The 14 Most Scandalous Legal Battles in Gaming History

Illegal Mario Uploading

Nintendo vs. Burt (2009)

Our last case looks at the perils of putting illegal downloads on the internet. Australian Paul Burt bought a retail copy of New Super Mario Bros Wii when it came out. Unusually, the game came out earlier in Australia than in other parts of the world, so Burt decided to upload the game to the Internet so that Wii owners in other countries could download it before it was released worldwide in 2009.

Nintendo was able to track him down using sophisticated IP mapping software and took him to court. In 2010, Burt and Nintendo settled out of court, with Burt paying the company their $100,000 legal bill and $1.5 million in damages. Rose Lappin, the Managing Director of Nintendo Australia at the time, discussed the situation with The Australian newspaper, saying:

"It wasn’t just an Australian issue, it was a global issue. There were thousands and thousands of downloads, at a major cost to us and the industry, really."

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for this Aussie internet pirate. Mental Floss reported that in 2013, (as Burt claimed in a Reddit post) Nintendo gave him a limited-edition Legend of Zelda statue for being an “excellent customer”! I bet he was after paying all those damages!

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Published Jul. 6th 2017
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