Nintendo wins major piracy protection court ruling

Nintendo has successfully taken an Italian seller of devices designed to allow pirated games to run to court – and won.

The decision was made by the First Instance Tribunal of Milan against an importer and seller of so-called ‘circumvention devices’, with game copiers and mod chips given as two examples of such piracy-enabling goods.

The Tribunal referred two queries onto the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to see whether Nintendo’s use of security to protect against piracy was proportionally justified – and therefore legally supported.

The decision, which was in Nintendo’s favour, marks the first time that any Member State national court has used the CJEU’s guidance on piracy protection – which is Europe’s highest court.

As well as acknowledging that circumvention devices are designed primarily to permit the use of illegally pirated software, the ruling also agreed that Nintendo’s security measures are fair and therefore allowed by Italian copyright law.

Nintendo is pleased that this ruling is consistent with a long line of judicial precedents established at national courts in a number of Member States including Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK,” the platform holder said in a released statement.

This decision is also entirely in line with several decisions from the Italian Supreme Court (Criminal Division) against sellers of circumvention devices as well as a recent ruling from the criminal appeal courts in Florence, which confirmed a first instance criminal decision, against the owners of PC Box.”

It added some advice to fans, warning: Don’t fund piracy by purchasing these devices and stay out of the business of selling them.”

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