Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Nintendo v. Yuzu

Chris Brandrick (Hacker News):

Nintendo is taking action against the creators of the popular emulator tool Yuzu.

The copyright infringement filing, from Nintendo of America, states that the Yuzu tool (from developer Tropic Haze LLC) illegally circumvents the software encryption and copyright protection systems of Nintendo Switch titles, and thus facilitates piracy and infringes copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).


The official Yuzu website suggests that the tool is to be used with software you yourself own: “You are legally required to dump your games from your Nintendo Switch” — but it’s common knowledge, that this is not how these tools are primarily used.

Sean Hollister (Hacker News):

Now, it appears that Yuzu will give up without a fight — and give Nintendo everything it wanted. And it affects the Nintendo 3DS emulator Citra, too.

According to a joint filing, Tropic Haze has not only agreed to pay $2,400,000 to Nintendo but also says Yuzu is “primarily designed to circumvent and play Nintendo Switch games.” The company agrees to be permanently enjoined from working on Yuzu, hosting Yuzu, distributing Yuzu’s code or features, hosting websites and social media that promote Yuzu, or doing anything else that circumvents Nintendo’s copyright protection.

Oh, and it will surrender the yuzu-emu.org domain name to Nintendo, agree to delete not only its copies of Yuzu but also “all circumvention tools used for developing or using Yuzu—such as TegraRcmGUI, Hekate, Atmosphère, Lockpick_RCM, NDDumpTool, nxDumpFuse, and TegraExplorer,” and hand over any “physical circumvention devices” and “modified Nintendo hardware” to Nintendo.

Update (2024-03-07): Sean Hollister:

The developer of popular Nintendo DS emulator Drastic just made its app completely free on Android (previously $4.99), and it intends to pull it down for good. Exophase wrote on its official Discord that “I want to make it clear that I don’t have any kind of financial incentive” and that Nintendo’s move simply “made the whole process more urgent”[…]


Meanwhile, a popular Discord server for the Steam Deck has at least temporarily shut down its entire emulation channel, writing, “We are not equipped to deal with potential legal repercussions of hosting discussions on Yuzu or emulation at this time” and apologizing for “the need to censor.”

Via NeoNacho:

Seems like the chilling effect of the Yuzu lawsuit is pretty bad already. The fact that emulators for the DS/3DS (which Nintendo abandoned last year) are affected will be significant blow to game preservation.

Update (2024-03-26): Sean Hollister (via Hacker News):

Nintendo might not need to individually sue emulators out of existence to drive them deeper underground. Today, GitLab cut off access to Nintendo Switch emulator Suyu, and disabled the accounts of its developers, after receiving what appears to be a scary email in the form of a DMCA takedown request.


Also, Suyu has claimed it does not include the same circumvention measures as Yuzu.

But those lawyers also told me that valid or invalid, it doesn’t necessarily matter all that much, since a platform like GitLab doesn’t have to host anything that it doesn’t want to host. It may not be worth the time and effort to push back on an invalid DMCA takedown request to protect something you might not even care to protect — particularly if the alternative might be Nintendo coming at you with an actual lawsuit.

Update (2024-04-12): Sean Hollister (via Hacker News):

Discord has shut down the Discord servers for the Nintendo Switch emulators Suyu and Sudachi and has completely disabled their lead developers’ accounts — and the company isn’t answering our questions about why it went that far. Both Suyu and Sudachi began as forks of Yuzu, the emulator that Nintendo sued out of existence on March 4th.

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