Atlus Tried to Take Down a PlayStation 3 Emulator’s Crowdfunding Page

The company argued the emulator's mere existence infringed on their copyright, but Patreon pushed back.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

So, can we all agree that DMCA abuse is bad this time?


Atlus knows that I just want this to exist so I can play Demon’s Souls.

Atlus has no legal ground here. If they want to prevent emulation of their game on PC, they should 1. Go after torrent sites hosting P5 roms, and 2. Release Persona 5 on PC.

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This is kind of amazing overreach. If anybody has grounds to go after a generalized PS emulator it would be Sony, not Atlus.

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Given how aggressively these guys promoted themselves with P5 being functional… I’m not especially upset about this? Like, seriously, do not spend a bunch of time pushing functional new releases if you don’t want those companies to come right the fuck after you, in a fully justified legal death star .For all of their comments, the devs were telling people how to violate law in a number of countries.

Similarly, if your unlicensed, potentially very illegal emulator is soliciting funds, maybe you should NOT put releases from this year on the funding page. The PS3 hardware and software is still under a variety of IP protections, do not put yourself in a position where companies have a reason to pay attention.

I’m sure ATLUS was hoping to push the DMCA too far, but until they removed all their P5 stuff, it’s just what it normally is - a more complicated cease and desist.

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Emulators are not generally illegal. Do you have specific concerns about this one being different?

And no, “Atlus don’t like it” is not a legal issue.

Their improvements are spanning every game and they’re just showcasing what people has the most interest about such as Demon’s Souls. What’s the harm in that ?

This is not the law of the jungle. To bow down every time a company puts out empty, groundless threats and be willingly ok with this is mind-boggling. An emulator is not illegal, an emulator does not use the same copyrighted elements as the base hardware it tries to replicate. RPCS3 is open-source, every lawyer can buckle up and search through the code with a fine-tooth comb and find nothing infringing.

The only emulator that could potentially be infringing on these elements is CEMU because it is suspiciously closed source

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the ammount of people defending this is kinda of scary and disheartning to me honestly

this is just straight up piracy… theres no way around it… THE PS3 VERSION OF THIS GAME IS ON SALE THIS WEEK

YES ps3 emulation is important fo preservation of games… but until you can no longer walk into a walmart and get a stack of ps3 games… theirs no reason for this to exist… also… ALSO hes making money from this… so like… please waypoint forum… be the awesome people i know you can be and stop excusing piracy deguised as preservation

Three big caveats:

  1. None of this has run through court, so it’s not settled law.
  2. Not a lawyer.
  3. I’m speaking broadly about the PS3 emulator unless otherwise specified

In terms of the US, Emulators ARE kinda generally illegal - they re-implement copyrighted (and potentially still patented) hardware, and they do not do it in the ways that are explicitly allowed for reverse engineering, and they bypass or modify copyright protection mechanisms in doing so. That hits pre-DMCA laws, as well as DMCA requirements around DRM/Copyright Protection mechanisms. The older the system the less likely the hardware is to be encumbered with those restrictions, OR fall into the various exceptions carved out specifically for the emulation of older hardware. Plus, the actual owner of the rights regarding that hardware is less likely to intervene - do not underestimate how much of the state of emulation is due to companies just not reaching the point of caring, rather than actual legality.

This is basically the same set of laws that would hit you if you built a PS3 clone - there is a very, very specific set of steps required to be able to do that, and Sony could STILL sue you and force you to establish to the court you followed them to the letter, and even if you won, they could stop you from making units that look like PS3s, or using any of their trade dress, or the word PS3, or screenshots of games to promote it.

None of this has run through court, so it’s not settled law.

That’s not the case, it’s been extensively litigated; with an emulator for an in-production Playstation console no less. The Bleem case got this pretty solidly nailed down. Sony seem to have a habit of setting useful copyright precedents, though not always on the same side of the argument.

This is basically the same set of laws that would hit you if you built a PS3 clone

Clean re-implementations of proprietary software and hardware are very definitely legal, that was solidly clarified thanks to IBM attempting to squash makers of clone PCs. Building clone hardware is not illegal.

I’m not sure where this idea that these important issues are either new or uncertain comes from - this is not the first time someone’s reimplemented or emulated something. We have been here before, the law is broadly well understood.


Couple of things related to the current discussion about how legal emulators are that I think are worth watching/reading:

Also PCGamer’s article about the ethics and legality of emulators.

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yeah listening to people talk about this like we haven’t had decades of court cases about emulation and clean-room reverse engineering is very :thinking:

On the other hand, the disc dumping instructions may or may not count as “instructions on circumventing a effective means of access control” (depending on the status/complexity of PS3 DRM, something I haven’t looked into), meaning that they’re possibly liable for criminal penalties under the DMCA (not just the civil penalties copyright infringement carries). This is an offense they can make without having committed any infringement at all, and is in fact completely separate from any potential infringement.

the DMCA is really bad, y’all.

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