1Fichier Held Liable After Failing to Remove Pirated Nintendo Games

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Nintendo is claiming victory in its legal battle with Dstorage SAS, the company behind 1fichier.com. The videogame giant took legal action after the file-hosting site failed to remove pirated copies of games. After a French court handed Nintendo a victory in 2021, the court of appeal has now confirmed that Dstorage incurred liability when it failed to remove infringing content, so must pay Nintendo €442,750 in damages.

nintendoEver since its launch in 2009, rightsholders have complained that file-hosting platform 1fichier.com fails to take intellectual property rights seriously.

1fichier operates a “freemium” business model which allows users to access the platform for free and then pay a fee to have various restrictions removed. 1fichier allows user content to be accessed via links posted elsewhere, meaning that when users upload infringing content, links render that content available to the public.

Rightsholders have publicly criticized the platform for more than a decade, claiming that 1fichier’s response to takedown notices is minimal – in some cases amounting to a compliance rate of just 0.12%.

Nintendo Files Lawsuit

With the goal of forcing 1fichier to comply with its takedown notices and pay compensation for damages incurred due to its poor response, Nintendo sued 1fichier’s owner, Dstorage SAS.

The Judicial Court of Paris sided with Nintendo in a decision handed down on May 25, 2021. The Court found that Dstorage could be held liable for failing to remove illegal copies of Nintendo games hosted on 1fichier, based on notifications sent by rightsholders.

The court also addressed 1fichier’s assertion that content does not have to be removed without authorization from a court. The platform was informed that direct takedown notices from rightsholders do not require a court order to be valid. 1fichier was also instructed to publish the following notice:

By decision dated May 25, 2021, the Paris court ruled that the company DSTORAGE, which operates the website 1fichier.com, has engaged its liability as as a content host by not removing illegal content despite the notifications made by Nintendo Co., Ltd., The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc. and DE Inc. and ordered it to pay NINTENDO Co Ltd, the sums of 885,500 euros and 50,000 euros in compensation for its damages.

Court of Appeal Sides With Nintendo

A press release published by Nintendo on April 17 reveals that on April 12, 2023, the Paris Court of Appeal confirmed that Dstorage SAS “engaged its civil liability for failing to withdraw or block access to illicit copies of Nintendo games hosted on its platform, despite the notifications Nintendo had sent to it for such purposes.”

Nintendo says the Court of Appeal ruling confirms that rightsholders are not required to obtain a court order before filing requests with file-hosting services to remove or block access to infringing content. In respect of copyright infringement notices or trademark-based takedowns, rightsholders are not required to provide information that goes beyond the requirements of the law.

“Nintendo welcomes this judgment of the Court of Appeal whose message is clear: by refusing to remove or block access to unauthorized copies of video games notwithstanding prior notification, a provider of share hosting services such as that Dstorage (1fichier) is liable under French law, exposing it in particular to damages,” Nintendo says.

“Dstorage’s commitment to liability is important for Nintendo, but also for the entire video game industry, since shared content hosts such as 1Fichier cannot claim that a prior court decision is necessary for the removal of illegal content.”

Damages Award Appears to Have Been Reduced

Nintendo reports that the Court of Appeal ordered Dstorage to pay 442,750 euros in damages and 25,000 euros in legal costs incurred by Nintendo. The videogame company did not share the Court of Appeal’s decision and thus far we’ve been unable to obtain a copy. That leaves a key question unanswered.

According to the May 2021 decision, 1fichier was required to publish the fact that it had been ordered to pay 885,500 euros, an amount that’s exactly half of the damages award made public this week. The reasons for that are currently unknown but the decision can still be appealed.


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