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Wiimote Project » General Category » General Discussion » what about the law ?
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« on: February 25, 2008, 01:32:08 PM »

Hi everyone,
I'd just like to say thanks to Johnny : I installed wwb, terrific tool ! I intend to use it in the class room (I'm a maths teacher), like many other french teachers did (see : www.prtice.info/?voir=tnwii, a french site about wwb).
Two problems remain : double-click ain't easy, not talking about the right click. But I'll surch the forum about thoose.
One question however still has no answer (for me), and doesn't seem quoted here : is this use of the wiimote legal ? I believe Nintendo's still silent about it. Wich text rules the use of  the Wiimote ?

Thanks for any answer, or clue.
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 09:06:11 PM »

I'm not a lawyer, but this is my interpretation.

Reverse Engineering:
Reverse engineering, by itself, is legal in most jurisdictions.  Reverse engineering copy-protection systems is illegal in many jurisdictions, but the Wii Remote itself does not contain any copy protection systems.  Extensions use encryption, but the encrypted data (user input) is not copyrighted so in most cases these laws do not apply.

The following are from the perspective of US IP law.

Copyright:
Communicating with a Wii Remote does not require using any of Nintendo's IP.  Many applications do (for example, the Wii Remote press image you see at the top-left corner of this very page), but the communications protocol does not.

Trademark:
Anything using the word "Wii" in it's name is exposed to legal action from Nintendo.  Also, the word "Wiimote" could be seen as trademark dilution, so I try to always use "Wii Remote".

Patent:
There may be patents on specific uses of the output of the Wii Remote.  Community software should be worried about this.  There are also hundreds of patents for technology in the Wii Remote, but these are Nintendo's concern, not yours. 



There's plenty of ways they could have prevented the community from reverse engineering and using the Wii Remote with only minor software changes.  The fact that they did none of them suggests that they intended for the community to reverse engineer them.

For example, they could have used a challenge-response approach.  The Wii Remote generates a random string and transmits that to the host.  The host appends the text of a short poem (written by Nintendo), calculates a checksum of the result, and sends that back to the Wii Remote.  The Wii Remote does the same calculation itself and compares the results.

The handshake would have delayed initial communication by several weeks at least, as either the code running on the Wii or Wii Remote would need to be reverse engineered to see what's going on.  The poem would cause any software that can communicate with the Wii Remote to violate Nintendo's copyrights, since calculating the checksum requires it's full text.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 09:22:56 PM by inio » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2008, 10:03:48 PM »

I have emailed the legal department at Nintendo so see what they say about the matter.  Its one thing to use this with a class or for personal use but if you start selling anything using the wiimote, thats different.

I wonder what Nintendo will say?  I really don't expect a reply anytime soon from them but it will be interesting to see.

but honestly people have been using game controllers with PCs for a while now.  People are selling the adapters to hook to PC's so I dont know.

Lets wait and see what they say.

Dice Smiley

::Little update::

I looked up any trademarks on Wii and Wiimote.  While "Wii" is trademarked "wiimote" is not trademarked.  So anyone is able to use that term freely in projects or applications.  Just thought I would let you know Smiley  If some one thinks I am in error with this last statement please let me know.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 03:57:43 PM by dice » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 09:13:38 PM »

besides, what ain't forbidden is authorized
thanks a lot, both
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 10:07:09 PM »

I looked up any trademarks on Wii and Wiimote.  While "Wii" is trademarked "wiimote" is not trademarked.  So anyone is able to use that term freely in projects or applications.  Just thought I would let you know Smiley  If some one thinks I am in error with this last statement please let me know.

Trademarks are fuzzy.  They protect not only the mark itself, but also "colorable imitation" of the mark.  This generally means that anything in the fields the mark is registered in that sounds like, looks like, or includes the mark can infringe it.  The the law says that intent to confuse or deceive is required, but "confuse" has been given an extremely broad interpretation.

In the case of Wii, "the fields" include just about everything, including "communication services".  However, the only references to "software" are for game software and network communication software.  Again, I'm no lawyer but as far as I know this means that device driver software and non-game non-communication software can't currently infringe the mark.  This doesn't mean they couldn't come after such uses, it just slightly diminishes their actual legal weight. 

 There's also a few wacky items: car GPS systems, fuel cells, water filter controllers, fishing tackle and ignition batteries being the craziest.

Other interesting bits: the Wii logotype and  "Wii Remote" are not registered trademarks (®), but just regular trademarks (™).  IIRC this affects some things in court and maybe maximum damages, but besides that not much.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 10:19:04 PM by inio » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 02:55:43 AM »

I have emailed the legal department at Nintendo so see what they say about the matter.  Its one thing to use this with a class or for personal use but if you start selling anything using the wiimote, thats different.

I wonder what Nintendo will say?  I really don't expect a reply anytime soon from them but it will be interesting to see.

but honestly people have been using game controllers with PCs for a while now.  People are selling the adapters to hook to PC's so I dont know.

Lets wait and see what they say.

Dice Smiley

::Little update::

I looked up any trademarks on Wii and Wiimote.  While "Wii" is trademarked "wiimote" is not trademarked.  So anyone is able to use that term freely in projects or applications.  Just thought I would let you know Smiley  If some one thinks I am in error with this last statement please let me know.

Is there a chance they ever replied?
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 03:08:31 AM »

Wiweeyum
I doubt they would!

Its the fundamental legal position: your words give others power, the less words you say the less power they have!

As soon as they make a statement it can be bent/twisted/used against them. An organisation like N (and their very powerful legal eagles) will prefer to say nothing until they have too (nearly always a negative response).

benpaddlejones Smiley
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