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Nintendo shuts down

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the that-ain't-cool dept.

Games 249

Alex W. Jackson writes "According to this email by Jerremy Koot of the SNES9x project,'s server has pulled the plug after receiving an email from Nintendo to the effect that "Emulators are illegal." The email from Nintendo was not made available, but it apparently makes references to this so-called Legal FAQ. Someone with a legal background wanna take a stab at poking some holes in this thing? "

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Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883139)

Perhaps call for widespread mirroring of this site? See if they can keep it up...


Nintendo Contradicted themselves! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883140)

In that stupid FAQ they first said it was illegal for you to download a copy of a game you owned, that you had to make the copy yourself. Then they went on to say things like Dr. V64 are illegal... How am I supposed to make my own copy which I am entitled to, if the copier is illegal? I also want to know how Nintendo feels all of this is illegal if those 2 PSX emu's (i forget the names) have gotta through the courts (to a point) in their legallity.

Nintendo's Legal FUD^H^HAQ (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883141)

Talk about bringing on the big FUD!
"Does Nintendo Believe the UltraHLE Violates its Intellectual Property Rights?

Well they can believe anything they want, but they hafe to prove it too.
The feeling I get when reading this legal mumbo-jumbo, is that this so-called FAQ is only to intimitade potential emulator user/writer.
They hint that the emulators could possible cost thousands of jobs.
"Such emulators have the potential to significantly damage a worldwide entertainment software industry which generates over $15 billion annually, and tens of thousands of jobs."
As if Nintendo would hesitate to close down some poor Malasyan sweatshop, if they could possible gain a few dollars for them.
That does it, I have no pity for greedy, intimidating corporations, we have seen lot of them. I will be boycotting Nintendo products, and use every chance to persuase my friends, famliy and co-workers to do the same. And I will tell Nintendo about it. They even left a email address for me ( to write to. Sony, here I come! (Although I doubt that Sony is any better!)
Jón tired-of-greedy-corps Ragnarsson

Re:Actions speak louder than words. (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883144)

1. I never said "We believe" was anything other then their opinion. Not legal fact. Not able to stand in court, etc. But I'm sick of people hear twisting their words around.

2. When you say that you will resist going into reverse engineering practices and the like, you're admitting that you use RE to "figure out" the Nintendo consoles. This means you're not creating an emulator in a clean room, and the emulator would be illegal.

There is a major problem here that everyone seems to be forgetting when comparing Nintendo to Sony and the like. Nintendo uses cartridges, not CD's. So what if someone does come out with a clean-room emulator for N64? How many people could legitimately buy and use it? These people would need to have their own ROM extractor, and they would have to own the game cartridge. Any other use of an emulator would be illegal, because it is illegal to distribute a copyrighted work without the permission of the author or owner, Nintendo.

ISP's are innocent and untouchable! (1)

cynicthe (33709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883145)

Should the person who sells you a piece of land be rosponsible for a murder that happens on that piece of land? I don't think so!

Unless of course they had known it was haunted, that the people would become insane and kill each other and used this as a scheme to make money because the title deed could be taken away from a house if the people in were dead especially by their own acts...

Actions speak louder than words. (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883147)

"We believe..." is just a way Nintendo tries to jump through legal loopholes. "We believe..." I like saying "This is the way it is from our viewpoint, but we don't know enough of the law to say that this is how the world works."
I'll resist going into reverse engineering practices and the like. However, I will say that Nintendo game consoles are fairly simple to figure out :). If Nintendo wants to have a part of the American market, it must be willing to co-exist with products that perform or even outperform the same functions.

what can we do? (4)

Fict (475) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883153)

Here's what's at the botom of the 'legal faq':

How Do I Report Sites that are Offering Illegal Software or Other Illegal Video Game Products?

Please either call and report that information to Nintendo of America Inc. at 1-800-633-3236 or e-mail us at

please note the 1-800-633-3236... Yup, a toll free way to complain, and make your opinion heard. Whee


Re:Dammit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883158)

I already sent my boycott notice to them.
I suggest everyone does that, with only a fraction of the slashdot community a point could be clearly made to them. Namely, that their customers will not accept this kind of behaviour.
I think their general questions email adress is sufficient for delivering this opinion unto them:

Nintendo/Sony Perhaps Taking The Wrong Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883161)

Both Sony and Nintendo now have made attempts to stop emulation of their hardware, but I dont think they realise the benefits. Amiga has supported emulation of its products for some time now, even including their OS as a part of the emulation package. For the many peoplpe who can not find Amiga hardware/OS or have never tried it they allow those people to use the system. I think Amiga has got it right. And for those people who say its the emulations fault for pirating, its more the software companys fault for not protecting their software.

public domain (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883162)

Posted by Amun-Ra:

I am not a lawer but I was under the impression that due to the speed at which hardware became obsolete, software passed into the public domain after 2 years, allowing anyone to do whatever they liked to the software as long as credit was given to the original author, including passing on. This would mean that emulators for the super nintendo would be legal as it is intended to run public domained software, and has not been created for non profit.

Let's be honest... (4)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883164)

Sure, the reason people write emulators could be to figure out how their processors work, or just to see if they can, or just because they're there, or any of a dozen other reasons that have nothing to do with playing pirated games.

But I would hazard to guess that at least 90%, and probably closer to 99%, of the people who download them do so because they want to play pirated games. Take me, for example--I'm not a programmer; I don't even own a Nintendo, much less the necessary hardware to make ROM copies--what else could I do with them?

While I do like emulators, and support having them freely available, I have to be honest and admit that the ground on which I do so is legally, if not morally, shaky. I can definitely understand the company's point of view.

Re:Rock stars make money from CDs too. (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883172)

"Rock stars also let you tape to a DAT! Get a grip."

Let you tape WHAT to a DAT? A live concert? A CD you already own? You're comparing apples to oranges. Why should you be able to download a game for free that Nintendo licenses or has created, and means to sell in the stores? Just because you don't have the money, or don't feel like paying for it doesn't make it right or legal.

Let's not confuse being righteous with being illegal.

As for your last paragraph, you seem to be hinting that people use Emulators to play games written by people outside of the console business... people like you and me. It sounds like you need to get real. How many of these types of games do you play (or have you ever seen)? People download emulators to play games copied from cartridges... usually ones they don't own.

EU Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883173)

As far as I can tell from the current UK and EU case law, there is no way Nintendo could win that case. I'd love to see their lawyers trying to come anything legally viable in that crap.

Watch that bottom line (1)

MentlFlos (7345) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883176)

Such emulators have the potential to significantly damage a worldwide entertainment software industry

Don't they mean that "such emulators have the potential to take away from our bottom line"? The emulators are part of this "worldwide entertainment software industry" and only help provide a means to expand it.

The art of flying is throwing yourself at the ground...
... and missing.

Poking holes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883177)

I think Nintendo has already done a good enough job of that... Sheesh...

