U.S. Government promises to crack down on piracy, Nintendo cheers

by: Sean Colleli -
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One of the defining aspects of Nintendo over the years has been their consistent hatred of piracy.  The U.S. Trade Representative is going to take a harder look at Chinese piracy dealings, and Nintendo couldn't be happier.  China has long been a hotbed of unlicensed, illegially distributed games and hardware, but it looks like there are unsavory production plants in other countries like Mexico and Paraguay.  Hopefully this crackdown will eliminate some of this illegitimate activity, resulting in proft for game dvelopers industry-wide.
Nintendo Applauds U.S. Government's Strong Position Against Piracy in China
                   Nintendo Urges: 'Progress Must Be Made'
    REDMOND, Wash., April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Nintendo of America Inc. today
announced its strong support of the U.S. Trade Representative seeking formal
consultations with China regarding its failure to meet World Trade
Organization obligations concerning intellectual property protection and
enforcement in China.  As part of its uncompromising campaign against
international piracy, Nintendo continues to be an outspoken supporter of the
U.S. government, given that more than 7.7 million counterfeit video game
products from more than 300 Chinese factories and retailers have been seized
during the past four years.
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050516/NINTENDOLOGO )
    Despite aggressive efforts for the past decade, China has built itself to
be the leading production site and exporter for counterfeit Nintendo video
game products, and has the largest domestic consumption.  Despite the millions
of counterfeit Nintendo products seized from retailers and manufacturing
plants in China through the years, there has only been one criminal
prosecution.  Numerous factories, where tens of thousands of counterfeit
Nintendo products were seized, escaped with only trivial fines or no penalty
at all.  And often these production sites continue to operate after products
are seized.  In order to avoid punishment, many counterfeiters are
sophisticated and keep stock levels below the criminal thresholds and avoid
keeping sales records.
    Each year Nintendo participates in the Special 301 process -- the annual
process by which the U.S. Trade Representative solicits views from the
industry and makes judgments about the adequacy of intellectual property laws
and enforcement in foreign countries.  This year, Nintendo provided evidence
to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding piracy in China, Hong Kong, Brazil, 
Mexico and Paraguay.  The piracy not only affects Nintendo, but also more than
100 other companies who independently create, license, market and sell
Nintendo products.  In 2006, the estimated loss due to piracy was $762
    "Nintendo will continue to work with the U.S. government while
aggressively pursuing counterfeit Nintendo products in China," says Jodi
Daugherty, Nintendo of America's senior director of anti-piracy.  "We're
pleased the U.S. government is pushing China to comply with its trade
commitments in an effort to protect the lifeblood of the copyright and
trademark industries."
    The worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment,
Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and
software for its Wii(TM), Nintendo DS(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance and Nintendo
GameCube(TM) systems.  Since 1983, Nintendo has sold nearly 2.2 billion video
games and more than 387 million hardware units globally, and has created
industry icons like Mario(TM), Donkey Kong(R), Metroid(R), Zelda(TM) and
Pokemon(R).  A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in
Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the
Western Hemisphere.  For more information about Nintendo, visit the company's
Web site at www.nintendo.com.
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