Nintendo asks U.S. to address video game piracy problems worldwide

lamepirate225.jpgNintendo of America Inc. has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage specific governments around the world to take a more aggressive stance to combat piracy of Nintendo video games and systems. Nintendo filed its comments under a “Special 301” process, in which the U.S. Trade Representative solicits input from the public to underscore specific areas of concern.

While China remains the primary source of manufacturing pirated Nintendo DSâ„¢ and Wiiâ„¢ games, Korea has emerged as the leader in distributing illegal game files via the Internet. Despite aggressive anti-piracy actions taken by Nintendo, Brazil and Mexico remain saturated with counterfeit Nintendo software. Meanwhile, Paraguay and Hong Kong continue to serve as major transshipment points for global distribution of illegal goods.

“The unprecedented momentum enjoyed by Nintendo DS and Wii makes Nintendo an attractive target for counterfeiters,” said Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America’s senior director of anti-piracy. “We estimate that in 2007, Nintendo, together with its publishers and developers, suffered nearly $975 million USD worldwide in lost sales as a result of piracy. Nintendo will continue to work with governments around the world to aggressively curtail this illegal activity.”

Below is a summary of Nintendo’s filing:

OVERALL: Nintendo recommends stronger laws in all countries against the circumvention of technological security measures. Video game pirates have developed DS game-copying devices and modification chips to target the security found in Nintendo’s hardware systems and allow the play of counterfeit software or games illegally downloaded via the Internet.

CHINA: China must pursue criminal prosecutions against people involved in large-scale piracy operations. Nintendo works with Chinese authorities, who seized more than 1 million fake Nintendo products in China during the past year. But not one counterfeiter has been prosecuted.

KOREA: Nintendo supports the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, but suggests that it must be ratified immediately to address service providers who are profiting from the uploading and downloading of illegal Nintendo content. Korea is an important market for Nintendo, and Internet piracy is seriously affecting the growth of the video game industry in the country.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA: Latin America remains a haven for piracy. Evidence supporting this claim includes escalated violence in Mexico against police conducting anti-piracy raids, extraordinarily high tariffs and taxes placed on the sale of authentic video games in Brazil and widespread corruption in Paraguay. During the past year, Nintendo assisted local authorities with more than 65 actions that resulted in the seizure of approximately 230,000 counterfeit Nintendo games in Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay alone. Despite Nintendo’s efforts, the piracy levels continued to rise. Nintendo is calling for significant changes to laws and to the enforcement regimes in those countries.