Nintendo Offers Recommendations on Fighting Piracy to U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report

February 27, 2013 -

Every year rights holders get to offer their input in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 report, identifying piracy sites and offering recommendations on how best to combat piracy both online and offline. In a special letter, Wii, Wii U and 3DS maker Nintendo offers its two cents on the issue. First, Nintendo points out that it is suffering major losses at the hands of online piracy:

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A Fake Mario Endorsement for an Acapulco Mayoral Candidate

June 1, 2012 -

If you are going to fake an endorsement then you probably can't do any better than good old Mario, Nintendo's number one mascot. The billboard (pictured to your left) shows Mario posing with Acapulco, Mexico mayoral candidate Pepe Guerrero.

The billboard carries that tagline "Pepe Guerrero es tu bro," which roughly translates (according to Google Translate, at least) to "Pepe Guerrero is your bro." 

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Netflix Launching in Latin America by Year's End

July 5, 2011 -

Netflix will be making its way to Latin America and the Caribbean later this year. All told the popular streaming movie and television service will be available in 43 countries by year's end. The news follows rumors and hints from Netflix about its future expansion plans. While many predicted that Netflix would break into the European market, the company decided to stay on this side of the planet and expand southward.

Netflix said its streaming entertainment services would launch in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Netflix did not give specifics on which countries in the Caribbean it would launch in first. Netflix in these regions will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese languages. Much like its launch in Canada last year, Netflix will only offer streaming video in these new markets.

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Mexican Congressman Wants Call of Juarez: The Cartel Banned

February 21, 2011 -

According to several published reports this morning a legislator in the Mexican state of Chihuahua is trying to ban the sale of Call of Juarez: The Cartel. Ricardo Boone Salmon, a congressional representative for Chihuahua State, is urging the Secretariat of Governance and the Secretariat of Economy to block the sale of Ubisoft's upcoming action game.

So what is causing this Congressman to go on public campaign against this game? Basically, he wants to keep it out of the hands of Mexico’s children. Also to many on both sides of the Mexican-U.S. border, The game's setting and plot are too much like what is really going on in towns around Mexico. Ubisoft's description of the Techland-developed sequel explains what the game is all about:

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Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

February 17, 2011 -

Community leaders in city of Ciudad Juarez and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office line up to complain about Ubisoft and Techland's latest game in the Call of Juarez series. The new game, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, is set in the present day, which has put it on the radar of people that are dealing with real-world violence from Mexican drug cartels.

Community leaders in Ciudad Juarez, say that Ubisoft’s new game glorifies the violent lifestyle of drug cartels and being "a hit man."

"Lots of kids say they want to be a hitman, because they are the ones that get away with everything," youth worker Laurencio Barraza told Reuters.

That city, according to Reuters, averaged eight murders a day last year and - at the start of this year - at least 40 residents from El Paso have been murdered while visiting. Barraza works for the  Independent Popular Organization, which tries to keep the youth of the city out of the violent drug cartels.

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Texas Law Enforcement Complain About Call of Juarez: The Cartel

February 13, 2011 -

Earlier this week Ubisoft announced plans to publish Call of Juarez: The Cartel this summer. Unlike the previous releases in the series, The Cartel is set in the present day and focuses on a "bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico."

While the description of this mature rated game may not shock gamers, the modern-day setting combined with the title has rubbed law enforcement officials in south Texas the wrong way. Pointing to gang and drug cartel-related violence that is very real to towns in southern Texas bordering Mexico, Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia says that any game involving organized crime "sets a bad example." More from Garcia:

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IIPA on Piracy: Canada Still a Problem

February 18, 2010 -

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has issued its annual Special 301 Report to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) outlining its take on the state of international piracy.

IIPA members include the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The report identified 35 countries as hotspots for piracy, including Canada. It was recommended that Canada remain on the Priority Watch List as it “stands virtually alone among developed economies in the OECD (and far behind many developing countries) in failing to bring its laws into compliance with the global minimum world standards embodied in those Treaties.” It was also suggested that Mexico be added to the Priority List, as, "A mixture of legislative deficiencies and a lack of consistent, deterrent enforcement have made Canada and Mexico piracy havens."

