Nintendo Urges Valve to Remove Nintendo Emulator from Steam
|The characters Mario and Luigi in the game Super Mario Bros are creations of Nintendo. (Nintendo)|
The Japanese video game giant, Nintendo, has issued a request to Valve to remove the Wii and GameCube console emulators from its game distribution platform, Steam. This demand was conveyed in a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) letter sent by Nintendo to Valve's legal department on Friday, May 26, 2023. "The Dolphin emulator has infringed Nintendo's intellectual property rights, including but not limited to its rights under the Anti-Circumvention and Anti-Trafficking provisions of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1201," wrote Nintendo in the letter. "Therefore, we provide this notice of your obligation to remove the Dolphin emulator listings from the Steam store," it continued.
The document also details that the Dolphin emulator operates by unauthorized inclusion of Nintendo's cryptographic keys. The program then decrypts the ROM (game), allowing it to be played through the emulator. Consequently, Nintendo alleges that the use of the Dolphin emulator unlawfully "circumvents technology that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work" under Copyright Law. For your information, an emulator is a program that enables a computer (PC) to run software from other devices, such as smartphones or the aforementioned Nintendo consoles. The Dolphin emulator itself was launched in 2003 and is planned to be available on the Steam platform in the second quarter of 2023. Like most emulators, this program will be downloadable and accessible for free. However, currently, the Steam page for the Dolphin emulator has been removed. As of Monday, May 29, 2023, the Steam link to the store still appears on Google but cannot be accessed.
In response to this demand, the Dolphin development team stated that the release of the emulator on Steam will be indefinitely delayed.
"With great disappointment, we have to announce that the launch of the Dolphin emulator on Steam has been indefinitely postponed," wrote the Dolphin development team on their official website. "We have been informed by Valve that Nintendo has issued a cease and desist letter citing the DMCA against the Dolphin store page on Steam. Currently, the Dolphin page has also been removed until this matter is resolved," they added. Currently, the Dolphin team has two options. First, they can file a counterclaim, arguing that the emulator they have created does not violate the DMCA as claimed by Nintendo. Second, they can comply with the removal notice sent by Nintendo to Valve. If they choose the first option, Nintendo has two weeks to decide whether or not to file a lawsuit.
However, it is not yet clear whether Nintendo intends to take legal action against Dolphin or not. Alternatively, the Dolphin team may have to swallow the bitter pill and cancel their plans to release the console emulator on Steam. But until now, the Dolphin development team is still considering their next steps in addressing this issue. "We are investigating our options and will provide a more detailed response in the near future. We appreciate your patience," they concluded.