Is Discord nuking Nintendo Switch emulator devs and their entire servers?

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Discord has taken drastic action against the Nintendo Switch emulator projects Suyu and Sudachi, shutting down their servers and disabling the lead developers’ accounts. Despite inquiries into the reasons behind this decision, Discord has remained tight-lipped, leaving many questions unanswered.

According to Discord’s director of product communications, Kellyn Slone, the shutdown was in response to legal demands, including a court-ordered injunction. However, the developers of Suyu and Sudachi claim they only received vague notices about alleged violations of intellectual property rights.

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While Nintendo previously compelled the Yuzu emulator to settle out of court, it did not acquire rights to Yuzu’s freely copyable GPL v3 code. Developers of Yuzu’s forks asserted that they were modifying the code to avoid infringing Nintendo’s rights. However, it remains unclear whether users were sharing copyrighted materials, such as cryptographic keys or pirated games, within these Discord servers.

Discord’s response has raised concerns, as its policy suggests a less severe approach for first-time offenders of copyright infringement. However, Discord has not clarified whether these users had a history of infringement or received prior warnings.

Jarrod Norwell, the developer of Sudachi, expressed surprise at Discord’s actions, asserting that Sudachi was not engaged in infringing activities. Despite Discord’s vague notifications about intellectual property issues, Norwell has not received detailed explanations.

Traditionally, DMCA takedown requests focus on content rather than individuals or groups. Discord’s policy reflects this, requiring a description of the infringing content and its location. However, it appears that Discord bypassed this process by de-platforming the emulator projects entirely.

While Discord is not obligated to host content it deems inappropriate, some speculate that evidence of software piracy may have influenced its decision. For some Suyu developers, the shutdown may signal the end of their involvement in the project, leading to internal disputes and the formation of new projects. Meanwhile, Sudachi’s developer remains committed to his ongoing projects.

Nintendo’s recent takedowns extend beyond Switch emulators to include tools like the Sigpatch Updater and Lockpick_RCM, further illustrating its efforts to protect its intellectual property rights.