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Nintendo orders Google to hide websites selling tools that allow users to install custom Switch firmware

Google complied.
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Nintendo has sent more than a hundred takedown notices to Google, requesting that it remove thousands of URLs from its search engine.

Some of the sites named in these takedown notices provide jailbreaking software for the Nintendo Switch console and allows users to bypass other protective measures. Several other named sites sell flashcard adapters which Switch owners can use to load custom firmware onto their consoles.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices filed by Nintendo claim that these sites violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision:

“Nintendo’s technological protection measures (“TPMs”) ensure that only official copies of its game software can be played on Nintendo’s video game systems. The circumvention devices, products or components offered at the reported links bypass Nintendo’s TPMs so that users can play unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s game files that are offered unlawfully via the Internet.”

Some of the notices also claim that: “Additionally, some of the URLs provided promote and direct visitors to resellers of the circumvention components and devices.”

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Many of the websites named in these takedown notices have had most of their URLs removed from Google Search. For example, Team-Xecuter, which offers jailbreaking software for the Switch console, currently just has a small selection of links to its forum remaining. Links to its homepage and software download pages have been wiped.

According to Torrent Freak, Google doesn’t provide a counter-notice process for these anti-circumvention takedowns. This means sites that don’t agree with the takedowns can do little to get them reversed.

Sending these Google takedown notices is one of the many measures Nintendo has taken this year to block access to websites that enable Switch game piracy.

In September, the company obtained a UK High Court order which required UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to several websites that enable piracy on the Switch. One of the sites named in this blocking order was Team-Xecuter.

Nintendo also filed a lawsuit against RomUniverse, a site that provides emulated retro games, in September.

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