The previously announced Steam port of the Wii U and Gamecube emulator, known as the Dolphin Emulator, has been indefinitely postponed following a cease-and-desist order from Nintendo.
The Dolphin Emulator Project team shared the update in an official blog post, outlining that Nintendo a DMCA against the Steam page, forcing them to postpone the development of the port indefinitely. Dolphin Emulator has been formally removed from Steam after being delayed and will remain removed until the dispute is settled.
Dolphin Emulator Postponed on Steam
The Steam port for the Dolphin Emulator was formally announced on March 28, 2023, with the Steam page being put up with information from the Dolphin Emulator Project team. The port for the emulator was planned to be released sometime later this year.
However, on May 26, 2023, Nintendo issued a cease and desist order against Valve, claiming that the release on Steam violates Nintendo’s intellectual property rights as outlined in the Anti-Circumvention and AntiTrafficking provisions, 17 U.S.C. § 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Following this issue, the team was forced to take down the Dolphin Emulator Steam page and claimed that the port’s development will be postponed for an unknown amount of time until the dispute was formally settled.
Dolphin ex-treasurer Pierre Bourbon formally outlined the exact provisions of the DMCA notice, pointing out that, under the circumstances, there may be little chance of settling the dispute.
He outlined that the DMCA has a formal set of rules that allow for different processes followed by the parties involved. However, this DMCA notice does not claim that Dolphin violated copyright but rather that it violated anti-circumvention laws.
Anti-circumvention laws are much more specific and prohibit circumvention – avoidance of some obstacle or difficulty – any technological measure that “effectively controls access” to a work or product protected under US copyright law.
In other words, because Dolphin is an emulator that effectively circumvents the need to purchase or own any of the Wii U or Gamecube games that Nintendo owns, it violates anti-circumvention laws, making it very unlikely that the Steam will go through.
However, that is only possible, and the team claims they are doing what they can to resolve the issue legally.