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Nintendo war against Switch piracy ramps up with two fresh cases

After putting Switch pirate Gary Bowser behind bars and targeting emulator software Yuzu, Nintendo is continuing its fight against the lucrative modded console business with a pair of fresh lawsuits.

James “Archbox” Williams, the main moderator behind r/SwitchPirates, a subreddit with nearly 200,000 members, faces paying potentially millions of dollars in fines after being named by Nintendo in a new case filed last week, TorrentFreak reports.

Nintendo’s interest in Williams primarily seems to be as an operator of “several pirate shops” through which he offers “massive libraries of pirated Nintendo Switch games”, Nintendo’s legal filing alleges.

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But Nintendo also claims Williams has used his position on the SwitchPirates reddit to encourage piracy and offer technical advice, violating DMCA terms and infringing on Nintendo’s copyright.

“Defendant is well aware that his conduct is unlawful and infringes Nintendo’s intellectual property rights,” the company states. “Indeed, Defendant has bragged publicly that he is a ‘pirate’ who ‘[isn’t] going to give Nintendo $50 for a game’.”

A second, separate lawsuit takes aim at Modded Hardware – a group whose name rather speaks for itself. Run by Ryan “Hombrew Homie” Daly, Nintendo has had the group in its sights for several months.

TorrentFreak reports that Nintendo asked Modded Hardware to stop selling modded hardware, to which Daly agreed earlier this year, but then didn’t. Nintendo finally filed suit against Daly last week.

The filing notes that Modded Hardware sells mod chips, a memory card which unlocks the ability to play pirated games, mail-in modding services and fully modded consoles. Again, Nintendo could potentially win millions of dollars in fines.

In 2022, Nintendo lawyers argued Gary Bowser should serve the maximum jail term of five years for his role in Team Xecutor, a piracy group that Nintendo claimed had cost it “greater than $65m” of financial damage. Despite not being one of Team Xecutor’s two founders – who are yet to be brought to trial – Bowser was ultimately given a 40-month prison sentence and fined $14.5m.

Earlier this year, Tropical Haze, the developer of open-source Switch emulator Yuzu, agreed to pay $2.4m in damages to Nintendo and cease all operations in response to a lawsuit which alleged the group had enabled piracy “at a colossal scale”.

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