Nintendo blitzes GitHub with over 8,000 emulator-related DMCA takedowns

Nintendo blitzes GitHub with over 8,000 emulator-related DMCA takedowns

Nintendo sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice for over 8,000 GitHub repositories hosting code from the Yuzu Switch emulator, which the Zelda maker previously described as enabling “piracy at a colossal scale.” The sweeping takedown comes two months after Yuzu’s creators quickly settled a lawsuit with Nintendo and its notoriously trigger-happy legal team for $2.4 million. first reported on the DMCA notice, affecting 8,535 GitHub repos. Redacted entities representing Nintendo assert that the Yuzu source code contained in the repos “illegally circumvents Nintendo’s technological protection measures and runs illegal copies of Switch games.”

GitHub wrote on the notice that developers will have time to change their content before it’s disabled. In keeping with its developer-friendly approach and branding, the Microsoft-owned platform also offered legal resources and guidance on submitting DMCA counter-notices.

Nintendo’s legal blitz, perhaps not coincidentally, comes as game emulators are enjoying a resurgence. Last month, Apple loosened its restrictions on retro game players in the App Store (likely in response to regulatory threats), leading to the Delta emulator establishing itself as the de facto choice and reaching the App Store’s top spot. Nintendo may have calculated that emulators’ moment in the sun threatened its bottom line and began by squashing those that most immediately imperiled its income stream.

Sadly, Nintendo’s largely undefended legal assault against emulators ignores a crucial use for them that isn’t about piracy. Game historians see the software as a linchpin of game preservation. Without emulators, Nintendo and other copyright holders could make a part of history obsolete for future generations, as their corresponding hardware will eventually be harder to come by.

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