Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023

This week, GitHub posted a takedown notice it received from Nintendo of America’s legal representation. The Mario creators believe that a popular Javascript-based Game Boy Advance emulator hosting its resource on GitHub has violated the company’s copyright for the affected games.

“Nintendo is requesting GitHub, Inc. to disable public access to the website at,” the letter reads. “This website provides access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted video games and videos that use Nintendo’s copyrighted Pokémon characters and images in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights.”

The takedown notice cites both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and GitHub’s own “Guide to Filing a DMCA Notice”. In all, Nintendo identified more than 20 games and two franchises (Metroid and pokemon) that violate copyright law, and the individual titles range from popular (pokemon Silver and Gold) obscure (remember golden sun?). The company requested that GitHub immediately remove 32 unique URLs corresponding to different emulators. The notification identifies each infringing URL and the sites in question are now providing 404s.

TorrentFreak notes that despite fan interest in such nostalgic projects, Nintendo is largely unsatisfied with user-created initiatives. As far back as 2008, the company shut down homebrewers that made Nintendo DS-compatible carts of old, pirated games. As late as March, the company sent a takedown request to Cloudfare for hosting a browser-based version of Cloudfare Super Mario 64s first level (created by a computer science student).

If you’re eager to play old games through some emulator, the Internet Archive (perhaps) remains the best option. The cache of thousands of playable retro games even includes Nintendo’s beloved monkey Donkey Kong. How is that different from a random GitHub user trying to offer a vintage gaming experience? As Giant Bomb once reported on the collection, the Internet Archive has a specific DMCA exemption. The organization has applied this to much of its hosted software because of that specific code‘s rarity and need for preservation.

Update (23:20): The article has removed an erroneous reference to “patents”. Instead of patents, the takedown notice identifies individual copyrights. Ars regrets the error and the text has been updated accordingly.

By akfire1

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