Game Pirate Gets Jail Time, $415K Fine; GP Has Exclusive Content

The United States Attorney’s Office has announed that a Florida man who dealt in pirated video games has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $415,000.

According to a press release, Kifah Maswadi, 24, of Oakland, Florida had pleaded guilty in June to selling Power Player handheld units which were pre-loaded with more than 75 titles, mostly owned by Nintendo and Nintendo licensees. According to the feds, Maswadi earned more than $390,000 peddling the handhelds.

From the press release:

In addition to the 15 month prison term and restitution order, Maswadi was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to perform 50 hours of community service, which includes educating the public on the perils of criminal copyright infringement.

That’s what the press release says. But GamePolitics has probed court records and has many more details on the case:

According to Maswadi’s indictment, he charged $23.99 for wired versions and $47.99 for wireless units. Both types connect to televisions.

The case began in 2006 when an FBI agent, acting undercover, placed an order with Maswadi for 100 Power Play units at an agreed-upon wholesale price of $10 each. The agent told Maswadi that he planned to sell them at a mall in Manassas, Virginia during the holiday shopping season. The agent eventually purchased 80 more units from Maswadi. In April, 2007, agents raided Maswadi’s facilities in Florida. According to the indictment, he admitted to both selling the units and knowing that they infringed on game copyrights.

Court documents indicate that Nintendo reps found 18 unspecified first-party titles on the Power Play units as well as 58 unspecified titles owned by Nintendo licensees. More than 8,500 units were sold by Maswadi. The ESA, which represents game publishers, estimated that the retail value of the Power Play units at $50 each (although the indictment states that Maswadi sold them for $23.99 or $47.99). While admitting his guilt, Maswadi disputed the government’s valuation of the loss caused to game publishers. His sentence was below the typical minimum range for the crimes charged.

A Wikipedia entry on the Power Player describes the system and lists a number of the games included (which appear to be old NES titles). The WikiScanner utility indicates that the ESA edited the "legal issues" section of the Wikipedia entry in April, 2007.

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  1. oto kirlama says:

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. myname says:

    Nintendo is indeed selling SOME of these on the Virtual Console but not even close to all of them. While i agree in part to his piracy he was filling a market that Nintendo failed to recognize. Maybe someone doesnt want to buy a Wii. maybe they just want a console with 50 – 100 NES games on them?? maybe just maybe?

    but no Nintendo wants everyone to buy the Wii. thats their excuse but thats not what copyright is supposed to protect. i am real sure that the makers of 10 yard fight were losing sleep because they were missing out on their $0.00025 worth because they didnt get royalties from this player. *smirk*

    my question is, should Super Mario Bros. be banned from public domain forever? isnt 23 years enough time for Nintendo to have made their profits?

    If you have followed the Steamboat Willie case regarding Mickey Mouse you can rest in your bed well at night knowing that the MOUSE will still be under copyright law, away from public domain after your great grandchildren are in nursing homes. That is beyond ridiculous dont you think??

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Frankly with the amount he made he should lose some if not all of his property, downloading/shearing is truly a victimless crime, but selling that data without a license takes money from the playing filed, I say after 10K in illicit sales you get treated as a drug seller, under 10K normal fines and such above fines+jail time + having your property confiscated.

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  4. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    you could’ve called the police if it really irked ya 🙂

    they’d HAVE to investigate it then, and the mall would be fined for having permitted the kiosk to be placed in their facility.

  5. Conejo says:

    i saw some crappy kiosk selling these in my local mall and made a complaint to the mall , but they refused to do anything about it.

    about time this ass got caught.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If Nintendo actually produced an official version of these, I’d probably buy one.  50 or so NES/SNES games on a classic controller that plugs into your TV would be great, especially to take on holiday with you.

  7. Brian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oakland, FL is in the metro Orlando area.  I’ve seen this junk for sale at local mall kiosks before. 

  8. Brokenscope says:

    People who can’t afford 250$ consoles and $40 to $50 games?

    Just because you could afford it doesn’t mean everyone can. Some people have to spend all their money on important things like food, and even shelter.

