Nintendo Targets Switch Emulators Suyu, Nuzu, Uzuy, Torzu, and Sudachi

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Nintendo's dismantling of the Switch emulator scene continued this week. Using the injunction obtained against the Yuzu emulator as a base, Nintendo has just taken down projects including Suyu, Nuzu, Uzuy, Torzu and Sudachi from GitHub. Some are likely to survive elsewhere and at least one is being completely rewritten to address various issues. Whether that will pacify Nintendo is unknown.

nintendo-sw-emu-sOn paper, Nintendo’s lawsuit targeting the developers of Switch emulator Yuzu was solid. It also had the potential to drag on for a long time.

Without surprise banana peels suddenly making an appearance, on balance, Nintendo could’ve walked away with a fairly easy win. Yet just weeks after the lawsuit was filed, Nintendo and the anonymous Yuzu developers agreed to settle.

From the outside it was neat, tidy, and efficient. Perhaps even unusually so.

A judgment in favor of Nintendo, following a case heard on the merits, would’ve arguably served as a more valuable deterrent. Instead, Nintendo successfully protected its brand and eliminated all risk of not getting precisely what it needed to shut down similar operations in the future.

The resulting judgment and permanent injunction now serve as guidance tools; they detail specific actions relevant to emulation and why they represent illegality and red lines for Nintendo.

Nintendo Targets Suyu, Nuzu, Uzuy, Torzu, and Sudachi

As Nintendo continues to target Yuzu-like emulators that remain available online, takedown notices now feature detailed information about Yuzu to ensure compliance.

Nintendo’s general position is that since the software it wants to take down is based on the same code as Yuzu, the legal conclusions in the Yuzu matter should be applied here. For good measure, copies of the Yuzu judgment and the injunction that restrains its developers are supplied for reference.

A DMCA takedown notice sent to GitHub dated July 5, 2024, is a perfect example. An introductory paragraph details Nintendo’s deployment of technological protection measures (TPM). These ensure that the Nintendo Switch console only plays legitimate Nintendo video game files, while preventing users from unlawfully copying and playing Switch games on “unauthorized” devices, Nintendo explains.

yuzu-violates-dmca

The notice goes on to list 14 emulator repositories that contain or are based on Yuzu code. On that basis, Nintendo wants them taken down.

“The reported repositories offer and provide access to the yuzu emulator or code based on the yuzu emulator (specifically, programs called Suyu, Nuzu, Uzuy, Torzu, and Sudachi). The yuzu emulator is primarily designed to play Nintendo Switch games. Specifically, yuzu illegally circumvents Nintendo’s technological protection measures and runs illegal copies of Nintendo Switch games,” the notice reads.

The remainder of the notice covers previously established ground in respect of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and how Yuzu was found to have violated those provisions. In summary, the approach was a complete success.

All Repos Unavailable, Two Different Reasons

At the time of writing, all 14 repositories are unavailable, for one of two possible reasons. The majority display a ‘page not found’ message which suggests that after receiving the takedown notice, some developers responded by deleting their own repositories.

The remaining six repos (1x Yuzo-type, 1x Torzu, 2x Suyo, 2x Uzuy) display a takedown advisory from GitHub, suggesting they either didn’t respond quickly enough or for some reason, did not respond to the notice at all.

nintendo-git-takedown

While his repo has been deleted, one developer doesn’t see this as the end of the road.

Sudachi Will Be Completely Rewritten

In a post to X on July 5, the developer of Sudachi acknowledged that his repo had been targeted by Nintendo. He also indicated that since his software provided “no illegal content” he would follow up with a counter notice.

In a subsequent post, circumvention entered the equation and from there, a later update on replacing some of Sudachi’s code with an open-source alternative.

Further chin-scratching in respect of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions and what they mean for emulators like Sudachi, may suggest that even the most brilliant of coding minds find this aspect of the DMCA somewhat impenetrable.

That’s hardly a surprise given that most people associate copyright law with the right to copy, rather than the circumvention of measures that “effectively control access” to copyright works, regardless of whether they’re effective or if anything was actually copied.

As mentioned earlier, the text in the judgment and injunction appear to be the new guard rails; those in the Switch emulator scene will find the space in the middle very, very narrow indeed.

Nintendo’s DMCA takedown notice is available here

Image credit: Stockcake

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