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R4 cartridges banned in the UK

R4 cartridges banned in the UK

R4 cartridges used for running pirated or homebrew software on DS' are now illegal in the UK.

R4 cartridges and similar third party carts for the Nintendo DS range are now illegal within the UK after some successful lobbying from Nintendo.

Third party cartridges, of which the R4 is the most popular model, usually contain a MicroSD card adaptor and are used for running homebrew software or pirated games on the Nintendo DS range of handhelds.

A judge ruled against R4 manafacturer Playables Limited and Wai Dat Chan today, making it illegal to either sell, advertise or import R4 cartridges within the UK - a move hailed as a 'first ever' judgement by Nintendo.

The judge made the ruling on the basis that such devices bypass Nintendo's security measures and violate DS terms and conditions in order to run software, regardless of whether such software is pirated or not.

"Nintendo promotes and fosters game development and creativity, and strongly supports the game developers who legitimately create new and innovative applications," Nintendo said in a statement.

"Nintendo initiates these actions not only on its own behalf, but also on behalf of over 1,400 video game-development companies that depend on legitimate sales of games for their survival...In the U.K. alone, there have been over 100,000 game copying devices seized since 2009," Nintendo said.

This, naturally, renders our Guide to Nintendo Homebrew Software a bit obsolete. Ah well.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

44 Comments

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r3loaded 29th July 2010, 12:07 Quote
Wow, this just came in as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the US ruled that breaking copy protection in itself wasn't illegal (as long as the intended end result wasn't to violate copyright).

Ah well, I can now add that to the bottom of the long list entitled "Reasons that the current system of IP laws is completely broken and inadequate".
memeroot 29th July 2010, 12:33 Quote
Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

(though fair enough really I suppose)
Gareth Halfacree 29th July 2010, 12:42 Quote
I find the ruling bizarre, as it flies directly into the pudgy little face of the Betamax ruling. Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417

Okay, so that's American law, but UK courts have always abided by that decision in the past. Who'd've thought that Nintendo had more lobbying power than Sony?
crazyceo 29th July 2010, 12:48 Quote
I completely agree with this ruling and well done to Nintendo for fighting right to the very end.
loftie 29th July 2010, 13:06 Quote
Surely this is like banning DVD players because you could play pirated movies on them
specofdust 29th July 2010, 13:08 Quote
A depressing decision made by a judge who probably doesn't really understand the issue he's judging on. Breaking into your own machine should never be illegal.
ModMonkey 29th July 2010, 13:19 Quote
@loftie, its more like banning DVD Rs because you can copy pirated movies to them. Banning the DS would be like banning DVD players.

I'm not too familiar with the DS stuff but is there any legal use for these cartridges??
Florian 29th July 2010, 13:30 Quote
Yes, there's plenty of homebrew software for the DS, and all of it requires a flash cart to run.
droitwichdosser 29th July 2010, 13:48 Quote
Guess its the "acekard 2" from now on then!?

http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=79368
loftie 29th July 2010, 13:54 Quote
Tis true, bad analogy :P But yea, homebrew apps, including games, browsers, instant messaging, personal organisers, media players, paint, think there was even a VOIP app. I'm sure everyone who owns one of these has used it for pirated games at some point, but there are other uses for them. My most used apps included Beup and moonshell.
loftie 29th July 2010, 13:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by droitwichdosser
Guess its the "acekard 2" from now on then!?

http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=79368

CycloDS, SuperCard DS2, too! ^^
Deact 29th July 2010, 13:57 Quote
I think what people seem to be missing is that its not the actual fact that R4 cartridges and the like can be used to play homebrew or pirated software but the fact that they break the security measures put in by Nintendo. This is the fact why the judge ruled in Nintendo's favour as your effectively "breaking" the DS and abusing the consumer agreement in the T&Cs. Saying its like banning DVDRs or DVD players is rather incorrect as namely the software is loaded into a blank microSD not the R4 itself per se and there is little else the R4 can be used for (unlike a DVD player where you can use legal DVDs/CDs along with any DVDRs loaded up ilicitedly for example), hence why the judge ignored the homebrew software part ofthe defence.

