EXCLUSIVE - An Australian distributor has been ordered to pay Nintendo over half a million dollars for selling video game piracy tool, the R4 mod chip.
The Federal Court ordered that RSJ IT Solutions cease to sell the chip through its gadgetgear.com.au site and any other sites it controlled, as well as paying Nintendo $520,000 in damages.
The chip allows users to circumvent the technology protection measures Nintendo has built into its DS handheld consoles, enabling illegally pirated games to be downloaded online.
Nintendo brought the claim against the gadget accessory distributor and two affiliated respondents Patrick Li and James Li.
The court's ruling further excluded the individual respondents from selling their R4 chips anywhere in Australia, while also ordering them to pay Nintendo an additional $100,000.
They have also been required to file an affidavit by the end of this week identifying all suppliers from whom they purchased their R4 chips.
The R4 is built to fit into the game cartridge slot of Nintendo's DS, and will transfer anything saved on a flash memory chip onto the console. There are even videos on YouTube providing R4 tutorials for first-time users.
R4 chips have plagued Nintendo since their widespread adoption in 2007 and continue to be easily available online. While gadgetgear simply stocked the R4 chip, other distributors have made the piracy process even easier for consumers by pre-loading their R4 chips with ready-to-use counterfeit games.
Australian site Oz Mod Chips offers a range of products that will modify games consoles, enabling them to access pirated games. The distributor advises consumers to use their modification devices for legal reasons only, such as playing legal copies of games from different regions, using homebrew software, and playing backups of games that UPDATbeen legally purchased.
It is the second battle Nintendo has won in the Federal Court over game piracy in little over a week. On February 9, a Brisbane man was ordered by the court to pay Nintendo $1.5 million for uploading a copy of the Super Mario Bros game for the Nintendo Wii to the internet prior to its Australian release.
UPDATE - The two parties have since informed us that the matter was settled out of court, but in such a manner that the Judge was still permitted to pass down an order. Technically, our original standfirst suggesting that the R4 chip is now illegal may be incorrect.