Yes, true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883178)

Connectix Virtual Game Station, a PSX emulator for Mac. So this is some legal precedence, Sony was unable to stop the shipping. I don't know what the deal is now w/ it. Some of the reaoning behind that I think though is that you still need a copy of a legit PSX CD to play, while N64 is a little different because current emulators require one ot copy the rom into an image on the computer. Connectix's product though was the first real commercial emulator by a fairly popular company (from their Virtual PC product), so that w/ UltraHLE brought a lot of attention to emulation.

Anybody got the real details on the outcome of Sony vs. Connectix?

Although they cant get him, he has a good case. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883179)

Although NOA could not win a suit against him, he certantly has a strong case against them.

There is *NO* legal presidence that 'emulators are illegial' and according to US law, ISPs are common carriers (if reged with the FCC) and are imune to illegial use by their coustomers). Emulators certantly do have legimate uses, NOA is full of it..

It's rather ammusing.. If my local law enforcement wanted to go after this guy for something, they would be powerless (because he's in another country), but if NOA flexes some power they could probably ruin this guy's life.

Jaguar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883184)

The big "N" should go ask Atari about how they just won lots of good PR...

The industry is threatened.... (1)

BrianEnigma (29907) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883189)

From the FAQ:
How Does Nintendo Feel About the Emergence of Video Game Emulators?
As is the case with any business or industry, when its products become available for free, the revenue stream supporting that industry is threatened.
Does this remind anyone else of Microsoft releasing IE for free (that is, BEFORE the legal stickiness of integrating it into the operating system) to undermine Netscape? If a big company like Microsoft can release competing products for free, why can't people release co-existing products for free? After all, emulators are cool, but they are not the best replacement for the original system--you still end up going back to the console or coin-op.

hmm. (1)

dwlemon (11672) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883193)

I think it would be nice if somebody would also create development tools for a console as well as the emulator. I'd do it myself, but I'm still studying C... I think there is an assembler for nes roms, but that's all I've seen.

It just might make an emulator more legit if people were developing and playing original games on it.

The argument that it is a hobby -- and that people merely have an interest in the architecture -- is weak. There are a few dozen people with an interest in the architecture (enough interest to write an emulator), the other several thousand people involved are just playing/ditributing free games.

P.S. I used to have dozens of NES roms that I'd play, but then I went out and bought a few of the games (3-5 bucks each nowadays) and discovered that playing them on the console itself is much better than emulation.

Shooting the messenger (4)

Aleatoric (10021) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883194)

In a way, this is very much the same argument made by the RIAA about mp3 players. The contention that the availability of some mechanism that allows someone to play an mp3 (or a rom game) automatically constitutes an illegal act is based on a flawed assumption.

Since it is legal to make copies of music or games that you already own, and to use those copies if you wish, it is also legal to use whatever mechanism you like to play them.

In a way, you could compare it to having a gun. Target practice, for example, is legal, killing someone is not. To automatically label the gun as illegal completely misses the issue, as it is the one who uses the gun that is responsible.

In exactly the same fashion, if someone uses a game emulator to play a game they already own, they are behaving legally, and if they do not own the game, they are breaking the law. It is therefore the individual breaking the law that is responsible, and not the mechanism that they use to break it.

nobody cares (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883196)

Posted by _DogShu_:

Just as many people will use emulators and ROMs whether or not they are illegal. Nintendo is just going to spread the knowledge around that you don't need a console to play console games, and cause even more people to use emulators and ROMs.
The more people that use them, the harder it will be to find all the web sites for downloading them, and the problem will get even worse (for Nintendo).

Re:This "law" never existed. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883197)

I can do more than confirm it.

Do it. Show me a link to a reputable, third party organization that makes a case. Even better, something written by a reputable member of the judicial community. Listing yourself as 'Anonymous Coward' doesn't help me in getting convinced.

As floppies are unreliable, and CD-ROMs are sensitive to damage, hard drives are built to fail. I cannot allow items that I install to die without having a backup. And because I have the installation materials of saftware, that doesn't mean I am going to put up with starting from scratch.

Don't forget that companies that sell tape backup materials suggest three tapes in a weekly backup cycle.

Even if you can make a reasonable case that the consumer doesn't have a right to make personal backups, it will be ignored because things fail.

Fun with the legal docs (5)

Coretti (17558) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883200)

From Nintendo's FAQ:

"An emulator is a software program that is designed to allow game play on a platform that it was not created for."

You may recall that a few years back, Nintendo released a device called the Super Game Boy. This plugged into your SNES and emulated a Gameboy. It was a hardware/software program that is/was designed to allow game play on a platform that it was not created for.

I'm sure many of you are confused over this like I am - is Nintendo really selling an illegal product? I recommend you write to them at [mailto] if you are as confused as I. ;)

Re:Nintendo's tried this before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883204)

No, SNES9x is at version 0.19: have you been playing
with your time machine again?

(And 0.19 came out just a week or two ago.)

Re:nobody cares (2)

PhoboS (21600) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883206)

I think you might be missing the point here. Sure many will not care whether emulators are illegal or not, the way they use them right now is clearly illegal anyway.
The problem is for the developer of the emulator. I think that most of those who write emulators do it not to make it possible to play pirated roms, but that they do it to learn more about programming and the system they are emulating.
That Nintendo want emulators to be illegal makes it harder for the developers of emulators to cooperate with others, and to get feedback from the users.

Software piracy should not be supported the way you seem to think, and Nintendo is probably correct when they say that copying of rom images is piracy.
However, emulators should not be illegal. I can understand that companies such as Nintendo do not like them, but they should be going after the roms instead.

They beat Atari in court.. (5)

anative (16846) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883213)

In the late 80's Atari made a number of carts under the tengen name. NOA took them to court on the basis that in order to play on their system (the NESat that time) the carts had to validate via some secret code and that code was copyright or patented by Nintendo. The court upheld and Atari was on the slippery slope to hell. Atari is now dead, don't even talk about the arcade machines that belongs to williams. Anyway This upheld the yakuza business model that ALL the japanese game companies work under. You must be an official licensee in order to develop for Nintendo/Sega/Sony. You Pay to be a licensee, the license states they have the right allow or deny you publishing your software based on their approval or disapproval. (This was all held up in OUR courts folks!)

They also get a royalty based on carts/cd produced not on those sold! TI tried a similar route with their home PC but no one would develop for it. Imagine Apple, Dell etc creating a bit of validation code and any software produced having to pay a fee to use the validation and Apple etc. having rufusal rights to any software developed for the platform. (or even worse M$ using the same argument to protect their OS)

This was deemed legal by the courts as they ruled that consoles are not cumputers! This happened when the license for tetris sued nintendo over tetris and lost on the basis that a console is not a computer and nintendo owned the license for consoles. I was there I worked with the guys. This all happened over ten years ago and I don't think that it has been argued since.

I beleive the entire console industry is based on an illegal standard that was held up in court because the court did not understand that consoles are and were computing devices. This has outraged me for many years and I beleive stifled the console software market. Look at the diversity in computer based software compared to console games. Since the console industry detirmines what can be published on their systems we end up with the drivel that they allow. Basically all the games look and play the same, and we all eat it up. Anyway this is thepart of the laws that should be attacked. Anyone with the desire should be allowed to create software for the platform without paying OR approval of the platform creator.

