameTap, or other services. Thus the ethical reason to allow 'piracy' for older games is lost, and therefore piracy of this kind should not be tolerated. In the end, it would end up in "We tried to give you a break and let you play your older stuff now, but a few had to ruin for you, so 'nhi'!"

When I first read the article I thought it was frivolous, seeing as how it said "titles" and I assumed it was just the names of the titles, considering how Nintendo's contracted attempted legal action against a personals site. (We remember that day, and PA's comic.)

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (2, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642883)

Thus the ethical reason to allow 'piracy' for older games is lost, and therefore piracy of this kind should not be tolerated.
I'd buy that reasoning if Nintendo was committed to releasing ALL games and exactly as they were. Tecmo Bowl, Waverace 64, and others have gotten the revisionism bug in them to avoid legal responsibilities of certain trademarks.

They've made it clear that it's still the original publishing company's responsibility to port them for VC, so don't expect to see, say, Joe and Mac or Arcana or Super Dodgeball. Other companies that are still around already make huge profits doing remakes on other platforms so don't expect to see Final Fantasy VI or Dragon Quest III or Mega Man. Even games that NoA never recouped localization costs for like Mother/Earthbound for NES and Star Tropics 2 aren't really on the fast-track to be made available and the only explanation for it is that, frankly, Nintendo really isn't that committed to it.

When you consider how large (absurdly large) the Nintendo back-catalog goes PLUS TurboGrafix/PCE PLUS Genesis PLUS (soon) Neo-Geo, VC selections are merely a pittance. An mere excuse to pull the rug out from the last moral leg emu players stand on.

For how much money they've made with the DS and Wii, there really isn't anything stopping them from releasing 50 games a week, buying off abandoned properties from the last remaining IP holders and paying off other companies to rerelease the old stuff.

I mean, it's not like other publishers produced their own cartridges. Nintendo already has at least one ROM dump for every game ever produced by their factories: prototypes and everything.

Besides, I have a copy of the original Zelda in cartridge form whose battery has long been dead. Why should I pay another $5 to play the game when I already have a license to run it?

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20648645)

Megaman is available on the Virtual Console

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20648851)

Nintendo can't go after distributors of third party games anyway so those don't matter. For Nintendo to be able to take action the sites have to distribute Nintendo games and those are fairly likely to get a VC release.

Besides, I have a copy of the original Zelda in cartridge form whose battery has long been dead. Why should I pay another $5 to play the game when I already have a license to run it?

License? Did your cart come with an EULA or something? Last I checked you buy the copy and that's it, no license or anything involved. You own the physical copy, nothing more, nothing less.

Re:What exactly is being distributed? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20650155)

Besides, I have a copy of the original Zelda in cartridge form whose battery has long been dead.
You can replace the battery. >ou can even send it to Nintendo to do it. (But it will probably cost more than just buying it on VC. That to me shows just how reasonable the prices for the games are here)

Tor like oatmeals! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20640611)

Tor like oatmeals!

4 Main Posts (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641385)

In around 1 hour, apparently no one cares. Not trying to be a troll, but it sure is empty in here.

That's because it's Nintendo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20642779)

...were it Sony, the dogpile would be on about how the evil corporation is pissing on the little guy.

But Nintendo can do no wrong on /. for the time being.

And yeah, mod this troll/fanboyism, whatever; I own a Wii, I own a DS, I don't own a PS3.

Re:That's because it's Nintendo... (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20648683)

The interesting thing is also that they don't agree that owning the original ROM cartridge is an excuse for having a copy on your computer, or for that matter, on you Wii. You have to repurchase through Wii VC.

Sounds like a non-story to me? (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#20641649)

So what's the big deal here?

Re:Sounds like a non-story to me? (2, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642045)

"So what's the big deal here?"

Nintendo + Legal Action + Copyright == Waving Pitchforks && lots of ad-views.

More like link spam (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20648713)

(http://www.dailygrrl.com/)
So what's the big deal here?
--
free boobs! http://dailygrrl.com/ [dailygrrl.com] [dailygrrl.com]

this doesn't even make sense (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642245)

It says that they're being sued for posting nintendo titles. Now to me that means...
*drum roll*
Mario Kart!
uh oh, now they're going to sue Slashdot cuz I posted a game title without permission! Even if they were referring to ROMS or images, why would it say they did it without permission? As if Nintendo would ever give permission to distribute that sort of thing! Could this article be any less specific?

Re:this doesn't even make sense (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642501)

Could this article be any less specific?
It could try: "Nintendo sues someone about something; maybe."
Seriously, I think that they were talking about ROMs, not just the literal titles of the games. Nintendo couldn't possibly be that dumb, could it? Unless, of course the site was libellous, or perhaps was some sort of erotica fanfic site. I can't really think of any other reasons that Nintendo would sue over the "titles" of the game.
Of course, that makes this a total non-story, why would Nintendo not sue sites illegally selling it's ROMs? Especially now the public can even buy old games via the Wii Virtual Console.

Re:this doesn't even make sense (1)

Veinor (871770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20645417)

You mean the Wii-owning public. Granted, I own one myself, and I love it, but $30 for the controller is more than $0 for a ROM + emulator.

Better summary FTFA (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#20642655)

Nintendo Korea said that it filed a suit with the Supreme Prosecutors' Office in Seoul against an unidentified number of users who it claims uploaded copied Nintendo software on peer-to-peer file-sharing or Webhard sites. It is the first time for Nintendo to bring to court a copyright infringement case in South Korea.

My only question is, where are the links?

Links, Links, and links (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20643613)

My only question is, where are the links?
Look for golf courses in coastal areas [wikipedia.org] . Or search Wii Shop Channel for "Zelda". Or just look on eMule [emule-project.net] .
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