UK renders Nintendo DS R4 cards illegal

The London High Court has ruled against game importer Playables Limited, for the import of the infamous R4 (Revolution for DS) cards, which are primarily used to play pirated games on Nintendo's handheld consoles.

While they also allow custom, legal code to be played on the DS, this ruling has effectively outlawed their sale, import and advertisement in the UK. Any distributor that does so will face serious criminal charges.

Playables Limited's defence counsel argued that the R4 was legal as it allowed the use of homebrew applications. However, circumnavigating Nintendo's (or any other manufacturer's) security systems is against the law in this country, and because the card needs to do so to work, it is therefore illegal.

After the news, Nintendo released this statement, as published on games industry trade site MCV: "Nintendo promotes and fosters game development and creativity, and strongly supports the game developers who legitimately create new and innovative applications", it reads. "In the UK alone, there have been over 100,000 game copying devices seized since 2009".

"Nintendo initiates these actions not only on its own behalf, but also on behalf of over 1400 video game development companies that depend on legitimate sales of games for their survival".

The same site also spoke with anti-games piracy organisation, ELSPA: "We are delighted with today’s decision to make the advertisement, importation and sale of R4 copier cards illegal", said the company's director general, Michael Rawlinson.

"The ELSPA Intellectual Property Crime Unit was central in bringing the defendants to the attention of law enforcement authorities. I am grateful to them and our partners at Nintendo and Trading Standards in securing this significant judgement".

"Intellectual property theft is an important issue for the videogames industry, and this judgement will assist the IP Crime Unit team in actively pursuing and stopping other individuals who deal in R4 cards".

So, that puts a kibosh on the thriving DS pirate market over here, but what about in the US? Surely, changes to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in the US, which allows you to circumvent security measures on devices such as the iPhone, would effectively legalise the R4 card over there?

This is not the last we've heard of the R4, you mark our words...

What do you think? Are you happy with the High Court ruling, or do you think that it is wrong to make the R4 card illegal? And what about the US? Let us know in the comments below...



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