It has ceased to exist

Yuzu, the great Swich emulator, has closed its doors after a withering lawsuit from Nintendo, arguing that they facilitate piracy, sharing copyrighted material and indicating how to extract the “Cryptographic Keys” that are protected by the “DMCA”.

In the text of the lawsuit you get things like…

“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.”

“That emulating any modern console is illegal.”

“That hacking your own console is illegal.”

“That dumping your own ROMs from games you bought is illegal.”

With it goes Citra, a project of the same developers, but other emulators have almost instantly self-disappeared or made some change, Pizza Boy, gba, Strato (the previously closed Skyline successor), AetherSX2, duckstation, etc…

Considering that the lawsuit was settled with an indemnity agreement, that is, they accepted the blame. This is something to take into account because it creates a legal precedent.

And they are not isolated facts, cease and desist letters, and lawsuits have from the beginning.

Some may remember or know the case of “Bleem!”, which closed due to a lawsuit from Sony, which unlike this one, they did go to judgment, but in the end they had to give up because of excessive legal expenses.

Another less remembered case is “Virtual Game Station” developed by Aaron Giles (someone said DREAMM), when Steve Jobs himself had to take down his pants, to cease, because the emulator used original code, and then they relaunched it but it didn’t last long, they ceased and the company was bought by Sony.

And an isolated but not less important case, recently the multiple arcade emulator released some games because of a cease and desist letter, something that was thought improbable.

The related projects have also received their docis, from closed related projects, to rom pages, one remembered is emuparadise, but the most painful was the private tracker ‘undergroundgamers’, it was the biggest community that closed for a NFS game.

Seeing the panorama, I think it’s a good time to hold hands, close our eyes and repeat with me: Almighty, protect ‘the big bitch’, because if she falls, no one is safe.

Of course, it’s also an ideal time for idiots to share copyrighted files.

1 Like

I argue it does not, because it was not a decision in the court. The Yuzu developers shared games in Discord and had a version that could play games before anyone else, behind a paid version. So they got money and thats when Nintendo has enough. Nintendo had their ninjas in Discord collecting the evidence. Yuzu also did not require firmware and I think it was not requiring the title keys either, only prod keys, which makes it easier to play games one did not own personally. (I’m actually not sure which of the key types are required and which not.)

All of this stuff, plus the shady things the Yuzu devs did, lead to Nintendos action going after the emulator. What do you think why Nintendo is not going after Ryujinx, another popular Switch emulator? Because they don’t do all of this and “should” be in the right. Many other emulator creators, in example on Android, stopped working on it because they fear Nintendo could go after them too. Some of them had sold emulators too, which in itself is not against any law…

All the other stuff they say is just fluff. Like “That dumping your own ROMs from games you bought is illegal.”-statement is not tested in court and is just Nintendos opinion. Same for “That emulating any modern console is illegal.”-statement, which is just Nintendos opinion.

Considering that the lawsuit was settled with an indemnity agreement, that is, they accepted the blame.

This may be true, but we don’t know. They could just settled the lawsuit because the Yuzu devs have not the money and time to fight against Nintendos lawyer. Besides that, yes, it seems like Yuzu team was to blame in this case and they had no chance anyway. But just accepting a settlement does not mean anyway accept the blame. I mean generally speaking.

All in all this is actually a good outcome, because if Yuzu lost in court, this could have huge tsunami wave effects to the entire emulation scene.

BTW do you remember that the Dolphin team wanted bring the emulator to Steam? Valve talked with Nintendo and as a result, Dolphin emulator (standalone) was Not published on Steam. One of the reasons is that Dolphin has Wii common keys ( Edit: I meant Wii keys, not WiiU ) in the source code and this COULD (its not tested in court) be a problem. But the RetroArch core of Dolphin does not have these keys (that’s why you have to provide your own). So we avoid this issue entirely.


Well, it’s a fact that current gen console emulators are encouraging piracy, and i just hope projects like yuzu will never cause collateral damage to “cleaner” emulation projects.


That’s right. My point was just, its not illegal to emulate current gen consoles. At least there is no clear law stating that. Off course Bleem-case is still a thing and emulating current gen is even more of a grey area than anything else. In fact, I was saying this for years, that someday Yuzu will get in trouble for developing current gen console and selling an early access version of the emulator (and got hated and downvoted for that in previous years).

I understand you, but the issue is not whether it is legal or not, it is the amount of arguments included in that lawsuit. Also, yes, an indemnity agreement is binding and punishable, if they make an emulator again, they go to jail.

Emulation is completely legal, and so is reverse engineering but there is the DMCA, this is what they created it for, it says you can’t use the software on any device other than the one it was designed for. It is illegal to emulate at least the Switch, as long as it is commercially active.

Also, from my personal point of view, it’s not right, you don’t take food out of people’s mouths. :no_mouth:

I don’t think so, they would have done it a long time ago. I think this has more to do with the new console, to eliminate any intention of emulation and in passing they took the opportunity to put that amount of absurd arguments and give it some kind of legal weight.

