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Nintendo: “All Your Save Data Are Belong To Us”


Nintendo is claiming people who exchange save data are infringing its copyright.

Nintendo is concerned about sales of Pokémon save data (in copied, original or modified form) on auction sites, and its Pokémon subsidiary clearly wants what it regards as infringing auctions to be pulled:

“Even by just copying save data using whatever method, and selling it, they’re criminally infringing our copyright.”

Whether a publisher can claim copyright over player saves is legally untested ground, and it is not clear whether Yahoo! Auctions (Japan’s major online auction venue) is willing to go along and ban such auctions.

Japan has recently been tightening its copyright regime to unheard of levels – downloading is banned, “ripping” or format shifting is about to be banned, and police have run amok arresting people for such wicked offences game lending.

Strangely, the profits of major publishers continue to shrink…

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  • If they’re hacked saves… then they shouldn’t be sellable

    If they’re leagal aquired by people playing it for hundreds of hours… screw you Nintendo you don’t have the right even if a future court say so you do not have the right to play god

    Hopefully this will be done so often that Nintendo finally pullse itself together and get rid of hacked games from the online community

    sure they can hack their own games as much as they want as long as they don’t interact online i’d be fine with it

  • …I bet you next they’ll go after used games store as “copy right infringement”…. This is absurd, and people in Japan should REALLY give a crap about what bull shit is being pulled. Obama Socialism, BAH! Tea Party idiots needs to see this kind of action and HAIL Obama as at least sensical

  • Who is with me on the idea, that pokemon should be saved serverside similar to any MMO? You could still play offline, but if you dupe pokemon while being offline, they’ll have the same ID and the server only lets you register each ID once.
    Hm, getting them could still be troublesome if that happen offline because of gameshark and whats not, damn it.
    Just make a Pokemon MMO already!

  • LOL! This is funny. Save datas are user-generated content. The game and the console are mere tools to help the player generate such content.

    If Nintendo could win on this one, so is Microsoft winning when they would claim a copyright over my office files generated from MS Word as well as the computer.

    Another scenario will be the makers of program compilers asking a copyright over the programs made under their compilers…. and that is seriously ridiculous…

    Selling user-generated contents are not under any copyright infringement cases and could not be put into one.

  • Screw that, my time is my money as the same as all of us.

    You took my money, I have the right to do whatever the fuck I want with the TIME I’VE PURCHASED ON YOUR SIDE.

    Don’t sell shit if you can’t pass off history and show the world your feats and make RECORDS/HIGHEST SCORES/CONTESTS then… Nintendo.

  • This really isn’t a good path for writers.. if this does become law, then what’s to stop microsoft and other companies from claiming owner on books written using office software? imagine if the harry potter franchise, true blood, etc are all owned by Microsoft if they were written in Word ?
    Heck, what about WoW novels and comics that were written in it? Do you think Blizzard/Activision would take that lightly?

  • Dear Nintendo,

    You gotta be the very best,
    Like no one ever was.
    To catch them is your real test.
    To train them is your cause.
    You will travel across the land,
    Searching far and wide.
    Teach people to understand,
    The power that’s inside.


  • “Strangely, the profits of major publishers continue to shrink…”

    Of curse it does mess with the fans and consumers and they will stop buying from you take away all and you will get nothing left. Rule nr1 treat ppls how you want them to treat u.

  • Screw Nintendo. They started acting like they owned my save data long before this announcement. It’s ridiculous that the Wii’s the only major gaming console out there right now where you CAN’T back up at least some of your save files (or even move them around) without the use of hacks and cheats.

    I really resent having my “Mario Kart Wii” save data being held hostage, I can tell you that. >:(

  • lol Who would waste money buying these things(save files, netgames money/chars)? The only answer I can come up with is dumb no-lifes, seriously… you don’t need to buy saves, probably you’ll find them on the net for free especially if the game is a popular title and if you don’t, as far as I remember playing the game is the fun part

    • There are publishers already saying that. Totally unenforceable, but they sure would love it if they could complete eliminate the second-hand market.

      It already is technically illegal to transfer your licence to operate software to a third party in most EULA’s, but it’s just not enforceable.

  • Well, it’s their code… but it’d be impressively paranoid to lock down rights to it.

    The solution? Reverse engineer it, and make a trainer that just synthesizes it. Not easy, sure, but you’d be making a custom binary from scratch, and it would piss them off even more to have their game turned inside out.

  • I find the ideal of paying for a virtual item ludicrous but Nintendo has no right to tell people what to do here.
    Really what is with Japanese companies and their executives have their heads up their asses when it comes to understanding their consumer base?

