Like pirated movie and music files, unauthorized copies of Nintendo games are illegally distributed or downloaded via the Internet, causing significant damage to the entire video game development industry. Internet piracy is also fueled by the distribution and sale of infringing devices used to play illegal game files. These devices include various game copiers for the hand-held systems and modification chips for the console systems.
Nintendo's Internet Anti-Piracy Program addresses Internet piracy in several areas:
- Illegal Internet Downloads,
- Internet auction sites,
- Warez release groups,
- Game copying devices for Nintendo Handheld Systems,
- Modification chips ("mod chips") for Wii
Illegal Internet Downloads
It is illegal to post Nintendo game files to the Internet for copying or downloading without the authorization of Nintendo. Illegal downloads occur in many forms, including Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks, and non-P2P Internet protocols, such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels, Usenet/newsgroups posts and websites.
In addition to its own monitoring and removal activities, Nintendo works with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which has retained an Internet monitoring service that searches and identifies counterfeit game files that are being shared/distributed via the Internet.
Internet Auction Sites
Pirates also use online auctions to sell counterfeit Nintendo products. Pirates often dupe bidders on Internet auction sites such as eBay, Yahoo!, and Alibaba, by claiming their Nintendo video game products are genuine products and have been obtained at a discounted price. A high percentage of Nintendo games sold via these auctions sites are pirated. To learn how to detect counterfeit Nintendo products, read the tips at How to Detect page.
To curtail these sales and raise awareness among consumers, Nintendo monitors these sites and works with the various auction services to terminate any illegal auctions. To report suspect auctions to Nintendo please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warez Release Groups
The term "Warez" group is used primarily to describe groups that specialize in obtaining copyrighted material and converting it into a format that can be quickly and easily released and distributed over the Internet.
Warez groups operate much like an organized business. Each team member has one or more functions and is highly skilled at protecting their data and identity. Hackers, crackers or rippers within the groups are usually programmers. Their role is to design hardware and/or coding software that hacks to extract/rip the game data.
To date, the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks appear to be the environment of choice to organize these illegal activities.
Nintendo takes all necessary steps possible to cease these groups' activities. In addition to its independent actions, Nintendo joins forces with law enforcement officials and global industry groups to pursue criminal prosecutions. For more information regarding the criminal actions against Warez groups, please go to: www.cybercrime.gov.
Game Copiers for Nintendo Handheld Systems
Infringing devices such as game copiers are used to circumvent the security embedded in Nintendo's hand-held systems. These devices are used to copy video game software, without authorization, onto any type of memory device or hard drive of a personal computer. This enables the user to make, play, and distribute illegal copies of Nintendo video game software. These devices also facilitate the uploading and downloading of illegal software to and from the Internet.
To view photos of game copiers please visit the Game Copiers page.
Modification Chips ("Mod Chips") for Nintendo Wii
Infringing devices such as the modification Chips ("Mod Chips") that have been developed by pirates are designed to circumvent the copy protection security system for Nintendo's hardware systems and deem the detection process inoperable, enabling the console to play pirated copies or illegal copies of Nintendo games downloaded from the Internet.
To view photos of mod chips please visit the Mod Chips page.