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posted by hubie on Tuesday March 19, @05:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the wash-rinse-repeat dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/03/heres-how-the-makers-of-the-suyu-switch-emulator-plan-to-avoid-getting-sued/

Last week, the developers behind the popular Switch emulator Yuzu took down their GitLab and web presence in the face of a major lawsuit from Nintendo. Now, a new project built from the Yuzu source code, cheekily named Suyu, has arisen as "the continuation of the world's most popular, open-source Nintendo Switch emulator, Yuzu."

Despite the name—which the project's GitLab page notes is "pronounced 'sue-you' (wink, wink)"—the developers behind Suyu are going out of their way to try to avoid a lawsuit like the one that took down Yuzu.
[...]
After consulting with an unnamed "someone with legal experience" (Sharpie would only say "they claimed three years of law school"), the Suyu development team has decided to avoid "any monetization," Sharpie said. The project's GitLab page clearly states that "we do not intend to make money or profit from this project," an important declaration after Nintendo cited Yuzu's profitability a few times in its recent lawsuit. Other emulator makers also told Ars that Yuzu's Patreon opened the project up to a set of pesky consumer demands and expectations.

The Suyu devs have also been warned against "providing step-by-step guides" like the ones that Yuzu offered for how to play copyrighted games on their emulator. Those guides were a major focus of Nintendo's lawsuit, as were some examples of developer conversations in the Yuzu Discord that seemed to acknowledge and condone piracy.
[...]
The Suyu GitLab page is upfront that the developers "do not support or condone piracy in any form," a message that didn't appear on Yuzu's GitLab page or website.

The No. 1 rule listed on the Suyu Discord is that "piracy is prohibited." That includes any talk about downloading games or "asking for system files, ROMs, encryption keys, shader caches, and discussion of leaked games etc." Even a mention of the word piracy with regard to legal questions is enough to earn a warning on the Discord, according to those rules.
[...]
Looking on the bright side, though, Sharpie added that outsized early attention for Suyu also "provide[s] ample opportunity to recruit the experienced developers we need to ensure this project actually gets somewhere." Potential contributors are required to sign a license agreement for copyright management reasons and are encouraged to follow some best practices regarding style and workflow.

Whether or not Suyu actually manages to "get somewhere," the project's quick emergence after Yuzu's shutdown shows how tough it can be for console makers to completely kill open source emulators via legal maneuvering.

Previously on SoylentNews:
Switch Emulator Makers Agree to Pay $2.4 Million to Settle Nintendo Lawsuit - 20240308
Emulation Community Expresses Defiance in Wake of Nintendo's Yuzu Lawsuit - 20240303


Original Submission

Related Stories

Emulation Community Expresses Defiance in Wake of Nintendo's Yuzu Lawsuit 3 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/02/emulation-community-expresses-defiance-in-wake-of-nintendos-yuzu-lawsuit/

Nintendo's recent lawsuit against Switch emulator maker Yuzu seems written like it was designed to strike fear into the heart of the entire emulation community. But despite legal arguments that sometimes cut at the very idea of emulation itself, members of the emulation development community I talked to didn't seem very worried about coming under a Yuzu-style legal threat from Nintendo or other console makers. Indeed, those developers told me they've long taken numerous precautions against that very outcome and said they feel they have good reasons to believe they can avoid Yuzu's fate.
[...]
"This lawsuit is not introducing any new element that people in the emulation community have not known of for a long time," said Parsifal, a hobbyist developer who has written emulators for the Apple II, Space Invaders, and the CHIP-8 virtual machine. "Emulation is fine as long as you don't infringe on copyright and trademarks."
[...]
And others feel operating internationally protects them from the worst of the DMCA and other US copyright laws. "I have written an NES emulator and I am working on a Game Boy emulator... anyway I'm not a US citizen and Nintendo can kiss my ass," said emulator developer ZJoyKiller, who didn't provide his specific country of residence.
[...]
Chief among those differences is the fact that Yuzu emulates a Switch console that is still actively selling millions of hardware and software units every year. Most current emulator development focuses on older, discontinued consoles that the developers I talked to seemed convinced were much less liable to draw legal fire.

