back to article Raid yields 2800 'illegal' DS games copying kits

A Cardiff resident was last week found to be in possession of almost 3000 kits that could be used to copy Nintendo DS games. Some 1800 game copying devices were seized in a raid on a Cardiff shop on 17 December, with 1000 more being found at a private residence, both used by the same man, said to be 21 years old, but who has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Would this be the dreaded R4 Chip

    The one which is used for "backup & home brew" purposes only, unless you read all the Reviews on Amazon about it and how parents love it as they can get a hundred games on it for there kids! Hopefully he gets the boko thrown at him and a huge fine.

    Sorry, just in retail and I am not a fan of this device.

  2. Patrick

    Why are they bothering?

    In June mrmodchips won an appeal against the ELSPA on modchips.

    It'll be interesting to see how they're going to prosecute this guy who was selling R4s (other than the fact that he was working whilst on the dole).

    It does seem a bit pointless given that anyone can order them over the internet from China, Hong Kong, etc.

  3. John

    Clarify please..

    Devices used to copy DS carts, or devices used to play copies ?

    The vast majority of people with a DS playing rom images e would have the latter, but not the former.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Sensible use?

    So, if I wanted these so that my kids could store all of their legitimately purchased games onto one cartridge and could then take them around with them without the risk of losing the cartridges when not in the DS it wouldn't be a problem?

  5. Jodo Kast

    DS handhelds are consoles now?

    The R4 can't copy cartridge ROMs. The ROMs have to be copied from cartridges -- most likely with the device in the story -- and then copied to the R4.

    Sounds like guy was making ROMs.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    R4 device is sold legitimately

    At memory bits and under UK laws it is not illegal to take a backup copy of something you have already purchased so I doubt he will be prosecuted and the devices will be given back.

    'Sorry, just in retail and I am not a fan of this device.' - Just about says it all really............

  7. Mike Hocker


    Two years of records? Never heard of encryption of records eh? You just can't trust your illegal sales channels to keep your identity secret-- what is the world coming to.

    This sounds like a small fry, importing Chinese copying devices without being very intelligent. Just the seller on the end, till the manufacturer back in the homeland is suppressed rotsa ruck stopping the flow.

  8. Kris Chaplin
    Thumb Down

    Total rubbish

    Next they will be banning blank CDs and DVDs, as they could be used for playing back copied music... Or DVD burners for being able to write them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC

    I'm pretty sure the area of "Yes it is legal to make backups of any media I own" is a pretty grey area.

    I don't even think there's a way to say it's definitely 100% legal to even make a backup of all of your DVD movies. I'm not totally clear on it as a lot of people say you CAN make a backup, where as others say you can't.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So What?

    'records detailing all the buyers to whom the man sold devices'

    Buying is not an offence. Selling is.

    likewise its the fileshares not the downloaders who break the law.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Clarification please...

    ..on what exactly are these devices that ELSPA frowns upon.

    It can't be the homebrew kits as they are not illegal. I'm guessing the devices are cartridge copiers.. but why on earth would you want to do that when a cartridge costs so much ..?

    Black Helicopter, because ELSPA know I'm right..

  12. Anonymous Coward

    DS games are a joke ayway.

    If you have ever seen the ROM backup for the games they only come out to 10mb to 20mb on average every now and then a game thats about 100mb+

    But you spend what an extra £10 - £20 or so for a PS3 360 game which require a DVD to put all the information on.

    And as for retailers they never sell the games as competitive as they can, it always use the usual label price advertised by the makers. Usually if I say something about going to buy a game else where they will knock some cash off, so why dont they sell it at those prices to start with.

    Mines the one with the new R4 card in the pocket.

  13. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    On sale at Amazon?

    This is relates to the Edge R4 that Amazon are (albeit via a 3rd party) punting? I saw this and thought it a great idea for pics and music. If it is related to this, then I am not sure it can be called a "games copying kit" as the copying itself is essentially done onto a standard Micro SD card via an adapter, which is plugged into the SD card slot that is to be found on any modern PC - that is where the copying is done.

    The Micro SD card is then plugged into a custom DS cartridge, and then this cartridge is plugged into the DS so it can access the data contained on the Micro SD card. I'm guessing then that trading standards are going for patent infringement relating to the design of the custom cartridge that the (non-illegal) Micro SD card then plugs into.

    If they are going for the copying of software/music games dollar then they will have to prove intent, otherwise, by default they should at the same time be going after PC world for supplying blank DVDs and CD roms as simply owning rewriteable media makes you a pirate yes?