    Their recent behavior is at best self destructive.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t trading pokemon technically be copyright infringement then. Your trading a saved piece of data aka your pokemon, the skills, stats, items equipped to it, That would be exchanging saved data. So, if they purposely allow you to trade pokemon, wouldn’t this case be nintendo contridicting itself.

  • Maybe Nintendo just wants to make sure that people aren’t winning tournaments off save data that they didn’t work for by themselves?

    By making it illegal, it’ll placate Pokemon tournament goers who feel like they’re being cheated by those who just buy the save data and end up winning.

    I really don’t see how the big N is being greedy here; it’s pretty much just like Sony trying to sue the failoverflow guys so that paying costumers don’t bitch about their CoD matches being ruined by hackers.

  • “Japan has recently been tightening its copyright regime to unheard of levels – downloading is banned, “ripping” or format shifting is about to be banned, and police have run amok arresting people for such wicked offences game lending.”

    This is totally stupid, they won’t be able to do anything in few years. And arrest for game lending it’s incredibly stupid and what about books ? comics ? cd ? dvd ? br ? they have copyright too ….. so they must ban them !! It won’t be equal if they don’t !!

  • People who sales these save data = they bought the game so they have data
    People who buy these save data = they bought the game so they can load the data.

    it’ll be sound better if they’re concern about torrent or pirate-uploader on internet.

  • This would make for an interesting copyright case. Nintendo sells you a copy of the software, which creates the save data as you play it. Who authored the save data? Obviously, the player’s input is used along with Nintendo’s code. I wonder whether they could win a case that a little save data infringes the entire game, given that you still need a copy of the game to play the save data.

    And on what planet does suing or prosecuting paying customers make good business sense?

  • Player Saving thats players stuff since it’s their choice to play the game and I don’t know Save it then share it besides you need another game to actually have it be useful so friend saving sharing sounds fine to me for profit though is interesting

    • The point is that I want to play the game, not spend a gazilion hours doing the same repeating task in preparation for playing the game, less I be utterly destroyed by the 14 years old kid which has way too much free time on it’s hand.

      Hardcore mechanics have no place in a competitive game. You are supposed to pit your skills against each other, not test who needs to get a life more than the other.

      • The reason why i hate competitive online gaming in general, be it MMORPG’s FPS’s or whatnot.

        When some games do allow players to ”game or play” with people of equal skill, especially in an online match or whatnot, then it’s somewhat balanced and fun.

        Of course you can just start a new account in most cases and games that give very small boosts for lvl’d characters like Uncharted 2 for example, a “new” player on his second+ account will easily demolish the actual newbs with relative ease without the use of levele’d up boosters without any hassle.

        Don’t even get me started on MMORPG’s, I played FFXI for 8 years and recently am on my 3rd month game-free from it, this being the third time ive taken a leave from the game to allow things to get “fresh” and then come back later on. But as it is with the new lvl 99 cap and new areas and gear to acquire, I havn’t really had much of a desire to return for this and and a multitude of other reasons. The concept of cooperative gameplay has dwindled down in recent years in this game to the point where you have to dedicate yourself to the game like it’s a second job to acquire the good gear early on to go on the good ‘raids’ with the rest of the group. If things like “school or work” get in the way, then prepare to b e shunned by the people in your “lolgroup” who will drop you like lvl 1 distraction fodder because you dont take the game as “seriously” as they do” O_o.

        Sure you can go as is with the ‘standard’ gear that USED to be elite before the lvl 99 increase (former cap was 75 for EIGHT years) but the difference between the gear acquired now and what used to be is quite obvious. Games like this are designed to eat up time, but it shouldn’t be so for a pokemon game.

        Back to the pokemon topic: For me personally, I’d definitly buy a save file or action replay my pokemon for my soul silver copy because i have already beaten the FIRST release of the game back when it was still a gameboy color cartridge. I don’t need to go through all that hassle of lvling from scratch again, i just wanna enjoy the classic story i grew up playing and get to the endgame portion quickly. If i ever do get a downloaded file, I would tailor the pokemon to MY personal gaming battle strategies instead of relying on a lvl 100 to hopefully with an online match for me.

    • I truly miss the 90’s…Video Game companies where so much nicer back then and don’t give a sh*t about things like these…

      Now…Now suing and copyright infringement is all the bloody rage…

      The consumers are the life-blood of a video game company, and if you spill them about with your sharp accusations of being criminals with such trivial things as game lending and save data selling…

      Then…Good luck getting a transfusion…

      -Azure Xuchilbara
      (account suspended)

      • While it is ridiculous that C&D notes and lawsuits are all over the place, don’t you find it stupid that they were selling the savestates?

