Nintendo of America filed a lawsuit against Gary Bowser, a Canadian member and reported leader of ‘Team Xecuter,’ a group that made and sold Nintendo Switch hacking tools.
Bowser and other members of Xecuter were arrested and charged with 11 felony counts in October 2020. Nintendo called the operation an “international pirate ring” and the lawsuit alleges that Bowser infringed on the company’s copyright by making and selling the console hacks. Filed in a Seattle court, the lawsuit looks to charge Bowser with two trafficking counts and one copyright violation.
Further, Nintendo is seeking damages, which include $2,500 USD (about $3,126.82 CAD) for each trafficked device and another $150,000 USD (roughly $187,609.50 CAD) for each copyright violation. Naturally, Nintendo also wants to shut down Bowser’s operation for good.
Xecuter’s hacking tools include the ‘SX Pro,’ ‘SX Core’ and ‘SX Lite,’ which allow users to bypass Nintendo’s Switch security measures and run pirated games. The lawsuit says Bowser has been creating and selling hacking tools for Nintendo devices since 2013, when he created a device to hack the Nintendo 3DS.
It’s worth noting Xecuter’s for-profit motives have made it controversial in the modding and emulation communities, which typically focus on open-source efforts and avoid selling products.
Additionally, Bowser’s shared namesake with both Nintendo of America’s current president, Doug Bowser, and with the villain Bowser from Nintendo’s own popular Mario franchise has lead to some humour and confusion.
Nintendo has always been fiercely protective of its intellectual property (IP), and often aggressively pursues legal action against unauthorized use of IP. Most recently, that aggressive IP protection lead to a copyright strike against artists on Patreon that culminated in the platform removing artwork of Bowser’s penis.