Personally, I think its a shame that proper homebrewed software users lose out to this but as for pirated games then well life sucks, get over it and to the game store if you really want the game.
Xir 29th July 2010, 14:04 Quote
So you've got to buy them in the shady corner of the schoolyard from now...together with pr0n and dope...
Blademrk 29th July 2010, 14:39 Quote
The Judge's comment on the defence is a bit worrying tbh:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge
“"The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence"

You could use that argument for anything (just replace device with whatever).
hrp8600 29th July 2010, 14:44 Quote
"breaking the DS and abusing the consumer agreement in the T&Cs"
if I bought it I can break it or into it if I want.
As for T&C's I bought it its mine, not rented or hired it. You won't get to read the T&C till you pay for it and open the box any way.
Unlocking phones will be next,
ChromeX 29th July 2010, 15:15 Quote
Does anyone aside from my 9 year old niece own a DS?!
Phil Rhodes 29th July 2010, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
"The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence"

Yes that is rather terrifying, because I believe in the US at least that very certainly was a defence, and a cast-iron one at that.
Denis_iii 29th July 2010, 15:31 Quote
**** Nintendo and that useless judge!
Denis_iii 29th July 2010, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Quote:
"The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence"

Yes that is rather terrifying, because I believe in the US at least that very certainly was a defence, and a cast-iron one at that.

agreed, is there anything at all in this reality that cannot be used for an illegel activity?
Bauul 29th July 2010, 16:06 Quote
"The mere fact that bananas, vasoline and ducktape can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence"

;)
PureSilver 29th July 2010, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis_iii
agreed, is there anything at all in this reality that cannot be used for an illegel activity?

The issue is that the R4's raison d'être is circumventing the copyright restrictions on the DS, which is apparently illegal. Sure, once you've used it there are legitimate things you could do with your cart console, but that doesn't change the fact that the only thing it does is avoid the console's copyright stuff. In that sense, I don't think there is a 'non-infringing' use of the R4 because the actual operation - the circumvention - is the operation of the cartridge. The fact that once you've got it you don't necessarily download games doesn't change the fact that the circumvention is illegal.

The best analogy I can think of is things like car slimjims and lockpicks - like the R4 (and every other custom cart ever) their sole purpose is for defeating security. You might be doing that for a legitimate reason - as a hobby, say, or because you've locked your keys in your car - but that doesn't change the fact that the tool's sole purpose is to circumvent security, which in cars is called taking without owner's consent, in homes is called burglary, and in consoles is called copyright infringement, apparently. (A notable distinction is that locks are not sold as 'not to be picked' in the same way that the DS is sold 'not to be cracked' - hence, lockpicks are controlled but not illegal, but the R4 is illegal.) When Denis_iii points out that everything has the potential for illegality, he's right, but that's not what the intended use of the item is. You could beat someone to death with a hammer, but that doesn't change the fact that the hammer's purpose - hitting nails - is legal. You could use an R4 to run homebrew, but that doesn't change the fact that the R4's purpose - circumvention - is illegal.

For the record, I cracked the hell out of my PSP (never downloaded a game, though, I couldn't find any I wanted to play that much) and I personally think the consumer should be allowed to crack anything he owns, as long as he doesn't whine when it breaks or try and make warranty claims. Nintendo should make the DS (or, more likely, the 3DS) itself harder to hack, or brick itself if hacked, if they want to discourage this kind of thing. That would let buyers know that they're buying something that either can't be modified, or is going to be very risky to do so - and they could make their own decisions about whether to live with the restrictions or buy something else. I think the PS3 is a good example - it's not suffered from the kind of exploits Xboxes suffer from, and that's because it's a much more daunting task. Maybe some people thought about having to pay for their games and then bought an Xbox instead; that's their choice and mostly Microsoft's loss, not Sony's...

When it's this easy to crack the consoles - I mean, neither my PSP nor the DS-series nor the GBA needed anything more than a plug-in card, or not even that - really the manufacturer should start looking at some new staff.
CharlO 29th July 2010, 16:45 Quote
Quote:
"Nintendo promotes and fosters game development and creativity, and strongly supports the game developers who legitimately create new and innovative applications," Nintendo said in a statement.
You forgot the BUT part, as in we like you, but get lost.

My R4 makes me really happy, Nowadays most I use is Colors and a PC controller....
leveller 29th July 2010, 17:26 Quote
R4, whether it was intended for good or evil, enables far too much evil and ease of playing DS roms. Therefore, good riddance.
mrbens 29th July 2010, 18:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by loftie
Quote:
Originally Posted by droitwichdosser
Guess its the "acekard 2" from now on then!?

http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=79368

CycloDS, SuperCard DS2, too! ^^

It says in the first line that similar devices are banned now too.

I loved my CycloDS with 16GB microSD when I had a DS. Shame we won't be able to buy the version for the 3DS when it comes out. They'll probably still be available to buy from some dodgy websites tho!
knuck 29th July 2010, 18:48 Quote
Buy your game, people. It will only make them even more enjoyable.

I remember the Dreamcast days. I had dozens and dozens of pirated games and I couldn't care less about any of them. My attention span for each of them was about 10minutes because I knew I still had so many other games to try.

I now buy all my games. The few cracked games that are on my PC are either very old or were played once in LAN.

