What is the Entertainment Software Association and why do they have the right to request the removal of ROMs of games they had seemingly nothing to do with (eg. Super Smash Bros. Melee) from the internet?

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What is the Entertainment Software Association and why do they have the right to request the removal of ROMs of games they had seemingly nothing to do with (eg. Super Smash Bros. Melee) from the internet?

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Entertainment Software Association is a trade association, representing the companies that make video games in the United States. Essentially, trade associations are bodies that represent various businesses in the same industry, when they need to come together for common causes like lobbying Congress.

So the ESA has the right to request the removal of ROMs because they represent the people whose intellectual property is being stolen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They’re a lobbyist/marketing group that represents the political, legal, and economic interests of video game developers and publishers.

Nintendo specifically is hyper-sensitive about anything they consider piracy-adjacent so it would be very on-brand for them to issue copyright takedowns of their properties either directly or through the ESA as a proxy.

More generally, part of US trademark/copyright law puts a burden on the company to seek out and enforce it. The government itself doesn’t spend any effort hunting down copyright violations, so the publishers themselves form organizations like the ESA to do that.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The ESA is the trade association for the entire video games industry. They are behind the ESRB (which rates video games) and were behind E3 (the main expo for video games). All major video game publishers are members of the association.

It appears that one of the things the ESA does is enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as demanding the removal of ROMs that violate the intellectual property of its members. Seeing as Nintendo (more specifically, Nintendo of America) is a member of the ESA, they are acting with the consent of Nintendo as the IP holder, and if it came to it, could work with Nintendo file whatever legal documents would be necessary to go beyond a simple takedown notice.

It’s not immediately obvious why Nintendo doesn’t do IP enforcement itself. It’s a large enough company that it must already have a sophisticated legal department. Apparently it’s more efficient to let the ESA specialize in this.