Consider the other side's arguments for once (5)

Timothy Chu (2263) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883218)

Don't you guys ever try to look at things from the other side?

Emulators ARE providing a way for people to play games without buying the games. Nintendo, even though it is a mega-corp, IS losing revenue.

Now, emulators themselves shouldn't be illegal, because they are just another string of 1's and 0's. However, they are contributing to an amount of piracy.

"Hold on", I hear you saying. "I own the games, in cartridge form. Possessing and running the affiliated ROMs with an emulator shouldn't be illegal". Yup, you're right. In a way, this does infringe on your own personal freedoms. But let's just say that Nintendo wasn't such a big game vendor, but just a programmer somewhere who makes mighty good console games. Does he deserve to be protected? Does his protection exceed your right to run his games? (is this a bad analogy? Does size really make that big a difference? Before you say "yes", think about this: should big companies be attacked more fiercely just because they're big?)

This argument is identical to the MP3 debates...sure, you have a right to do whatever you want on your computer...but there are winners and losers in both battles. Who deserves to win, and who deserves to lose?

I think a there is the largest concentration of above average intelligent people on the internet here on slashdot. But every time I see a "screw the RIAA" or "screw Nintendo" without providing solutions that will appease both parties, I wonder where these people all disappeared to.

Before you flame, note that I'm playing devil's advocate more than defending the bad guys...the issues aren't as clear cut as you guys think it is. I think there's such thing as a possible win-win solution for these issues. If the solution is found, I'm sure it'll have something to do with /.


Re:public domain (WRONG!) (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883219)



Software NEVER passes into the public domain unless it's given there by the author/controlling body of the copyright.

Just because something's obsolete doesn't mean that it's yours. That's like saying we should just go get Commodore 64's for free cause they aren't being made anymore. While they are WORTH ZIP, they are NOT public domain.


This is really too much. (1)

cynicthe (33709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883221)

Nintendo, sony, IDSA, Euro-NAzi-IDSA need to be sued for libel, constitutional infringements, and judges need to see that protectionism, paranoia, FUD, and demonizing are an artifact of the middle ages. This needs to stop.!!!!

Basis? (5)

ShadowWalk (46565) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883222)

The "legal" faq is mostly bunk: Are all ROMS on the Internet Illegal?
Yes. All ROMs available on the Internet are unauthorized and infringing copies of copyrighted works

Sure, in practice most ROM's on the internet are going to be downloaded and used illegaly. The problem being, there is NO law in existence today that prevents users from placing backups of any software anywhere. Sure, its a stupid loophole in the law, but Nintendo's trying to stretch things a bit.

Can I Download a ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?
There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. That is utterly ridiculous and legally unsupported. Therefore, whether you have the authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of the ROM for a limited amount of time (24 hours), it is illegal and infringing of a copyright to download and play a ROM from the Internet.
The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction to the authentic. It is well established by judicial decisions in the United States that this limited exception does not apply to game data contained in ROM semiconductor chips in video game cartridges.

When pray tell was this decision made? Further, I'd be very curious to see anyone prove that a backup of software was made by anyone other than the user!

What is Nintendo's Position on the N64 Emulator, the UltraHLE?
The UltraHLE is illegal. The N64 emulator infringes Nintendo's intellectual property rights, including copyrights, and circumvents Nintendo's anti-piracy security system.
I'm afraid this point is just blatantly false, as Sony's case with Connectix and Bleam has shown. As for Nintendo's "anti-piracy" system, this has been called legally suspect by many observers.

Does Nintendo Believe the UltraHLE Violates its Intellectual Property Rights?

I believe I'm still as in shape as I was in high school. Believing it doesn't make it true.

Does Nintendo Think Emulation Companies Promote Piracy? Why?
Yes. The only purpose of video game emulators are to play illegal copied games from the Internet

What a profound argument. That'll hold up in court.

Are "Game Copying Devices" such as the Dr.V64, Z64 and Others, Illegal?
Yes. Game copiers enable users to illegally copy video game software onto floppy disks, writeable compact disks or the hard drive of a personal computer. They enable the user to make, play and distribute illegal copies of video game software which violates Nintendo's copyrights and trademarks. These devices also allow for the uploading and downloading of ROMs to and from the Internet. Based upon the functions of these devices, they are illegal.

Huh? By that logic, my diskdrive is illegal because I can copy programs and "upload" them to the Internet!

The only thing even remotely on target was the comment about copyright law. Sure ISP's could be held liable if anything could be proven, but Nintendo's going to need a MUCH better argument than this(I suggest they look at the fact that Sony made the exact same arguments and lost twice).

Re:Here's how I see it... (1)

The_Wind (11976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883226)

I really had the same view like you, but with NINTENDO and SONY harassing people for products they no longer sell or support I've changed my mind. Also while NINTENDO has a right to be pissed, people has a right to code as they like, and while this my be a perjudice to nintendo, IT's not illegal per se, also if NINTENDO was smart enough they'll get a fair benefit selling their games in cd's along with the cartidges. If they don't think that, that's their problem, they have the opportunity of broading their market and they're breaking it down, also they're getting a really bad reputation on the retrogamming circles.

Re:You can thank the new laws for this (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883230)

Methinks you'd be singing a different tune if you had royalties coming in off of a console game you labored 12 months to create.

You people that want your precious freedoms better read the constitution again. It gives you the right to pursue happiness, so long as you don't start infringing on other people's rights to do the same.

So you can boycott Nintendo all you want, but you better do it for real, and throw away all your Nintendo EMU's and ROM's.

Patents & Anarchism (was PSX vs. mac PSX emula (1)

pridkett (2666) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883236)

Here is one of the interesting things which is why the article by Moglen, "Anarchism Triumphant". If the architecture of the PSX is covered by a patent, then even if connectix was able to implement the same thing through different methods, they still are in violation of the patent. So thus it would be illegal. Thus why I don't like patents. But I'm not clear on what happened in the legalities of the SCEA vs Connectix case.

I'd assume the same would hold true for the N64 (I'm sure there are patents in there). So with that being true, why haven't they bothered to go after dextrose [] ? As I'm sure most of the stuff there isn't licensed to use the patent. This brings me up to another question, if you need to have a license to make N64 (and I would assume PSX games) what about if you own a Yarooze system (blue playstation). Does that come with a license?

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883240)

What Does Nintendo Think of the Argument that an Emulator Like the UltraHLE is Actually Good for Nintendo Because it Promotes the Nintendo Brand to PC Users and Leads to More Sales of N64 Games?

Distribution of an emulator trades off of Nintendo's goodwill and the millions of dollars invested in research & development and marketing by Nintendo and its licensees. Substantial damages are caused to Nintendo and its licensees. It is irrelevant whether or not someone profits from the distribution of an emulator. The emulator promotes the play of illegal ROMS, NOT authentic games. Thus, not only does it not lead to more sales, it has the opposite effect and purpose.

