Nintendo Busts Mod Chip Shop in Hong Kong

October 23, 2007 -
Nintendo has taken down what appears to be a large-scale Wii and DS mod chip operation in Hong Kong.

A company press release said that Hong Kong's High Court issued the order for the raid, which occurred earlier this month. It took Nintendo reps three full days to seize over 10,000 mod chips and other game copying devices from the Supreme Factory Limited. As described by Nintendo:
The game copying devices connect to the Nintendo DS and are used to copy and play game files offered unlawfully via the Internet. The mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of Nintendo games downloaded from the Internet.

The Supreme Factory Limited has connection to a French company called Divineo SARL as well as its owner Max Louarn (Louarn has quite the history... give him a Google). All three are named in the legal action and have had their assets frozen by Hong Kong High Court.

Said Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America's senior piracy fighter:
Piracy affects the entire video game industry, from large companies to independent developers. It can destroy years of hard work by a team of very talented software developers, who strive to create games consumers enjoy playing. Copying the developers' work and spreading the game files globally is blatant stealing.

The Nintendo press release recounted past successes against copying device manufacturers, including a $5 million judgment against Lik Sang in 2005.

Comments

Nekowolf
Or the system the plane the modchip the shoe bomb and the pirated game the matches!...it could happen..!

"All the handheld systems for the most part have always been region free, why the hell that is I have no idea."
In europe the Game Boy,Gameboy Pocket and Gameboy Color had a differently sized cartridge that the rest of the world.Its the same technique that Nintendo used to region block Japanese carts from being used on non-japanese SNES's.It not the same as using region coding, but using size of cartridge to block out certain regions is just about the same thing.

No comment.

I have less to no sympathy here. Mod Chips for the purposes of getting around what should be illegal region protection is one thing but the DS doesn't have region protection. This seems more like copyright infringement/piracy equipment is involved in this case.

[...] Mark Wilson wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe game copying devices connect to the Nintendo DS and are used to copy and play game files offered unlawfully via the Internet. The mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of Nintendo games downloaded from the … [...]

For the DS chips, meh, they probably deserve it so I'm behind Nintendo there. For the Wii - Nintendo, make it region-free so that Europe doesn't have to wait anywhere from 2-9 months for decent games, then we might talk.

"...the Oslo city court ruled...that nobody could be punished for breaking into his own property." - The Guardian, 8/1/03

Mod chips are not illegal. Copyright circumvention is. It is my Wii/DS/whatever - if I decide to open it up and have someone perform a modification upon it, that is perfectly legal. When I use pirated games on my Wii...well, is the buyer or seller at fault here? Frankly, it is the seller who has circumvented the copyright in the first place, so it should be those who make and sell pirated games who should face the strong arm of the law.

Saying putting a chip in your Wii that might be used to play an illegal pirate game is pretty much the same as saying selling bullets to put in guns that might be used to kill people, and you don't see the cops shutting down bullet manufacturers whenever one of their bullets is used in a crime.

The music industry has figured out the only way to beat piracy is to find out why people pirate in the first place - namely, music is too expensive and they charge different regions different prices. Why should us Brits pay 3 times as much as the Yanks for the same song? By offering music over the internet at one low-price, music piracy has been reduced. Likewise, the PC gaming industry is offering the same concept now. Valve is a great example, but there are loads of developers out there selling great games over the net for low prices, and with the reassurance that you're getting a bona fide quality copy, there is even less incentive to pirate.

As for the console game industry, they might as well be stuck in the stone ages. Archaic region-encoded games, ridiculous price discrepencies (the PS3 was over £100 more expensive in the UK than in the US...what the hell Sony!) and sometimes waits of several months between regional release dates just takes the cake. Wonder why people resort to piracy, Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft? Maybe if you spent less money on your Nazi-like copy-protection and harassing mod-chip manufacturers and more money on giving people decent games at decent prices, within the same span of time, then maybe piracy would fall? Hmm?

