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Nintendo suing developers of a Switch emulator for ‘facilitating piracy at a colossal scale’

Nintendo Inc. is accusing the developer of a Switch emulator of copyright violations and pirating its video game software in a new lawsuit filed this week.

The lawsuit was filed in the District of Rhode Island federal court Monday by Nintendo, which is accusing Tropic Haze LLC of being aware that the use of its emulator, Yuzu, is being used in “facilitating piracy at a colossal scale.” It also alleges the developer violated provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), including its measures against circumvention and trafficking.

The complaint defines a video game emulator as “a piece of software that allows users to unlawfully play pirated video games that were published only for a specific console on a general-purpose computing device.” It alleges Yuzu instructs others on how to “circumvent” Nintendo Switch consoles and “make unlawful copies of encrypted games so Yuzu can circumvent and play those games.”

“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,” the complaint reads.

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

Yuzu’s website listed in the complaint, “yuzu-emu.org,” includes a disclaimer that states the website “is in compliance” with the DMCA. However, Nintendo maintained it was unlawful to use Yuzu for any of its games.

“And to be clear, there is no lawful way to use Yuzu to play Nintendo Switch games, including because it must decrypt the games’ encryption. 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,” the complaint reads.

The Hill has reached out to Nintendo and Yuzu for additional comment.

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