Nintendo has drawn a line in the sand against DS piracy in Japan, joining with 54 other companies to combat the use of R4DS-type devices.
Kotaku reports that the companies have filed a lawsuit in Tokyo District Court, seeking a halt to the importation, marketing and sale of R4-type devices that allow illegally-copied games to be played on DS systems. The R4 fits into the DS cartridge slot, and uses Micro SD cards to access data downloaded from the internet.
In a statement, Nintendo accused the devices of allowing "illegal uploading from the internet" and said, "It is causing severe damage to our company and software makers, and this is something that we cannot possibly overlook." Companies who have joined Nintendo's efforts to keep the R4 out of Japan include SNK, Capcom, Koei, Square Enix, Sega, Taito, Tecmo, Hudson and Namco Bandai.
Along with piracy, R4-type devices also allow the operation of homebrew games on the DS, a point which will no doubt be made by many critics of Nintendo's action. Like other mod chips, its legality varies from country to country; John Hillier of the ELSPA said in January that the sale of the R4 chip is illegal in the U.K., but purchasing it is not. On the other hand, he also claimed that 90 percent of DS owners in North America are using pirated games, so his credibility is a bit suspect. A U.K. appeals court recently ruled that the use of mod chips in consoles does not in itself constitute copyright infringement, thereby legalizing their sale and use, but in the U.S. a man who was convicted of selling mod chips on Craigslist was slapped with a one-year prison sentence and a $100,000 fine. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.