R4 (and similar) cards have now been declared illegal in the UK. Personally I think this is a significant injustice, as it further erodes individuals’ ability to use their purchased hardware for non-approved (but legal) uses, under the flag of preventing piracy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally against piracy and have purchased all my DS games legally. But I do own and use an R4 card. There are two reasons for this: firstly I do play the occasional homebrew game; secondly I use it as a means to conveniently carry all my games with me without the need to keep swapping cartridges. If there was a legitimate way to achieve this then I wouldn’t have any need of this “piracy device”.
The most worrying part of the article is this quote:
“The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence,” read the ruling by Justice Floyd.
By that argument we’d better all get rid of our cameras, CD writers, PVRs, video capture cards and any other technology that may be used for copyright violations as well as legal uses.
I use an iPod as a means to aggregate hundreds of CDs into one device: my R4 is a means to aggregate dozens of games into one cartridge. I could put illegally downloaded music onto my iPod just as easily as I could put illegally downloaded games onto my R4. Yet one device is seen as a successful stalwart of consumer electronics, whilst the other is a scurrilous device used by pirates and ne’er-do-wells. The main difference I can see is that Apple are a big, rich company whereas the defendants in this case were small independent suppliers.
Yet again it would seem that money talks – or at least buys expensive lawyers to do the talking for you.