Console modder Gary Bowser has agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit out of court. The Team Xecuter hacker has helped create modchips and jailbreaks for various consoles, including the NES Classic Edition and the 3DS. Team Xecuter’s most recent cracker, the SX Pro, is a USB dongle that lets users run pirated games on the Nintendo Switch using a custom OS.
In October 2020, federal authorities arrested Team Xecuter ring leaders Gary Bowser and Max Louarn on 11 felony counts of piracy. Six months later, Nintendo filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Bowser, asking for $2,500 for each SX Pro sold and $150,000 for every copyright violation.
Bowser initially entered a not-guilty plea on the piracy charges. In October of this year, he agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and trafficking in circumvention devices. He was also ordered to pay $4.5 million in restitution and help authorities track down any remaining Team-Xecuter assets.
Of course, the plea bargain put Browser in a pickle when it came to Nintendo’s civil suit. Since he had pleaded guilty to the charges, he could not logically say, “I didn’t do it” to a Seattle District Court jury and expect them to buy it. Eurogamer notes that the hacker settled with Nintendo out of court for $10 million. That award is on top of the $4.5 million he agreed to in his plea deal.
Nintendo aggressively protects its intellectual property. It seems that not a year goes by that the company doesn’t hit someone with a cease and desist or copyright lawsuit. Just this year, RomUniverse was ordered to pay Nintendo $2.15 million in an infringement case from 2019.