Australian to Pay Nintendo $1.3 Mln For Putting Mario on the Internet

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (thumb)

An Australian man has agreed to pay Nintendo some AUS $1.5 billion (about $1.3 million USD) in damages for illegally uploading New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii to the Internet six days before its release. The out-of-court settlement is intended to compensate Nintendo for damages and loss of sales due to the illegal distribution of the game.

The man, identified as 24-year-old James Burt by the Sydney Morning Herald, was able to buy the game ahead of its global debut when a shop mistakenly put it out for sale early. Burt then uploaded the game to the Internet, where it was downloaded by thousands of Internet users around the world. The case was particularly damaging to Nintendo because, unlike many games that reach Australia only months after their release in other markets, Australia’s release of New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii was day-and-date with the rest of the world.

Nintendo said in a statement that it was able to trace Burt using sophisticated information forensics after the game appeared on the Internet. Nintendo was granted a search order that forced Burt to turn over all his computers, disks, and storage devices last November, as well as serve up access to his email accounts, Web sites, and social networking accounts.

Burt will also have to pay Nintendo’s $100,000 in legal expenses related to the case.