Recently, some sites have started to sell Wii homebrew packages / guides. Here are two of them:
- HomebreWare a.k.a. PlaybreWare
- Another site (I won’t link to it or mention its name because its author apparently feels that it will boost his sales)
Update: HomebreWare is again violating our copyright by selling and hosting our files. They are also operating under the new name PlaybreWare using Plimus instead of ClickBank. The following information applies to the old version of HomebreWare and is outdated; the new version can be summarized as an illegal distribution of our software, software to launch illegal copies of games, and some Nintendo Wii System Software.
The other site is newer apparently, and I’ve already looked quite a bit at Homebreware, so I’ll focus on the latter. Note: if you link to them, try to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute to avoid contributing to their PageRank. Google them if you must find their sites.
The Homebreware site claims to provide software to – surprise – do everything that Wii homebrew applications currently do. I encourage you to read the site for yourself. I actually went ahead and bought it to have proof of what’s going on. What’s in the box? There is none. Their product is entirely delivered online, and includes two parts: a PDF guide and a software bundle. They also have an affiliate program which seems to be pretty active.
First, let’s look at the PDF guide. Content starts on page 3, which is a badly authored introduction. Then, on page 4, we find this (cropped pdf). Hmm, interesting resemblance to, say, this revision of the Twilight Hack page on Wiibrew. Of course, there is no attribution, no GFDL, no nothing. So much for their exclusive PDF guide. But wait, it gets better. The next page is about the Homebrew Channel. Sound familiar? The next two pages are about the Wiibrew SD Installer. I think i’ve heard this before. Then it teaches you how to warez games – using two posts ripped off from the AfterDawn forums (I won’t link to either of these, but suffice to say it’s an exact copy as well). And finally, the Mii Channel Update page? Totally original too. And all that’s left is the FAQ page (which you can also find on their site), and includes such gems as “No it will not void your warranty” (they get to decide that now?) and “No it can’t [brick your console]” (I guess they’re including HomebrewareBootMii now).
Moving on to the bundle part, you’ll find a main bundle, a separate source archive containing a bit of random Wii source code, and the Twilight Hack 0.1beta2 as a separate archive (this was a recent update, and they were too lazy to include it in the main bundle). Here’s the file listing for the bundle, and here’s the source archive. Of note is that the bundle archive includes several WADs copyrighted by Nintendo. Of course, HBC beta9 is included as well as TPHack 0.1beta1, and many popular Wii apps. The questionable warez-launching bits and pieces probably violate the DMCA anti-circumvention clause too (not that I agree with it).
Now, neither the Twilight Hack nor the Homebrew Channel (among others) are distributed under the GPL, GFDL, or any other GNU licenses (we’ve had a source release of TPHack for a while on the back burner, but it hasn’t happened yet), contrary to what the other site claims on their footer (they also don’t seem to know how to spell our name, or that there are several “GNU licenses” and that the GFDL doesn’t apply to software anyway). In fact, they are distributed without any specific license (other than the “no warranty” stuff), which grants them automatic “all rights reserved” style copyright status (at least in all countries that fall under the Berne Convention, that is, practically the entire world). Therefore, redistribution, and especially sale, are forbidden. While we’re okay with free internet distribution by other parties (mirrors), any kind of sale is obviously crossing the line (and that includes any sale of a “guide” with “bundled” software).
I can only speak for the software that I’ve authored, but it’s clear that many other licenses are being violated here as well. If you are the author of anything in the archive and your copyright is being violated, I urge you to take action (tell the world, send them an e-mail, send them a DMCA takedown, whatever).
We’ve started to attempt to send the appropriate DMCA takedown notices to the providers involved, but I’d like to know if you have any suggestions, or if you know someone who could provide legal advice. It’s pretty annoying, as this is a slow process and meanwhile these guys are racking up the sales.
To the people behind this: what you’re doing is illegal, in case it wasn’t clear. We’re going to start firing DMCA notices until you stop. If you don’t stop now we’re going to start looking at a lawsuit.