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Nintendo Manually Targets Game & Watch Hacker’s YouTube Video Using Content ID

Using any amount of copyrighted content in a YouTube video can result in a claim by a copyright holder, even when fair use exceptions should be applicable.

This type of action is often taken through YouTube’s Content ID system after being detected by an algorithm. However, there is another option available to rightsholders that requires action from real-life people which, perhaps counter-intuitively, can mean claims are sometimes more controversial.

Nintendo Game & Watch Hacker ‘stacksmashing’

As previously reported by Gizmodo, last November and a day before its official release, Nintendo’s Game & Watch console was hacked by IT researcher ‘stacksmashing‘ in order to play new games.

Of course, this type of activity is always frowned upon by Nintendo. The Game & Watch released with Super Mario Bros. and the gaming giant would’ve preferred it to stay that way. But with Doom, Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3 and even Contra playable on the new machine, there’s now more variety, whether Nintendo likes it or not.

Surprise: Nintendo Doesn’t Like It

Nintendo can put pressure on hackers in all kinds of ways but an action taken against at least one of stacksmashing’s videos on YouTube reveals the company isn’t averse to playing some games of its own. As revealed by the hacker on Twitter, Nintendo has filed an interesting copyright complaint against one of his videos.

As the above shows, Nintendo says that the video infringes its copyrights relating to Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. However, the important information relates to what supposedly infringing content stacksmashing used in his video and in what context. According to the hacker, not much at all and not for very long either.

The Claim From Nintendo

“It’s a claim with time stamps – the beginning of the time stamp is a terminal window.. and then just the device being on and Mario running for a couple of seconds,” he explains.

From the explanation and assuming that the terminal window didn’t infringe any of Nintendo’s rights, that leaves the few seconds of gameplay footage as a potential Nintendo irritant. While that could conceivably get caught up in an automatic Content ID claim, that wasn’t the case here. Fairly unusually, an actual human being made a manual claim against stacksmashing’s video, within Content ID.

“This was actually a manual match, so someone at the big N put in the time to do this,” he notes on Twitter.

So how exactly do manual Content ID claims work?

The Parameters As Per YouTube

“A manual claim is sent to you when a copyright owner identifies that their content has been used without their permission. Copyright owners use the manual claiming tool to claim your video, which sends you a manual claim,” YouTube explains.

In a nutshell, Content ID’s algorithms didn’t flag the video as infringing but someone acting on Nintendo’s behalf watched the video and determined that it did. They then took time out to tell YouTube that Nintendo’s copyrights had been infringed so it should be taken down.

“The manual claiming tool is used by copyright owners who demonstrate advanced knowledge of our Content ID system. The tool gives copyright owners a way to manually claim videos not matched by the Content ID system. Manual claims must include accurate timestamps to show exactly where the claimed content is in your video,” YouTube adds.

While stacksmashing hasn’t revealed the exact timestamps, the progress bar on the screenshot shows that Nintendo claimed a very small part of the video. Furthermore, the requirement for an accurate set of stamps doesn’t appear to have been strictly adhered to, if indeed the only problem was a few seconds of Super Mario Bros. gameplay footage.

Taking that to its logical conclusion, another question raises its head: Why are there so many other videos on YouTube showing Game & Watch gameplay that haven’t received a copyright complaint?

Stacksmashing is Reportedly Editing, Filing Disputes

With Gizmodo reporting that stacksmashing has had two of his videos targeted in this way, the hacker is reportedly editing them in an effort to get them back on YouTube without further issues. On top, he’s also filing disputes against Nintendo’s claims of copyright infringement.

While having any kind of copyright claim against a video is an irritant, in this case a manual Content ID claim does not immediately mean copyright ‘strikes’ for stacksmashing. However, there is an option for a copyright holder to send an actual takedown notice (rather than a Content ID claim) and if this is deemed accurate, a damaging ‘strike’ can be applied to an account.

Since the hacker is reportedly prepared to trim out the contentious few seconds of video, his YouTube account will remain in good standing. On the other hand, if Nintendo is found to be “improperly claiming content that they don’t own the rights to” this could result in “penalties including legal liability and partnership termination,” as per YouTube.

This, of course, is highly unlikely.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Nintendo Mass DMCA Takedown Removes Hundreds of Fangames from Game Jolt

As one of the most iconic gaming manufacturers in the world, Nintendo has been fighting piracy for decades.

