Online video piracy: a successful lesson in protecting intellectual property rights ? two recent cases
In victories against piracy, Nintendo Co Ltd (Nintendo) successfully protected its copyright. These cases illustrate that infringers can be tracked down and with significant consequences
James Burt, 24, of Sinnamon Park, Brisbane copied New Super Mario Bros — one of Nintendo’s new Wii games — and uploaded it to the web a week before its official Australian release on 12 November 2009.
Under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cwlth), Burt need to have sought Nintendo’s permission, as the copyright owner, before copying and distributing its games.
As a result of Mr Burt’s conduct, thousands of people around the world downloaded illegal copies of the game causing substantial loss to Nintendo.
What action did Nintendo take?
As soon as notified of the breach, Nintendo engaged a private investigator to apply sophisticated technology to determine the identity of the infringer, Burt.
On 23 November 2009, Nintendo obtained a Federal Court order to search Burt’s residence. During the search, Nintendo seized property to use as evidence to substantiate its claims against Burt. The Court ordered Burt to enable access, including passwords, to his social networking sites, email accounts and sites.
What was the outcome?
Nintendo then sued Burt in the Federal Court of Australia. Under an out-of-court settlement in January 2010, Burt is required to pay Nintendo .5 million in damages to compensate Nintendo for the loss of sales revenue and a further ,000 to pay Nintendo’s legal costs.
Copyright infringement is taken seriously by the courts. This case illustrates the broad range of orders and remedies that can be obtained from the courts to successfully protect your copyright.
This case highlights the severe penalties that are imposed on individuals or organizations that infringe copyright laws. Be cautious when dealing with copyright material. Even if your breach is unintentional, action can be brought against you. Companies such as Nintendo are becoming much more pro-active and innovative in pursuing offenders. In a statement, Nintendo commented that it guards its intellectual property rights to safeguard the interests of its consumers, its own interests and the interests of game development businesses.
An additional win for Nintendo
Since this choice, Nintendo has won another Australian Federal Court case. This case was against on the internet console and accessory seller IT Solutions Pty Ltd trading as GadgetGear — involving the gadgets recognized as R4 cards, which pirate games for its handheld DS program.
GadgetGear and its directors have acknowledged that:
the game copying devices infringe both Nintendo’s copyright and Nintendo’s trademarks and
they are illegal circumvention devices.
As a result of this case, GadgetGear and the directors have agreed to permanently refrain from importing, offering for sale and/or selling game copier devices.
GadgetGear and directors Patrick and James Li were ordered to pay Nintendo ,000 in damages and hand over all their stock of copiers to Nintendo for destruction.