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Nintendo issues Valve DMCA takedown to remove Dolphin emulator

The popular Dolphin emulator will not reach Steam when originally intended

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Nintendo continues its ongoing war against unlicensed software. This past Friday, the publisher slammed Valve with a DMCA takedown over its support of “Dolphin”, a popular Wii and GameCube emulator for PC. For those who aren’t aware, a DMCA takedown is a powerful legal action that allows companies to call for an immediate block for possibly illegal uses of their intellectual property.

The legal notice, originally obtained by PCGamer, reads:

“Because the Dolphin emulator violates Nintendo’s intellectual property rights, including but not limited to its rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s Anti-Circumvention and AntiTrafficking provisions, 17 U.S.C. § 1201, we provide this notice to you of your obligation to remove the offering of the Dolphin emulator from the Steam store.”

Back in March, the group behind the Dolphin emulator launched a Steam page stating the intent to release it in a short unspecified window. The action resulted in the immediate block and indefinite postponement of the Dolphin emulator’s release.

The developers replied via their official website:

“It is with much disappointment that we have to announce that the Dolphin on Steam release has been indefinitely postponed. We were notified by Valve that Nintendo has issued a cease and desist citing the DMCA against Dolphin’s Steam page, and have removed Dolphin from Steam until the matter is settled. We are currently investigating our options and will have a more in-depth response in the near future. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.”

Moving forward

The Dolphin devs now have a two-week period to decide whether to abide by Nintendo’s decision or to file a counterclaim. If they decide to go against Nintendo, the Japanese company will have the chance to sue.

It’s unclear whether Nintendo intends to do more against the spread of this emulator. The company still hasn’t made any moves against the Dolphin’s GitHub or its official page. Spreading the peer-to-peer dissemination of the software is a nigh-impossible task. Blocking it on Steam, however, not so much.

We are still waiting for Valve’s comment on this issue.

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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.