Nintendo Suing Developers of Switch Video Game Console Emulator Over Piracy, Copyright Breach

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
February 29, 2024Business News
Nintendo Suing Developers of Switch Video Game Console Emulator Over Piracy, Copyright Breach
Nintendo Switch video game software and accessories on display at a shop in Tokyo on Aug. 2, 2022. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images)

Nintendo Inc. is accusing the developer of an emulator of Nintendo’s Switch video game console of copyright violations and of pirating its video game software in a new lawsuit filed this week. The developer is accused of facilitating software piracy on a massive scale.

Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Tropic Haze LLC on Feb. 26 in a federal court in the District of Rhode Island.

Tropic Haze is being accused of having full knowledge that the use of its emulator, Yuzu, is enabling large-scale video game software piracy, as it allows users to illegally play console-specific games on other computing devices.

In addition, Nintendo says that the emulator’s developer was in breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which includes measures against circumvention and trafficking.

“With Yuzu in hand, nothing stops a user from obtaining and playing unlawful copies of virtually any game made for the Nintendo Switch, all without paying a dime to Nintendo or to any of the hundreds of other game developers and publishers making and selling games for the Nintendo Switch,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that Yuzu incorporates a function that instructs users on how to bypass Nintendo Switch consoles, and create illegal copies of encrypted games, which can then be played via the emulator.

“In effect, Yuzu turns general computing devices into tools for massive intellectual property infringement of Nintendo and others’ copyrighted works,” the complaint adds.

According to its “,” website, which is listed in the complaint, Yuzu maintains that it’s in full compliance with DCMA regulations. However, Nintendo insists that the use of Yuzu is illegal for any of its games due to the emulator’s decryption feature which, according to the company, has caused significant harm to its products.

“There is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption,” the complaint states. “The defendant must be held accountable for willfully providing users the means to violate Nintendo’s intellectual property rights at such a scale. The harm to Nintendo is manifest and irreparable.”

Nintendo is seeking a permanent injunction against Yuzu, in addition to the removal of all of Yuzu’s domain names, URLs, chatrooms, and its social media presence, the Verge reported.

Moreover, Nintendo wants all associated domains and websites to be transferred into its control, and any hard drives destroyed, on top of suing Yuzu for damages.

Yuzu now needs to prove that its emulator serves not only to allow users to circumvent Nintendo’s security measures, but that it also has other uses. If Yuzu fails to do so, the company could find itself in breach of section 1201 of the DMCA Copyright Code—and could be liable for damages.

NTD has contacted Yuzu and Nintendo for additional information, but did not receive a reply before publication.

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