Switch Emulator Makers Agree to Pay $2.4 Million to Settle Nintendo Lawsuit 9 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/03/switch-emulator-makers-agree-to-pay-2-4-million-to-settle-nintendo-lawsuit/

The makers of Switch emulator Yuzu say they will "consent to judgment in favor of Nintendo" to settle a major lawsuit filed by the console maker last week.

In a series of filings posted by the court Monday, the Yuzu developers agreed to pay $2.4 million in "monetary relief" and to cease "offering to the public, providing, marketing, advertising, promoting, selling, testing, hosting, cloning, distributing, or otherwise trafficking in Yuzu or any source code or features of Yuzu."

[...] ending "effective immediately," along with support for 3DS emulator Citra (which shares many of the same developers)

[...] The proposed final judgment, which still has to be agreed to by the judge in the case, fully accepts Nintendo's stated position that "Yuzu is primarily designed to circumvent [Nintendo's copy protection] and play Nintendo Switch games" by "using unauthorized copies of Nintendo Switch cryptographic keys."

[...] While that admission doesn't technically account for Yuzu's ability to run a long list of Switch homebrew programs, proving that such homebrew was a significant part of the "ordinary course" of the average Yuzu user's experience may have been an uphill battle in court. Nintendo argued in its lawsuit that "the vast majority of Yuzu users are using Yuzu to play downloaded pirated games in Yuzu," a fact that could have played against the emulator maker at trial even if non-infringing uses for the emulator do exist.

[...] While emulator programs are generally protected by US legal precedents protecting reverse engineering, console makers could bring similar DMCA actions against certain emulators that rely on the use of cryptographic keys to break copy protection. But many emulator makers feel that such hardball lawsuits are less likely to be brought against emulators for defunct systems that are no longer selling new hardware or software in significant numbers.

[...] Nintendo's legal department has established a track record of zealously defending its copyrighted works by going after fangames, ROM distribution sites, and hardware modders in the past. While direct legal action against emulator makers has been less common for Nintendo, the company did send a letter to Valve to prevent Wii/Gamecube emulator Dolphin from appearing on Steam last year.

Previously on SoylentNews:
Emulation Community Expresses Defiance in Wake of Nintendo's Yuzu Lawsuit - 20240303


Original Submission

Switch Emulator Suyu Hit by GitLab DMCA, Project Lives on Through Self-Hosting 7 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/03/switch-emulator-suyu-hit-by-gitlab-dmca-project-lives-on-through-self-hosting/

Switch emulator Suyu—a fork of the Nintendo-targeted and now-defunct emulation project Yuzu—has been taken down from GitLab following a DMCA request Thursday. But the emulation project's open source files remain available on a self-hosted git repo on the Suyu website, and recent compiled binaries remain available on an extant GitLab repo.

While the DMCA takedown request has not yet appeared on GitLab's public repository of such requests, a GitLab spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the project was taken down after the site received notice "from a representative of the rightsholder." GitLab has not specified who made the request or how they represented themselves; a representative for Nintendo was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

Previously on SoylentNews:
Here's How the Makers of the "Suyu" Switch Emulator Plan to Avoid Getting Sued - 20240318
Switch Emulator Makers Agree to Pay $2.4 Million to Settle Nintendo Lawsuit - 20240308
Emulation Community Expresses Defiance in Wake of Nintendo's Yuzu Lawsuit - 20240303


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ledow on Tuesday March 19, @09:04AM (11 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Tuesday March 19, @09:04AM (#1349466) Homepage

    Quite.

    There's nothing illegal about an emulator.

    But encouraging piracy, describing how to commit it (especially if it includes links to downloads or how to extract keys from existing consoles / accounts), actively profiting from such direct piracy etc. has always been liable to see people before courts and attract unwanted attention.

