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Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser pleads guilty to piracy allegations

Gary Bowser, a 51-year-old Canadian hacker (and not to be confused with the President of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, or … you know, Mario’s archenemy), has pleaded guilty to hacking against Nintendo on multiple occasions. He now has to pay $ 4.5 million and faces up to 10 years in prison. Eurogamer reported.

Bowser initially denied the allegations of having worked with the hacking group Team-Xecuter, which developed and sold console modchips that enabled users to play pirated games, also known as “ROMs”.

The notoriously contentious Nintendo had stalked Team Xecuter for several years. Last October, the US government teamed up with Nintendo to bring three members of the hacking group to justice. Team-Xecuter claimed their products were not designed specifically for piracy and supported the “right to repair” and home-brewed gaming communities.

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That wasn’t enough to save Bowser, who was arrested in the Dominican Republic in 2020 and deported to the United States. Bowser also operated under the name “GaryOPA” and operated and wrote for a site called MaxConsole, which often covered Team Xecuter software. The US government stated that his relationship with Team-Xecuter went deeper than just being a writer, claiming he promoted and traded illegal hacking software.

Bowser originally denied the hacking allegations but changed his position last week to plead guilty. He admitted to working with Team-Xecuter since 2013 and signed a statement stating that he was “knowingly and deliberately involved in a cybercriminal company that hacked leading gaming consoles and designed, manufactured, marketed and sold a variety of bypass devices that made this possible “. Enterprise customers playing pirated video games that are protected by copyright. “

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Bowser’s official charges include “conspiring to circumvent technological measures and trading in circumventing devices” and “violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions”. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Bowser also admitted that his hacking devices made “at least tens of millions of dollars in revenue” when Bowser made only a fraction of that.

In addition to his $ 4.5 million fine, Bowser has agreed to help the U.S. government find additional Team Xecuter assets. As part of the plea agreement, the government waived nine other charges, including conspiracy to commit wire transfer fraud. Bowser’s final verdict will be issued in the future following final recommendations from the defense and prosecutors.

As if Bowser’s future wasn’t bad enough, he was also sued directly by Nintendo last April. This case is still pending, and Bowser has not yet submitted an official response on it.

Bowser’s co-defendant Max Louarn, a 48-year-old French national, was arrested in Canada. The third co-defendant, 35-year-old Yuanning Chen from Shenzhen, China, remains at large.

As already mentioned, Nintendo has taken particular litigation against ROMs in its games and software. The enterprise won a lawsuit against RomUniverse, A Rome hosting website that was ordered to pay $ 2 million in damages and all of its illicit games, and issuing an injunction that prohibited the operator’s website “from copying, distributing, selling, or even playing.” destroy authorized copies of Nintendo games. “

Joseph Knoop is a writer / producer for IGN.

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