  9. Flynn says:

    That’s a lot of time for crappy video game piracy… He broke the law sure, but Power Players? bleh, who was he planning on selling those to at Christmas?.. "I’m sorry Billy, they’re out of Wiis, but here’s a crappy controller/console thing". I collect retro games- Power Players make my head hurt…

    Too bad though, this kind of press makes all of us look like "hackers" (or whatever damning word FOX feels like using).

    Also, w00t first comm… ohhh 🙁

    Black Vatican Comic. Updating 7 days a week!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you on that one.  If it was from within the past 10 years, fine, but Jesus…  Who cares, let it go, if they wanted the games legally, they could get them for free online on other ways much easier, or they could pull out their old console if they still have one.

  11. Krono says:

    "on the other hand these games were made in the 80’s, why are we being charged for them still?"

    Just because they’re old, doesn’t mean that the creator’s lost the right to charge for them. If that was true, then every book written before 1990 would be free. Likewise for music.


  12. Generic Enemy Number 12 says:

    On one hand I’m glad that the pirate got busted, but on the other hand these games were made in the 80’s, why are we being charged for them still?

  13. jParadox says:

    Wait, let me correct myself – if State Troopers even give a damn about that much!  I think they only care about the interstate roads, and that’s only when quotas need to be met.  Whoops, MY BAD.  (I’m f**king angry, deal with it.)

  14. jParadox says:

    Because that day, all the State Troopers gave a damn about was recruiting new members.  That’s how it was through-out the whole fair! State Troopers were only there to recruit, not be on the look out for contraband and pirated consoles/games.

    Notice how they were only around the Trooper building? Troopers don’t care about little villages and towns. They care about big cities and the whole state.

  15. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    true, but you’d think SOMEONE out of those groups *cough*statetroopers*cough* would’ve known something and reported/investigated it.

    granted military personell don’t have that durastiction, but they have moreso a basic knowledge of what piracy looks like in many cases as per part of training when going overseas to other countries on the "what to watch out for" brief that we always got just prior to deployment/station in a new country.

    those game sets and "101 games" carts were contraband if cought with’em trying to get back to the ship… yet amazingly enough i managed to smuggle an all black Desert Eagle mock light gun for the PS2 back on board (but it did trigger an alarm when they saw it in the x-ray thingy and they held me and 3 others for question… lol but in the end i talked’em into giving it back :p )

  16. Waffles says:

    I actually have something similar called a "Power Joy" which is basically a shoddy N64 controller with a light gun, a flimsy cartridge slot built into the back of it, and 10 different versions of Duck Hunt among other pirated NES titles. I got it as a Christmas present. (I don’t think my mother realized it wasn’t exactly legit :P)

  17. DarkTetsuya says:

    I actually lucked into one in a weird convienence store… for $20. Though the damn gun broke the day after I bought it. 🙁

    Still nice to have as a collector’s item, especially given the black market nature of it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m ashamed to say this, but I bought one of these a few years back. Worst 50 bucks I ever spent.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You can, it’s called the FG Twin, and in addition to playing the NES cartages, it can play the SNES cartages as well as interchange with SNES controllers. There is also a version that plays Sega Genesis out there as well. I can say about 70% confidence that they’re legal now as well. But they’re not easy to find out in regular everyday brick and motar stores, I’ve noticed them at mostly at conventions or specialty stores here or there that sell retro gaming stuff. These are pretty good too now, since finding a NES that can work properly is starting to become a harder thing these days. The same company, Yobo (or something like that) also made a version that plays only NES cartrages, comes with a light gun so we can still play our beloved Duck Hunt if we feel like it. Nintendo could possibly make a console like that, they but they’ll probebly make something that plays like the Atari Flashback (meaning you get the built in games only, no cartages).

    I’ve seen those cheezy Power Player consoles (can these even be called consoles? They’re more like a N64 controller with a 100-in-1 chip in them and the cable that connects to the console replaced with TV cables) everywhere in flea markets and some of the tourist traps here. I don’t know why someone would want one of them other than to get an opprotunity to relive their older days of gaming, but in a super crappy way. I’d much rather spend my money on the actual consoles or at least a decent clone that can play the cartages. I’ve also seen similar ones to it that were clear design rip offs of the original Playstation, and other ones with the N64 controller without the side handle things.