    If this hardware is classified as illegal, it will be interesting to see Amazons response; but my guess is that they will deny all knowledge just as they did when they sold cans of pepper spray (illegal to be sold to the public) to UK citizens via UK based 3rd party. Interesting to note that they denied all knowledge... but still took a cut of the profits.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Required is a title

    Tool to READ Data NOT a Tool to COPY Data.

    Mod chips are as legal as any DVD player that plays pirated discs. - so that'll be all of them then!

    Copying Data in the first place, is the crime NOT reading the copy.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mm R4 chips

    They no longer come with the firmware to play ds games, you need to download that to your storage device yourself. So I doubt you'd be in too much deep water for those, besides they're just like any blank media.

    Gotta say the R4 was a god send, ment I could fix games so I didn't have to put up with the rubbish yank soundtrack for a few games I wanted to play. Meant the old DS came out of a long hibernation for some use.

    Sod retailers, not like they sell anything made in the UK anyway. But the age of the old R4 is on the way out what with the new ds-i region encoding and other drm delights.

  16. Sooty


    "under UK laws it is not illegal to take a backup copy of something you have already purchased "

    From what I remember, UK law explicitly states that you have the right to make a backup copy of any software that you legitimately own.

    The problem comes from the more recent laws, (read the badly copied DMCA) which make it illegal to bypass copy protection.

    I like to think that this could be read as copy protection being illegal, for preventing you from exercising your explicit right to make a backup copy.

  17. Steve


    Why would he have thousands of devices capable of copying the cartridges? More likely he had several thousand R4DS's, which are capable of playing copied roms, amongst other things like playing mp3 and homebrew.

    Mod chips were found to be legal, I can't see the R4DS being found different if this went to court.

  18. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Clarification please...

    No, you don't need cartridges. There are kits out there with PC software that let you rip the game from a cartridge and then put it on an SD micro card. As part of the kit you get a "cartridge" with an SD card slot. Because of the space on the SD card you can pack dozens of games onto a single SD card and therefore not have to carry around dozens of easily lost game cartridges. It is not illegal to sell the SD card or the adapter "cartridge", you will find many hits for such devices on the web (hint - there's a whole Wiki on DS storage.....).

    A friend (alledgedly, hypothetically, etc., etc.) got a pair of the old N-card devices for his kids after they lost a dozen cartdiges when they took their DS Lites on holiday. Now he has superglued the N-cards to their DS Lites and if the SD card one holds is lost, he can simply download all the games onto a new SD card and not have to go buy all the games again. Please note (Mr ELSPA) that he has purchased all the games involved and not downloaded or copied any he has not paid for.

    As I understand it (and IANAL), it is the end user who makes the decision whether or not they break a game's EULA by copying it. Which means the vendor is probably not guilty unless his advert expressly encouraged buyers to break the law, which is highly likely in this case otherwise he wouldn't have sold many.

  19. Joe Harrison
    Black Helicopters


    So, if I have a knife in my house, or some blank DVD's, or some fireworks in my cupboard, i am going to stab someone, make illegal DVD's and blow people's houses up?

    Is it now illegal for possession of CD-R's aswell?

    I personally have a vast amount (several hundred) of CD's DVD's and BluRay discs in my house which I use to distribute open-source and free software to people I know.

    I'm not violating any laws, I'm just downloading material on my high-speed connection and distribute it to people i know who otherwise would struggle to download it.

    I await the blues and twos outside my house telling me that I am in possession of Blank Media with the intent of hacking the pentagon mainframe.

    If they have evidence he was using them, or selling them with intent for piracy, crunch him.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC: "So what?"

    "Buying is not an offence. Selling is."

    Oh dear. Come back when you're less wet behind the ears please.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    I used to know a shop like that in Cardiff

    It was called "Deals" and it had all sorts of dodgy people going in with car stereos in plastic bags. If you ever had anything stolen the first place you'd check was there to see if it had been flogged to them. They also sold copied PSX games to order so it wouldn't surprise me if that's the shop the cops hit.

  22. Anonymous John

    A title is required, but I can't think of one.

    Cardiff? Perhaps they fell through the rift.

  23. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down


    Right, because everyone knows the best way to measure the value of a game is by its size in megabytes.

    Never mind the gameplay, feel the volume!


  24. Daniel Palmer

    Lots of bleating, close to zero facts.

    Every article about DS flash carts focuses on the R4... which sort of proves journos do little or no research as there are a wide range of both Slot 1 and Slot 2 flash carts for the DS, and the R4 isn't even that popular any more. You're more likely to see the DSTT being sold at a car boot sale near you(tm).

