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February 14, 1999

NINTENDO WILL TAKE EMULATOR WRITERS TO COURT

By CBR Staff Writer

Nintendo PR manager Beth Llewellyn has confirmed that the company will take legal action over the UltraHLE Nintendo 64 emulator published on the web in January (CI No 3,592). The emulator lets PC users download and play pirated Nintendo game ROMs. UltraHLE is not the first such emulator, but by all accounts it’s the best so far. Its authors, who call themselves Reality Man and Epsilon, made the software available for download from a site called Emulators Unlimited. When the company protested, they removed it from the site, but users who had already downloaded the software published their copies elsewhere. Nintendo is very disturbed that Reality Man and Epsilon have widely distributed a product designed solely to play infringing copies of copyrighted works developed by Nintendo and its third-party licensees, said Llewellyn in a formal statement. We are taking several measures to further protect and enforce our intellectual property rights which, of course, include the bringing of legal action. Emulators and ROMs are clearly infringing and damage not only ‘larger industry players’ such as Nintendo but hundreds of smaller companies who invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours to develop and program software only to have it stolen on the internet. In a twist to the UltraHLE story, early reports that the source code to the emulator had been published turned out to refer to an awkward reverse-engineering of the software by a programmer called GossiTheDog. This programmer ran UltraHLE through a program which translates executable files into readable code, but the attempt was so crude, the source code won’t even recompile. So Nintendo doesn’t need to worry about an open source Nintendo 64 emulator, at least for the time being.

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