That’s not entirely true, reverse-engineering software for the purpose of copying or duplicating it may constitute a copyright law violation.

games like zelda:lttp, mario 64, Zelda oot and perfect dark also got reverse engineered and Nintendo did not do a thing

Steve Jobs did not mind in the 80s and 90s when Amiga and AtariST computers could run MacOS faster than native Macintosh computers

But the crime is pirating, not reverse engineering, if it is used to make a functional program it is legal, that is what Linux does. I recently found out that this is done long before the PC 086, among the big companies even the bios was cloned.

I didn’t know, but I’m not too surprised, that was and is common practice. It doesn’t have to be illegal if they did it right.

1 Like

Emulating the consoles that they are still selling games for definitely attracts more unwanted attention than anything else.

1 Like

On a side note… I read an article today that Apple, after years of banning emulator apps from the app store, is now… one day after the release of the iOS 17.5 beta (which allows sideloading in the eu)… allowing emulator apps in the app store. So, I guess they figure if people are going to sideload the apps anyway they are now going to cash in on their 30% of those apps and allow them. This is related, in my opinion, because this is, again, something that gets us that unwanted attention… in that Apple is now going to be selling emulators (on behalf of third parties) and that commercial potential will be more visible to companies.

1 Like

While not reaching the same attention as Yuzu, recently Taito and last year Bamco sent a dcma notice to Teknoparrot staff, who are also shady like Yuzu staff, if not more and also have a Patreon with exclusive member features. But this time the reason were arcade games that are likely never to be released outside Japan. But instead of stopping all operations, they’ll go self-hosting.

I remember the first time I played Mortal Kombat Arcade was on an iMac PowerPC, that processor was a monster.

Sure, it will attract attention if they are commercial, but the turning point are the new consoles, that is not touched.

Hmmmm no, i’m pretty sure you can’t legally redistribute something made from a patented software you retro-engineered, which is technically what yuzu was doing if i understand correctly.

Do you have any specific example in mind where a linux kernel module was retro-engineered from some patented software ?

It’s just that yuzu did it very wrong, terribly wrong.

It is good to go deeper into these topics, I have been reading and researching and now I understand some things better and discovered others. Wikipedia has important info.

In Europe, the Computer Programs Directive of the European Union, in article 5 says that you can create backup copies for personal use and you can modify the code only for the same use it was designed for. And article 6 says that if necessary it can be decompiled to work on another device.

In the United States, Federal law (prior to the DMCA) states that you can make backup copies for personal use and preservation. And you can reverse engineer if the product is obtained legally and if it is used to expand interoperability.

The more recent Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which replaces the previous one, says something similar with backup copies and in section 103(f) says that if it is legally obtained, you can reverse engineer and break the protection to achieve interoperability.
But this law is very flaky and has been criticized a lot because it allows you to do it but with very strict rules.

But, there are two very important turning points.

  • They are cultural products and have the right and obligation to preserve them.

  • And obsolescence, when hardware and software are no longer marketed or supported they can be reverse engineered to ensure they work.

The two main reasons Nintendo sued Yuzu was for blatantly encouraging piracy. And for using a copy of their encrypted keys which is protected by law and specifies that it cannot be used on another device.

From what I understand from this new law.

You cannot extract the keys, firmware, bios, etc and use it as is on another device.

It is also not possible to modify the code and use or share (a hack).

You can make a similar program that performs the same functions or expand it and use it on other devices.

And if you can insert / replace the one that has the console, as long as it is used for the same purpose and does not affect the copyright, that is, it does not break the protection and allows reading copies.

For this to be possible they have to take some measures, the code has to be open source, it cannot be the same or similar, it has to be publicly available and well documented. And it has to be developed by a remote team of programmers, (it can’t be a company).

Linux is not designed based on the code, it rewrites the programs based on the philosophy that they handle. Almost all drivers are created by reverse engineering and are FOSS. Video, sound, networks even protocols like Samba for networks or NTSC for interoperability with disks. An important case are the wifi, that many are protected by ‘trade secrets’ but they still make them, because they comply with the above.

But there are also the cases of Open Office, to read and write .doc and image formats and editing, there are many cases.

One of the most important cases in our environment is that Compaq cloned the BIOS of the first IBM-PC in history, without this, there would be no clones and our world would be very different.
I don’t remember exactly but it took about a year and he spent a fortune to do it.

And these two cases related to reverse engineering, are very relevant because they are very similar.

Nintendo sued Atari for cloning its copy protection chip and won. Because Atari stole dubiously obtained the code.

And a few days later, Sega sued Accolade for exactly the same reasons, but lost, because Accolade obtained the code by properly reverse engineering it, “fair use”.

If you have any questions, you can stop by my office… Just kidding.
What RetroArch does. I’ve never read so much law in my life. LOL

I always assumed, in the case no documentation exist, that this was done by studying the hardware and its I/O (which seemed fair use to me), and not by hacking/decompiling existing software (what yuzu did ?).

Undoubtedly, that way is essential, but so do are software, there are even chips that are software and not gates. It is that reverse engineering is and is allowed towards any product, not only software.

The main reason for the lawsuit to yuzu, the cryptographic key, as they say in the paragraph, if it was just piracy, I think they would not have bothered.

The topic is very complicated and hard to make conclusions of. At the moment just want to add links to the court documents (they are all in PDF, including the 41 pages lawsuit and final judgement):

1 Like