After Nintendo blocked the release of Dolphin on Steam, which emulates Nintendo’s GameCube and Wii games, Valve didn’t want to get involved in the case between the Big N and the emulator’s developers.
We’ve previously reported on the letter Nintendo sent to Valve, but we’ve now learned that it was sent to Gabe Newell’s company because Valve approached the Japanese company on a sure-fire basis. “Given Nintendo’s history of taking action against some emulators, we brought this to their attention proactively after the Dolphin team announced it was coming soon to Steam,” Kaci Aitchison Boyle, a spokeswoman for Valve, told The Verge.
Nintendo is citing a law that stops companies from hosting technology that circumvents copyrights, and essentially, the Japanese company could go straight after Valve if Dolphin were available on Steam. So Valve has helped Nintendo by saying that they are offering an open platform. The developers should talk to the big N because if the emulator was put on Steam, Nintendo could take legal action against the US company, and even though they have the money for good lawyers, they don’t want to go to court over it…
“Nintendo is committed to protecting the hard work and creativity of video game engineers and developers. This emulator illegally circumvents Nintendo’s protection measures and runs illegal copies of games. Using illegal emulators or illegal copies of games harms development and ultimately stifles innovation. Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and, in turn, expects others to do the same,” said Nintendo spokesman Eddie Garcia. And what about those who are NOT running illegal copies of games? Seriously, how often do we have to mention the term backup copy?
Finally, here is Valve’s statement: “We operate Steam as an open platform, but that relies on creators shipping only things they have the legal right to distribute. Sometimes third parties raise legal objections to things on Steam, but Valve isn’t well positioned to judge those disputes–the parties have to go to court or negotiate between themselves. For example, an accusation of copyright infringement can be handled under the DMCA process. Still, other disputes (like trademark infringement or a breach of contract claim between a developer and a publisher) don’t have a statutory dispute resolution process, so in these cases, we generally will cease distributing the material until the parties tell Valve that they have resolved their dispute. We don’t want to ship an application we know could be taken down because that can be disruptive to Steam users. Given Nintendo’s history of taking action against some emulators, we proactively brought this to their attention after the Dolphin team announced it was coming soon to Steam. Based on the letter we received, Nintendo and the Dolphin team have a clear legal dispute between them, and Valve can’t sit in judgment.”
So Valve has kneeled in front of Nintendo. Congratulations!