"Saying putting a chip in your Wii that might be used to play an illegal pirate game is pretty much the same as saying selling bullets to put in guns that might be used to kill people, and you don’t see the cops shutting down bullet manufacturers whenever one of their bullets is used in a crime."

If anything, these mod chips are more like the guns, rather than the bullets.

I am sorry but a device that lets me backup and play 3 or 4 of my games on 1 cart is lawful, as lawful as a modchip that lets me use my backups on ym system, I am not to blame for the presicved losses associated with compies who do not like their consumers, if they cared they would give out 2 discs with all games/movies but they will not they will do nothing to product the investment the consumer put into them , that why "modding" should be legal the sell of illicit copies illegal, as for the distribution of things digitally online either go after the site that holds that infermation and manges moeny over it (not the users be them uppers or downers) or offer a better alternative, quite blaming the libary for having books and offer a more diverse product.

product the investment
protect the investment

LOL

with the crusade on mod chips and the march of spyware DRM(thank you EA) things are looking bad for the consumer!

So I refute and refuse their terminology and do what they do pay for what I like and get away with the rest!

@ Pleinair

It wasn't a perfect analogy, but then again, there is no such thing. I'll explain it:

Wii/Pistol = Tool used to commit crime
Mod-chip/Bullet = Component required to commit crime
Pirate Game/Murder = The Crime

I would like to say that modding a console is not wrong in and of itself. It is what you do with it. If you use it to play illegal copies of games, you are performing and illegal act. If you are using it to play region locked games you purchased legally or back ups of games you own, then you are in the clear.

As for "Who should be punished, the seller or the buyer of pirated games?" question, the seller is the one performing the illegal act, but the buyer is in possession of stolen goods and is subject to having that property confiscated.

But it appears that this company's sole purpose was to mod consoles and sell pirated games to those who purchased the mod.

E. Zachary Knight
I have shopped at Divineo, they offer devices,tools,parts and hard to find odds and ends like Link sang did, they offer alot of 3rd party stuff the indutry dosent want to invent or create or even polish some of it is modchip related some of it is not, they sale no games and defiantly no copies.

http://www.divineo.com/cgi-bin/div-us/index.html

Much like link sang because they can not get a cut of it they will close it down just because they can and this only stiffens my resolve to not buy new and to not try and buy at all, if they want to break the happy gray area rule then they will have to close the used market to get a dime out of me.

Supreme Factory Limited makes the chips so it dose not sell copies either...unless I read wrong.

If the a company traded in copies ,then sure theres nothign really to protect them when the shit hits the fan, however devices are a whole other matter, next they will prevent the sell of unlicensed peripherals because the top 4 companies are not gettign a cut they have already as much baned game enhancers on the new systems whining it damages them in unknown ways yet they refuse to build the item them selfs and police directly.

If they can equate modchips directly to pirates how long will it be before dvd burners will be next hell if they wanted to they could take on the whole computer industry!

ack zippy rage!! IQ minus 110% :P
LOL

Divineo and Maxconsole won't go down, regardless of what a court rules. They already owe several millions to the game industry for other cases.

Merc25
thats good to hear, however if china and half of Europe agree to it they will go away, all it will take is a bleeding (blood sacrifice) the cridet card companies and they are done.

"Wii/Pistol = Tool used to commit crime
Mod-chip/Bullet = Component required to commit crime
Pirate Game/Murder = The Crime"

Mod-chip/Gun = Item required to commit crime
Pirate Game/Bullet = What the Mod-chip/Gun ultimately uses


Saying the system is the tool to commit the crime is rather boneheaded.

Pleinair
what he is saying is that it CAN be used, much like how a weapon can be miss used to harm another.
a better anagoly


Mod-chip/Gun
Backup/Bullet
Console/Person

Now dose this mean a person with a loaded gun is automatically a criminal? you do the math.....

While I object to being called boneheaded, I won't stoop to crass flaming and instead rebuke you, although it seems to be a waste of time when I'm clearly right.

The Wii and Gun are, in of themselves, harmless. Unless you throw them at someone, I suppose.

