Nintendo orders Google to hide modding websites from its search engine

Nintendo is notorious for going hard after mods.

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More and more entertainment and gaming industry giants are going for DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision when issuing takedown notices against alleged copyright infringers.

These notices are sent to Google, demanding that URLs leading to websites believed to contain “pirated” services or products be removed from search results.

Among them is Nintendo, notorious for dedicating a lot of manpower and money to its anti-piracy effort that relies on several strategies, including suing owners of websites offering gaming ROMs, and asking courts to block them at the ISP level, writes TorrentFreak.

The appeal of anti-circumvention takedown notices is that unlike court battles, this is seen as a cheap and easy way to effectively destroy discoverability of thousands of sites at once by removing them from the results produced by the world’s dominant search engine.

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The charge of piracy contained in such DMCA claim lies in products or services removing built-in barriers that are supposed to prevent unauthorized distribution.

The latest “wave” of anti-circumvention notices sent to Google is not Nintendo’s first, while its argument has been that the offending sites list devices, products and components with its technological protection measures, TPMs, disabled, allowing users to play “unofficial copies” of games.

TorrentFreak says that Nintendo’s main target and priority here is Team-Xecutor, whose SX OS and SX Pro products are said to be circumventing Nintendo+s TPMs, including on Switch devices.

Nintendo’s battle against Team-Xecutor started last fall, continued in December, and is now receiving a fresh boost with a flurry of takedown notices that Google is complying with.

Not only is the game giant looking to bypass the justice system and quickly and inexpensively remove the presence of its “arch-enemies” from the internet’s most relevant platform – it’s also throwing in a favor for another giant, that is supposed to be one of its “arch-rivals.”

Namely, the takedown notices also ask Google to remove URLs to sites with software allowing modifications of Microsoft’s XBox 360.

The report says that it’s hard to tell whether or not this is intentional – but the fact remains that Nintendo has targeted websites by including those related to Microsoft’s products in two batches of takedowns sent out so far.

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Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovic is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovic is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]