The Big House Online Canceled After Cease & Desist from Nintendo

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After moving online due to safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's iteration of The Big House has been canceled entirely due to a cease & desist order from Nintendo. This order was made in response to the decision to run a Slippi netplay tournament for Melee as, per Nintendo's own official statement, they viewed this decision as endorsing piracy.


The Big House organizer Rob "Juggleguy" Harn later corroborated in a statement to Kotaku that Nintendo originally requested that only the Melee tournament be canceled, only issuing the cease & desist letter demanding the cancellation of both brackets after Juggleguy refused their first request.

Shortly afterwards, many Smash community members started posting pleas for Nintendo to reconsider and allow the tournament to occur, using the #FreeMelee hashtag. This hashtag quickly became one of the top trending topics on Twitter.

This has also sparked a lot of discussion about the legality of emulation, as Smash players have noted that piracy isn't the only way to obtain a Melee game file for emulated netplay, as it's entirely possible for someone to rip a disc image from their own copy of Melee, and most people who play Melee netplay also own legitimate copies of the game, though legal matters are a bit more complicated than that.

In a 2018 interview with How-To Geek, University of Arizona internet and intellectual property law professor Derek E. Bambauer noted that emulation is in much more of a gray area. While emulator software itself is perfectly legal, things aren't so clear for the game ROMs (in the case of cartridge-based consoles like the SNES or Sega Genesis) or disc images (in the case of disc-based consoles like the GameCube) that emulators are used to run.

Distributing and downloading dumped game files for a game file is obviously illegal, though for cases where someone already owns a legal copy of the game they downloaded, or even ripping the game files from their own copy, things are a lot more murky. Bambauer notes that there is no real legal precedent for whether this is protected under fair use or still counts as software piracy.

While the music industry and several other entertainment industries have largely accepted legality of space shifting (the act of converting digital media from one format to another, e.g. ripping music files from a CD so you can listen to them on a smartphone or mp3 player) provided the person doing it owns a legitimate copy of the work they're doing it with, the same can't be said for video games. There aren't any landmark cases where this has been called into question for games specifically, and while there are certainly legal arguments in favor of the practice being fair use, there are also arguments to be made that this is still a form of software piracy, and Nintendo in particular has historically held the latter position.

It's also worth noting that this is just the most recent in a long string of Nintendo's attempts to hamstring competitive Smash. They have historically banned the use of game mods like Project M or the Universal Controller Fix at events they sponsor, with exceptions only being made for Smash 64, which requires the use of mods to enable the timer in stock matches. They were also responsible for the venue-wide ban on the Smashbox and similar all-button controllers at The Big House 7, though they have since dropped this policy for later sponsored tournaments.

Of course, there was also what may be the most infamous case of Nintendo's interference with the tournament scene, one that the cease & desist directed at The Big House has evoked comparisons to. Nintendo also issued a cease & desist letter to the organizers of Evo 2013 demanding they cancel their planned Melee tournament, claiming that streaming the event constituted unauthorized use of their IP. This came at a time when Nintendo had generally been cracking down hard on streams and videos that used gameplay footage of their titles. While they eventually backed down due to pressure from the community, it's unclear if the same will happen this time around.

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informative, ty
hope nintendo doesn't start messing with slippi on a larger scale. they really need to stop being so backwards about melee imo
 
#FreeMelee #****Nintendo

This is honestly a huge blow on Nintendo's PR. I still can't believe they did this. The amount of people defending this is alarming and WORSE, many of them are using the allegations from July which affected REAL LIFE VICTIMS (tho hardly any of them came from Melee) as a means of saying "Oh of course Nintendo doesn't support you guys. Y'all are pedos" **** you if that's you

I'm so happy competitive smash is here, particularly Melee. It brought me to a community I genuinely cared about who play a game I enjoy playing. I have high hopes that we will survive. Melee has thrived and survived Nintendo once, we can do it again
 
so a friend has sort of brought this to my attention and after giving it some thought, I figure I might pose the question out there...

has anyone else noticed that Nintendo was nowhere near this aggressive with their copyrights against fan works when Iwata was president? I mean, Pokemon Uranium and Prism, AM2R, the utter carpet bomb of emulation sites providing copies of discontinued and out-of-print games; the PM Devs' awareness on their mod being a risk, and then there's Smashbox (as mentioned above), and now this... among a few debacles they had with fans

sure, there was EVO 2013 when he was alive, but that was much more rare at the time. after Iwata died, it seems like Nintendo sort of lost its interest in restraint, and decided to get more restrictive on copyright and seem bent on burning down any fan works that compete with their products... it's also not helping that Project M and Slippi was made in the first place because fans got tired of not being heard and decided to fix the problem themselves.

