Authorities say that between September and December 2004, the defendants imported 27 cargo containers holding more than 280,000 counterfeit video game systems. After several meetings, the defendants revealed to the undercover FBI agents the locations of their warehouses and provided information about their distribution network. On April 13, the undercover agents, posing as toy distributors, arrested the four defendants and confiscated illegal products, computers and business records. The FBI conducted accompanying searches in Queens, N.Y.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Maple Shade, N.J., near Philadelphia.
"Nintendo applauds the actions taken by the FBI. U.S. law enforcement authorities have played an instrumental role in attacking piracy in the U.S. and abroad," says Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America's director of anti-piracy. "Nintendo will continue to work with local, state, national and international authorities to combat the growing problem of product piracy around the world."
The New York raids are just the latest in a long line of criminal actions that Nintendo is currently supporting. For more than a decade, Nintendo of America Inc.'s anti-piracy team has led the charge against video game piracy around the world. During the first quarter of 2005, the team reports that more than 80 seizures of counterfeit Nintendo products were conducted, resulting in the confiscation of close to 180,000 products globally. In another FBI action earlier this month, a defendant in a Minnesota case pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Highlights of Nintendo's anti-piracy efforts in 2004 included:
-- Nintendo estimated that piracy cost the company more than $860 million in lost sales in 2004 alone.
-- Around the world, authorities seized 1,556,487 counterfeit Nintendo products in 536 seizure actions in some 30 countries.
-- Nintendo terminated about 194,730 copies of games uploaded to the Internet and 75,452 auctions of counterfeit products.
-- In October, Nintendo won a preliminary injunction against kiosk owners selling hardware units with built-in multiple counterfeit NES games in Washington state. The court order was critical to persuade mall management companies across the United States to shut down kiosks in the malls they managed. Many of the operators were in the United States illegally and have since been deported to their respective homelands.
-- In China, five people received prison sentences and fines for manufacturing millions of counterfeit Game Boy(R) game cartridges. The breakthrough case marked the first time a counterfeiter of Nintendo products received a prison sentence in China.
-- In Taiwan, the owner-president and several employees of Yudian Corp. were convicted on all counts of criminal copyright and trademark offenses. Taiwan's High Court sentenced the president's assistant to four years in prison.
The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems. Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy(R) Advance SP, Nintendo DS(TM) and Nintendo GameCube(TM) systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 1.9 billion video games and more than 336 million hardware units globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario(TM) and Donkey Kong(R) and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as 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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