When a Wii has been chipped or when a gun has a bullet in it, it has the potential to commit a crime.

When the gun with a bullet in it is used to murder someone, that is a crime. Likewise, when a Wii with a mod-chop is used to play a pirate game, that is a crime.

QED

Wow. That is crap. Now, if You'll excuse me, I have a mod chip to buy. On principle alone. And to copy my scratched up wii disks on.

las, attorney
crippling aside doesn't my analogy work better?
It dose not matter if the gun is loaded or not its what its used for.

Although as I said, the analogy isn't perfect, and as I said, there is no such thing as a perfect analogy, so feel free to interpret anyway you want. Basically, the point I was trying to present, which has become marred by pedantry, is that chipped Wiis are legal as they are not necessarily used to break the law, just as loading a gun is legal as long as you're shooting for target practice or something, and not murdering. Because murder is wrong.

las, attorney
forgive me if I am wrong but didn't the DMCA word modchips?

Or is it vague enough to allow backup use despite CP being circumvented?

the DMCA from what I "know" makes any and all CP circumvention illicit.
this can be tricky for emulation and other things that might skip it in order to get the product working and I am not talking about gray or black market stuff.

Not sure about the legality of modchips under the DMCA but at anyrate mod-chips are not always used for illegal purposes and do have benign uses such as playing homebrew. It is basically the video game industry being Nazis and Congress knowing fuck-all about video games and anything remotely technological whatsoever and thus taking what the video game industry says as fact. Remember when the mod-chip pages on Wikipedia were changed to a bunch of lies, purportedly editted by video game industry officials? Yeah, we know our good friends in the industry are not above lying and harrassment just to save a few bucks.

Imagine if you will that DVD-player manufacturers began making it so you could only play a specific kind of disc on their players (which is actually happening in the case of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD) and now you couldn't play your own home movies that you made with a video camera. Yup. Say goodbye to ever watching 'Grandma's Last Christmas' again. And what if the only way to watch Grandma's Last Christmas was to chip your DVD player? Would Congress ban these chips, or do you think they're a little more savvy on home movies than they are on video games?

I think we can assume that Congress would not ban the DVD chips. The only way to get mod-chips legal status would be to reeducate Congress the lies that they have been spoonfed by the industry.

"Now dose this mean a person with a loaded gun is automatically a criminal? you do the math….."

If the gun or the bullets are obtained illegally, then a crime is already commited.

I'd calling a moratorium on this gun analogy; it isn't adding anything to the discussion and I'm sorry I infected your minds with it so.

Pleinair
a loophole in a poorly written new law made all gun owers in a state criminals what do you do?

las, attorney
the format war is not quite like that and both HDVD and BR can play DVDs.
But I am sure they will make a law where you can go to jail over copying your own home videos (for to be able to run them on new players you need "gray area" software to reburn them and that software breaks a loophole in a poorly written law)

How about, um...Oh, the system can be the plane, the modchip, the bomb, and the pirated game, Dresden.

Nah, I kid. But yeah. The DS is one thing, but, the Wii is another.

sad that this all boils down to one thing:

if companies would get rid of region coding, there wouldn't be a need for most of the legal mods people make, which makes the illegal stuff that much easier to identify.

but also: down with the DMCA.

Alright, I will back up Ias and then not respond to the Wii/gun thing.

The Wii and the gun are the same. Both are items that we can legally own.

The mod chip and the bullet are the same. Both allow the owner of the respective legal device to do either something legal or illegal.

The pirated game and murder are the same. They are both illegal acts performed with the respective legal objects.

The homebrew/import game and hunting are the same. Both are legal actions performed with their respective legal devices.

So you see that modding a Wii is not in and of itself illegal, but it is what you do with it. The same as having a gun with a bullet is not illegal, but what you do with it.

Now that I have said that, I will respect Ias' wish and not bring it up anymore.