Translation: when we announced the N64, people said we were stupid for using ROMs, when more cost-effective and easier-to-copy-protect media like CD-ROMs were generally available. We thought we showed them. This emulator stuff really makes us look stupid because if we had used CDs like Sony did people would be buying the games instead of downloading them. Since we're too stupid to strike a deal with the UltraHLE authors in which we acquire UltraHLE as a commercial product and sell it with a parallel port cartridge adapter so that it can only be used with real N64 cartridges, no one can use UltraHLE with genuine ROMs even if they wanted to, and we'll pretend that no one does just to strengthen our position. In view of this, we have also sent cease and desist letters to anyone who has ever written an emulator for our hardware (such as the booming Super Famicom/SNES market, which is currently tied with Sega Genesis in sales because no one buys either of them). Fa fa fa, buy more N64s.

Now ISPs *CAN* be responsible.... (1)

InfiniterX (12749) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883243)

(Sorry if I accidentally posted part of this message earlier, I hit "enter" too soon)

Thanks to the new "Digital Millennium Copyright Act," (ISP owners everywhere have Clinton to thank for this) ISPs can be held responsible for their users' copyright violations. The ISP becomes responsible only after the copyright owner has notified the ISP of the violations and given them a period of time to deal with it.

There are ways to avoid this though, George Lucas told ISPs that bootleg Star Wars MPEGs are illegal before the movie even came out, so now if anyone distributes Star Wars the ISPs can be held responsible since they've already been notified.

Here's how I see it... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883244)

I have a big problem with emulating current systems, except the PSX (which, if only the stupid blind idiots at Sony would take a look, actually increases their bottom line with every sale). The reason: piracy does happen on emulators. A lot (I do believe it would happen less if there were an easy way to get a cartridge into a computer; since there isn't most of us must rely on ROM's). And I think it isn't fair to do that to a current system.

Past systems for which games are no longer made? That's another subject entirely. There, my views mesh with those of most retrogamers.

I do have trouble with UltraHLE, therefore, and I think Nintendo does have a right to get pissed off over that one. They can't do anything about it, true, but in any case UltraHLE should never have been made, at least not until Dolphin was out and kicking.

Re:Emulators are legal. Period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883245)

nintendo needs their lawyer's heads examined. saying emulators is illegal is like saying that it's illegal to load a MS Word document in Star Office...

Microsoft would have been more reasonable (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883247)

It's sort of scary, but it's pretty clear that if Microsoft made consoles and someone came up with an emulator, Microsoft would go buy the emulator from them, package whatever is necessary to play authentic games (ie. cartridges), and start selling it. Embrace and extend, Nintendo.

They could even use a bit of public key cryptography to make sure that the cartridge adapter was a genuine Nintendo one (it might raise the price a bit, but not enough to make the price unattractive to consumers), and patent the damn adapter so no one else could make one. If it was reasonably priced, consumers would buy it, and would thank Nintendo for such a cool product.

I guess they really f***ed this one up.

It's called "durable media" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883254)

And you're not supposed to be allowed to back it up, because it doesn't need to be backed up. Well, I have hundreds of Atari 2600/ColecoVision/C64/etc. game cartridges and some of the software (including on the C64 motherboard) are stored in EPROM. The old 2716s claimed a data retention period of 13 or so years. Let's see... that's about now! i don't know about mased ROMs, but I do know that everything rots eventually so I will continue to backup.

Some on the game newsgroups extend the "durable media" argument to CDROM based games. They say they're illegal to backup because they don't decay. Well, go and rent any popular game from Blockbuster and see just how 'durable' CDROMs are. They are often unplayable due to minor scratches and scuffing. Nope. Doesn't look durable to me. And when a single game can cost almost $100USD (I buy expensive Japanese imports) for my kids (even good kids aren't always careful) I make sure they use a CDR copy and keep the original locked safely away.

Must be the air up in Richmond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883255)

It must be something with the air up there in
Richmond...all the companies there seem to be very paranoid and try to immediatly stop all development of emulators etc.
what a strange coincidence that Nintendo and M$ are located in the same city...

Legal? (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883258)

Anyone with a legal background mind sifting throught through the drivel at
Nazi-tendo did a great job of creating the ugliest, most opiniated article I've personally seen in a page of "Legal Information".

Emulators are legal. Period. (4)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883260)

Neither buisnesses nor the federal government can enforce laws preventing software from being developed or distributed unless it uses code or other software components that were protected under copyright. Like it or not, Nintendo couldn't even prevent another game company from making a nintendo "clone" if it used nothing but unprotected or independently developed resources. This is a competitive marketplace, and Nintendo, like it or not, can't say "You may not develop an emulator for our games", just like they can't say "You may not sell plain-text cheat books about our games" "You may not develop a console that can run our cartidges" or "You may not release games for the nintendo that do not get our seal of approval." If they wish to do that, they can not sell their product in the United States. We have laws and rights that encourage competition, and that is really all snes9x is. Competition. At least Nintendo should take the Microsoft point of view and BUY them out, there's much more honor and legal backing there.
Nintendo, emulators are not illegal. Emulation is not illegal either. Distributing copyrighted material is. If you don't get that straight right now, ya'll will probably regret it later. IP lawyers really love this stuff. Bottom line: Only two types of software is illegal. Pirated software and software that illegaly uses copyrighted code. snes9x was neither of those.
Saying "Emulators are illegal." is like Betty Crocker saying "Cookbooks that we don't make are illegal." You can not kill a product just because it can or may cut into profits, just like Microsoft can't kill Linux for the same reasons.

Check EmuHQ's FAQ Refutal (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883262)

EmuHQ [] has this FAQ commented for a while. It's here [] .

Emulators are legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883265)

Emulators are perfectly legal. Sony recently tried and failed to obtain an injuction to block the shipment of the Bleem! Playstation emulator.

But of course, the amount of justice you get is directly proportional to the amount of money you have and are willing to spend. Nintendo knows full well that the people behind snes9x are very likely to just going stop developing the emulator rather than fight a costly legal battle with Nintendo -- ordinary people can't be fighting legal battles with mega-corporations; see the bleem page [] for how much it cost those guys just to fight Sony.

Re:Poking holes? (1)

jaqbot (20264) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883266)

Seems as though nintendo corp is afraid of MAKING even MORE money. If THEY offered their OWN emulator, for a VERY modest price, say 30Bucks, that someone could actually Attatch to their computer, IE, a two part system. One half software, the otherhalf Hardware to interface the game cartridge with the computer, what would the big deal be? How can Nintendo stand in the face of change, the internet, and all the community stands for and say that we are actually HURTING their business. They got their 200bucks outta me for Zelda and the NES. So what are they complaining about.

Ooh..and one more thing...How does intellectual property have anything to do with emulation???

Re:Too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883267)

Right! what point are the pens other than to write down where to download emulators? the cameras are not useful for anything other than taking pictures of the game boxes at the local EB to paste in a launcher program.
And we all know that computers are the only way to run emulators.. I mean shoot, what other purpose could it possibly have besides this dubious one?

Nintendo Official Seal (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883274)

I don't think it's the ROMS per se that are illegal, but how people are getting them. Ever wonder what the "Official Seal of Approval" is on your Nintendo games? Is it some seal of quality that Nintendo assigns to game packs? Nope. It's the sign that Nintendo got some royalties off of the sale of that cart. That's why Nintendo fought Tengen and Camerica (not sure if this came up on the SNES.) So Big 'N' doesn't make a dime off of your download. I'm sure we'd hear the same thing from Atari for all their emulators, if Atari was in any recognizable form nowadays.

