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Nintendo sues more hack sellers, ‘a worsening international problem’

Another lawsuit filed in Seattle court

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A Nintendo Switch and the new Nintendo Switch lite, side by side Photo: Michael McWhertor/Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo of America has filed a lawsuit against an Amazon Nintendo Switch hack reseller — the sort of litigation it’s taken on in similar cases in the past. Nintendo’s lawyers allege the Amazon seller, Le Hoang Minh, circumvents Nintendo’s copyright measures in selling an RCM Loader, used to “jailbreak” the Nintendo Switch.

The lawsuit was filed in a Seattle court on Wednesday, according to court documents obtained by Polygon. In the lawsuit, Nintendo outlines what it calls a “serious, worsening international problem” with video game software piracy. It details Nintendo’s security systems, and how the RCM Loaders bypass those systems. The RCM Loader (which is essentially a USB device that plugs into the Nintendo Switch) allows the user to play so-called “pirated” or unauthorized games.

According to the lawsuit, Nintendo sent a DMCA notice to the seller, to which a counterclaim was issued. Because of the counterclaim, Amazon was required to relist the RCM Loader, unless Nintendo filed an infringement lawsuit. And that’s what it did.

The company is looking for the courts to stop the seller, and award it $2,500 in damages for each infringement. This is in line with two previous lawsuits filed by Nintendo, targeting hack resellers in May. Nintendo has since won one case outright — including a $2 million settlement — and been issued a permanent injunction in the other. In the previous lawsuits, the sellers were accused of trafficking in hardware and software created by a hacking group called “Team Xecuter.” Two members of this group, Gary Bowser and Max Louarn, were arrested earlier in the year, and charged with 11 felony counts.

As a for-profit operation — unlike the open-source modding, emulation, and preservation communities — Team Xecuter was controversial in these spaces for its efforts, as Ars Technica reported in May.

Nintendo did not explicitly state that the seller in Wednesday’s court documents was selling Team Xecuter’s products, but noted he sold SX OS (Team Xecuter’s software) or other similar programs with the RCM Loaders. A number of RCM Loaders still appear in an Amazon search, but the specific listing cited by Nintendo appears to have been removed.

A full copy of the court filing is available below.