$1.8m fine for Super Mario pirate

Last updated 09:11 10/02/2010
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A Queensland man will have to pay Nintendo A$1.5 million (NZ$1.8 million) in damages after illegally copying and uploading one of its new games to the internet before its release, the gaming giant says.

James Burt, 24, will pay Nintendo A$1.5 million after an out-of-court settlement was struck to compensate the company for the loss of sales revenue.

Nintendo said the loss was caused when Burt made New Super Mario Bros for the Wii gaming console available for illegal download a week before its official Australian release last November.

Under Australian law, copying and distributing games without the permission of the copyright holder is a breach of the Copyright Act.

Nintendo applied and was granted a search order by the country's Federal Court forcing Burt to disclose the whereabouts of all his computers, disks and electronic storage devices in November.

He was also ordered to allow access, including passwords, to his social networking sites, email accounts and websites.

The matter was settled between Burt and Nintendo last month. Burt will have to pay Nintendo's legal bill of A$100,000, the Federal Court in Melbourne ordered on January 27.

Nintendo said in a statement yesterday that it was able to trace Burt by using sophisticated technological forensics after the game was uploaded to the internet.

Nintendo Australia managing director Rose Lappin said the illegal upload had marred the release of the new game, which Australia was able to get ahead of other countries, which was unusual.

"It wasn't just an Australian issue, it was a global issue.

"There were thousands and thousands of downloads, at a major cost to us and the industry, really."

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