R4 Cartridges deemed illegal in UK

I’m sure there are people who use DS copying devices like the R4 cartridge for good, non-illegal means. But London’s High Court has decided that they’re in the minority, ruling that the sale, import and advertising of these devices is now illegal in the UK.

R4 Cartridge

R4 Cartridge

It has been revealed that more than 100,000 copying devices have been seized in the UK since 2009, and Nintendo explain that the anti-piracy move is not only protecting their property, but the 1400 game developers creating software for their consoles as well.

The defence, Playables Ltd, an electronics supplier to the UK, explained that the devices are used to play homebrew software, rather than simply being a pirate copying machine. The court did not argue the fact, but pointed out that as Nintendo‘s security systems had to be circumvented to allow these games to be played, the product was in breach of the law. Defendant Wai Dat Chan was ordered to stop selling the devices immediately.

It’s been a big couple of weeks for Nintendo – this court victory comes just a week after another in the Hague District Court, where they won a case against 11 retailers accused of selling “piracy hardware” for both Wii and DS.

Many gamers and developers have scoffed at the decision, claiming “the horse has bolted”, while others take a more holistic approach, wondering if Nintendo are in fact laying groundwork to avoid a similar situation happening to their upcoming 3DS hardware release.

At this stage, it is unknown if the court’s ruling will lead to other, similar cases internationally – but it seems that it’s not illegal to own an R4 (or similar) in the UK. Maybe keep it quiet, though…

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