The company has an in-house anti-piracy division that signals the latest threats to steer enforcement actions in the right direction.

In recent years it’s gone after sites and stores that offer pirated games and has assisted in the criminal prosecution against alleged members of the hacking group Team-Xecutuer. However, the smaller fish are not being ignored either.

Nintendo Targets Non-profit Fangames

A few days ago, Nintendo’s legal department sent DMCA notices to the game publishing community Game Jolt. The site, where hobbyists and indie developers share their creations for free, was notified that hundreds of fangames infringed Nintendo’s trademarks.

game jolt dmca notice from nintendo

The takedown spree, which was published publicly by Game Jolt co-founder and CEO Yaprak DeCarmine, notes that the games in question use copies of Nintendo’s intellectual property without permission. Game Jolt allegedly profits from this.

“These web pages display images of Nintendo’s video game characters in connection with unauthorized online games that copy the characters, music, and other features of Nintendo’s video games.

“The web site at gamejolt.com generates revenue from advertising banners displayed on the site and advertisements played while users wait for the games to load,” the takedown notices add.

379 Games

This certainly isn’t the first time that Nintendo has targeted fangames, but the scope of this recent effort is massive. In total, the two notices posted by Game Jolt target 379 game URLs, which were all taken down. Game over.

The developers of the games and many of their fans were taken by surprise. Players were suddenly greeted with a 404 error message like this one and developers received an alert notifying them that their game had been targeted.

game jolt remove

The mass removal is a hot topic in the Game Jolt community. Many people don’t understand why Nintendo would target some of its most dedicated fans. That includes the indie developers who spent weeks or months on their projects.

Game developer ‘Eeveeloverdoesgaming,’ who publishes several Nintendo-inspired games, wasn’t targeted but summarizes the general feeling towards Nintendo quite well.

No Sympathy for Nintendo

“They’ll get no sympathy from me, this isn’t the first time they’ve pulled a stunt like this. They’ve made it clear they hate their fans and repeat it time and time again never learning from it.”

The developer will continue to work on his “Five Nights At Team HQ series” but fears that it will be targeted eventually. That doesn’t stop the developer though, and he encourages others to simply flood the Internet with copies.

“Nintendo if you think taking down everyone’s games will help your image and get people to buy more of your games then you’re sorely mistaken! I’ll keep making and reuploading fan games even if you try to take them down, so DEAL WITH IT!

“All people who have copies of the fangames that were taken down take them and reupload them all over the internet so they stay up no matter what!”

Reuploaded

Although some developers prefer to lie low and stay out of Nintendo’s hairs for the foreseeable future, some have indeed brought their games back to life. For example, ‘Jeb Yoshi’, the developer of “Five Nights at Yoshi’s,” re-uploaded it with ads disabled.

“After looking into it, I believe the fact there was profit being earned from advertisements on the game page was the reason for the takedown of this game among countless others,” the dev writes.

jeb_yoshi

‘Jeb Yoshi’ refers to Nintendo’s mention of the advertising element in the DMCA takedown request, which is mentioned by other people as well. They are not sure whether that’s indeed the case though. “Let’s hope this goes well,” the dev wrote on Discord.

In pursuit of more clarity TorrentFreak reached out to Nintendo for a comment but, at the time of writing, we have yet to receive a response. We also reached out to Game Jolt to hear their thoughts on Nintendo’s DMCA requests but the company didn’t immediately reply.

We will update this article if more information becomes available.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Nintendo Wants $15 Million in Damages from Pirate ROM Site

In September 2019, gaming giant Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the game download portal RomUniverse.

The website facilitated massive online copyright infringement of many popular Nintendo titles, according to the complaint filed at a California district court

Nintendo said that RomUniverse made things worse by profiting from these copyright infringements by selling paid premium accounts that allowed users to download as many games as they want.

RomUniverse’s Defense

The site’s operator, Los Angeles resident Matthew Storman, clearly disagreed with these allegations. Without an attorney, he decided to defend himself in court. In his view, the site wasn’t breaking any laws and he asked the court to dismiss the case.

Nintendo picked this defense apart and found the court on its side. This meant that Storman had to face the charges, as well as millions of dollars in potential damages.

