Japan arrests video game piracy suspect under new law


Long lines form to try new games in the Nintendo exhibit in the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 16, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.


David McNew

The first arrest has been made under Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act since it was amended last year to tackle piracy-enabling devices, according to games company Nintendo.

An IT media report, quoted by Wired Magazine, says that a 39-year-old man living in Saitama who allegedly sold video game pirating devices to three individuals over the Internet between February 14 and March 9 for a total of 7,200 yen ($91) was arrested Wednesday by police in the central region of Aichi.

Nintendo said it hoped the devices – adapters which allow consumers to bypass copyright protection controls on handheld video game consoles and are known collectively in Japan as Majikon – would “disappear from the marketplace in light of this recent action.”  

The case reportedly involves the sale of equipment designed to work with Nintendo's DS device.

According to the BBC, an amendment to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act introduced in December enabled the imposition of sanctions on individuals caught selling Majikon in Japan, an act which had been illegal for years but carried no criminal penalties.

Trade in the Majikon – which when plugged into a console activate a special interface through which the user can choose which program to run off a Secure Digital (SD) memory card – therefore continued. Nintendo says the devices have been banned in the UK, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

More from GlobalPost: Targeting digital piracy