    Nobody remember Bleem! ?

    But there are thousands of emulators out there that have always just followed certain rules that everyone is aware of, and thus avoided any unwanted attention even when extremely public - even to the point that they are hosted on Steam, app stores, etc.

    Emulation isn't illegal, it's well established. What is illegal is encouraging emulation as a means of committing software piracy, copyright infringement, etc. even if it's done with a "nod and a wink". Profits make them come for you too, but just being profit-making alone isn't illegal (I have had registered copies of Z80, WinZ80, Spectaculator, etc, - all commercial ZX Spectrum emulators, going back decades. I have an app on my phone for emulating an old TI graphing calculator, that I got from the normal app stores, etc.).

    Yuzu were just dumb, complacent and completely disregarding of any such well-known and historic boundaries drawn up in the emulation scene. They basically made their emulator appear solely "to play the latest games, illegally, by downloading them" and then tried to profit. They were always going to get shut down for that.

    And the reason that it "shows how tough it can be for console makers to completely kill open source emulators via legal maneuvering" is that there's nothing illegal about emulation. And so long as the spin-off keeps its nose clean, it'll be untouchable. It sounds exactly like someone who knows the boundaries that are long-established on emulation has taken the code and done what Yuzu should have done the first time around. It's not tough for console makers to kill open source emulators... it's impossible if the emulator authors play by the rules, and literally incredibly easy if they don't.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday March 19, @09:59AM (6 children)

      by looorg (578) on Tuesday March 19, @09:59AM (#1349470)

      Emulation isn't illegal, it's well established. What is illegal is encouraging emulation as a means of committing software piracy, copyright infringement, etc. even if it's done with a "nod and a wink". Profits make them come for you too, but just being profit-making alone isn't illegal (I have had registered copies of Z80, WinZ80, Spectaculator, etc, - all commercial ZX Spectrum emulators, going back decades. I have an app on my phone for emulating an old TI graphing calculator, that I got from the normal app stores, etc.).

      While emulation per say isn't illegal illegality is the most common, or for the majority of users main, usage. There isn't even any or much in the way of nod nod wink wink know what I mean about it. It's like going back to the era of console copiers so you could make backups of your games, sure ... not about that you could also run them in reverse and run those copies you (or someone else) made ...

      While old computers that get emulated could always claim they are ease of access to those old computers I would assume most still use them to play old games. I sometimes use VICE or UAE to test code before trying it on the real thing, the real thing is mostly for when I think I'm done and testing the final version -- I don't want to compile things on Mhz system. I much less want to crunch things on them.

      It's just that nobody cares if you play some ancient (by digital standards) game for a computer that barely even exists anymore. I would gather it becomes different when you are emulating a current selling system. Also game consoles can't really claim that you are using it for anything else then games compared to say Commodore 64, Amiga, Spectrum etc. You can always claim it's not for games and sound somewhat legit. For a Nintendo emulator? Not really. I use it to make/run homebrew! Cool story bro! Nobody believes that.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 19, @12:53PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 19, @12:53PM (#1349482)

        >It's just that nobody cares if you play some ancient (by digital standards) game for a computer that barely even exists anymore.

        Oh, plenty of people care, just not people with (or making) enough money.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday March 19, @01:42PM (1 child)

          by looorg (578) on Tuesday March 19, @01:42PM (#1349491)

          Considering that there are still a few companies or developers around from the 8-bit era, and newer, I guess they could care. Most of them just don't. Even large behemoths like EA. Also rights could have been sold and bought in bulk to game titles, ip etc. In some cases it's somewhat unclear who owns what or who has the rights etc.

          It seems more tho that console companies care more then home computer companies. Nintendo clearly cares a lot. But it could be cause they want to uphold and maintain their IP that they keep using over and over and over again -- Zelda, Mario ... Can't allow infringers.

          Companies that made arcade games seem to care a little to, or they are not fond of free ROMS for MAME etc. I guess it's cause they also want you to buy all their remakes for this generations console as some kind of nostalgia trip.