EDIT: Yes. I did contribute to the death of the Dreamcast. Shame on me ...
RichCreedy 29th July 2010, 21:32 Quote
the dirty rotten pirates only have themselves to blame
theflatworm 29th July 2010, 23:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
the dirty rotten pirates only have themselves to blame

I dunno, there's always that pesky Guybrush Threepwood, if you're really stuck for recrimination targets...
Tulatin 29th July 2010, 23:36 Quote
Oh good. A kneejerk reaction which just serves to hurt developers that can't afford Nintendo's licensing, and users who want to run their own code / play music / watch videos on Nintendo's DS devices. This isn't a step towards stopping piracy, it's a leap towards slashing every DS owner's freedom, and I, for one, am appalled.
leexgx 30th July 2010, 00:40 Quote
only reason i have seen an DS or DSI (that device was going to stop R4 Failed to happen) is so the R4 type of card could be used, i found it rare that any one owned any games (more so the DS then the DSI but its new thought)
leveller 30th July 2010, 07:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRAMAQUEEN
it's a leap towards slashing every DS owner's freedom, and I, for one, am appalled.

I'm a DS owner. I don't need an R4 to express my freedom. I'm free to play whatever game I legally purchase, just like EVERY other DS owner.

I am appalled at your appalled'ness.
Glix 30th July 2010, 14:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRAMAQUEEN
it's a leap towards slashing every DS owner's freedom, and I, for one, am appalled.

I'm a DS owner. I don't need an R4 to express my freedom. I'm free to play whatever game I legally purchase, just like EVERY other DS owner.

I am appalled at your appalled'ness.

Nice one, you just libelled some one by implying that he pirates. :> Expect a letter through your door.
Typical Company trend these days to blame piracy for declining game sales. Sucks for Dev's who were out to share great games and programs on these devices, and ultimately it's the consumer that loses out. Leveller, I assume you have never tried Colors or any of the great rpg games you can get from the Homebrew crowd (not to mention MSN / IRC clients)?
Don't knock till you have tried it.
leveller 30th July 2010, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glix
Nice one, you just libelled some one by implying that he pirates. :> Expect a letter through your door.
Typical Company trend these days to blame piracy for declining game sales. Sucks for Dev's who were out to share great games and programs on these devices, and ultimately it's the consumer that loses out. Leveller, I assume you have never tried Colors or any of the great rpg games you can get from the Homebrew crowd (not to mention MSN / IRC clients)?
Don't knock till you have tried it.

Who are the devs going to blame? The big blue chip for stamping out a cartridge that enables the usage of the DS's entire catalogue of games, illegally? Or the millions of people with R4's that are illegally accessing the entire catalogue of DS games?

If it is the former, then their sobbing is mis-directed. I would much prefer to see zero piracy. And to be fair, there are plenty of other platforms where indie devs are very successful, we don't need a world full of bravehearts crying 'unfair' because a platform that was never open in the first place goes one step further to locking itself down, as it was always intended to be.

Cry some more. :'(

Added: thing is though, the R4's are already out there in peoples homes, plugged into their DS's, so the big drama is ... ? Incidentally if we are talking about devs, let's not forget the other side of the coin, which is all the devs whose software is being illegally pirated, downloaded and played.
Glix 30th July 2010, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
Who are the devs going to blame? The big blue chip for stamping out a cartridge that enables the usage of the DS's entire catalogue of games, illegally? Or the millions of people with R4's that are illegally accessing the entire catalogue of DS games?

If it is the former, then their sobbing is mis-directed. I would much prefer to see zero piracy. And to be fair, there are plenty of other platforms where indie devs are very successful, we don't need a world full of bravehearts crying 'unfair' because a platform that was never open in the first place goes one step further to locking itself down, as it was always intended to be.

Cry some more. :'(

Added: thing is though, the R4's are already out there in peoples homes, plugged into their DS's, so the big drama is ... ? Incidentally if we are talking about devs, let's not forget the other side of the coin, which is all the devs whose software is being illegally pirated, downloaded and played.

You seem to forget, those dev's have already been paid for their work (so they don't blame anyone, they just update their CV with another title, it's the publishers who :'(). No one in the right mind would work on pay by royalty contract, they get their fixed sum and are sent on their way when the game is released. If a game fails to sell well, digging up excuses isn't the way to make the next game sell.

I've payed for all the games I play on my DS. So owning my own copy of that game is some how made out to be illegal because I don't need to carry my carts around with me? :|

Zero piracy? :)
That will happen when the system of money is abolished as it has been around in every system.

I also think that people are entitled to their own opinion so I don't see the need to jump on the moral high horse just to bash others. There is a lot wrong in this world yet it's things like this that see the light of day.

I was surprised to see this though: http://www.dailytech.com/Library+of+Congress+Jailbreaking+Rooting+Phones+Video+Montages+are+Legal/article19157.htm
Fizzban 30th July 2010, 15:50 Quote
Don't see what the fuss is about. Anyone who wants it (R4) badly enough will still find a way. And anyone who doesn't want it badly enough won't miss it.
leveller 30th July 2010, 18:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glix
You seem to forget, those dev's have already been paid for their work (so they don't blame anyone, they just update their CV with another title, it's the publishers who :'().

