Valve actually told Nintendo about Dolphin emulator on Steam

Valve Nintendo logos and a DolphinPexels/Nintendo/Valve

After having the Dolphin emulator taken down from Steam on May 27, 2023, it appears that Valve might have had more to do it with than initially thought.

The ongoing saga since Nintendo requested that Valve take down the Dolphin emulator off of Steam has some additional information that has been found.

A series of emails and statements from lawyers and Valve, reveals that it was Valve itself that alerted Nintendo about the emulator. In the first email from Nintendo lawyers to Valve, the attorney said:

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“Thank you for bringing the announced offering of the Dolphin emulator on Valve’s Steam store to Nintendo’s attention.”

This was originally posited by Pierre Bourdon, a former team member and treasurer for the group that develop Dolphin.

However, in a new analysis from The Verge, it appears that the DMCA takedown wasn’t actually the one we’re used to seeing. Nintendo is known for utilizing the DMCA and other methods of legal takedowns to prevent piracy and emulation. The company is also known for regularly killing fan projects before completion through similar methods.

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References to the Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. § 1201 are pointed out, which massively differs from the usual DMCA takedown request utilized by Nintendo. This one would pose a threat to Valve if they had continued to host Dolphin on Steam.

Valve might have been the target of a Nintendo lawsuit over Dolphin

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Rather than targeting Dolphin – who is only supplying an emulator – it would instead target Valve under the 1201 section of the Copyright Act, which aims to defend companies if a circumvention technology is hosted by another company.

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Of course, this would mean Valve would have to act quickly or enter a lengthy lawsuit over the Dolphin emulator. Any judgments made in the theoretical case could have a wide-spanning effect on all video game emulation, and preservation if Nintendo were to be successful in such a suit.

Dolphin has effectively done some smart backward engineering to get Wii, Gamecube, and select arcade games to function through the software. This is counted in the circumvention technology.

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