Since then the case has progressed with a few bumps in the road. Last summer, Nintendo requested further evidence as part of the discovery process, including tax records, communications, and download statistics. Storman replied that he couldn’t provide this due to a medical issue and asked for time to recover.

Lost Evidence

After some back and forths in court, both parties eventually met at the end of September. Storman produced some tax documents but said that he was still working on the download numbers and Discord communications. A week later, however, he informed Nintendo that he no longer had access to this information.

Around the same time, the website and the Discord channel went offline, and both remain unavailable today.

RomUniverse, when it was still around
romuniverse

Nintendo believes that Storman willingly destroyed evidence and has little faith in his cooperation going forward. The company, therefore, asks the California federal court to grant summary judgment, holding the operator liable for direct and secondary copyright infringement.

Summary Judgment

“This is a straightforward video game piracy case, and the material facts are undisputed,” Nintendo informs the court.

“For over a decade, defendant Matthew Storman owned and operated the website RomUniverse.com. He populated the website with pirated copies of thousands of different Nintendo games and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of those pirated games.”

Nintendo also highlights the evidence that disappeared a few days after the court ordered the operator to hand it over.

“After refusing and then being ordered to produce key evidence, Mr. Storman instead destroyed it. That evidence included communications with his website administrators and data showing how many times each of the pirated video games had been downloaded.”

According to the gaming giant, it is crystal clear that for many years Storman both uploaded and distributed Nintendo’s games, resulting in many copyright and trademark infringements. Instead of taking the case to trial, it wants the court to issue a summary judgment.

$15+ Million

In order to compensate for the massive damages Nintendo claims, the company requests $4.41 million in copyright damages and $11.2 million for trademark infringement, bringing the total to $15.61 million.

In addition to the damages, Nintendo also seeks an injunction to prevent further copyright infringement. Among other things, that would require Storman to destroy all pirated game copies and hand over his domain names.

Storman has yet to respond to Nintendo’s request and will have the chance to oppose it before the court makes a decision. That said, a legal battle between one man and a giant multi-billion dollar company generally doesn’t end well for the former.

Nintendo’s memorandum in support of the motion for summary judgment is available here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Nintendo Switch Game Successfully Emulated On M1 Mac [Video]

A Nintendo Switch game has been successfully emulated on the M1 Mac. Check out the video of the emulator in action right here.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Nintendo Conducted Invasive Surveillance Operation Against Homebrew Hacker

Projects to protect the intellectual property rights of corporations are underway all around the world on a continual basis but it is rare for operational details to leak out to the public.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, leaked documents are now revealing how frightening things can get for console hackers in their crosshairs, even when those targets have already declared that their work isn’t designed for piracy purposes.

Leaked Documents Reveal Police-Style Surveillance Operation

During the past 24 hours, various Twitter accounts (1,2) have been posting snippets from documents that were recently leaked from Nintendo. While there are numerous items of interest, the most shocking revelations involve Neimod, a hacker who several years ago developed exploits for the 3DS handheld console.

Of course, it’s not surprising for a company like Nintendo to have a keen interest in work carried out by someone like Neimod. Nintendo’s documentation described him as a “highly skilled hardware engineer” with “a very high reputation within the hacker scene, for Nintendo products.”

However, the scale of the operation, which is revealed in detail in the leaked documents, shows just how far the gaming giant was prepared to go to stop his work.

For example, the leak reveals personal profiling that dug deeply into Neimod’s education status, listed details of his working life, while offering evidence of physical snooping on his daily lifestyle. What time he could be found at home, who came to see him there, and even when he visited places like banks and restaurants are all included.

While this kind of surveillance is creepy in its own right, additional documents reveal a detailed plan to use the gathered intelligence to physically confront Neimod in order to pressurize him into complying with the company’s demands.

Detailed Operational Planning to Intercept Target

According to Nintendo’s planning, the operation would begin around April 15, 2013, with its team meeting at a local hotel to discuss and finalize their plans. Following a review of Neimod’s movements of the previous week, the team would then decide where and when contact would be made – after work or at home, for example.

With an undercover investigator monitoring Neimod to discover what time he left work, Neimod was to be approached by a ‘contact team’, who were instructed to approach their target “in a friendly, non-threatening, professional, and courteous manner. “Provide a business card,” the instructions read.

