While most cracking groups operate under a veil of secrecy, China-based 3DM is not shy to come out in public.
The group’s leader, known as Bird Sister, has commented on various gaming and piracy related issues in the past.
She also spoke out when her own group was sued by the Japanese game manufacturer Koei Tecmo last year. The company accused 3DM of pirating several of its titles, including Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
However, Bird Sister instead wondered why the company should be able to profit from a work inspired by a 3rd-century novel from China.
“…why does a Japanese company, Koei have the copyright of this game when the game is obviously a derivation from the book “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” written by Chen Shou. I think Chinese gaming companies should try taking back the copyright,” she said.
The novel in question has long since been in the public domain so there’s nothing stopping Koei Tecmo from using it, as Kotaku points out. The game, however, is a copyrighted work and 3DM’s actions were seen as clear copyright infringement by a Chinese court.
In a press release, Koei Tecmo announces that it has won its lawsuit against the cracking group.
The court ordered 3DM to stop distributing the infringing games and awarded a total of 1.62 million Yuan ($245,000) in piracy damages and legal fees.
While computer games are cracked and pirated on a daily basis, those responsible for it are rarely held accountable. This makes the case against 3DM rather unique. And it may not be the last if it’s up to the game manufacturer.
“We will continue to respond rigorously to infringements of our copyrights and trademark rights, both in domestic and overseas markets, while also developing satisfying games that many users can enjoy,” said the company, commenting on the ruling.
While the lawsuit may help to steer the cracking group away from pirating Koei Tecmo games, it can’t undo any earlier releases. Court order or not, past 3DM releases, including Romance of the Three Kingdoms titles, are still widely available through third-party sites.