Nintendo hacker Bowser settles Switch piracy lawsuit for $10 million in restitution

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,457   +1,033
Staff member
In brief: Console modder Gary Bowser has agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit out of court. The Team Xecuter hacker has helped create modchips and jailbreaks for various consoles, including the NES Classic Edition and the 3DS. Team Xecuter's most recent cracker, the SX Pro, is a USB dongle that lets users run pirated games on the Nintendo Switch using a custom OS.

In October 2020, federal authorities arrested Team Xecuter ring leaders Gary Bowser and Max Louarn on 11 felony counts of piracy. Six months later, Nintendo filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Bowser, asking for $2,500 for each SX Pro sold and $150,000 for every copyright violation.

Bowser initially entered a not-guilty plea on the piracy charges. In October of this year, he agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and trafficking in circumvention devices. He was also ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution and help authorities track down any remaining Team-Xecuter assets.

Of course, the plea bargain put Browser in a pickle when it came to Nintendo's civil suit. Since he had pleaded guilty to the charges, he could not logically say, "I didn't do it" to a Seattle District Court jury and expect them to buy it. Eurogamer notes that the hacker settled with Nintendo out of court for $10 million. That award is on top of the $4.5 million he agreed to in his plea deal.

Nintendo aggressively protects its intellectual property. It seems that not a year goes by that the company doesn't hit someone with a cease and desist or copyright lawsuit. Just this year, RomUniverse was ordered to pay Nintendo $2.15 million in an infringement case from 2019.

Image credit: NYCityGuys

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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,329   +4,970
Well, since he actually agreed to pay it... that probably means he actually HAS $15 million to pay them.... which means he probably has even more... this isn't "hacking for fun", this is clearly "hacking for profit" - and quite the profit!!

 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,457   +1,033
Staff member
They should have gone for jail time.
He might still get jail time. Each count he pleaded guilty to carries a max of 5 years. I don't think the judge has issued a ruling on jail time. This is just the plea bargain he agreed to, it still has to be heard and approved by the court.

EDIT: That said, prosecutors are likely to ask for minimum jail time or credit for time servered.
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 254   +176
Glad I sold my switch. Most of the games are terrible, the controller joysticks are annoying, and the games are cartoony. The only thing I really enjoyed was that I could turn it into a handheld, but still had to deal with the tiny controllers not meant to fit in giant hands.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 2,073   +1,651
Nobody likes seeing big corporations punching down on individuals. But they do have the right to protect their property. These people act like they have the right to be able to illegally copy and distribute software another entity has made. And yes I’m sure some people legally own copies of the games they pirate and use the system as a backup but we all know that’s not what most people are doing.

When it comes to video games, they are a complete luxury and nobody needs access to them. If you illegally pirate video games you are nothing but an entitled scum-bag.

Clearly this chap has made millions doing this and he’s done that by selling someone else’s work. He’s clearly rotten.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,329   +4,970
Nobody likes seeing big corporations punching down on individuals. But they do have the right to protect their property. These people act like they have the right to be able to illegally copy and distribute software another entity has made. And yes I’m sure some people legally own copies of the games they pirate and use the system as a backup but we all know that’s not what most people are doing.

When it comes to video games, they are a complete luxury and nobody needs access to them. If you illegally pirate video games you are nothing but an entitled scum-bag.

Clearly this chap has made millions doing this and he’s done that by selling someone else’s work. He’s clearly rotten.
There's pirating and there's pirating... downloading a game for free when you almost certainly never would have bought it otherwise... is wrong... but doesn't really harm anyone.

But when you actually sell the mods you make in order to help thousands of other people mass-pirate... and make MILLIONS doing it... yes, I qualify that as "scumbag" :)