Spain, which is already on the list, should be placed under “close scrutiny” according to the IIPA as “Enforcement in the online environment is made more difficult as a consequence of Spain’s Attorney General issuing a circular that decriminalizes infringements that occur via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. “

Brazil was also a target of the report, with a recommendation that the country be kept on the Watch List due to increasing piracy and the “lack of an effective legal or practical framework for addressing it.”

Also mentioned in the report was a study done by the ESA into illegal downloading practices. In December of 2009 the group tracked 200 member-published titles across P2P. It was estimated that 9.78 million downloads of the games in question were completed over the timeframe.

The full list of countries on the Priority Watch List are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, China, Philippines and Russian Federation. Remaining lists, as well as individual reports for countries, can be viewed here.

Countries on the USTR Watch List risk being on the receiving end of sanctions imposed by the USTR.

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Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus Singles Out Five Nations

May 22, 2009 -

On Wednesday game publishers' lobbying group ESA issued a press release praising members of the bipartisan Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus for singling out Spain, Canada, Mexico, Russia and China as anti-piracy priorities for 2009.

ESA CEO Michael Gallagher praised the IAPC in a press release:

We thank the Caucus for this year issuing a challenge to Canada and Mexico to pass additional legislative protections – such as prohibitions on ‘mod chips’ and other circumvention devices that are used to play pirated games – and to follow through with greater enforcement and border controls.

We also thank the Caucus for highlighting the severe problems that exist for our industry and other copyright industries in Spain. Online and peer-to-peer piracy are rampant and virtually unchecked in Spain and in other major European markets...

But Nick Farrell of the U.K.-based Inquirer, doesn't think much of the caucus, implying that the senators and representatives on the IAPC have been lobbied by the RIAA and other IP rights holders. Farrell writes:

The RIAA has got its tame politicians in the US congress to rail at other nations that don't hold such a jack-booted attitude toward copyright infringement as the Land of the Free...

[IAPC] singled out Baidu, China's largest Internet search engine, as being "responsible for the vast majority of illegal music downloading in China." That's interesting, because Baidu does the same thing as Google which, as a powerful US company, the music industry has not dared to denounce...

It seems almost as though the entertainment mafiaa would like the US to mount a cross-border raid into Canada over its perceived lack of draconian copyright enforcement and wants the US to treat its NATO ally Spain as a pariah for having the temerity to say that peer-to-peer file sharing over the Internet isn't a crime.

Nintendo Fingers Piracy Nations, Asks U.S. For Help

February 25, 2009 -

Nintendo has pointed the piracy finger at several nations in a press release issued today.

China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Paraguay all come in for a mention as countries where "piracy is rampant," according to Nintendo.

The maker of the Wii and DS systems also appealed to the U.S. Trade Representative to help combat piracy, especially the type accomplished through circumvention devices such as game copiers and mod chips.

Interestingly, Canada, which was recently singled out by the ESA over its relaxed posture toward mod chips, does not come in for a mention by Nintendo.

Here are some snippets of Nintendo's concerns about the offending nations:

China continues to be the hub of production for counterfeit Nintendo video game products. The number of online shopping sites in China selling infringing Nintendo products is increasing...  Internet piracy in Korea continues to increase, as does the availability of devices that get around product security and allow for the play of illegal Nintendo software...

Federal anti-piracy actions are not reducing piracy in Brazil, and local enforcement efforts are weak. Efforts to prosecute for piracy are virtually nonexistent. Customs and border control agents failed to seize a single shipment of Nintendo video game products in Brazil in 2008...

Anti-piracy actions by the Mexican government in 2008 were wholly inadequate... The availability of game-copying devices in Spain is alarming. Internet sites offering game-copying devices and illegal Nintendo software are widespread... Corruption continues to hamper anti-piracy efforts [in Paraguay]...

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ESA Visits Mexican Market, Returns with 91,000 Bootleg Games

November 10, 2008 -

The Entertainment Software Association, the trade group which represents U.S. video game publishers, has issued a press release detailing a raid on a notorious marketplace in Guadalajara, Mexico.