After Neimod had been engaged in conversation, the team was instructed to flatter the hacker by “acknowledging his engineering/programming aptitude.” They were also told to reference his stated aim of not “facilitating piracy” with his hacks but point out Nintendo’s concerns that a release of his hack could do just that.

Whether Neimod complied or resisted, Nintendo prepared for both eventualities. The following slide, posted to Twitter by Eclipse-TT, shows a flow chart that begins with instructions for the “Knock and Talk Team”, details a staging area, rules of engagement, and plans for what should happen when things go to plan – or otherwise.

nintendo surveillance plan

The Nintendo “Final Enforcement Proposal” document describes a “carrot and stick” approach, with the stick being a laundry list of potential offenses committed by Neimod under Belgian law and the carrot representing a number of sweeteners that might be of interest to the hacker.

If cooperation was achieved, Nintendo suggested it could refrain from filing a criminal complaint. It may also enter into a “bounty” contract with Neimod with payments made for finding and documenting exploits. Within certain parameters, his discoveries could still be announced to the public, allowing him to retain “bragging rights.” This could help Nintendo’s image, the company wrote.

“If successful, Nintendo’s public image may be further bolstered as a modern, tech-savvy company, while hinting that hackers should be cooperative rather than aggressive with Nintendo in the future (in contrast to Sony’s missteps with George ‘geohot’ Hotz),” the document adds, noting that a trip to Japan to meet Nintendo’s hardware engineers might also prove attractive.

Of course, significantly boosting public image long term is only possible when details of invasive surveillance operations stay out of the public eye. With the leak of the full “Hacker Enforcement Proposal” now in full swing (here, pdf), that will be just a little bit harder for Nintendo.

On the other hand, it might also give hackers pause for thought. Or, indeed, drive them further underground.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. We have some good VPN deals here for the holidays.

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Nintendo Switch games successfully emulated on an M1 Mac

A developer has successfully emulated Nintendo Switch games on an M1 Mac.
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Team-Xecuter Defendant ‘GaryOPA’ is a Flight Risk and Remains in Prison

Hacking group Team-Xecuter has long been a thorn in the side of major gaming companies.

The group offers hardware and software solutions that allow people to install and play unofficial games – including pirated copies – on various consoles, including the popular Nintendo Switch.

Team-Xecuter often defended its work by pointing out that their products are not necessarily pirate tools. They are supporters of the ‘right to repair’ movement and back people who want to play homebrew games on their devices for personal use.

The affected game companies disagree, with Nintendo front and center. The Japanese gaming company has been chasing down Team-Xecuter for years and a few months ago the company took several online stores to court for selling Team-Xecuter products.

In October, these enforcement efforts reached a new level when the US Government launched a criminal prosecution of three of the group’s members.

Bowser aka ‘GaryOPA’

One of the defendants is Canadian Gary Bowser. He was arrested in the Dominican Republic in September and was deported to the US soon after. Bowser was allegedly responsible for the development of circumvention devices and maintained regular contact with resellers.

Bowser is perhaps best known through his nickname GaryOPA, the supposed operator and a frequent writer on the website “MaxConsole,” which regularly reviewed Team-Xecuter hardware and other hacking tools.

Flight Risk

In a ‘Zoom’ hearing held last week, a federal court in Seattle reviewed a request for pretrial detention, submitted by the US prosecution. It is not uncommon for criminal defendants to be released on bail pending their trial, but the US argues against this in Bowser’s case, as he’s considered a ‘flight risk.’ The court agrees.

“Defendant poses a risk of nonappearance due to his lack of ties to this district, ties to Canada and the Dominican Republic, ownership of a Canadian passport, history of international travel, unstable living situation, and an uncorroborated personal history,” US Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson writes.

“Based on these findings, and for the reasons stated on the record, there does not appear to be any condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the Defendant’s appearance at future court hearings,” she adds.

flight risk

Bowser was not interviewed by the court, which currently has no information on his family ties, personal history, or employment. That leaves the door open to reopening the detention hearing at a future date, which may change things.

The Other Defendants

There is no update on the other defendants at this point. Based on the information in the court dockets, Yuanning Chen from China is still at large. According to the indictment, Chen managed a manufacturing and distribution company where Team-Xecuter’s hardware was made.

The third defendant, French national Max Louarn, was arrested in Canada where a U.S. extradition request was launched. The US Government sees Louarn, who’s hacking track record goes back to the early nineties, as the leader of Team-Xecuter.