Conejo
I dunno the sign of a good gray area is a sign of a growing industry, once regioning is done away with what about 3rd party dev tools and home brew tools as well as cheat devices that have to bypass hardware/frimware issues to work(Nin already bricked one of the first cheat devices for the WII with frimware updates).

You can not throw the baby with the bathwater out here.

E. Zachary Knight
just to make it clear to zippys dim lil brain

LEGAL:Wii/Pistol = Tool used to commit crime
LEGAL:Mod-chip/Bullet = Component required to commit crime
ILLEGAL:Pirate Game/Murder = The Crime

I got it now..now off to bed so I can lsoe more IQ points LOL

WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!

Also, it's las, not Ias. Lower case L, see?

Sorry las. I did not know that it was a lowercase L.

las, attorney
I dunno zippy has the attention span of a inbred highly caffeinated kitten.
ooo "kitties" *falls off cliff*
trap! who put the kitty porn out!
=0-o=


....LOL oh god I need sleep....I ahve gone furry =>>=

I agree that region encoding should go (along with most of the DMCA). If there were no region encoding, there goes the biggest legal justification for modding. Makes it much easier to just own an unmodded console, and everyone is happier.

Unless you're trying to d/l and play homebrew. Then I guess you're kinda screwed, or have to stick to PC.

If the sellers were selling pirated games along with the modchips - shame on them and actions like this are entirely justifiable.

If the sellers were only selling the modchips though, as it sounds from the article, then shame on Nintendo for enacting draconian methods to prevent their customers from opening up their hardware and doing what they want with it. Thank goodness you don't make home computers, Nintendo. I'd hate to only by able to buy Mario brand video cards.

So, Mr. Halpin, staunch defender of game consumer rights: This would be a great time to challenge the whole region locking and DMCA issues, not to mention consumer rights in general!

Oh, right, the Entertainment Consumers Association doesn't actually care about consumers or that silly notion of "rights" they have. I forgot. Silly me.

ill bet if you were to ask a company exec why they dont get rid of region locking, they would give the excuse of 'different countries = different laws', but if you were to read his mind, the answer would be 'money'.

Sony seem to get the message years ago, seeing that the PS3 has only got 2 region codes("1" outside of China and "2" within China) and the PSP is 100% region free.

Not really with them on the Wii one. Not to mention as someone else said the modification itself is not illegal in the least, it is the act of playing the pirated game that is.

Of course, getting a raid sanctioned by the Chinese government is far easier than any other government. Luckily the Chinese are the ones who do (most of) the pirating.

@MR.B

All the handheld systems for the most part have always been region free, why the hell that is I have no idea.

Actually we just studied a issue similar to this in my business class, the whole reason reason for the reigion coding more often then not is for industy and a country to maintain there import/export moveout. Sometimes when dealing with international type sales to comply with all country laws will simply the issue and just have reigional coding for each area rather then alter the code for each country. While this sounds like a cheap-money making trick that doesn't work in favor of the customer... well your right, but the general view of business is the profit in the long run.

As far as the mod-chips themselves, the Wii one I could see have some legal use. But a DS chip? For what purpose would you need a DS mod chip for? The thing is reigion-free too.

DS ModChip/Flash Cart is for homebrew.
You can also use it to have several games with you at once.

I miss Lik Sang

@DraginHikari:
"...But a DS chip? For what purpose would you need a DS mod chip for? The thing is reigion-free too."

Homebrew games and apps. I've seen people working on projects to put the Firefox browser on the DS, and some IM applications on it, among other things.

@Xlorep DarkHelm

So they're basically going for making it like a micro touchscreen computer.

You can't crtl-c, crt-v a car.

You can crtl-c, crtl-v a piece of software.

Applying past economic models and notions of ownership to infinitely replicatable "products" won't work.

It's not stealing. It's not piracy. The corporations can try to keep sticking their fingers in the dyke, but they will ultimately fail to stop what is an evolution in the way we manage information. It's called sharing.

BTW anyone want to connect illicit software with this? this is 100% mod devices and not games I am 95% sure.
 
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