Japanese Publishers Win $1 Million In Flash Cart Lawsuit

Japanese Publishers Win $1 Million In Flash Cart Lawsuit

R4 Flash cart

A Japanese judge has ruled that three companies reselling R4 flash carts must pay $1 million in damages to a group of 50 games publishers.

Nintendo Japan announced this morning that its ongoing lawsuit against resellers of R4 flash cartridges has resulted in a judge ruling that three Japanese retailers must pay Nintendo and a group of 49 other publishers a total of 95,620,005 in damages. For those of you without handy yen to dollars conversion tools, that works out to roughly $947,211.77 USD.

Unfamiliar with R4 carts? The key thing to know is that they make piracy on consoles which utilize cart-based games much, much easier. Without getting too deeply into the details, the R4 carts effectively serve as miniature hard drives on which any number of games can be stored. Since they're created specifically to work in modern gaming machines (most notably the Nintendo DS), these R4 carts can then be inserted into your handheld of choice, thus giving users access to basically any game ever created without having to pay any pesky retail prices for the entertainment.

You can probably see how this might upset companies that make money by releasing games for these machines, and how it would displease Nintendo in particular.

While Japan outlawed such flash carts in 2012, some companies still stocked them, and were freely selling them to anyone with the appropriate amount of cash. This is what spawned the lawsuit in the first place, though it's unsurprising to see this result given that the plaintiffs in this case consisted of almost every major Japanese gaming company in existence. With that much financial and political clout, there was never much doubt as to what the outcome here might be.

Still, propers to Nintendo et alia for smiting such a prominent foe and striking a decisive blow in the fight against piracy. Of course, with humans being the lazy, greedy animals they've always been, the scourge of gaming piracy is going nowhere any time soon, so this victory is more Sisyphean than anything else. Eventually the giant rock of piracy will tire Nintendo out, but until then the company is dedicated to pushing that stupid boulder up that stupid hill as many times as necessary.

Source: Gamespot

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Please, please tell me that last paragraph was sarcasm, because if it wasn't I'm simply beyond words.

...And yet, nobody cared to bring up in defense that it was caused by Nintendo's poor provision of service during the days of the DS, and the inabilities of the DS which could not meet demands. Thus, no lesson was learned by those companies, and therefore once again "proved" that the only way to fight illegitimate competition was through costly law - Law brought to power by those corporations which sued, that is.

Couldn't those cards be used for other things besides playing games like play music, it acts like a hard drive right?

-Dragmire-:
Couldn't those cards be used for other things besides playing games like play music, it acts like a hard drive right?

Sure, they can be used for anything, but the overwhelming vast majority are used for piracy.

I think I remember hearing about this back a few years ago, what did they do back then anyway i kinda forgot the whole thing since I thought it was resolved years ago..... I think?

major_chaos:

Devoneaux:

Earnest Cavalli:
Of course, with humans being the lazy, greedy animals they've always been, the scourge of gaming piracy is going nowhere any time soon, so this victory is more Sisyphean than anything else.

What does this even add to the article? I guess I should stop expecting contributors on a video game website to remain professional.

Correction: you should stop expecting Earnest Cavalli to remain professional.

Except he is not the first one to insert pointless asides into his articles that needlessly (and in this case, unintentionally) insult the reader.

Cap'n. The SS R4 is taking on water.

Disregard them ensign.

But Cap'n, we could...

I said disregard them ensign. We have lost the battle, but we shall win the war by sailing behind their lines to board their flagship the WiiU. The R4 has sacrificed itself nobly for our cause. Now let's do her proud! Full sail ahead!

Ay Ay!

major_chaos:
Please, please tell me that last paragraph was sarcasm, because if it wasn't I'm simply beyond words.

It's Earnest Cavalli. If he didn't write a paragraph like that, I'd call the police and report the kidnapping.

OT: Well... 50 against three. The end result is not surprising.

With that much financial and political clout, there was never much doubt as to what the outcome here might be.

In this instance the games companies are right, but this notion should never be what decides a legal matter.

I think those R4 cartridges could be pretty useful for putting all of your games on one cart rather than carrying a bunch of them around at once. You can still buy the games, then just wish them on to the R4 to save yourself some pocket space. The developers get their cash, the gamer gets their game and the pirates sail happily in to the sunset only to realise it's just painted on and they're going to hit a wall.

What about those of us who used r4 cards to copy our ds games. I cant tell you how many ds games I have broken or how much more simple it is to carry most of your favorites on one cartridge as well as favorite music and etc

twaddle:
What about those of us who used r4 cards to copy our ds games. I cant tell you how many ds games I have broken or how much more simple it is to carry most of your favorites on one cartridge as well as favorite music and etc

This. Also, there is some lovely homebrew games that would not exist otherwise.

As Gabe Newell said - Piracy is a service problem. Nintendo could've made a lot of money by selling cheap downloadable digital copies of games that people could download into a card like this. Would some still choose to pirate? Sure, but not as many.

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't the law in Japan outlaw the "R4" cart only, instead of flashcarts in general? Cause to anyone not in the know the R4 was the first cart to achieve massive success, but has been consider a cheap POS for MANY years now. Most people who own flash carts don't own R4's anymore.

Earnest Cavalli:

-Dragmire-:
Couldn't those cards be used for other things besides playing games like play music, it acts like a hard drive right?

Sure, they can be used for anything, but the overwhelming vast majority are used for piracy.

A card made specifically to fit in a ds that has the ability to play pirated games amongst other possible uses. Just from that kind of description I could easily assume that game playing is the primary use of it, but that's just me assuming. I'm curious if we have stats on that. I suppose torrent tracking is what people are looking to for evidence of the specific use of these cards but even then the torrents could be for emulation play from a pc as opposed to for the cards themselves.