Smash community has enough problems of shortsightedness and immaturity with the #SpeakingOut situation... but if this motivates the enthusiast community to double down on modding to fix problems, then maybe someday we'll show them how to get people's attention.

they lost the heart of a gamer when Iwata passed...
 
Nintendo:Ya know you shouldnt emulate Meele even if you bought Ultimate because I would lose Money wait you mean you cant buy Meele anymore still no
 
I mean. They’re within their right. Modding is against the law, and so is piracy.
If modding video game software was illegal, then the Sonic Hacking Contest, among many, many other modding communities and events, would not exist. Modding hardware is where the legal gray area is, but video game software is completely legal.
And emulators are totally fine to use. It's their creators that are doing illegal acts.
 
Edit: Should have probably actually read the article instead of just going off what I heard elsewhere; as it already explained most of my post oops.


I think this has less to do with any legal concerns Nintendo has and more to do with scummy business practices. With Covid still raging that makes online subscription and services a major boon. Given that part of the profit model for consoles are online subscriptions I'm thinking Nintendo is concerned that Slippi is going to cut into their online subscription for Ultimate; given how garbage Ultimate is online. There's no real logical sense for them to do this otherwise as they've been allowing this to go on for quite some time.

I can only conclude that with the lack of tournaments and competitive Ultimate being on the decline that Nintendo has decided that Melee has become more of a liability than the benefits of free advertising Nintendo gets from Melee talent can outweigh. So after extracting as much profit as it could from the community it has decided to cut them off now that they are no longer beneficial.


I've always found the Smash Community's obsession with Nintendo and the various corporate figures within it rather distasteful, but hopefully this serves as a good wake-up call that corporations are not your friends and hopefully stop demanding that Nintendo get involved with official sponsoring and thus assuming control over the community. They don't care about the community outside of how useful the community is to their profiting.
 
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If I at least ran Nintendo of America (which I REALLY wish I did), I’d at least give Big House some warnings before trying to C&D them for not sticking to just Ultimate.
 
my opinion is that if tge company is not selling the game, making no money off the game and it is all on the second hand market, pirating is fine and justified. If it is possible to play a game by legal means, then it ia not good.

can melee be bought from nintendo right now? If the answer is no, then no sympathy for the corporation.
 
I still think companies sitting on products and not selling them is not taking their bottom line. There is something to be said about value being gained, but we have had roms for eons and super mario 64 on pc, but All stars still sold like boss. I want to play my N64 games that none of you have ever heard of. I am going to pirate the crap out of them. If the companies give me an outlet to buy them, then I would. but they did not.

And some cannot.
 
The issue with the whole "Slippi is an emulator, it should be allowed" argument, is that this entire situation draws a gray line between emulation and hacking/pirating.

For starters, integrating online in a game that doesn't have online normally does lean heavily towards the direction of it being hacking/pirating.

However, even if it is emulation, why would you allow a non-official emulator to be ran in a Nintendo-sponsored event?
The fact that The Big House even floated with such a terrible idea, especially considering what happened with past modding/hacking/emulation efforts like Project M, is honestly so baffling.

It is literally a "how many times do we have you teach this lesson old man?" moment for us.

Fortunately, I don't think Nintendo will attack Slippi anymore as long as it doesn't touch another Nintendo-sponsored event, but I honestly think this entire situation is a bruh moment for both the Smash community and Nintendo.
 
For starters, integrating online in a game that doesn't have online normally does lean heavily towards the direction of it being hacking/pirating.
As far as I can tell the online portion is done through Dolphin's network code and not actually modifying Melee itself. From what I can see most of what is comprises of "Slippi" is things like replays and Faster Melee which is built off separate code (Gecko and C++).