        Would you really like to pay for something you could probably find online, achieve it yourself through savestate hacking/action replay/whatever else, or just EARNESTLY earn it in game by spending some time on it?

        Does it really not bother you that they’re asking you to pay them for a few kbs of data?

        I, for one, am glad nintendo took action. I mean, how greedy can you get to have people pay you for whatever the fuck you achieved.
        Besides, it’d be damn easy to scam people like that. You could just sell a regular start game save data saying it’s 100% completion one.

    • It’s actually common sense that selling parts of other peoples products is going against their copyrights and are illegal.

      One thing is just sharing your save file. Another thing is actually craving money for it. Two very different things. So different it’s like comparing Mars to a potato saying they are the same thing.

      Profiting on other peoples work without their conscent is illegal.

      • Bullshit. The save files are purely user generated content. If anything, the data could be looked as creative work and property of the people who create it.

        Using a tool doesn’t give any rights to the owner of that tool over content created with it. Otherwise, Adobe would make a real fortune out of selling every picture that was ever edited in Photoshop.

        • @Artefact
          That is correct but the original article makes no mention of such licensing issues. Furthermore, “ALL YOUR DATA ARE BELONG TO US” type of agreements are pretty rare as far as video game licenses go, which is why I assumed there aren’t.

          No, the save file contains the STATE of the game, not content from the game. The game save is a certain set of data that, when read by the software can properly place the game in a given state. You know just like a Photoshop document.
          I could create any save files I want with a simple hex editor if I knew the data format specs. How is that Nintendo’s copyright?
          It’s been legally tested and proven that creating

          No, you don’t. The Photoshop license entitles you to use the software. Even if I were to pirate it, Adobe can only sue me for copyright violation of their software, not my pictures. Go read the damn thing.
          On another note, it’s perfectly legal to create and sell homebrew games. However, there is no much market incentive to make commercial games for consoles hacked to run unsigned code as you may imagine. What is not legal is to use software such as development tools or software libraries that belong to the copyright owners and you are not authorized to use. See the reasoning behind OpenXDK for a little insight on the issue.

        • I wish people would finally learn…

          I remember how everyone raged when the figure modders were arrested.
          Everyone was like “unjust arrest!”, “creativity forbidden in Japan!” while it was a clear case of copyright infringement.

          Now, if they kept the modded figure for themselves and only showed photos online, that would be fine.
          If they created it from scratch, that would be fine, too. They could even sell it if they wanted to.
          If they sent it to someone, winner of a lotto perhaps, for free, that would also be perfectly fine.

          In this case, everything would be fine and dandy if their savestates were distibuted for free and didn’t have any of the initially locked DLC content unlocked through hacking.
          Nintendo had the right to take action, as minor of a thing as this matter is.

        • I believe all this would depend on the EULA or equivalent – a software maker can claim copyright to everything you make with their software if you agree to it (clearly there would be no market for most apps if they did this), just as a website can claim the copyright to everything you post there, or an employer or label can have you sign a contract stipulating everything you create for the contract’s duration belongs to them.

          It is not clear that Nintendo has such a EULA, however, nor whether it would be readily enforcible.

        • um in order to sell something made with photoshop, you need to have a license with photoshop to sell created photos, this is usually in the standard license, but nintendo has no such licenses, so it stands to reason that you cannot sell user generated content from nintendo made hardware. IE why your not allowed to make and sell games for a homebrew wii without a license.

        • Uh, no. Every photo you “make” or “edit” in photoshop is created by photoshop. Just as you press a “button” to save the game data, you press a “button” to save your image (with 100 photoshop filters applied).

        • In a savefile you have to arrange things just so to get the proper output when you hit the save button. Id say thats pretty much what a picture on photoshop is, too. If one is creative content then why isnt the other one too? Besides, its not like you can play Pokemon by just possessing the save file so there really isnt a valid reason to say its copyright infringement.

          Another example is Visual Studio. You just press buttons (the keyboard) and hit compile and then you get a program out of it. That program is your own creation and Microsoft cant claim any of it even if you used Visual Studio to compile it.

        • Exactly!

          Didn’t even imagine someone (other than corporate dogs) could think save data(USER GENERATED CONTENT) are not property of the user.

          Anon 03:02 you are either a corporate fag or a troll.

        • Uh no. Savefiles are not something you make. And everything the save file contains is data from the game using everything solely from the game.

          In photoshop you make your own things with tools. With savefiles you hit a button for the program to save data from the game, creating purely copy-righted content all containing only things made by the creators of the game.

