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French court reverses DS flash cart ruling, Nintendo smiles

Nearly two years ago, a French court dismissed a lawsuit that Nintendo filed against a group of vendors accused of illegally selling DS flash carts. At the time, the game-maker argued that sales of the cartridges should be halted on the grounds that they could be used to illegally pirate software, but the presiding judge thought differently, countering that the R4-like devices could be used to develop homebrews or other DIY projects. Last week, however, the Paris Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, in a decision that Nintendo has met with understandable delight. In a statement released today, the company confirmed that Divineo SARL and five other flash cart retailers must pay a total of €460,000 in criminal fines, along with €4.8 million in damages to Nintendo, as ordered by the appeals court. Details behind the ruling remain vague, though Nintendo hailed it as a "strong message to French companies... that such activities are illegal and will not be tolerated," and that convicted vendors will "risk prison terms, face substantial fines and obligations to pay damages." Sail past the break to read Nintendo's statement, in full.

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Selling Game Copiers is Found Illegal in France

Paris' Court of Appeals Deals Decisive Blow to Sellers of Game Copier Devices for
Nintendo DS Systems

Paris, France: October 3, 2011 – This month, France joins a growing list of countries taking a strong legal stance against video game piracy. The Paris' Court of Appeals issued guilty verdicts on Sept. 26th against Divineo SARL, along with five other companies, for the importation, sale and distribution of game copier devices commonly referred to as "linkers" in France (in other countries, the devices may be called R4s or Magicom). The Court has imposed over 460,000 Euro in criminal fines, damages payable to Nintendo in excess of 4.8 million Euros and, in some instances,
ordered suspended prison terms.

The decision of the Court of Appeals of Paris (France's second highest Court) represents a strong message to French companies dealing in these devices, that such activities are illegal and will not be tolerated. Those who are caught risk prison terms, face substantial fines and obligations to pay damages.

This case arguably has involved some of the most prolific importers, distributors and sellers of these devices. Raids carried out in December 2007 and November 2008 across a number of locations in Paris, Marseille and Strasbourg resulted in the seizure of several thousand game copiers. Nintendo would like to thank everyone in the law enforcement and prosecution agencies involved in this case for their invaluable support.

This decision now brings France in line with other European territories, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium, based on decisions they already have rendered. It also is consistent with other court decisions that have been issued globally.

"Nintendo supported this criminal action not only for the company's sake, butfor the interests of its game developer partners who spend time and money legitimately developing software for Nintendo's game platforms, and customers who expect the highest standards and integrity from products bearing the Nintendo name," said Stephan Bole, Managing Director of Nintendo France.

For more information about Nintendo's fight against piracy, and how you can help, please visit