The development of latest The Legend of Zelda instalment will still continue despite rumours of Nintendo shutting down production of the Wii U console. Picture: REUTERS/Fred Prouse

Luxembourg - Nintendo cannot prevent its consoles from being tampered with to play multimedia from other providers, except in the case of illegally copied videogames, the European Union's top court ruled on Thursday.

Nintendo uses encryption software to restrict what can be played on its portable DS and fixed Wii consoles, but Italian company PC Box sells the devices with additional equipment that circumvents the encryption. The issue ended up before a court in Italy, where the Japanese gaming company said PC Box was attempting to bypass its anti-bootlegging measures.

PC Box, on the other hand, argued that Nintendo users should be granted access to movies, videos and MP3 files from other providers when they do not breach Nintendo coprights, the court said.

The Milan court asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify how much Nintendo is protected by EU copyright laws.

The ECJ found that Nintendo could only take steps to protect itself against “unauthorised acts of reproduction, communication, public offer or distribution” of copyrighted material. It could not prevent the use of hacking equipment on its consoles that has other “commercially significant” purposes, the court ruled. - Sapa-dpa