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Nintendo vs emulation not our fight, says ISP boss

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The ISP at the heart of Nintendo's latest anti-emulator actions, HalfPrice Hosting, a division of Express Technologies, has spoken out about its decision to nuke the www.snes9x.com Web site. The site, maintained by Dutch emulator developer Jerremy Koot, was removed at the console company's behest last week (see Nintendo pursues emulator sites). HalfPrice Hosting gave Koot no indication of why it had pulled his site beyond a reference to Nintendo's overall anti-piracy policy, a policy that takes in emulators even though they are not illegal unless unlicensed intellectual property was used in their development. However, company president Jason Heffran, yesterday responded to questions from an emulator advocate going by the name of 'Homersexual', who published Heffran's response on Usenet. "As in the case of America Online vs. CyberPromotions, we can refuse service to anyone at anytime if we feel their business practices do not conform with our core values," wrote Heffran. "Case in point: Network Solutions does not have to authorise the registration of any domain names that appear to be in their definition of bad taste. Likewise, a site that Nintendo views as improper begs the question of integrity." Heffran goes on to state his disinterest in emulation, that he will vigorously defend any legal actions brought against his company by emulator fans annoyed by his move over www.snes9x.com. If his comments sound a little peevish, to be fair, it's probably because of the broadly belligerent nature of Homersexual's original email, which threatens legal action and sees Heffran's actions as a some kind of personal insult against the emulation community, though it's understandable that he or she would hold such a view. The problem here is that Heffran is perfectly within his rights to pull the site. If his company did so without first consulting Koot, that's a matter for them. Nintendo's claims about the illegality of emulators are not the issue -- but threats to tie up an ISP in legal knots are. No business, even on broadly in sympathy with the emulation community, would want to risk defending a costly legal -- it's easier just to pull the site. Who can blame Heffran for that? As he says, the emulator fight is not his -- that's between Nintendo and the emulation community. Meanwhile, the clever part of Nintendo's strategy is that HalfPrice Hosting's actions have set the emulation community against the ISP, diverting attention away from Nintendo itself. ®

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