    • I can see why they’re doing that. Pokémon has a worldwide trade system which relies on you not being able to clone your pokémons. Additionally, this kills most of the purpose of pokémon tournaments and other contests.

      However, I don’t see why this should matter to Nintendo as a company. It’s not like the save files reduce their profit or anything.

      • Simple : they probably intend to include unlocks for paid contents in saves or did foresee a possible loophole in this oh-so-uncrackable system.

        Were it for just game experience’s sake (often used as lame excuse for providing low grade hardware), it sound totally contradictory with the “push any key to win”-politics they were about earlier

        • funny you should say that, in reality using hex code a magikarp can be a Mewtwo using the Hex decimal system as 150- primary key for Mewtwo in gold and silver, a pokemon can be used to make another type of pokemon

          take Sneasel+beat up = Celebi cause beat up has a value of 251.

          action replay well… i have no clue who that makes problems.

          but they are probably saying ‘our hex decimal system is ours’

      • I think it’s a matter of principle. I believe a lot of readers here will misread what is between the lines here.

        We are at an age where a source code (what the copyright holder has rights on) is modified without the cp holder’s permission. This process itself is usually ignored by Nintendo or any other company for that matter. It is when the illegally modified code has been taken, modified, and SOLD without the permission of the cp holder.

        That is the law which is being challenged. I thought this was a bias news piece but then it fell victim to subjective writing where Artefact implied relevance to ‘offences in game lending’ which, we all know is utterly silly.

        Nonetheless, it’s an interesting blog post.

        • @8:59
          The content is generated in response to my input. That makes it as automatically generated as the text I just wrote.

          Also, for someone who claims to be a programmer, you make an awful lot of syntax errors. I sure wouldn’t want to see your code.

        • @ Anon 8:59
          You make a good argument, but by that logic almost any file that was not created using open software or via a direct text editor or hex editor could qualify. Can Microsoft say any office documents are their copyright? Modifying a Word document outside of Word could be copyright infringement? Those are the type of issues you run into when you claim the generated content is assumed to be the content producer’s work. User-generated content is very different than content they generated for their own purposes.

        • as a game dev, source code is almost right, it is better to say “content generated by computer code” or “automatically generated content.”
          additionally Nintendo owns both the source code and the content generated thereof, some examples of this are the patents and copywrites pertaning to creation of 3d-matrixis and other things, whereas the code (source) and the content generated (particular mathmatical constructs) are owned by nintendo, this is done by being able to say “there are N possible outcomes of this code, that we own, they are BLAH, and BLAH, and the only way to come up with these constructs are to use our code, or some derivation thereof: therefor under the patenting and copyrighting systems supplied we own the code and the creations thereof.”

        • game saves are not source code just like .psd files are not the source code of Photoshop.

          Learn what source code is before using the phrase source code.
          Learn what game saves are before claming they are source code.

          Copyright fag.

    • It’s not the same. The WoW license agreement states, among other things, that you agree that all virtual items in the game suh as gold, characters and items is their property and not yours. I may be wrong on this, but I doubt Pokemon has the same rules. Furthermore you run pokemon on your own hardware, where the actual WoW game server is inside a Blizz server farm far away from you.
      Finally, bizz usually sues based on the fact that account traders destroy the user experience in the game and doesn’t make virtual goods ownership the point. The later serves chiefly as a protection to prevent governments from declaring virtual goods in the game as having real world value and therefore be taxable.

      • I agree I’m not sure it would be worth it, just that theres a precedence for it, so they’d likely be able to win. Unless there was someone who was making hundreds/thousands of dollars a month on it though, it wouldnt be worth the time to bother

  • if they went about this if it was being given away sure nintendo’s gone mad. But the situation is that people are selling save data. this saved data is still nintendo’s code getting resold with no profit going to them. It is completley illegal for the resellers of this data and Nintendo should be saying what they have.

    • Why is illegal ?
      The Save Game is my, and I do what I wanted if them…
      Just Save Game doesn’t give a a copy of Game(always need in case), so whats the problem ?
      In this time is different to sell accounts, i.e Sell acc of WoW(but to me that case is legal to, because is your acc and the game need continue pay to play)

      • Basically it comes down to you making money based on the property owned by someone else. Outside of used stuff which is covered by law, this is illegal every single time. And I’d reckon that selling saved data wouldn’t fall under the used goods law.

        • Moron.
          Save data is not the property of the game maker.
          It is to a game what .doc files are to MS Word, .bmp files are to Paint and .psd files are to Photoshop.
          It is generated by the user by using the game in the same way a .doc is generated by the user by using MS Word.