What "Anti-Piracy system"? (NOTE: IANAL) (5)

SEE (7681) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883276)

What is Nintendo's Position on the N64 Emulator, the UltraHLE?

The UltraHLE is illegal. The N64 emulator infringes Nintendo's intellectual property rights, including copyrights, and circumvents Nintendo's anti-piracy security system

Does the UltraHLE (or any other emulator) actually include any Nintendo code? If not, it can't violate the copyright.

And Nintendo doesn't have an anti-piracy security system -- because the security system does not prevent illegal copies of the games from being made, or even played on an N64 (if you have the ability to manufacture cartriges). The so-called "anti-piracy security system" just prevents both legal and illegal copies from being executed on non-Nintendo machines.

On the other hand, imagine for a moment that one of the hardware cartridge copiers is adapted slightly to only load the code into your PC's RAM, where it is then executed by an emulator. This does not violate the Nintendo or cartridge copyrights at any point unless I've included actual Nintendo code in the emulator or copy the cartridge other than into RAM for execution, which I havent done. But the Nintendo "anti-piracy system" would prevent legal execution of the game -- unless my emulator circumvents it.

Accordingly, the "anti-piracy system" is not copy protection, so tools to circumvent it do not violate even the new U.S. copyright laws. So Nintendo can stuff it.

Totally False. Atari only lost right to Tetris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883280)

Tengen continued to produce games for the NES after the Nintendo lawsuit. Only Tengen Tetris ceased production because Atari didn't have the home-version rights. Atari, BTW, produced the arcade version.

Re:This "law" never existed. (2)

Frater 219 (1455) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883281)

... except for the small but inconvenient fact that when I buy something, it's mine to do with what I choose, provided I don't violate anyone's rights.

It's certainly my right to protect my investment by making a backup of it. I bought the software (or if you like, the license to use the software) and I don't plan on letting something stupid like the degradation of the original media interfere with my right to use it!

Not written by a lawyer (5)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883282)

Posted by Forrest J. Cavalier III:

1. Since the N legal FAQ was obviously not written by a lawyer, and IANAL, I feel qualified to respond.

2. If someone could point me to a law which says copying devices are illegal to own/build, cable TV descramblers are illegal to own/build, I'd appreciate it. Truthfully, I don't have either, but as far as I know, it is illegal to use those devices to commit illegal acts of copyright infringement, but not illegal to have them. Will M$ start arguing that computers are illegal because they can be used to pirate their stuff? Didn't the motion picture industry try to use the same argument against VCRs?

As I understand the copyright laws, it would be perfectly legal for someone to buy a legit copy of a game, and then use the device to make a copy.

3. Emulators developed without containing the copyrightable elements of a product, are not copyright infringement. Copyrights do not protect from duplicating designs or functionality. Patents do. (If a lawyer had written their FAQ, they would have not tried to use a copyright argument to explain why emulators are illegal. Well, maybe it was a bad lawyer.)

But one thing is true, if it weren't for copyright infringement, there wouldn't be much point in having an emulator. There would be so little to run on it.

Forrest J. Cavalier III, Mib Software Voice 570-992-8824
The Reuse RocKeT [] Efficient awareness for software reuse: Free WWW site
lists over 6000 of the most popular open source libraries, functions, and applications.

Bad Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883286)

It is just wrong that people get denied the experience of experiencing classics like chronotrigger. 10 years old or no, they are still good games. Nintendo should either make the games available (howabout a ROM for the n64 featuring the collected works of square? sega did it) or shut up.

Re:Poking holes? (1)

nester (14407) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883288)

there's a simple solution. don't buy nintendo products and someone should setup or something like that and to let others know of nintendo's practices.

Re:Poking holes? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883289)

That's would be a great idea.. But companies seems to blind to this...
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Who has time/money to spend on lawsuit? Do you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883290)

Most emulators are written not by companies, but by individuals or small teams of individuals who then distribute their code on personal home pages. Now the makers of Bleem may have the bucks and the team of company lawyers to combat Sony's legal team. But for people like you and me, who cannot afford to spend money full time while not earning any income to fight years-long court battles is just ludicrous. Inability to endure the legal process means many who were sued by big companies just gave up even though they were in the right. So being right or wrong doesn't always matter. Simply having money to burn wins you court cases too and lets you freely trample the little guy. While the ACLU may help a lucky few, they don't have enough resources to help everyone being walked on by big companies. We need a 'pre-trial' for those filing suits to force them to convince a judge that a trial is at least merited before they can sue others.

Rock stars make money from CDs too. (1)

cynicthe (33709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883291)

Rock stars also let you tape to a DAT! Get a grip. As for playing "pirated" games. If you want to go ahead and download games that are 30-50MB in size you go ahead do that on single phone line your whole household uses.

And stop saying piracy. Players are not guerilla arsonists murdering truck drivers in an ambush.

The industry is bent on convincing people that in this world there are game playing couch potatoes who couldn't tell a good story if their life depended on it, the companies who entertain and are the only ones who can make a game by some divine fortune. Oh yeah and them stinkin, ugly, murderin criminals, them pirates. Get real!

FAQ - Who typed that? (1)

fuerstma (15683) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883295)

Yeesh. Did anybody actually look at that FAQ? "I Am The Nintendo FAQ And I Feel That I Have To Capitalize The Beginning Of Every Word". Did like some secretary get assigned this task and got paid double for every letter involving the Shift key or something?

I suppose it shouldn't be any suprise that "the man" is trying to bring down "the little people". Same old story. It's useless now to completely quash it. I mean there are thousands of hotline servers out there, thousands of http and ftp sites with offending materials. I guess the goal is trying to make it less easy. Do I have a problem with that? Well, maybe I should, but I guess I am the upper crust 1% or so that won't freek out when is down. I know to just surf on over elsewhere. My like great grandpapa that read about emulation in Wired or something is going to be bumming and going to give up, so I guess in that sense the Big-N wins.

Signing Off From Capitilization Land - Nintendo Now You Are Playing With Power And The Shift Key.

I'm out

Too much (1)

gas (2801) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883296)

Why don't they declare pens, cameras and computers illegal while they're at it?

Nintendo never claims emulators are illegal.... (1)

Cheesemaker (36551) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883297)

The site never actually comes out and states that emulators are illegal. It states that they promote piracy and they BELIEVE the UltraHLE emulator is illegal because they BELIEVE it infringes on intellectual copyrights. It's a poor use of logic, but that's why there are two separate questions:

What is Nintendo's Position on the N64 Emulator, the UltraHLE?


Does Nintendo Believe the UltraHLE Violates its Intellectual Property Rights?

Did I just infringe on Nintendo's intellectual property rights by posting their questions? :-)

Re:Nintendo's tried this before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883299)

This is from README.TXT:

Snes9x: The Portable Super Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator
================================================ =================
v1.19 30-APR-1999

Some notes (5)

pridkett (2666) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883302)

From a corporate view, this seems to make some sense. Corporations wish to protect all of their assets, and the technology of their video games is an asset, but here is what interests me from the reading of this FAQ.

