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DMCA invades gaming

by Rick Powers - February 20, 2002, 10:59 am EST
Source: Zophar's Domain

Nintendo is sending cease and desists to stores selling "Flash Advance Linker", plus more on the DMCA front ...

It's turning into a very interesting week for folks involved in the grey market of selling mod chips or flash carts.

Zophar's Domain, an internet import store, just received a cease and desist letter (posted to their site), citing its accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, asking the store to stop selling "Flash Advance Linker" (a product that stores GBA games in Flash memory), and to turn over all of its stock to Nintendo.

This letter has been received by several import stores lately, as Nintendo is gearing up to stop this infringing product.

Stores such as Lik-Sang are having shipments of mod chips to customers stopped at the border and seized by customs, again due to DMCA violations. (Thanks, Anthrox.)

They are attempting to stop the import and sale of "NEO4" mod chips, a chip which will allow a PlayStation 2 to not only defeat region coding on DVD movies, but allow playing of pirated game discs as well.

Interestingly, the customs agents are using UPS's tracking system to look up the origin of the package, and using that information to "red flag" possible infringing shipments.

It's possible that these aggressive moves are being taken now because there are several court cases that could serve to undo the DMCA, including the Dmitri Skylarov case, which was recently dropped. If the DMCA is defeated, it makes going after infringers much more difficult. This is because the DMCA allows for a near-immediate cessation of infringing activity until the accused can prove a product or information is non-infringing.

Luckily, this should have little effect on the GameCube community for the time being. There are no mods currently available to play pirated software, and the region mod is totally legal, though not encouraged by Nintendo.

We'll have more as this develops.

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