Mario piracy nets Queenslander $1.5m fine


Nintendo has successfully sued a Queensland resident for uploading to the internet a copy of its Wii game New Super Mario Bros a week before its Australian release in November last year.

The Queenslander — named by multiple media outlets as James Burt — has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay Nintendo $1.5 million, according to a statement by the Japanese games manufacturer of the Mario and Zelda titles.

“This legal proceeding was commenced to protect the creative rights and innovation of game developers, and to combat the growing international problem of Internet piracy,” said Nintendo in a statement. The $1.5 million fine consists of damages to compensate Nintendo for what it said was its loss of sales revenue caused by Burt’s actions.

Nintendo said it used “sophisticated technological forensics” to identify Burt. The company obtained a Federal Court search order on 23 November to inspect Burt’s residence. “This led to the seizure of property from those premises in order to gain further evidence against the individual,” Nintendo said.

In a wider sense, Nintendo said it would pursue anyone who breached its intellectual property rights “using all means available to it under the law”.

The company said game piracy was a “significant threat” to its business, as well as that of game developers producing games for its consoles. “Fewer sales of Nintendo’s hardware and software systems means fewer resources that Nintendo, its licensees, developers and publishers have to create and market new video game products which is ultimately to the detriment of video game enthusiasts,” the company said.

“When there is a decrease in game development, there is also a decrease in the number of jobs in the industry. The existence of piracy jeopardises the strength of the video game industry overall.”

Image credit: Nintendo


  1. I'm kind of happy about this outcome although I would like to know:

    1. What these "sophisticated technological forensics" are; and

    2. How they determined the amount, as long as the amount is equal to losses then fine (no pun intended).

    However i thought I read somewhere that a settlement was reached, so wouldn't that mean Nintendo determined the amount not the courts? (so Nintendo imposed, Court enforced)

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