This is a ruling by US Customs and Border Protection in 2001 on whether or not the GB Flash Advance Linker violated the DMCA (if it did, then CBP would not allow the device the pass through customs). The GB Flash Advance Linker serves two basic purposes. The first is basically a blank Game Boy Advance cartridge on which the consumer can load data. This cartridge can then be played in a normal Game Boy Advance. While homebrew or public domain games could be loaded onto these cartridges, most often illegally downloaded ROMs were placed on them. The second, and more important, is to make a copy of a Game Boy Advance cartridge and store it on a PC. Nintendo, naturally, wanted CBP to stop this product from entering the United States. CBP noted that the DMCA prevents the importing of devices that are primarily for circumventing protection, have limited use outside of circumventing protection, and are marketed with the explicit knowledge of their circumvention capabilities. The floppy disk that comes with the device (and installs the necessary software) is simply used to provide the Nintendo boot up code, clearly signifying the intent to bypass protection. Then, the device illegally copies the cartridge data to flash, and then to a PC. Therefore, CBP decided that the GB Flash Advance Linker violates the DMCA.
The ruling makes perfect sense. Clearly the Game Boy Advance cartridge has a form of copy protection on it (although a weird one, as described in the ruling), and this device was created and sold with the intention of bypassing that protection. Obviously this violates the DMCA. The problem here is that this ruling effectively leaves no legal way to create a backup of a legitimately owned video game. If any attempt to back up the video game data breaks the DMCA, then how can backups be created? If I want a backup of my video game, to be used in the event of damage to the original, how would I go about getting it? Petition Nintendo? The other major problem with this ruling is that there do seem to be a few legitimate uses of this device, most notably concerning homebrew games. If a consumer creates his or her own video game for the Game Boy Advance, then how could they move it to a cartridge playable on the actual system? In essence, once one has created his or her own game, it is unplayable on the system that they designed it for. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way around this problem. Nintendo, in going after this device, clearly indicates that it wants complete control over how its games are used and copied. Basically, Nintendo does not want consumers to have the ability to make backup copies (which are allowed by law) or create homebrew games.