Does Nintendo Think Emulation Companies Promote Piracy? Why?

Yes. The only purpose of video game emulators are to play illegal copied games from the Internet.

This is not true. Most of the time the emulator is started by an author who wishes not nescessairly to play "illegal copied games from the internet" but to figure out how the CPU works. I can speak from experience that if I had source code to a fully working N64 emulator my last CPU I had to design for class would have been easier; we had to implement a MIPS cpu with bonus points for new instructions, I only wish I knew what new instructions to add. Its also interesting because I never remember having to agree to a licensing agreement saying I wouldn't reverse engineer my N64 or any of my games.

Haven't the Copyrights for Old Games Expired?

U.S. copyright laws state that copyrights owned by corporations are valid for 75 years from the date of first publication. Because video games have been around for less than three decades, the copyrights of all video games will not expire for many decades to come.

Nintendo may want to check on this, there was a small caveat made in I believe 1993 for software that DOES deal with its commercial exploitability. I realize that most roms sites think the rule is the holy grail (which it isn't) but it does affect this situation. Unfortunately I don't have a link to it right now.

Can Websites and/or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) be Held Liable for Violation of Intellectual Property Rights if they are Only Providing Links to Illegal Software and/or Other Illegal Devices?

Yes. The websites and/or ISPs for sites which link to ROMs, emulators and/or illegal copying devices can be held liable for copyright and trademark violations, regardless of whether the illegal software and/or devices are on their site or whether they are linking to the sites where the illegal items are found.

Nintendo may want to check on this. A person with a web page can be held responsible. But I don't believe that an ISP can nescessarily be held responsible, after all we still have GeoCitites don't we and lord knows how many roms they house (aside: wouldn't it be fun just to browse their hard drive and see all the fun files?)

it might also be worth some time for people to review the article "anarchism triumphant" [] by Eben Moglen, as some of its principles can be applied to thinking about this area.

Re:Dammit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883307)

I have thought that nintendo was a shitty company since I was 13. The last nintendo system I bought (or ever plan on buying) is the original NES/Famicom

People joke about how some company like Sun wants to be microsoft but doesn't have the resources.. Nintendo wants to be their own monopoly and doesn'
t care that it turns off 90% the developers to work on PSX(2), they still deal in required exclusive contracts, production deals, etc.

I really hope nintendo burns. I feel very sad that the Sega Saturn did as badly as it did when it was a competitor that could have pushed nintendo under.

PS: Cool Fact- Nintendo started out as a playing-card manufacturer

Re:Let's be honest... (3)

ldemon (28332) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883310)

Does Nintendo actually produce the SNES machine anymore?

If not ... then why not, as surely the only way we can now play these games (legally, i.e. not using a 'fake' piece of SNES hardware) is to use an emulator.

Surely Nintendo should be looking into controlling these ROM images and possibly distribute them in a 'legal' manner. Instead they bitch about us using a replacement to hardware they no longer provide.

And that 'Legal' document isn't legal. It's just an outline of somebodies idea of how they think the legal system works around Nintendo. I'd take it all with a pinch of salt.


Re:Some notes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883311)

The fact that an N64 emulator can be used for the innocuous study of CPU architecture may be true, but it is certainly no compelling reason to declare that emulators should be legal. There is tons of proprietary technology you could learn lots from but is legally protected from being made public.

As a software developer, I can certainly see the frustration of spending millions of dollars and years of development just so someone can go and make all your technology free to the world without your permission. If the ultimate form of success in video game development is that people emulate your hardware and put a huge dent in your ability to recoup your investments, it seems this would be a significant deterrent to putting forth the effort to write great software in the first place.

Re:Emulators illegal? don't think so. (1)

Colol (35104) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883315)

>Also emulation deals mainly with older products >not with actual ones.

Maybe for some of us, but definately not all. If emulation dealt mainly with older systems (you don't see NOA throwing a hissy over all the NES emulation... yet.), there wouldn't be at least 5 N64 emulators and tons of sites with N64 roms, which is what they're worried about. When they're selling their new console -still- for over US$100
and the games at anywhere from US$50-US$70 a piece, they're growing more and more paranoid.

Why on earth they even care about the SNES anymore, I don't know. I highly doubt they're making that much money off of it. Heck, they don't even bat an eyelash at the VirtualBoy emulators (but then, neither would I).

They Should! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883320)

You know, the only use of pens you know is to write threating messages, so those must be bad.

And cameras only purpose is to take pictures of young children for pedophiles!

Computers, doesn't everybody know their the root of all evil? Their an instrument of the devil! (Well, maybe not the devil, but mine's an instrument of some daemons.)

PSX vs. mac PSX emulator (1)

Speef (48687) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883321)

Wasn't there a lawsuit a few months ago when that psx emulator for the mac cam out? Wasn't the outcome as long as the emulator uses its own code it is totally legal? *shrug* I heard this from a co-worker, so maybe it's not true.

Legal background (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883322)

That legal information page is an attempt to
create fear and misinformation to get the
rusult they wish.
It is possible for an emulator to be illegal
if the emulator was created by looking at the
original and creating the emulator. If it was
created by looking at the code for the games
and emulating the machine, then it is probably
not illegal.
The article trys to make the reader believe that
if it is possible that an emulator can be illegal,
that is must be so.
A device used to copy the cartriges is not
illegal either. Thats just a junk statement.
Notice they phrase "Does Nintendo believe the
'blah' is illegal? At least they have the sense
not to say it IS illegal.
I guess I should go get out my intellectual
property textbooks, and have a look.
Do you believe everything a company posts?
How about the sign at an automatic car wash?
"Not responsible for damage to autos."
Maybe I should get a gun that says on the side,
"Not responsible for damage caused by bullets."

Re:Let's be honest... (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883324)

Hehehe yeah right.

Hey mom, let's go rent Donkey Kong so I can download it and play it for the weekend as a ROM!

Somehow I find it very hard to swallow that you actually do this. But let's say you really do this... $10 says the majority of emulator users don't -- but you'll never get them to admit it. Why should they, when you can't prove it?

This "law" never existed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883325)

I can do more than confirm it.

The archival/backup law NEVER EXISTED. It's not a law, folks. In many cases it's an exception granted in many software licenses. It NEVER EVER was a law. Urban legend.


Re:Legal? (2)

Critter (9014) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883328)

I have very little legal background, but I'll comment anyway. :-)

The overall information contained in this document is the _position_ of Nintendo; while they do present some facts other information there is just their opinion: ROM images are illegal, Emulators are illegal, ROM burners are illegal. N could not possibly know the copyright status of every piece of information ever burned on a ROM. Burners and readers are standard industry tools, just owning one is not illegal. Emulators, in my mind, are an open debate for many reasons; Like ROMs, N could not possibly know the IP status of everything emulatable; but more importantly, hardware is covered by patent not copyright--I question whether software, an emulator, capable of producing a similar effect as a patented hardware is an infringement. This is almost a look-and-feel issue.