I'm not really sure how these can be considered issues anymore than Gameshark or Action Replay would be.

However, even if it is emulation, why would you allow a non-official emulator to be ran in a Nintendo-sponsored event?
Because there's not an official emulator? I mean isn't this the same thing with speedrunning events stemming around Nintendo properties? Or do they play on original hardware?


I can understand why Nintendo would want to make legal claims around this, but I'm confused as to how this is an issue on TBH's side in the first place. If they're just holding streams around this and not dealing with the actual hardware and software surrounding this, then how is this any different than Twitch streaming?
 
I mean isn't this the same thing with speedrunning events stemming around Nintendo properties? Or do they play on original hardware?

I can understand why Nintendo would want to make legal claims around this, but I'm confused as to how this is an issue on TBH's side in the first place. If they're just holding streams around this and not dealing with the actual hardware and software surrounding this, then how is this any different than Twitch streaming?
Speedrunning events usually use original hardware, especially if you are running the vanilla game.

Most Twitch streams and speedrunning events also are usually not sponsored by Nintendo, which is how you can get away with playing/speedrunning Super Mario World romhacks without getting hunted down by Nintendo ninjas.

If online was originally implemented into Melee (and still running) without the use of non-official emulation, then you could get away with running Melee online into Nintendo-sponsored events, which is unfortunately not what has occurred here.
 
Remember: as long as your event is not sponsored by Nintendo, then you are allowed to host online Melee tournaments involving Slippi.

We have already hosted many tournaments involving Slippi with success. The reason why Nintendo decided to now deal action with it, is because we never had to deal with a Nintendo-sponsored tournament until now.

I only hope is that Nintendo doesn't go overboard and force a shut down on Slippi altogether, but I personally doubt this is going to happen.
 
Most Twitch streams and speedrunning events also are usually not sponsored by Nintendo, which is how you can get away with playing/speedrunning Super Mario World romhacks without getting hunted down by Nintendo ninjas.
So TBH is officially sponsored by Nintendo then? I can further see how that would be an issue then, but it still seems to be up to Nintendo's discretion at the end of the day.

I'm not really trying to dispute this legally so much as say that the outrage is legitimate. I can see how the unofficial arrangement the community has with Nintendo (as far as tournament hosting goes) was shown to really one-sided with hardware limitations and why Melee players would be upset that the ability to play tournaments was taken away from them.

While legally Nintendo has every right to do so and no obligation to reciprocate any goodwill the community has shown them (through promotions and ads); you also technically have the right to cheat on your significant other with a hundred different partners. And just as that last bit would generate outrage, especially from the significant other, I can see how this seeming betrayal can do this for the Melee community.

So it's more about not being a jerk at the end of the day I think. Like when Facebook went back on their word that their VR sets wouldn't have forced integration with Facebook until they just recently mandated it. They are within their legal right to do so, but it is kind of a **** thing to do. I think Nintendo could stand to overlook what is fairly harmless overall is what I'm saying.

Though this
I only hope is that Nintendo doesn't go overboard and force a shut down on Slippi altogether
is what I would worry about more. I can't count out that this could be Nintendo testing the waters and gauging how much outrage they could get away with.
 
Nintendo is basically saying that they don’t care for the health of their fans and those who enjoy playing their games. This is Nintendo outright stopping safe and healthy alternatives to play a game, that doesn’t have official internet capabilities, by those who love it. Nintendo is saying that if you want to play Melee within a competitive/tournament capacity (in a way that fans of Brawl and later are playing it), you have to break health regulations and risk spreading COVID19. This thing about Slipping is that, yes, it’s a mod but it’s not P:M, it’s not adding further content in the games it’s not exploring something to make it easier to play/to cheat. It’s make it possible for Melee players to play Melee during a time where Online is really the only way to play a game. Otherwise, we run the risk of spreading COVID and the police Banging our doors and taking away our games and turkeys. This is criminal

This should anger even the most casual fan.

PS: I haven’t played Melee since 2004. I am by no means a melee fanboy.
 
