Nintendo has pledged its support of a US-led stance against China's burgeoning
, counterfeit video games market, according to a company presser today. With few government restrictions holding them back, pirates plundered an estimated $762 million worth of booty in China last year. And these scallywags aren't your typical kid brothers burning DVDs in the basement and exchanging them for lunch allowances in the cafeteria. No, this is well-organized crime, which has accounted for the more than 7.7 million counterfeit gaming products seized during the past four years -- and only a single criminal prosecution brought against the more than 300 Chinese factories and retailers dealing in this illicit trade. To avoid punishment, an operation need only keep its pirated stock below a certain threshold and do away with bookkeeping.
The rampant piracy, which affects hundreds of companies in the games industry, has prompted the US Trade Representative to seek formal consultations with China regarding the government's failure to meet World Trade Organization obligations concerning intellectual property protection. Nintendo has chipped in, providing evidence of piracy in China and other countries during the annual "Special 301" investigation. In turn, the US Trade Representative will use this evidence to push China to comply with global standards. "Progress must be made," urged an unusually stern Nintendo.