Nintendo has settled its Federal Court action against 24 year-old Brisbane gamer James Burt for illegally copying and uploading to the internet Nintendo’s new video game “Super Mario Bros Wii” one week ahead of its official Australian release in November 2009.
In Australia, copying or uploading or downloading computer software without the permission of the copyright holder is a breach of s 36 of the Copyright Act 1968. Upon the game being uploaded onto the internet, Nintendo used its sophisticated technological forensics to trace the individual responsible for copying and uploading the file. On 23 November 2009, Nintendo obtained a Federal Court search order in respect of Burt’s premises which led to seizure of property from the premises for use of evidence against Burt.
As a result of this legal proceeding, Nintendo and Burt reached a settlement in which Burt will pay Nintendo the sum of $1.5 million by way of damages to compensate Nintendo for the loss of sales revenue caused by Burt’s actions as well as $100,000 in legal costs. As part of the settlement, the Federal Court has ordered that James Burt be restrained from reproducing, uploading, modifying and distributing any computer game marketed by Nintendo, or assist another person to do such acts and that Nintendo and its solicitors may use the information obtained in this proceeding for civil and criminal proceedings against others.