According to you, devs don't care about piracy because they've been paid already ... ok! ;)
Glix 31st July 2010, 00:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
According to you, devs don't care about piracy because they've been paid already ... ok! ;)

I like how you try to imply your a dev :> does any one who isn't self employed work when they aren't getting paid (and I don't mean working till they finish set work, but actually adding in a personal project to the job)?


Sorry we are going way off topic.
leveller 31st July 2010, 00:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glix
I like how you try to imply your a dev :> does any one who isn't self employed work when they aren't getting paid (and I don't mean working till they finish set work, but actually adding in a personal project to the job)?

I've implied no such thing. I merely repeated what you said as a way of emphasising it. Because it rocked
Glix 31st July 2010, 00:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
I've implied no such thing. I merely repeated what you said as a way of emphasising it. Because it rocked

http://www.destructoid.com/dev-piracy-a-natural-reaction-to-high-videogame-prices-172919.phtml

Although I did find an article saying that iphone dev's are against piracy, but I'll be selective and not link it :>

Also over at destructoid you can see the same debate we are having raging over there, but as you can see, it's pointless so I'll try not add any more on this subject. I'll still be interested in your reply though. :D
Kiytan 31st July 2010, 14:08 Quote
damn, that means if i rebuy a DS i can't use it to watch batman TAS on the bus :(
dire_wolf 31st July 2010, 20:33 Quote
It was only a matter of time really, surprised shops got away with selling them so blatantly for so long. Sure they have legitimate uses but 90% of the people that buy these use them to play games for free.
NuTech 31st July 2010, 21:07 Quote
Good.

As it stands, hand-held piracy is far too easy. So easy, in fact, that many people don't even realise what they're doing is illegal. I've seen parents buy R4 carts for their children just thinking it's another game.

Little anecdote: A close friend of mine is a modeller for Rockstar Leeds. He had just finished slaving over (aka crunch time) the PSP port of 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' which they had sent to Sony for certification only a couple days previous. He was riding the bus home one day when a child and his mother sat down next to him. Out of his pocket the kid pulled out a PSP. What game did he boot up? You guessed it, Chinatown Wars.

Yup, before the game was even on store shelves, this little kid was playing it. He told me it felt like all his hard work had just been thrown in his face.

So yeah, I'm glad the developers got a little victory today - no matter how small.
flibblesan 1st August 2010, 02:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
Good.

As it stands, hand-held piracy is far too easy. So easy, in fact, that many people don't even realise what they're doing is illegal. I've seen parents buy R4 carts for their children just thinking it's another game.

Little anecdote: A close friend of mine is a modeller for Rockstar Leeds. He had just finished slaving over (aka crunch time) the PSP port of 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' which they had sent to Sony for certification only a couple days previous. He was riding the bus home one day when a child and his mother sat down next to him. Out of his pocket the kid pulled out a PSP. What game did he boot up? You guessed it, Chinatown Wars.

Yup, before the game was even on store shelves, this little kid was playing it. He told me it felt like all his hard work had just been thrown in his face.

So yeah, I'm glad the developers got a little victory today - no matter how small.

Cool story bro. Lets ban memory cards! Without them this kid can't play pirate PSP games.
NuTech 1st August 2010, 04:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by flibblesan
Cool story bro. Lets ban memory cards! Without them this kid can't play pirate PSP games.
I assume you're equating the legal uses of memory cards to that of an R4 card? Are you seriously that naive? Or are you just clutching at straws?

The Judge in this case (who knows the law better than everyone here) said it perfectly:
Quote:
The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence
There are plenty of things which have been banned in the UK that also have perfectly legal uses (hello, knives?). It's the judge's job to decide if the illegal uses outweigh the legal ones and if so, are there any alternative methods available of accomplishing those legal uses?.

Any "reasonable person" (which our law is based on) will agree that the percentage of users who own R4 cards for pirating purposes is probably well over 90% (and that's being conservative). You can argue all day long that you just want to use it to play MP3s or portable video files, but the fact remains that is not what the vast majority of people use it for.

The judge in this case decided that yes, the illegal uses outweigh the legal ones and yes, there are plenty of alternative ways to complete the legal tasks that the R4 offers (phones, iPod's, mp3 players etc).

Now, lets apply that same test to your ridiculous and facetious "memory card" argument:
Do the illegal uses of memory cards outweigh the legal uses? No.
Is there alternative hardware that can accomplish the same task? No.

Do not assume that legal decisions are devoid of context.
mikeuk2004 1st August 2010, 14:15 Quote
Ban personal computers, without PC's nobody can pirate any digital content :)
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