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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Nintendo of America shuts down 8-bit pirates

Bootleg mini-consoles anger NoA by treading on NES Classics' turf

A pirate operation providing video game systems featuring unlicensed NES titles has been shut down by Nintendo of America, with the US District Court granting a temporary restraining order against two companies involved in their sale.

The systems, which consist of a replica Nintendo 64 controller which plugs directly into a television and allows the user to play a number of NES-era Nintendo titles, were being sold openly in many US shopping malls under brand names such as "SuperJoy" and "Power Player."

Nintendo has now been granted a temporary injunction against two firms involved in importing and selling the units, and is working with US marshals, customs and other federal authorities to seize as many of the infringing units as possible - with tens of thousands already held by customs.

"This action is one of many steps Nintendo is taking to protect its creative rights and to combat the growing international problem of product piracy," the firms director of anti-piracy, Jodi Daugherty, said in a statement. "Nintendo won't tolerate these illegal products... We're confident that mall management companies around the nation will provide their complete cooperation upon being informed of the court's decision."

"We'll aggressively protect the quality and integrity of the video game products our fans are so loyal to," she continued, in that peculiar turn of phrase which companies engaged in anti-piracy operations seem to feel obliged to trot out - since it now appears to be a PR faux-pas for a firm to actually state that it's protecting its profits and shareholders.

The illegal devices are believed to be widely available in the UK and throughout Europe as well as in North America, but to date we're not aware of any legal action being taken against their sale in these territories.

Several of the titles featured in the devices have recently been re-issued by Nintendo at a budget price point as part of the NES Classics range for the Game Boy Advance.


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