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Nintendo goes after Switch emulator yuzu in new lawsuit

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Well, here we go. Nintendo have formally filed a lawsuit against the creators of the popular open source Switch emulator yuzu. Nintendo certainly aren't holding back on this one either.

Looking over the document filed February 26th, Nintendo give an example in their complaint with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom saying that it was "unlawfully distributed a week and a half before its release by Nintendo" and that copies of it were "successfully downloaded from pirate websites over one million times before the game was published and made available for lawful purchase by Nintendo".

A major part of the argument is how Nintendo say that "Yuzu unlawfully circumvents the technological measures on Nintendo Switch games and allows for the play of encrypted Nintendo Switch games on devices other than a Nintendo Switch". Nintendo go on to talk about how yuzu allows working around all the protections they put in place, and that "to be clear, there is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption".

To work yuzu needs certain things from a Switch console, of which the early models had an exploit where this was possible. The yuzu install guide mentions specifically you need a "HACKABLE Nintendo Switch", which Nintendo argue in the suit that "Users obtain the prod.keys either through unlawful websites or by unlawfully hacking a Nintendo Switch console". Because of how yuzu works Nintendo state it "turns general computing devices into tools for massive intellectual property infringement of Nintendo and others’ copyrighted works".

What's not particularly great for the yuzu team is a quote included in the suit from the project lead Bunnei, where Nintendo quote Bunnei saying "users probably just pirate a yuzu folder with everything" when replying to another user about the Quickstart Guide as it can be confusing for people. For context, this is a quote from the yuzu Discord server, but a follow-up post from another developer mentions directly after it "just to clarify on that last statement, we do not endorse, nor support piracy and the users who do won't receive assistance". Still, it's giving Nintendo easy ammo.

Nintendo are going after damages (which look to be quite high in monies), plus they want the yuzu website domain transferred to Nintendo control and the total shut down of yuzu as a whole.

This is going to get messy for yuzu, and for the future of emulation.

Via Stephen Totilo on X.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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While so many people were worried and concerned about Palworld. This is what Nintendo was gazing at.
sonic2kk Feb 27
I'm interested in this section specifically, which if I understand your article correctly, is a quote from Nintendo:

Quote"to be clear, there is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption".

Is referring to the firmware files you must supply to Yuzu (and Ryujinx afaik, another Switch emulator) in order to use it, or is there something else going on? My understanding was that a user should dump these from their Switch console, and that this is, at the very least, not illegal.

Someone a lot smarter than me could probably explain how much water this statement from Nintendo holds, and what Yuzu is doing wrong here.

I also wonder if Ryujinx is going to be subject to a similar lawsuit. Yuzu is more popular (and depending on who you ask, tragically so) so perhaps it caught the eye of Nintendo first, and Ryujinx right now is under some "security through obscurity". Unless there is something technical that Ryujinx is doing differently, if Nintendo's statement that there is "no lawful way" to use Yuzu does not carry over to Ryujinx.
Liam Dawe Feb 27
Added a little extra context.
"unlawfully hacking a Nintendo Switch console"
Fuck the DMCA
CatKiller Feb 27
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Quoting: sonic2kkMy understanding was that a user should dump these from their Switch console, and that this is, at the very least, not illegal.

If someone has put a "technical measure" (no matter how flimsy) in place to prevent copying, the DMCA makes it a crime for Americans to circumvent that technical measure even if the making and using the copy would be otherwise legal - unless it's for one of the very short list of activities that are given a three-year exemption.
boltronics Feb 27
Quote"users probably just pirate a yuzu folder with everything"
To that I say, users probably also pirate games by hacking their Switch.

There, I've said it! Does that mean that Nintendo will now stop selling the Switch, since we know people use it for piracy?
RawToast225 Feb 27
imo nintendo can fuck all the way off
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: sonic2kkMy understanding was that a user should dump these from their Switch console, and that this is, at the very least, not illegal.

If someone has put a "technical measure" (no matter how flimsy) in place to prevent copying, the DMCA makes it a crime for Americans to circumvent that technical measure even if the making and using the copy would be otherwise legal - unless it's for one of the very short list of activities that are given a three-year exemption.
There are exceptions to the DMCA (for example, for "Computer Programs—Jailbreaking" and "Computer Programs—Video Game
Preservation," see https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-10-28/pdf/2021-23311.pdf), but I'm not a lawyer and I wouldn't even want to begin teasing out whether these or any of the other current exceptions applies here.
If anyone is interested in the legality of emulators, I highly recommend this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wROQUZDCIMI

It is incredibly difficult to get exceptions to the DMCA, and the worst part is that even if you get an exception one year, you have to keep arguing for it.

Section 1201 of the DMCA will haunt us for a very long time.
Altefier Feb 28
"Users obtain the prod.keys [...] by unlawfully hacking a Nintendo Switch console"

There we go, Nintendo straight up telling us that you don't own the hardware they sell you.
I wonder if that's legal? If only this would be up to the European court instead, they'd shut Nintendo down so hard. But we'll see how this goes
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