Emulation community expresses defiance in wake of Nintendo’s Yuzu lawsuit

"EmuDev" coders cite precautions, legal differences they say will offer protection.

Mar 1, 2024 - 08:30
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Emulation community expresses defiance in wake of Nintendo’s Yuzu lawsuit
Power (glove) to the people.

Enlarge / Power (glove) to the people. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

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.

Protect yourself

"I can assure [you], experienced emulator developers are very aware of copyright issues," said Lycoder, who has worked on emulators for consoles ranging from the NES to the Dreamcast. "I've personally always maintained strict rules about how I deal with copyrighted content in my projects, and most other people I know from the emulation scene do the same thing."

"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."

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