    N.B. A slot 1 device alone is incapable of "copying roms"...

    @RE: Clarification please...

    >There are kits out there with PC software that let you rip the game from a cartridge and then >put it on an SD micro card.

    Unless the kit you're talking about is a usenet or bittorrent client... I think its still necessary to have a DS around to rip the data from the carts because of the process required to unlock the cart before they are read.

    Whether these carts are illegal or not would really depend on if they contain any Nintendo IP... The slot2 devices certainly do because they require the Nintendo logo bitmap in the ROM header to boot into GBA mode. In the GB days there were some carts generating that algorithmically apparently, but I've never seen one... The slot one devices are all based around the discoveries of the no$gba author and I don't think they actually infringe any of Nintendo's rights.... if you decide to load infringing material onto the device that's totally up to you, but I'm pretty sure there isn't much in a Slot 1 device that Nintendo can complain about.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Adam Williamson

    Well Fuktard, I wasnt measuring the GAME only the amount of work that went into it.

    And with most Nintendo games thats not alot in fact its very little, the work of which can been shown by the amount of new data from the roms on the old nes to current day, they have been selling and reselling their old titles for decades, can you think of a new title because I'm pushed to think of one.

    In fact the only new thing they are doing is the hand motion controller and they stole that technology and it really does nothing to improve game play though admittly it is funny when you have a few friend round and make them all jump up and down on the spot like muppets


    You may as well buy an old 4th hand NES with 40 games for £2.50 because then you will have played every game Nintendo have ever made or ever going to make. And will save you being ripped off time and again.

    Thank you for completly missing the point of how the pricing is unfair compared to the amount of development put in and being a complete dick about it.

    *\. Hang on I have a wally badge in here some where.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Re: mm R4 chips

    AC wrote:

    "But the age of the old R4 is on the way out what with the new ds-i region encoding and other drm delights."

    Are they entirely insane?

    Q: What are the best selling video games in airports

    A: DS

    Q: Why?

    A: Because when you're stuck waiting for a plane that's five hours late, you want something to do *now*, and an XBox/Playstation game will be b*gger all use until you get home (where you'd honestly rather be anyway).

    That's a few squillion international dollars down the tube right there, Nintendo.

  27. bluesxman

    RE: @ Adam Williamson

    Motion control? Are you talking about the DS still or is it the Wii? You seem to be mixing your control systems.

    As Adam was attempting to point out -- size does not equal quality; size does not equal fun.

    Size does not equal developmental effort, for that matter.

    Whilst size might be a *very* rough "finger in the air" approximation of effort, it pretty much means bugger all. If I make a shit game and throw a few GB worth of rendered video and MP3 files at it, does that significantly increase the value or the effort involved?

    By your definition, should Duke Nukem Forever should cost more than a Playstation 3 by the time it finally comes out (assuming it ever does)? No, it'll be ~£50 (RRP), because that's the price point for a new release 7th generation console game. Will it be, like, teh bestestest game EVAH(!) for it's decade+ development time and, by your theory, mammoth size? Don't hold your breath.

    I'm not particularly interested in how much development time goes in, all I'm interested in is how much FUN a game is.

    As an aside, exactly how do you propose fitting that NES and its 40 games in your jacket pocket? Be sure to leave room for the TV too.

    If you're going to attempt to back your argument up with "facts", at least make them salient.

    Oh, and if you do happen across that "wally badge", save it for yourself.

  28. Law


    I guess it's a good job I had mine flown to me direct from China then! ;)

    These things are awesome - I know most people use them to get games for free, but if you fly alot and don't want to have a billion games go missing on the plane/train/hotel then it's great - yes you need to download the rom for it, but it doesn't stop you from owning an original (which I 90% of the time do, since the games are cheap as chips, the other 10% is usually games we can't buy here, and since Sony destroyed liksang, I refuse to import official consoles/games out of principle - my R4 isn't in that list btw! ;) ).

    In my mind, it's crazy to have a wifi connectable device but no download service - it cuts down pollution through manufacturing and distribution, so it's green, means you can buy online anywhere in the world with a wifi connection so point of sales convenience arguement is almost dead, memory is cheap so that's not an issue, and they can region lock the devices/games to cope with local law arguements... also cuts out the "parents love this for the kids so don't lose games" arguement.... its a pretty easy solution compared to trying to track the sales of these things throughout the world then sueing them all!

  29. Iain

    It's true, you know...

    You really can measure the value of something by the amount of space it takes up on disc. That's why 50Gb Blu-ray films cost 70 times as much as a CD of music. Oh, wait, they don't.

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