Make the whole debate moot. Write free software games for open standard architecture. Then Nintendo will beg you to use their products!

Re:Legal background (1)

The_Wind (11976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883330)

The argument of any emulator being illegal because it was done taking a look at the original (reverse enginniering) it's only applicable to the EEUU, not in Europe, since it's legit to do so if its in the benefit of public mases , and emulators fail in that category because they broaden the access of people to certain programs and games.


webslacker (15723) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883331)

For now here is Jerremy's (owner of comment on the situation:

'I just wanted to let everybody know what has happend to Snes9X.COM. According to my host they have shutdown the site because it has illegal content, after contacting my host, they have answered that they have taken offline my site because they have gotten an email from nintendo stating that emulators are illegal.

They are not allowing me access to the site, so until a new host is found, the site is offline ! What Nintendo has mailed to my host is unknown. The only thing I know is that Nintendo was referring to the following page: Where they clearly state that their policy is that emulators are illegal, and thus Snes9x is illegal. They probably won't sue me directly since I live in The Netherlands and chances are that they would never be able to win the case !

Jerremy Koot'

Re:Patents & Anarchism (was PSX vs. mac PS (1)

Prothonotar (3324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883335)

Trouble is, most of these bleeding-edge hardware companies opt for copywrite protection rather than patent, because the patent process takes so long that by the time the patent would be granted, the hardware is obsolete.
Aaron Gaudio
"The fool finds ignorance all around him.

You can thank the new laws for this (4)

scrytch (9198) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883338)

You know, the one that extends copyright so long you won't ever see a classic become public domain within your great grandchildren's lifetime, the one that makes a thoughtcrime out of possessing software that could make other illegal-to-possess programs. Anything that could be used to reverse engineer precious intellectual property..

The monkey cage goes into a fit screeching at Microsoft for their attempts at lock-in but don't give a second thought to buying proprietary hardware to buy proprietary games. This is vertical lock-in, folks, what are you going to do if one company does create the ultimate console and the others dry up and blow away? Will anyone ever get back into this market when you feed at the trough of the this console maker, who demands that all games made for it be licensed only to it? Maybe not now, maybe not in a couple years... How about 5? How many new Sega titles do you see now?

Don't just boycott Nintendo, boycott consoles.

well...if this was a clean room copy ... (1)

Firehawk (7687) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883343)

Does the UltraHLE (or any other emulator) actually include any Nintendo code? If not, it can't violate the copyright. if indeedy it was done in a 'clean room' fashion (hmm...), then this surely is a form of flattery to Nintendo that people liked their game system so much that they were willing to write an emulator to play Nintendo games on their PC. granted, passing around those games would be a copyright violation, but hey...

Re:Jaguar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883344)

Huh? Why is that?

Links (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883345)

I don't see how a hypertext link to material on another web site can be illegal, even if that material violates a copyright. A hypertext link is a fact, not a creative work.

What if I printed and distributed a flyer that listed the names and addresses of the best places to buy illegal drugs, child pornography and nuclear weapons?

Is Nintendo going to demand that I stick my head in a wood chipper because I looked at images from a copyrighted video game, thus producing an illegal copy of the images in the neurons of my brain?

Dammit... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883348)

And I was so looking forward to getting a Dolphin eventually, too. However, I'd say it's time to call for a boycott of Nintendo over this. At least until they get it straight that emulators themselves are perfectly legal and stop this crap.

In other words, this means war.

Re:Links (1)

Romen (10819) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883353)

This gets even more absurd -
Any search engine worth its salt will neccesarily include links to sites that have pirated ROM's. Therefore, all search engines are in violation of copyright law.
Oh wait, that's really dumb.
I hope they plan to proofread that FAQ sometime.


Re:Patents & Anarchism (was PSX vs. ma (1)

Rupert (28001) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883354)

Also (AIUI & IANAL) you can't unfairly restrict other people from using your patent. You can charge royalties, but they have to be reasonable. If Nintendo patents their technology, they have to let the emulator writers use those patents. Words in italics have their meanings determined by a judge.

About SNES9x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883355)

In case people do not know, SNES9x is a brilliant super Nintendo emulator that even runs on Linux. It plays games such as Super Mario World and *way* more almost flawlessly. Full screen. With sound.

Parking lots say "not responsible for theft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883356)

All drugs say "Consult a physician". Did you for an asparin or an antacid or a cough drop?
Playland at McDonalds says "not responsible for injury"
Software says essentially, "not responsible for anything"
Just for fun I called the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency in the US) and was unable to get anyone to officially say it was permitted to discharge a can of spraypaint into the atmosphere (I wanted to paint my bike).
Laws and laywers are creating a paranoid litigous society.

Did anyone ever see that early Sliders episode where they ended up in "lawyer world". You know; where the fast food guy won't sell you a burger and fries without notarized certification from your physician that your cholestorol is below x. Are we really that far away from such a society?

Could somoene confirm this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883358)

This part of the FAQ:
"It is well established by judicial decisions in the United States that this limited exception does not apply to game data contained in ROM semiconductor chips in video game cartridges."

So all you have to do is put stuff on ROM media to prevent the backup clause? Or is it only ROM semiconductors? Seems awfully arbitrary to me.

Re:Not written by a lawyer (1)

kabir (35200) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883359)

What about the PSX emulator from Connectix? I think it runs it's games off authentic PSX style CDs -- no need to infringe on anyone's copyright there. NOA just has a problem becuase they're still stuck in the cartridge era.

Precedents..... (3)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883361)

Xerox Copiers are not illegal.
Copiers are used for the sole purpose of creating an exact copy of another peice of paper.
You can say that Xerox copier encourage piracy of copyrighted material.
However, you can't say that copiers are illegal because of whatever purpose they may be used for. "Possible Intent" has no bearing on the legality of any product......

Re:Let's be honest... (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883365)

I for one use snes9x quite regularly. I just happen to use it with ROMS for games that I DO own. (or playing a rom for a weekend while i've rented the actual cartridge)
So here's a question, how many of us emulator users actually own cartidges of the games we emulate?

Re:Sue them back already? (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883366)

Didn't Sony sue one or more emulator companies trying to prevent them from selling their emulators? I wouldn't classify that as "not giving a crap about emulators."

"Second they should understand the full meaning of open source. The fact that anyone with the brain to let the lawn mower rot and get coding and read and learn can produce large scale software projects should remind Nintendo, Sony, M$, and the rest of the world that code is a natural or rather infinite virtual resource. The hierarchy is false and artificial. Enough inforacketeering already."

That's not true; code is not an infinite virtual resource. It takes people to write it. And although it's cool and noble to pretend we live in a Star Trek universe, where money doesn't matter, it DOES. People need money to buy things they need to live, and things they want to be happy and content. What would you have these freedom-coders pay for their computer with? Promises to create free programs? Idealism is great, just don't let it get out of hand, please.

"Third Piracy my ass. No one ambushed a Nintendo distributors shipment to steal the consoles kill the driver and burn the truck.. Wake up. "

Wow, this is the second time I've seen this argument today. So either you wrote both articles, or this is spreading around for some reason.