Louarn allegedly made Team-Xecuter’s important business decisions, arranged investors and financing, and oversaw product development and the wholesale distribution chains.

Nintendo Takes Over Domains

The US criminal prosecution is not the only legal pressure on Team-Xecuter. Nintendo has also seen very active on the legal front. One of the stores it sued earlier this year, Axiogame.com, was allegedly operated by Team-Xecuter. That has been shut down through Nintendo’s lawsuit.

The Axiogame.com domain is now owned by Nintendo and over recent days the gaming company took over several other domains of former piracy hack stores, assisted by an updated court order.

Flashcarda.com switched to the new Materpl.com domain and both are owned by Nintendo now. The same is true for Txswitch.com that switched to Stxwitch.com, Usachipss.com that moved to Nerged.com, and several other domains.

nerged.com

Team-Xecuter Continues

Despite the mounting legal pressure, Team-Xecuter is far from defeated. In fact, the site’s main website remains online. The forum remains active as well, with people privately offering help to install or buy mods.

Team-Xecuter’s dedicated page for the SX product line is also still intact. This links to a list of authorized resellers. While many of these stores are offline now, a few are still actively selling.

A copy of the detention order issued by US Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson is available here (pdf). Nintendo’s filing, pointing out the newly targeted shop domains can be found here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Court Orders GoDaddy to Transfer Piracy Hack Store Domain to Nintendo

Nintendo is doing all it can to stop the distribution of piracy enabling hacks and modchips, including SX Core and SX Lite.

Earlier this year, the company sued a group of known ‘offenders’ that sell these tools. After the stores failed to show up in court, Nintendo requested a default judgment and permanent injunction, which was granted soon after.

Injunction ‘Shuts Down’ Modchip Stores

The injunction was a clear victory as it allowed the Japanese gaming giant to shut down several sites, including TXswitch.com, SXflashcard.com and Axiogame.com. These domain names were later transferred to the company as well.

That success wasn’t permanent though. While some stores may have vanished permanently, others have continued under new names. In the case of Txswitch.com that was pretty obvious.

A day after Txswitch.com was pulled offline, the store made a comeback on Stxwitch.com. This site looks nearly identical to the old one and even uses the same logo and code.

GoDaddy Refuses to Take Down New Domain

This type of ‘domain hopping’ is common in pirate circles and Nintendo was somewhat prepared for it. The injunction includes a section which states that “any variant or successor” of the stores is also covered, so Nintendo swiftly asked domain registrar GoDaddy to suspend the new domain as well.

However, GoDaddy refused. Despite the mention that successors are covered, the domain registrar requested a new court order which specifically mentions Stxwitch.com.

To resolve this standoff Nintendo went to court again, requesting clarification, which came this week in the form of a new order, issued by US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly.

STXWITCH.COM Has to Go Offline

“STXWITCH.COM is a ‘variant or successor’ domain name as that term is used in the Judgment,” Judge Zilly writes, stressing that all intermediaries have to cut their ties with the site.

“Defendants and all third parties acting in active concert and participation with Defendants, including registrars, are ENJOINED from supporting or facilitating access to STXWITCH.COM, and are ORDERED to cease to use the domain name STXWITCH.COM and immediately transfer STXWITCH.COM to Nintendo’s control.”

At the time of writing the store is still online, but with this order in hand, that likely won’t be the case for long. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t reappear under yet another new domain.

All ‘Variants and Successors’ are Covered

If that happens, Nintendo doesn’t have to go to court again, Judge Zilly clarifies. GoDaddy and all other domain registrars, registries, and other intermediaries will have to take action against sites operated by the defendants, no matter what domain they use.

“For avoidance of doubt, the Court’s Judgment applies to all domain names controlled by Defendants through which Defendants engage in the conduct found to be unlawful in this lawsuit, whether or not the exact domain name is explicitly listed in the Judgment,” the order reads.

While this sounds very clear and obvious, it does raise some questions. When is a new domain a ‘variant or successor’?

Questions Remain

In the case of Txswitch the similarities were rather striking, as the same code and design were used. But what if Nintendo ‘suspects’ that the defendants are making a comeback from a different domain with a different look?

What evidence does Nintendo need to show that a new domain is a ‘variant or successor’ and is it then up to a company such as GoDaddy to ‘judge’ whether this is enough?

