Nintendo Wins Court Battle to Block Switch Piracy Websites

Nintendo has emerged as the winner in a court case where it hoped to limit access to sites which enable visitors to pirate Nintendo Switch games. The victory means that several large Internet provides based in the UK must now block access to sites which host pirated Nintendo Switch games for users to download for their consoles. News of this court victory came around the same time that Nintendo took action against a site known for its collection of video game ROMs, both of these being the latest events in Nintendo’s history of going after sites which enable pirating.

Five UK ISPs which are Sky, BT, EE, Talktalk, and Virgin Media must now block access to four different websites which were used to allow people to obtain pirated Nintendo Switch games and related hardware and information, Eurogamer reported recently. Console owners have long attempted to mode their devices to play pirated games regardless of whether they have the latest Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation console, and Nintendo has historically taken action to prevent this from happening. These sites targeted by Nintendo recently either gave users access to pirated versions of games directly or provided them with modified Switch hardware, and in some cases, provided info on how to mod a device.

A statement provided to Eurogamer by a Nintendo spokesperson addressed the court case and praised the UK High Court’s decision.

“Today, the UK High Court found the sale and distribution of 'circumvention' devices for the Nintendo Switch unlawful,” the Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer. “Nintendo is pleased that the UK High Court has confirmed that dealing in devices or software that enable piracy on Nintendo Switch systems is unlawful. This decision will help protect the UK games industry and the more than 1800 developers worldwide that create games for the Nintendo Switch platform, and who rely on legitimate sales of games for their livelihood and to keep bringing quality content to gamers."

The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment which serves as the trade body for video games in the UK also commented on the case. The non-profit told Eurogamer sites which enable piracy jeopardize the businesses who rely on selling games and hardware and said it supported the court’s ruling.

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“The case represents one of multiple industry endeavours to prevent bad actors from infringing upon and exploiting the intellectual property rights associated with games,” UKIE spokesperson George Osborn told Eurogamer.

Nintendo recently went after another ROM site with a lawsuit that alleged numerous instances of trademark and copyright infringement.