Poll: Should Nintendo DS R4 "homebrew" cards be illegal?

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r4_cartridge.jpgHigh-fives all around at Nintendo HQ today, as the High Court has ruled that importing, advertising or selling R4 cartridges in the UK is now illegal.

R4 cards can be used to download and play illegally ripped versions of Nintendo DS games from ROM sites on the web. While some argue that the cards have a legitimate use in the homebrew community, allowing budding coders and developers a platform to test their work on, the court found the card’s widespread application for piracy too damaging to ignore.

The news follows a similar court ruling in the Netherlands just a week ago.

While the homebrewing community will be up in arms, many agree with the High Court ruling. Not least of all do ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association ) who released this statement following the news:

“We are delighted with today’s decision to make the advertisement, importation and sale of R4 copier cards illegal. The ELSPA Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Unit was central in bringing the defendants to the attention of law enforcement authorities. I am grateful to them and our partners at Nintendo and Trading Standards in securing this significant judgement,” said Michael Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA. “Intellectual property theft is an important issue for the videogames industry, and this judgement will assist the IP Crime Unit team in actively pursuing and stopping other individuals who deal in R4 cards.”

So where do you stand? Is it wrong to deny the innocent tinkerers the right to develop and practise their coding skills on the DS with the cards, not to mention opening up the hardware beyond limitations imposed upon it by Nintendo. Or do you consider the whole homebrew scene too small a community to defend those who use the cards for fairly widespread piracy?

Leave your feelings in the poll below.

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Gerald Lynch
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  • I saw on the news that the money they dumped at Shire was fake, to represent the money he had raised. It wasn’t the actual money.

  • Isn’t it a bit contradictory in the same week to allow people in the US to have the fundamental right as part of the Digital Consumer act to be able to jailbreak your iphone which is essentially what is the main strength in the ruling to make the R4 cards illegal? Lets see what the DS market looks like in 1 year from now. And if the games Nintendo have churned out over the past 5 years for the DS are anything to go by then we should get ready for a wave of poorly coded 3D games soon to be hitting the market in 2011. I have also seen in a few places that the R4 cards are referred to as “copier” cards a function that they do not have they simply allow code to run they have no copying softwared installed. So what about the people that wish to have for example an 8GB micro SD with music and copies of films they have converted into .dpg fomat to play on the ds? as essentially as long as they own the music and dvd etc then surely the circumvention of the security software is a minor issue at best.

  • id rather not get arrested or go to jail over an R4. so no dont make it illegal

  • my kids hardly ever use the DS since getting their ipod touches (and there are enough free games to keep them happy and paying $2-4 for others are well worth it compared to the $20-40 for a DS game.

    so long DS

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