Nintendo is basically saying that they don’t care for the health of their fans and those who enjoy playing their games. This is Nintendo outright stopping safe and healthy alternatives to play a game, that doesn’t have official internet capabilities, by those who love it. Nintendo is saying that if you want to play Melee within a competitive/tournament capacity (in a way that fans of Brawl and later are playing it), you have to break health regulations and risk spreading COVID19. This thing about Slipping is that, yes, it’s a mod but it’s not P:M, it’s not adding further content in the games it’s not exploring something to make it easier to play/to cheat. It’s make it possible for Melee players to play Melee during a time where Online is really the only way to play a game. Otherwise, we run the risk of spreading COVID and the police Banging our doors and taking away our games and turkeys. This is criminal

This should anger even the most casual fan.

PS: I haven’t played Melee since 2004. I am by no means a melee fanboy.
While this is immoral on paper, Nintendo is mainly targeted towards the grounds that a non-official emulation is being used in an official Nintendo event, and that alone. The event in itself is already fully-online, the risk from spreading COVID was already minimal in the first place.

You are still allowed to run Slippi in non-Nintendo sponsored events (and through streams, in your own time, etc). There isn't that many Nintendo-sponsored tournaments to begin with, even more of which are already canceled, so things in reality doesn't really change that much.

Slippi is still going to be ran, unless Nintendo takes things to the next level, but with knowledge of the past, I doubt they will.
 
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Wait six months and then Melee HD is gonna get announced for sixty buckaroos with shoddy online, AM2R all over again.
 
Nintendo is basically saying that they don’t care for the health of their fans and those who enjoy playing their games. This is Nintendo outright stopping safe and healthy alternatives to play a game, that doesn’t have official internet capabilities, by those who love it. Nintendo is saying that if you want to play Melee within a competitive/tournament capacity (in a way that fans of Brawl and later are playing it), you have to break health regulations and risk spreading COVID19. This thing about Slipping is that, yes, it’s a mod but it’s not P:M, it’s not adding further content in the games it’s not exploring something to make it easier to play/to cheat. It’s make it possible for Melee players to play Melee during a time where Online is really the only way to play a game. Otherwise, we run the risk of spreading COVID and the police Banging our doors and taking away our games and turkeys. This is criminal

This should anger even the most casual fan.

PS: I haven’t played Melee since 2004. I am by no means a melee fanboy.
I think your take is off. I seriously doubt nintendo is saying people should go out and get covid. Just to not use software they feel is going to infringe on their rights for a game they have not sold in 15 years.
 
I think your take is off. I seriously doubt nintendo is saying people should go out and get covid. Just to not use software they feel is going to infringe on their rights for a game they have not sold in 15 years.
except the factor that Nintendo is not considering WHY the fans are resorting to this in the first place gives off that impression.

this whole pandemic sort of makes playing online a necessity, and before all the accusations caused it to be cancelled entirely, many folks figured EVO dropped Smash Ultimate specifically because the online experience was not up to par with today's standards.

it's not that Nintendo wants us all to get sick, I will agree on that point... but I feel what he's saying is that they're throwing the legal book at everyone and not stopping to consider the context. the Fans are just trying to solve problems their favorite game is plagued with, we're not all really trying to profit, we just want to play.
 
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except the factor that Nintendo is not considering WHY the fans are resorting to this in the first place gives off that impression.

this whole pandemic sort of makes playing online a necessity, and before all the accusations caused it to be cancelled entirely, many folks figured EVO dropped Smash Ultimate specifically because the online experience was not up to par with today's standards.

it's not that Nintendo wants us all to get sick, I will agree on that point... but I feel what he's saying is that they're throwing the legal book at everyone and not stopping to consider the context. the Fans are just trying to solve problems their favorite game is plagued with, we're not all really trying to profit, we just want to play.
Maybe so, but when it comes to copyright law and all that legal garbage, i would not be surprised if there is some legal president that could threaten their ip if they dont act. Nintendo has always been this backwards. We know the sonic hacking tourney is a thing, but i am certain there is legal differences between the two events.

Is nintendo wrong? Maybe. I think they should consider solutions to the current problems instead of building walls.
 
