The Federal Court in Australia has ordered a man from Queensland to pay Nintendo the equivalent of $1.3m in damages after he uploaded the Wii version of New Super Mario Bros. to the Internet in late 2009.
James Burt, a 24 year-old manager at games retailer Electronics Boutique, admitted uploading the game on November 6th, a week before its commercial release in Australia.
In a statement the Japanese games giant said it used a range of forensic techniques to track down the uploader and on 23rd November obtained a Federal Court search order. This was used to locate and seize items from Burt’s property in Sinnamon Park, Queensland, to be used in evidence in the case against him.
As part of the investigation, Burt was also ordered to allow access using his passwords to social networking sites, email accounts and other websites he had used.
Australia traditionally lags behind the United States and Japan when it comes to media releases, but with the release of New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii the reverse was true, leading Nintendo to refer to the leak as a “global issue”.
“This legal proceeding was commenced to protect the creative rights and innovation of game developers, and to combat the growing international problem of Internet piracy,” the company said in a statement.
The game was a sure fire hit on BitTorrent. Data collected by TorrentFreak indicated that by December 27th 2009, the game had been downloaded 1,150,000 times.
Nevertheless, the game was still a huge commercial success. The game sold in excess of 10 million units in its first 2 months on sale – that’s 1 in 6 of all Wii gamers buying a copy – making it the fastest-selling single-platform game ever.
It’s unclear how Mr Burt will be able to pay this huge amount in damages. His salary at Electronics Boutique is unlikely to cover it – if he still has a job there.