All that being said, I recall an article on this site that said there were people selling the cards with games already on them which makes looking at this issue from a different angle rather difficult.

CriticalMiss:
I think those R4 cartridges could be pretty useful for putting all of your games on one cart rather than carrying a bunch of them around at once. You can still buy the games, then just wish them on to the R4 to save yourself some pocket space. The developers get their cash, the gamer gets their game and the pirates sail happily in to the sunset only to realise it's just painted on and they're going to hit a wall.

which will be cracked in about a week after the wall is launched.

with patches to make it more stable.

OT: So, basically if you have anything else that uses an R4 cartridge, you are still a filthy pirate and should feel bad about yourself. Because breaking laws is bad.

Never mind that they could be used on PC's, Cameras, laptops, tablets, this list could go on for nearly every electronic device made these days.

But no! even if you dont have a DS, you are a pirate because Nintendo said so.

oh hey i can already download games onto my sd card on this 3ds from the eshop

but let's keep talking as if that isn't a thing

Doom972:
As Gabe Newell said - Piracy is a service problem. Nintendo could've made a lot of money by selling cheap downloadable digital copies of games that people could download into a card like this. Would some still choose to pirate? Sure, but not as many.

Pretty much this. I can download all my games onto my vita so I do. If I couldn't and a card like this existed then I would have bought the shit out of it and put a bunch of games on it. Even if I felt like figuring out how to put custom firmware or something on it and pirate games I wouldn't because it's easier to use the playstation store

major_chaos:
Please, please tell me that last paragraph was sarcasm, because if it wasn't I'm simply beyond words.

I like the part where he invokes the myth of Sisyphus, which is about man's utter domination in the face of the absurd, in his attempt make Nintento look heroic. "Push that stupid rock" indeed.

Earnest Cavalli:

Sure, they can be used for anything, but the overwhelming vast majority are used for piracy.

Do we have numbers on this? Because this sounds like the same argument used against VHS players, audio cassette players, CD drives, DVD drives, etc. Do you own a DVD drive?

Just curious on that last point. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but one of the ways Sony attempted to prove how many of us were dirty stinking pirates was that their sales of CD-Rs had outstripped their sale of commercial CDs. Of course, that gets extra silly because in this case, Sony was the one complaining about piracy AND selling those illegal pirate-enabling discs, but the point remains. "the majority is/are used to pirate" is older than I am.

1 Million apiece for each of the 50 developers, or 1 million divvied up between the 50 developers? If the second, how is it divvied?
I'm pretty sure the 3DS has relatively beaten piracy by running the system like a police-state.

Now I ain't condoning piracy (blah blah blah blah), But what exactly is illegal about SELLING R4 cartridges?
Of course piracy should be illegal, but what part of making, selling, or buying these cartridges breaks the law? The possibility of piracy?

I'm not just asking a rhetorical question, I want to know. Does Nintendo have a patent that people are abusing, or are publishers just scared? Why is it illegal?

Braedan:
Now I ain't condoning piracy (blah blah blah blah), But what exactly is illegal about SELLING R4 cartridges?
Of course piracy should be illegal, but what part of making, selling, or buying these cartridges breaks the law? The possibility of piracy?

I'm not just asking a rhetorical question, I want to know. Does Nintendo have a patent that people are abusing, or are publishers just scared? Why is it illegal?

The same reason that that retarded bit of legislature "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act" got passed.

It is illegal because Nintendo paid the politicians to make it illegal.

Earnest Cavalli:

-Dragmire-:
Couldn't those cards be used for other things besides playing games like play music, it acts like a hard drive right?

Sure, they can be used for anything, but the overwhelming vast majority are used for piracy.

Arent they called Cards?
you seem to have misspelled it multiple times.

also, CD/DVD/BlueRay/USBdrive/SDCards are all used A LOT for piracy, but you dont see them being banned any time soon. in fact there is a tax on empty media in my country as "compensation for piracy" and supposedly money collected goes to artists (mind you, onyl artists that play on TV or radio, so yeah logic) because even government admits its mostly used for piracy.
still, DVDs are not banned, because thats stupid. and baning such cards is stupid.

Earnest Cavalli:

-Dragmire-:
Couldn't those cards be used for other things besides playing games like play music, it acts like a hard drive right?

Sure, they can be used for anything, but the overwhelming vast majority are used for piracy.

I think his point was that, just because something can be used for illegal activities doesn't mean the thing itself should be illegal

I'm sure the vast majority of robberies involve stolen goods being carried away in a bag, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone advocating a legal ban on carrying devices

BernardoOne:

twaddle:
What about those of us who used r4 cards to copy our ds games. I cant tell you how many ds games I have broken or how much more simple it is to carry most of your favorites on one cartridge as well as favorite music and etc

This. Also, there is some lovely homebrew games that would not exist otherwise.

I have an R4I card and a card reader. I am also a software engineer. I have a physical game library in the neighborhood of 200 some odd games. I use my R4I card and reader to copy my personal games, then I store the physical games on my shelving. I do not want to carry around 200 games it is not practical. So I have my library on my R4I card. I also dink around with homebrew titles that have openscource code. So for me the R4I has NEVER been about piracy. I do not condone piracy because it keeps people like me from feeding their family.

Sidenote, with the 3DS I have not purchased any physical games I get them all digital from the Nintendo store for this exact same reason. If the DS had this option I would have done so (and no the little crappy casuals do not count I mean REAL DS games)

That'll learn them to sell that sort of thing in Japan, they really should have been content with countries like China (and maybe Brazil) who treat IP laws with casual disinterest.

The R4 is used for more than piracy, they can be used to enable cheats, and play homebrew apps. I just like dumping every game I own on a single 16gb micro sd for traveling convenience. Not to mention the ability to back up saves on single player/save titles.

 

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