Nintendo lands important court ruling over safeguarding console security


Nintendo of Europe has shared news that the First Instance Tribunal of Milan has ruled in their favour, supporting their efforts to safeguard security measures implemented on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

The case had targeted defendant PC Box, a local importer and seller of accessories specifically designed to circumvent such anti-piracy measures.

The Tribunal had referred questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) requesting additional guidance on interpreting European copyright law that permits rights holders to deploy security measures to protect against piracy.

The result was a preliminary ruling from the CJEU that now provides courts in European Member States with a framework to help “assess whether such security measures are proportionate and therefore protected in law.”

The Tribunal’s decision is the first ruling to act on such guidance, which ruled that “the primary use of circumvention devices like game copiers and mod chip devices is to circumvent security measures to enable the playing of pirate games.” Therefore, Nintendo’s security measures were deemed “fully proportionate” and protected under 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,” Nintendo of Europe shared in a 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 is unlawful to import and sell circumvention devices under Italian law and sellers could face criminal sentences and fines as well as hefty damages. Nintendo’s advice to its fans is don’t fund piracy by purchasing these devices and stay out of the business of selling them.”

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