8 December 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Switch hacker agrees to pay Nintendo $10m

A Canadian man who allegedly ran a videogame piracy group has agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million in damages.

The settlement will prevent Gary Bowser from selling or marketing piracy tools and order him to destroy all infringing materials, as well as pay the damages.

The proposed final judgment and permanent injunction published Monday, December 6, was first spotted by TorrentFreak. And yesterday, December 7, the court ratified the judgment.

Team-Xecuter ran several websites, social media pages, and forums offering hardware and software to circumvent anti-piracy measures in videogame consoles.

Nintendo filed two lawsuits targeting the piracy group and its stores last year for selling hacking devices and mods for the Japanese company’s flagship console—the Nintendo Switch.

Its most well-known product was a device called the SX Pro, which allowed the Switch to run pirated games.

However, Team-Xecuter defended its products, citing the recent “right to repair” movement which is looking to introduce legislation allowing consumers to fix and licensed technicians to tinker with products.

In a public statement published in 2020, Team-Xecuter claimed: “We are firm believers of the right to repair legislation, a growing movement to counteract the monopolistic control over hardware which is the property of the consumer who paid for it in the first place.”

Bowser’s role

As part of Nintendo’s crackdown on Team-Xecuter, Bowser was arrested and indicted in September 2020.

Officially, Bowser was the operator and writer of a website called MaxConsole, which reviewed Team-Xecuter products, but he was held to have advertised and trafficked the devices while maintaining contact with resellers.

Nintendo also claimed that he operated at least four other sites related to the group’s operation—Teamxecuter.Com, Xecuter.Rocks, Team-Xecuter.Rocks. As a result, Bowser was targetted by Nintendo as “the closest thing to a public face for the team”

Following the litigation against Team-Xecuter in 2020, Bowser agreed to pay $4.5 million in October 202 over charges related to the distribution of the device and continue to work with authorities in exchange for dropping further charges against them.

Nintendo then filed a separate suit specifically targeting Bowser specifically in April 2021 for three counts of copyright infringement, seeking damages of $2,500 per device sold and $150,000 for each copyright violation.

Now, the two parties have reached a proposed settlement for a permanent injunction and $10 million in damages, bringing Bowser’s total damages to approximately $14.5 million.

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