This weekend saw an exception to that rule, though, as Nintendo’s lawyers formally asked Valve to cut off the planned Steam release of Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin. In a letter addressed to the Valve Legal Department (a copy of which was provided to Ars by the Dolphin Team), an attorney representing Nintendo of America requests that Valve take down Dolphin’s “coming soon” Steam store page (which originally went up in March) and “ensure the emulator does not release on the Steam store moving forward.” The letter exerts the company’s “rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s Anti-Circumvention and Anti-Trafficking provisions,” even though it doesn’t take the form of a formal DMCA takedown request.
In fighting a decision like this, an emulator maker would usually be able to point to some robust legal precedents that protect emulation software as a general concept. But legal experts that spoke to Ars said that Nintendo’s argument here might actually get around those precedents and present some legitimate legal problems for the Dolphin Team.
This silly cat and mouse game between Nintendo and emulators is childish. The only people getting rich off this are lawyers.