These are all hypothetical situations but it is likely that GoDaddy refused Nintendo’s initial request because they don’t want to be the arbiter. Future refusals will come at a price, however, as Judge Zilly ruled that failing to comply opens the door to punitive and monetary sanctions.

Legal uncertainty aside, this order doesn’t necessarily end the ‘whack-a-mole.’ There are plenty of foreign registrars and registries that don’t fall under the jurisdiction of US courts. Some of these will demand a local court order from Nintendo, which will start the process all over again.

TorrentFreak reached out to Stxwitch to ask what their plans are for the future. We have yet to hear back, but at the time of writing, they are still accepting new orders.

A copy of the order from US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly is available here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Nintendo Shuts Down Smash Bros. Tournament, Blames Use of Pirated Games

Video games players all over the world love Nintendo’s games and Nintendo loves gamers – as long as they play by the video game giant’s strict sets of rules.

Nintendo has a history of intolerance towards those who use its content without permission and has taken action against fans who copy, modify or recreate its titles for new platforms. Yesterday the company made its latest move, delivering a big blow to the competitive Smash Bros. gaming community.

The Big House Gets Dismantled By Nintendo

Since 2011, The Big House event has taken place annually, acting as a convention for Super Smash Brothers fans from around the world. In light of the extraordinary events of 2020, The Big House recently made the decision to take its event online for the first time in its history, hoping to continue the fun despite a worldwide pandemic.

For Nintendo, however, the manner in which this event was set to take place was simply too much. According to The Big House, Nintendo contacted them with a cease-and-desist notice, warning that the organizers do not have permission to host or broadcast the event.

“We are forced to comply with the order and cancel The Big House Online for both Melee and Ultimate. Refund information will be sent shortly. We apologize to all those impacted,” the “heartbroken” organizers announced yesterday.

Nintendo Issues Cease-and-Desist to Shut Down The Big House

The announcement from The Big House indicated that Nintendo’s objections were based in the proposed use of a third-party project known as ‘Slippi‘.

This set of tools would’ve been absolutely crucial to the proposed event as they provide Super Smash Bros. Melee with a broad range of features simply unavailable in the official version. This includes automatically saved replays, live match mirroring, and rollback netcode that allows people to smoothly play the game online. By banning the use of Slippi, the online tournament is no longer possible.

Nintendo: Pirated Games and Misuse of Branding Unacceptable

In a statement obtained by Polygon, Nintendo expressed appreciation for the “love and dedication the fighting game community has for the Super Smash Bros. series,” adding that it had partnered with numerous Super Smash Bros. tournaments in the past. However, in the case of The Big House, it simply could not tolerate the manner in which the event would be taking place.

“Unfortunately, the upcoming Big House tournament announced plans to host an online tournament for Super Smash Bros. Melee that requires use of illegally copied versions of the game in conjunction with a mod called ‘Slippi’ during their online event,” the company said.

“Nintendo therefore contacted the tournament organizers to ask them to stop. They refused, leaving Nintendo no choice but to step in to protect its intellectual property and brands. Nintendo cannot condone or allow piracy of its intellectual property.”

Why The Use Of ‘Slippi’ is Unacceptable to Nintendo

To fully comprehend Nintendo’s position requires an explanation of how Slippi functions and what its requirements are. Publicly launched in June 2018, Slippi is a custom version of the popular Dolphin emulator for the Gamecube and Wii, one adapted for Super Smash Bros. Melee online play.

Its Slippi Online component provides a key feature that the original game doesn’t – the addition of “rollback netcode” that allows for online play of a quality suitable for the testing environment of competitive online gaming. However, to achieve this the player must also have a copy of the Super Smash Bros. Melee game file on their computer to run through the emulator.

While having a backup copy of a piece of software is not illegal in the US, it’s still a big no-no for Nintendo, especially when the resulting game content will be streamed online.

Inevitable Backlash

With outlets like Kotaku now describing the cease-and-desist as “absurd bullshit” and threads on Reddit boiling over in hatred towards Nintendo by some of its most hardcore fans, Nintendo appears to have shot itself in the foot once again.