          That said I guess if one started to make a commercial remake of Pitfall, or something, then EA would care a lot to. But if you just want to play 8bit Pitfall or Pitfall 2 on your emulator or FPGA console they just don't care enough to enforce it or do anything about it.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 19, @04:40PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 19, @04:40PM (#1349517)

            >Even large behemoths like EA.

            I work in a division of a behemoth. Our division has a Billion dollars per year of sales, and margins well over 50%. The only thing that keeps us "secure" in our operations, free from "top level management's detailed guidance," is that we are also growing those sales, and margins, at higher rates than the rest of the behemoth. We are less than 3% of total corporate sales, you know what that looks like on a pie chart? If "top level management" ever did get around to looking at us, they'd be more likely to try to sell us off than "fix our performance problems."

            So, the suits running EA likely don't have enough functioning brain cells to consider "wasting time" on a stagnant niche like 8 bit games. Sure, you could point out the resurgence of vinyl in the music industry to them, but I don't think they'd really make the connection - any resurgence like that would happen long after their planned retirement to Tahiti.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday March 19, @07:22PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 19, @07:22PM (#1349541)

        While emulation per say isn't illegal illegality is the most common, or for the majority of users main, usage.

        That has not actually been proven. Here's an example of what I mean- Suppose I have Super Mario World emulated somewhere in my house. I'm a big bad pirate, right? Well... I have a SNES mini that came with SMW, I also have it on the virtual console on my Wii, and I have it on Nintendo's Switch Online service. (... I might have the name of that wrong, sorry.) Did you know that the SNES cartridge (something I did purchase back in the 90s...) makes references in the manual to making backup copies of the software? As I recall you are limited to one backup or something like that. So... yeah I have my backup copy. My original that came with my SNES was stolen. If Nintendo came after me in that hypothetical I've got a couple of defenses, including being able to prove they have not incurred *any* damages from my activities.

        I'm not claiming to know the law backwards and forwards, in fact I'm just gonna say it now I AM NOT A LAWYER. With that in mind the actual acquisition of the ROM isn't illegal, at least where I live. It's a matter of whether or not you have a license to it. To the best of my understanding that has not been court tested.

        This is a murky enough area that you could be right about the majority of users, but you don't actually know it. I have a dollar that says the percentage drastically changes on a per-platform basis.

        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 2) by ledow on Wednesday March 20, @08:35AM (1 child)

        by ledow (5567) on Wednesday March 20, @08:35AM (#1349606) Homepage

        And that's like banning the VCR because people could use it to record "bad things" and not just time-shift their legitimate TV watching and watch legitimate pre-recorded video that they own.

        Which pretty much every country in the world has established is absolute nonsense and they decided that in the 80's, if not before. And it's literally the same laws - copyright infringement, which is a civil matter unless done on an industrial scale.

        Same for cassette tapes, NVRs, etc. Same for emulators.

        There's nothing illegal about creation, distribution or use of an emulator, and it wouldn't - and hasn't - stood up in court on any basis like that, ever.

        What they're punishing here is encouraging copyright infringement on an industrial scale. That's the only thing they can punish in the courts, collectively (they could pursue a civil case against an individual user downloading a ROM but they basically never do because they don't want that to be precedental), and emulator authors who are entirely blasé and even outright stupid about conjoining their emulator and copyright infringement on a mass scale are the easiest target.

        But still, even then, the emulator is not illegal. It's the activities surrounding it that are. There's a reason that MAME doesn't permit bundling with any ROMs and why they pursue their trademark infringement heavily - they don't want to be associated with ROMs in any way, shape or form because that's what will get all the Capcom, Taito, Sega, Nintendo, etc. heirs removing them from the Internet. As it is, because they never condone it, they have pretty much been left alone while even MAME-targeted sites bundling ROMs have been taken down on a regular basis.