According to the release, Mexican law enforcement officials acting in concert with the ESA raided the San Juan de Dios Market where they seized:

  • 91,200 illegal copies of video games
  • 130,000 video game cover inserts
  • 3,200 empty video game boxes

In June, as GamePolitics reported, the ESA staged a similar operation in Mexico City's Tepito marketplace.

Of the latest raid, ESA boss Michael Gallagher commented: 

Piracy in markets such as San Juan de Dios hurts businesses engaging in the legitimate distribution and retailing of computer and video games. We commend Mexican law enforcement officials for their actions in this raid and are committed to fully supporting authorities around the world who conduct these kinds of enforcement actions.

GP: At left is a video glimpse (not from the raid) of the San Juan de Dios Market.

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Andrew EisenTrue, but I liked the fact that rather than do a crappy looking version of the PS3/360 version, it went with an art style more suited to the Wii's strengths.11/23/2014 - 12:26am
Wonderkarpif I had the money, I'd buy one of those expensive proton pack replicas11/22/2014 - 11:25pm
Wonderkarpthats the wii version though. the PS3/360 version is far superior.11/22/2014 - 11:19pm
Andrew EisenOdd that there was no hose connecting the thrower to the backpack. Was there just no more horsepower left in the Wii to animate it? And did seriously no one on the dev or QA team notice the Ghostbusters patch on the player's sleeve was backwards?11/22/2014 - 11:17pm
Andrew EisenI played it one the Wii and rather liked it.11/22/2014 - 11:15pm
Neo_DrKefkaGhostbusters on the PS3 and Xbox is Ghostbusters III for me. It was a short but wonderful experience.11/22/2014 - 11:13pm
Andrew EisenGhostbusters is my number one but the other films in my top 5 are Blues Brothers, Nightmare Before Christmas, Little Shop of Horrors (the Frank Oz one) and Jaws.11/22/2014 - 11:05pm
Wonderkarpso interesting info about that blocklist I'm on https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B3GOLniCUAAnHbP.png11/22/2014 - 10:54pm
Wonderkarpspeaking of game swag, went to a GTAV midnight release at a gamestop. I was getting WWE2k15. First in line so I got 2 free posters and a free Los Santos Sherrif hat that doesnt fit my head. Still sits proudly on a shelf11/22/2014 - 10:34pm
Wonderkarpno pics though cause I'm going to be moving soon hopefully so I'm not too keen on working on it, other than buying some stuff.11/22/2014 - 10:33pm
WonderkarpGhostbusters, Alien, and Aliens make up my top 3 favorite films. Its not a Coincidence that Sigourney Weaver is my favorite Actress11/22/2014 - 10:31pm
Andrew EisenIf you do build a game room you're proud of, do post pics.11/22/2014 - 10:31pm
Andrew EisenGhostbusters! My favorite movie.11/22/2014 - 10:21pm
Wonderkarpthough not strictly games. I have Lightsabers mounted on the wall, and on a shelf you'll see the Infinity Gauntlet, the Ocarina of Time, a Sith Holocron, and some of my Ghostbusters Props11/22/2014 - 8:57pm
Wonderkarpswag of all kinds, Andrew. I'm trying to build a game room as impressive as AVGNs nerd room. I'm also trying to build a coffee table/storage space shaped like a NES Controller11/22/2014 - 8:55pm
E. Zachary KnightI need new controllers for my Gamecube. Its not everyday you can get brand new 1st party controllers.11/22/2014 - 8:51pm
Andrew EisenPredominately figurines or swag of all kinds?11/22/2014 - 8:37pm
WonderkarpI would like a new gamecube controller....but I also just like gaming swag....11/22/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI'm just waiting to buy a new Gamecube controller for my Gamecube.11/22/2014 - 7:15pm
Wonderkarphttp://kotaku.com/smash-bros-gamecube-adapters-sold-out-online-prices-g-1662162871 Smash Bros Gamecube adapter sold out, online prices go nuts11/22/2014 - 6:50pm
 

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