Yuzu Switch Emulator Hit by Nintendo Lawsuit Seeking Damages and Total Shutdown of the Software

Veloz Lamma

Yuzu Switch Emulator Hit by Nintendo Lawsuit Seeking Damages and Total Shutdown of the Software

Yuzu, the original Nintendo Switch emulator created by the developers of Citra (an emulator for Nintendo 3DS), has been hit by a Nintendo lawsuit.

Originally spotted by Stephen Totilo, the lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of Rhode Island against Tropic Haze, which is the entity that operates Yuzu. Nintendo is seeking damages and a total shutdown of the emulator software. The Japanese company alleges that Yuzu ‘facilitates piracy at a colossal scale’, bringing the example of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom hitting over a million downloads before it was even launched on the console.

Defendant and its agents are fully aware of the use of Yuzu by others in performing circumvention, and in facilitating piracy at a colossal scale. As to circumvention, Yuzu’s website acknowledges that the Nintendo Switch’s decryption keys (the prod.keys) are required to decrypt games and includes links to software that unlawfully extract those keys from the Nintendo Switch.’ As to piracy, for instance, one recent major Nintendo video game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, was unlawfully distributed a week and a half before its release by Nintendo. Infringing copies of the game that circulated online were able to be played in Yuzu, and those copies were successfully downloaded from pirate websites over one million times before the game was published and made available for lawful purchase by Nintendo. Many of the pirate websites specifically noted the ability to play the game file in Yuzu. Defendant’s development and distribution of Yuzu to the public materially contributes to and induces those third parties to infringe the copyrights in Nintendo’s games. Defendant is thus secondarily liable for the infringement committed by the users to whom it distributes Yuzu. 

The team behind the emulator still has to comment on the news. However, chances are the Windows, Linux, and Android software may indeed have to close down. Speaking to The Verge, attorney and Virtual Legality host Richard Hoeg said that Nintendo is bringing the case as a DMCA circumvention claim and on these grounds, there’s a real chance they would win in court. In fact, he believes it to be strong enough that the average small emulator company would comply with the cease and desist.

Last year, Nintendo already forced the developers of the Android Switch emulator Skyline to shut down. Still, Yuzu wouldn’t be the only remaining Nintendo Switch emulator – there’s also Ryujinx, for instance. Whether Nintendo comes for them as well, all these years after they were released, remains to be seen.

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