Nintendo wins piracy ruling, shuts down "fair use" argument in Italy
Nintendo prosecuted a distributor that enabled pirated games to run on its devices.
The First Instance Tribunal of Milan found that the Italian importer of such devices, known as circumvention devices, was guilty of the piracy. They continued by referring two more important questions to the Court Justice of the European Union (CJEU) based around whether NIntendo's use of security was proportionately justified.
The defendant, PC Box s.r.l, argued that Nintendo was preventing fair use of independent software that was designed to enable MP3 and other file types to run on the console and that the devices were not made to allow pirated software on Nintendo consoles.
However, the court stated that the circumvention devices were created with the purpose of illegally allowing pirated software. The court also decided that Nintendo's security measures were justified and weren't infringing upon Italy's copyright laws. Nintendo commented upon their victory:
"This decision is also entirely in line with several decisions from the Italian Supreme Court (Criminal Division) against sellers of circumvention devices as well as a recent ruling from the criminal appeal courts in Florence, which confirmed a first instance criminal decision, against the owners of PC Box."
"Nintendo is pleased that this ruling is consistent with a long line of judicial precedents established at national courts in a number of Member States including Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK."
The case sets a precedent in Europe. Since this was the first time that a European Member State court has used the guidance of Europe's highest court (the CJEU), all the European Member States now have a framework to "assess whether such security measures are proportionate and, therefore, protected in law."
Not to mention, Nintendo added a warning to their fans:
"Don’t fund piracy by purchasing these devices and stay out of the business of selling them.”
Nintendo is serious about stopping piracy and with such a victory over circumvention devices, it is likely that other companies struggling with similar issues will follow in their footsteps.
What do you think of the case? Are you happy Nintendo is winning the war against piracy or do you think there will be unforeseen consequences? Or did you think the PC Box didn't intend to pirate Nintendo's game as claimed to be doing? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!