As this tweet shows, some fans simply aren’t prepared to accept that Nintendo “appreciates the love”, as history appears to show otherwise.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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Nintendo Files Lawsuit Against Seller of RCM Loader Jailbreak Device

Nintendo’s ongoing battle to prevent people from playing pirated content on Switch consoles is showing no signs of slowing down.

Its main targets thus far have been distributors and sellers of products offered by the infamous Team-Xecutor but a new lawsuit filed in the United States yesterday targets a seller of another jailbreak-style device.

Circumvention of Technological Protection Measures

As detailed in a number of earlier and similar lawsuits, Nintendo is determined to take action against any product that undermines the security features baked into consoles such as the Switch. These features are designed to prevent unauthorized access to the console and its games with the aim of preventing people from playing pirated content.

According to the latest lawsuit, a defendant identified as Le Hoang Minh, who on Amazon does business under the name ‘Winmart’, sold a device known as RCM Loader. The dongle/device, which operates via a USB-C connector, is marketed as a plug-and-play solution for injecting payload files that allow booting into custom firmware (CFW), including Team-Xecutor’s SX OS.

“Once this circumvention has occurred, the unauthorized CFW modifies the authorized Nintendo Switch operating system, thereby allowing users to obtain and play virtually any pirated game made for the Nintendo Switch. All of this happens without authorization or compensation to Nintendo or to any authorized game publishers,” the company’s complaint reads.

Another feature of the system criticized by Nintendo is the ability for owners of legal copies of games to copy and share those games with others who are also using unauthorized custom firmware. Nintendo says it has been working hard to reduce the availability of SX OS and similar custom firmware but due to the trafficking of devices like RCM Loader, that battle continues.

Defendant Sold RCM Loader Via Amazon

According to the lawsuit, Vietnam-resident Le Hoang Minh, sold RCM Loader devices on Amazon so, to counter this distribution, Nintendo filed a DMCA takedown notice on October 21, 2020, citing 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) and requesting that the listing be removed.

While Amazon did take the listing down, the removal was only temporary.

RCM Loader Amazon

This short-lived takedown was due to the seller submitting a DMCA counter-notice to Amazon on November 4, 2020, under 17 U.S.C. § 512(g)(3), claiming that the listing was non-infringing and had been taken down in error.

Defenses Listed in the DMCA Counter Notice

Attempting to cover most available defenses, relevant or not, the counter-notice from Le Hoang Minh is comprehensive if nothing else.

In addition to claiming that the devices are not copyrighted and are therefore in the public domain, the Amazon seller advised the platform that Nintendo’s claim is faulty due to the company failing to provide any copyright registration information in its takedown notice.

“The complainant does not hold the copyright to the material in question, is not the designated representative of the copyright holder, and therefore lacks standing to assert that my use of the material is a violation of any of the owner’s rights,” it added.

In addition to a laundry list of alleged technical failings in Nintendo’s takedown notice, Amazon was advised by the defendant that the use of “the material” was legally protected “because it falls within the ‘fair use’ provision of the copyright regulations” and if Nintendo disagrees with that assertion, it “must” work with the seller to solve the dispute.

“This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3). I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law,” the counter-notice reads.

Importantly, the declaration adds that Le Hoang Minh submits to the jurisdiction of any appropriate US district court in case of a legal dispute with Nintendo.

Nintendo: Challenge Accepted

The lawsuit filed yesterday is a clear indication that Nintendo believes it has the law on its side, in respect of the illegal nature of RCM Loader and the validity of the DMCA counter-notice that attempted to reinstate the listing.

“Defendant manufactures, imports, offers to the public, provides, and otherwise traffics in a circumvention device and software that circumvents the technological measures on the Nintendo Switch — specifically, the RCM Loader,” the company states.

“On information and belief, the only purpose of Defendant’s circumvention device is to circumvent Nintendo’s technological protection measures.”

Demanding maximum statutory damages for each violation of the relevant sections of the DMCA, Nintendo also demands a permanent injunction preventing the defendant from offering to the public or otherwise trafficking in circumvention devices in the future.

On top, Nintendo is demanding relief for the defendant’s alleged abuse of the DMCA counter-notification system by misrepresenting material facts to Amazon, crafted to have the listing restored on the platform, in violation of Nintendo’s rights.

Finally, the gaming giant asks the court to issue an order that will allow for the seizure, impoundment and destruction of all RCM Loader devices in the defendant’s possession, including any related software.

The complaint can be found here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.