  20. thefremen says:

     It’s tapping into a different market though, they should go ahead and make a console that plays yee olde NES games and such.

  21. Krono says:

    theres military branches ALL OVER the thing for their recruiting stations, and the State troopers, yet theres a guy sitting in the "mall" tent selling these things with displays setup all around him, yet no one even looked twice at the infringement that those things were causing.

    That’s probably because it isn’t their job. The military isn’t in charge of enforcing civil laws. The State troopers, it’s probably a matter of due process and what organization has jurisdiction.


  22. Grimcw ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    I loved the old games, and i GLADLY pay for the ones i really liked when they come out to the Wii VC.


    but as for these pirated bits, they used to sell’em on TV, and you can still find them peddled in some old toy shops and almost any county fair or flea market.

    like i’ve said elsewhere about these pirated things, its like a local drug dealer, any kid with $5 can find the guy no prob, but the overpayed officials in the government just can’t seem to see the guy standing right there under their noses.


    perfect example was the Erie County Fair in NY State i went to 2 weeks ago.

    theres military branches ALL OVER the thing for their recruiting stations, and the State troopers, yet theres a guy sitting in the "mall" tent selling these things with displays setup all around him, yet no one even looked twice at the infringement that those things were causing.

    if i were only the ass i wish i were.

  23. Flynn says:

    Didn’t mean to offend, I’m a college kid so I get your point.
    At the same time, the "hand held consoles" are usually of lesser quality in terms of duability, and don’t offer more games, unless you buy one from Mr. McPiratePants here.
    You can get a Nintendo for less than 20$ now, and games are usually 25cents to 1$ *unless it’s rare*.
    I’ve got about 25 consoles now, and the NES still gets the most use, those games were a good time, and after books, there is no way I can pickup new 60$ games, let alone a PS3…

    Black Vatican Comic. Updating 7 days a week!

  24. SimonBob says:

    I saw a similar product at the mall about a year back, so I scooped up the controller and had a look at the game list.  Whoever dumped the ROMs forgot to take out some of the Japanese imports, particularly an animated strip poker game.  I was hoping to get the salesdude in extra bonus trouble but he came around the far side of his mid-mall kiosk, and I had to book it to get into the less-unsavoury territory of Contra.

    The Mammon Industry

  25. DrkMatter says:

    Nintendo is already milking that cow through the virtual console, and probably making more money off of it than any physical device would, as VC games have no associated per-unit production cost.

  26. sortableturnip says:

    Nintendo should see that selling these makes money…they should produce them…

    On the whole pirate front, you shouldn’t pirate games to make money…even if they are not being sold anymore.


  27. mogbert says:

    The thing is that a lot of these games are now being sold on the Wii Channel. So someone selling Nintendo software on equipment that looks like a Nintendo… yeah, this is what the laws were made for. And these things were fairly popular. I’ve seen them at two local malls, and during the lunch rush there is usually someone playing them.

    Also, there are a lot of comments way off the base, from people who think that old games shouldn’t be charged for (even though they are still being sold) to someone else who thinks it’s fine for one company to sell another company’s IP for less illegaly, simply because not everyone can afford the first companies price? Look, this is the literal definition of software piracy. I wish they would go after these people more then the file sharers that they try and cram into the definition of piracy. I don’t condone the filesharers, but at least they aren’t trying to make money off of someone elses stuff.

  28. Chuma-Hasn'tHeardAnythingYetAboutRegistrationProblems ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If they went after these sorts of people more and less of those who just want to use a mod chip to play games from a different region, I would have more sympathy and support for the authorities.

  29. LockeCole says:

    I saw these things on sale at a mall 2 Xmases ago, so Flynn, these things seemingly really do sell. I found it amazing that someone could sell something so blatantly pirate openly in a mall kiosk. The things were full of spelling errors for the game titles and even some that were just flat out wrong titles.

Comments are closed.