        Age isn't even an issue. Many companies went back and reissued their games in other formats almost entirely so they could say it WAS still an active commercial product, they were defending their trademarks and they could prove damages in the case of infringement of that same material. And modern emulators of modern systems haven't been targeted at all for the most part... only the ones that are dumb.

        The argument that you're "only using it to play old games" wouldn't even stand up in court. The age or "abandonment" status of a game bears basically zero relevance to copyright infringement until it passes out of copyright, and there is basically no computer software in existence that has ever reached such a stage because copyright terms are far longer than computers have been actively produced! Disney were still prosecuting over Steamboat Willie until recently, or threatening it, and that pre-dates the computer by decades and has only just passed out of copyright! Even then they will sue if you paint white gloves on him because the white gloves are NEWER than that and thus still in copyright.

        Sorry, but the only thing that got Yuzu in trouble was active encouragement and instruction and assistance to infringe copyright in a blatant and careless way.

        I can see that such spin-offs of the Yuzu code, so long as they don't do that, no matter the "implied" use or whatever, will be just fine.

        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday March 20, @10:22AM

          by looorg (578) on Wednesday March 20, @10:22AM (#1349609)

          That is an explanation as to why MAME have been around since the late 90s and is still going. That said it's an emulator that is mainly used to play illegally obtained ROMs. All those downloads over the last three decades (give or take a few years) are not downloaded by some secret arcade hoarders, there might be those people but they are not the common user. So that is really an emulator that can't really claim to have any alternative usages, it's to play ROMs and they don't really care how you obtain them as long as it's not from them or included with the emulator, even tho there are a few free once as I recall it now that can be included -- gifted from the developers. Their official non-piracy line is really paper thin at best.

          The other reason is that the archive of ROMs is now huge. Quick look the latest compilation is around 75 gigabytes in size. That said the size of the roms did explode when they are started to include newer arcade machines, after all the really old roms (think pacman etc) wasnt' very large. They are now also including other cabinet storage data, but usually in a split archive and that archive is just short of 1000 gigabytes in size, as noted also mostly for newer arcades.

          So not for not but SIZE is a big part of why they also don't want to include the roms. The main being they don't want to be sued into oblivion. But it's also size.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday March 19, @10:55AM

      I believe they are/were trying to litigate over encryption keys used to protect Nintendo Switch, alleging a DMCA circumvention violation, and this might have been more of a novel legal fight. Or not and they were just going after very case-specific piracy encouragement by the Yuzu developers hidden behind their Patreon/Discord.

      Either way, the show will go on.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Tuesday March 19, @11:28AM (1 child)

      by loonycyborg (6905) on Tuesday March 19, @11:28AM (#1349475)

      Nope. Opensource is totally different beast than any other for-profit hacks they were litigating before. They can only drive those opensource projects underground, or into countries that would be less conductive to such lawsuits for whatever reason.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 19, @01:20PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 19, @01:20PM (#1349487)

        This is a repeating pattern: regulation driving development into unregulated countries. The US (military) did it hard through the 2000s and 2010s on commercial (domestic) drone usage, effectively stifling US drone development companies and giving overseas competitors huge advantages.

        The thing about modern software development is: WFA - Work From Anywhere. If the project gets sued off of github and other services with US ties, the developers will still be able to access it and work on it from anywhere, including within the US.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 19, @12:51PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 19, @12:51PM (#1349481)

      Ah, but plans, they can go astray...

      You can be sued for anything and everything and nothing at all. "encouraging piracy, describing how to commit it (especially if it includes links to downloads or how to extract keys from existing consoles / accounts), actively profiting from such direct piracy etc." All of those lead to "damages," or at least claims of damages that some courts recognize as valid.

      If you make a tool that others use to perpetrate such "crimes" then you are a target for suit, injunction, interdiction, seizure, etc.

      See: Canadian campaign against Flipper because car thieves use it.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, @01:20AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, @01:20AM (#1349583)

    And the Q-tips package says "Do not insert swab into ear canal."

    (FYI: Q-tips are also known as cotton swabs or cotton buds in other parts of the world)

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