Not to throw any rocks hehe but you guys have to understand Nintendo owns the IP they can do whatever they want with it. So there is no point debating Nintendo being unfair we don't have a say in anything. Melee is a game that is pass its prime there is no economical incentive to release a copy of the game.

Two the reason Melee has a big following is because the engine can be exploited if Nintendo released a up to date version of Melee a lot of people wouldn't really play it because things like wave dashing, shine stall and all the other techniques would most likely get patched. It would force people to play Ultimate because this new Melee wouldn't feel right. Also Ultimate has way more things to offer than Melee did so why down grade?
 
Is nintendo wrong? Maybe. I think they should consider solutions to the current problems instead of building walls.
the problem with people making kind of statement is that, you suggest seeking solutions, and yet fail to provide one possibility yourself.

not everyone's close-minded, if there's a way for fans to play Melee online with a netcode of today's standards that nintendo can be satisfied with, then by all means, we're all ears. the fans developed Slippi to play online... yes, it modded Melee to make use of it, and apparently, Nintendo didn't like that idea. so what's theirs? we're listening.

but that's just it, all we've heard is nothing...

Not to throw any rocks hehe but you guys have to understand Nintendo owns the IP they can do whatever they want with it. So there is no point debating Nintendo being unfair we don't have a say in anything. Melee is a game that is pass its prime there is no economical incentive to release a copy of the game.

Two the reason Melee has a big following is because the engine can be exploited if Nintendo released a up to date version of Melee a lot of people wouldn't really play it because things like wave dashing, shine stall and all the other techniques would most likely get patched. It would force people to play Ultimate because this new Melee wouldn't feel right. Also Ultimate has way more things to offer than Melee did so why down grade?
yeah, we understand Nintendo owns the IP, but the thing is, we've also gained an understanding of how much more valuable PR is in this day and age... you make a big enough controversy over a poorly received decision, even a company like Nintendo will buckle, EVO2013 demonstrated that.

first, to say there's no economical incentive to rerelease an older game in a series is basically running the claim that the entire industry of remaking games because the fans asked for it is worthless. Super Mario 3D All Stars, Pokemon OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire, HeartGold/SoulSilver, and even Metroid Prime Trilogy shouldn't have been released... a lot of best selling remakes on other platforms shouldn't have existed cause they waste money... it's not really a well thought-out claim.

and finally, the concern of Melee HD getting patched to death is more of a difference in culture. Rivals of Aether was inspired by melee's gameplay, and still goes very strong today. Ultimate has a bigger roster, but the gameplay in competitive players' eyes, is noticeably clumsier by comparison. at worst, all Melee would need is the implementation of a buffer, and a couple current day toggles that didn't exist before (Tap Jump, C Stick Smash), and players would be perfectly fine with it.

there is value in retaining history, it reminds us where we came from... why else would Nintendo rerelease the same NES games on every single console as though it's tradition?
 
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the problem with people making kind of statement is that, you suggest seeking solutions, and yet fail to provide one possibility yourself.

not everyone's close-minded, if there's a way for fans to play Melee online with a netcode of today's standards that nintendo can be satisfied with, then by all means, we're all ears. the fans developed Slippi to play online... yes, it modded Melee to make use of it, and apparently, Nintendo didn't like that idea. so what's theirs? we're listening.

but that's just it, all we've heard is nothing...
1. It is Nintendo that has to come up with the solutions. Not me. Not the fans. It is their IP. If Nintendo does not want Netcode that functions, it is their business. That is how IP works. Fans can make a better product. We have seen that with Super Mario 64 on the PC, but at the end of the day, Nintendo still owns the IP.

What does that mean. Mod, hack, fix, change, etc. But at the end of the day, if Nintendo sees infringement on their IP, they will shut it down.
The Chrono Trigger HD
AM2R
Mario Royal

all examples of Companies killing fan projects. This happens so often, it is common place.
 
The world would have a thousand less headaches and outrages if they just chose to ignore this. Slippi tournaments don't do anything to harm anyone.
 
melee will be fine, and people will continue using Slippi. Idk why anyone assumes otherwise. One cancelled tournament doesn’t change much.
 
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