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Court Forces UK ISPs to Block More Nintendo Switch Piracy Sites

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021 (10:52 am) - Score 3,096
internet piracy uk copy

Nintendo has won another injunction in the High Court, which forces most of the largest UK broadband ISPs – Sky Broadband, BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and EE – to block two more websites that facilitated copyright infringement (internet piracy) by helping to distribute video games for the Switch console.

Such blocking orders, which are supported by Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA), tend to be expensive to bring but have in recent years become very common. Hundreds of websites have been blocked through this approach (thousands if you include their many proxies and mirrors), which usually include file sharing (P2P / Torrent), video streaming sites, Sci-Hub and those that sell counterfeit goods etc.

NOTE: Nintendo is required to bear the ISPs’ incremental costs of implementing the injunction (i.e. there is no additional cost for the ISPs).

Back in 2019 Nintendo succeeded in securing an injunction that resulted in four similar websites being blocked (here) and yesterday they added two more websites to that list (“NSW2U” and “NSWROM“), including any existing or future mirror websites, domain names and URLs (here).

Mrs Justice Joanna Smith said:

The injunction sought is necessary to prevent, or at least reduce, substantial damage to Nintendo. It appears that numerous downloads of Unauthorised Nintendo Games have been facilitated by the Target Websites and that Nintendo has sustained significant losses as a result. The presence of the Target Websites diverts internet traffic away from Nintendo’s own website, as well as physical retail stores selling legitimate Nintendo products, thereby reducing exposure to authorised Nintendo Games.

Aside from substantial lost sales (including in the run up to a peak sales season), Nintendo’s reputation is damaged by the circulation of pirated games which may be unreliable or error prone and also by the appearance of adult content during the download process. No alternative measures are realistically available to Nintendo since Nintendo has been unable to identify the operators of the Target Websites.

None of the actions taken by Nintendo’s solicitors to deter ongoing infringement and disable the Target Websites (including sending multiple take down notices, writing to the hosts and domain name registrars used by the Target Websites and bringing UDRP domain name proceedings) has proved successful.

Blocking injunctions are now generally accepted to be effective in reducing traffic to target websites. In other jurisdictions where predecessor sites have been blocked, traffic has significantly declined. There is every reason to suppose that this Order will have a material impact on the public’s ability to access infringing material from the Target Websites.

Despite the ease by which such blocks can be circumvented by internet users, Rights Holders often still deem them to be useful as part of their wider efforts to discourage casual piracy. Some studies (example) have similarly suggested that sites blocked in this way tend to result in increased traffic going to legal alternatives.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Buggerlugz says:

    I wasn’t even aware Nintendo switch piracy was a thing until I read this article.

    1. Sam P says:

      Ah yes, the infamous Streisand effect.

    2. anon says:

      @Sam P

    3. Buggerlugz says:

      Kinda shooting themselves in the foot with these lawsuits aren’t they.

  2. Sam P says:

    Pirates are already using VPN’s, nothing will change.

    This should have never been made law in the first place.

  3. Bilal says:

    Thanks for making me aware of them

  4. RaptorX says:

    This is one of the big reasons why I go with a smaller ISP that isn’t subject to these blocking orders. They also have markedly better customer service, too. It’s no contest.

  5. Junaii says:

    Pity they dont invest the same effort making these old games available and playable on the switch, especially for those that have already paid for them several times.

  6. tikka_69 says:

    ** Quietly checks serial number of kids switch…. **

  7. Bob2002 says:

    Must be great to be paid over £200,000/year to make judgments that probably have have zero effect. For their next trick a high court judge will decide whether the tide comes in, or not.

  8. Pirateking says:

    I didn’t know the switch was already pirated. Time to play some switch games mateys, yarrrrr

  9. Mya says:

    Why do they bother? If you’re smart enough to be able to Homebrew your Switch (which is required to pirate games), then you’re smart enough to use a VPN to circumvent a block. So pointless.

  10. finaldest says:

    Nintendo are worried as valve are about to launch the steam deck which is going to kill switch sales going forward as it will indeed play Nintendo games but “not legally.”

    So Nintendo have sent out their ninjas to help combat the situation.

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