When someone says, "look at that gay man over there," do you immediately think they're talking about a homosexual man, or a happy man? That's right, the word gay has changed in the vernacular to mean homosexual. Sure, if a really old person says the word, you might think twice.

Now here comes "piracy." Yeah, it used to mean one-eyed pirates with swords and swashbuckles. And what did pirates do? They stole treasures and property out on the high seas. Pirates do still exist today, just like happy men, but when you hear someone refer to software piracy, you know what they mean. They stole the software.

Lo-and-behold, this definition is available in most dictionaries. Now, I know there are no Dictionary ROM's available, but go down to the library and pick one up when you get a chance. You might find out that piracy also means, "the unauthorized reproduction or use of copyrighted material, a patented invention, etc." (Random House Webster's Dictionary).


Emulators illegal? don't think so. (1)

The_Wind (11976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883368)

Although I'm not a lawyer, I think that actually nearly every emulator is completely legal, the recent disposition of a EEUU tribunal declaring software as a language and thus protected by the free speech amend of the constitution takes down avery other legal argument. Also Nintendo is a big Sucker that only wants you to pay the highest price for a game, if they suffer from high piracy they better lower their prices; In spain there's a gaming company that has a very low piracy index, why? all the games sold by them are at 25$ or less, at this price I reather buy their game tahn copy. Also emulation deals mainly with older products not with actual ones.

Re:Emulators are legal... comma, (4)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883374)

It's not so open and shut as "emulators are legal, period."

Where did Nintendo say they were illegal? I read the same FAQ you did, and I don't see that anywhere. They did say they believe UltraHLE was illegal, and I remember this was because they said they had reason to believe the authors referred to the N64 software to create their EMU.

You're right, emulators are perfectly legal... but only if they are designed in a clean room, where none of the authors have seen the code for the software they are emulating. Some emulator authors have worked in clean room situations. Did the UltraHLE authors do this? I don't know, but Nintendo does not believe so. Have they proved it in a court of law yet? I don't think so.

stupid F**** (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883377)

If the damm game makers would port to Linux they woudl not have this problem, and they would make more money. Emulation is reverse engineering. I don't theink that they can say that ALL ROMS on the internet are illegal. If I created one on my machine, and posted it on the internet it would be legal. It looks like a deterrant method to stop the NES emulatin project. They fear that it may get ported to another platform. I think that they would have a tough case, unless the emulaion progream uses patented / copywrighted or a trademark .

Re:Consider the other side's arguments for once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883379)

Piracy is always going to happen. Nintendo won't be able to stop it. What about people trading ROMs over ICQ? IRC?

Even if they shut the snes9x site down, lots of people still have it on their hard drives. Do you think Nintendo can catch everyone one of them?

Actually, what could happen as was mentioned before is that Nintendo release their own emulator. It could only play Nintendo-released ROMs. This doesn't really work in the mp3 area, but Nintendo could release the ROMs of old games that aren't published anymore. This ROM format would probably be secure to some extent so that people couldn't use them on other emulators. More people would use the Nintendo emulator to play the old classics, less people go around looking for ROMs...etc. Eventually the illegal ROMs (of classics) start to disappear as people don't need them anymore.

Of course, people could still use both emulators, but hey, its a start.

It doesn't really offer a solution to new games being copied, but it shoots down one of the excuses to using emulators.

Oh, but Nintendo could offer some kind of nag splash screen for its emulator(in the background, not too annoying). Ie "We gave you these classic games for your enjoyment, please stop using illegal emulators"

Nintendo's tried this before. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1883380)

Does anyone else remember snes9x vanishing after v .24 or so? Apparently the story on that was that they had gotten offered to have that for commercial sale, but Nintendo stepped in and said "Okay, you can do this if you sign this document that says you've done all these illegal things that we can promptly sue every cell on your body into bankruptcy." Sickening.

It's really too bad. It's fairly obvious they won't listen to either the law or a small faction of emulation users on this case. (Sorry, most people have never even heard of them..) And the simple fact is that they don't /need/ to. All they have to do is threaten legal action to cause this sort of chaos. Since law pre-court tends to veer towards whoever has the more money, Nintendo doesn't really even have to win.

Oh well. I doubt coding will stop on it just because of this, just releases. As soon as they're capable of doing so again... I should have bugged Gary about the one bug I found in the 3dfx version.(Try running SD3 in 3dfx TV mode. Funnier than hell, if unplayable.)

-- Patrick McCarthy, who still has yet to get an account.

Sue them back already? (1)

cynicthe (33709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883381)

Nintendo, the International Drunken Sailors Association, and the Euro-Nazi-IDSA need to get out.

Sony doesn't give a crap about the emulators. They said they make little money from consoles. They make their money from licensing the libraries used to make games. Since BSD, Linux, etc userc get their gcc glibc libeverything should M$ or Borland/Inprise/Borland or cygnus kill them because itr gives people the capability to produce software?

Second they should understand the full meaning of open source. The fact that anyone with the brain to let the lawn mower rot and get coding and read and learn can produce large scale software projects should remind Nintendo, Sony, M$, and the rest of the world that code is a natural or rather infinite virtual resource. The hierarchy is false and artificial. Enough inforacketeering already.

Third Piracy my ass. No one ambushed a Nintendo distributors shipment to steal the consoles kill the driver and burn the truck.. Wake up.

And remind ZDNET CNN MSCNNNBCABC that there's important things than the fucking Clinton/Monica story that Littleton was a tragedy caused by two spoiled smart non-geek brats, that news stations should be held responsible for opening a channel for copycats, tthat school administrators have a responsibility to stay above paranoia, and that the ratings system has made news reporting a farce. (1)

emad (4377) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883384)

Head over to and learn everything you want to know about developing for the n64.


ch-chuck (9622) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883385)

Emulators SHOULDN'T be illegal - running stolen ROM images on them is - I wish the gove would stop transgressing our liberties to enforce unenforcable laws.


Re:Who has time/money to spend on lawsuit? Do you? (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883386)

Firstly, nintendo hasn't taken any legal action against the creators of snes9x. While this step wouldn't be far off, it would force the issue to trial, where I think it would be killed on the basis of precident.
Secondly, you stated that what's right & wrong doesn't always matter. Not true. What's right & wrong always matters, it just tends to be ignored by companies like Nintendo. What we have to do is force the issue the other way.
Each and every one of us who believe that Nintendo's action is moot needs to make clear their position. If avid LEGAL nintendo cartidge owners complain to Nintendo, the "fear factor" might just be enough to end this. Add to that some well-crafted letters from lawyers in this community, and we might even pull off a letter of apology, requesting that snes9x's creators' ISP place their content back up.

Re:Dammit... (1)

Tomguycot (88915) | more than 15 years ago | (#1883387)

Yes, war indeed. I personally haven't bought a nintendo product in several years because of a previous disagreement over nintendo policy however if I wasn't already pissed at nintendo this would definately do it. I also think it's time we let nintendo know just what we think...does anyone have a good email adress....heh heh. I hope they take hell over this.Not, that I agree with Sony's views on emulation either but I hope playstation buries 'em.
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