Spanish Court Dismisses Complaint From Nintendo Against Counterfiet DS Cartridges, Since They Add Functionality

from the getting-it-right dept

It seems that Spain is a country that is pretty consistently figuring out that we shouldn't just throw out all other rights the second "piracy" is shouted by the entertainment industry. We've noted recently that the country hasn't just rejected three strikes and declared broadband a basic right, but has also ruled, repeatedly, that personal file sharing is legal. And now, it even has judges who realize that "anti-circumvention" laws should have limits as well.

As you probably know, one of the key things that the entertainment industry has pushed for throughout the world is "anti-circumvention" clauses in copyright law. In the US we have this in the DMCA and it's a total mess. The law basically says that any attempt to circumvent (or to make or sell a tool to circumvent) DRM on a digital work is a violation of the copyright law -- even if making a copy of the content in question wouldn't violate copyright law.

Spanish copyright law includes an anti-circumvention clause, but as Leo Martins alerts us, a judge in Salamanca, Spain has taken a much more nuanced view of it in a case pitting Nintendo against Grupo Movilquick, who produced alternative cartridges for Nintendo DS devices. The judge's ruling (translated from the original) appears to find that the alternative cartridges do, in fact, circumvent Nintendo's DRM and can be used for "pirating" games, but also extend the utility of the devices for perfectly legal purposes. For that reason, the judge dismissed the lawsuit (translation from the original) noting that it doesn't make sense that the law would be intended to say that only Nintendo can expand the functionality of its devices, and the fact that Nintendo doesn't offer similar functionality shouldn't preclude others from doing so. There are areas where Nintendo can still bring a lawsuit, such as for patent and trademark issues, but the judge notes those should be dealt with in a civil court.
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Filed Under: anti-circumvention, competition, copyright, counterfeit cartridges, functionality, nintendo ds, spain
Companies: grupo movilquick, nintendo

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  1. icon
    Chargone (profile), 23 Nov 2009 @ 1:48pm


    On the other hand: yay! Such judges do exist! The world is not quite entirely doomed!

    But yeah. That is pretty sad.

    It's always seemed to me that a lot of cases would be better settled [mostly civil, but some criminal too] by way of the law saying 'in the event that thing x happens/is desputed, it may be brought before a judge' ... and says nothing else. the judge listens to the sides and then says "here's the solution. go do it"

    I'm not explaining that properly... meh *shrugs*

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