Nintendo

ROM-hosting website owner ordered to pay over $2 million in damages as Nintendo wins lawsuit

It’s another win for Nintendo as a court has ruled in their favour and has ordered the owner of ROM-hosting website RomUniverse to pay over $2,100,000 in damages because of copyright infringement and federal trademark infringement. The lawsuit was first presented in September 2019 which saw Nintendo seeking damages from RomUniverse, a website that hosted pirated copies of Nintendo games. RomUniverse not only gave people the ability to download illegal copies of Nintendo titles, but it also offered a subscription service that uncapped the download limit for those willing to pay a premium.

The Judge decided not to issue a permanent injunction against Matthew Storman, the person behind the ROM-hosting website. According to the courts, Nintendo couldn’t show evidence of them suffering irreparable harm and the fact that Storman shut shop and closed the site, there was no immediate threat to Nintendo.

During the course of the lawsuit, the offending website was taken down last summer and while Nintendo originally filed for $15,000,000 in damages, the court reduced it to just over $2 million. Still, it’s another victory for Nintendo’s legal team which, let’s face it, are not ones to back down easily when it comes to vigorously protecting Nintendo’s IP.

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25 comments

    1. That’s the standard procedure. Has nothing to do with being ruthless. Those lawyers are just doing their job to the best of their ability. It’s the judge’s job to decide what’s just. One day you will hopefully understand how the law works.

  1. See this is where I side with Nintendo, piracy shouldn’t be allowed to fly and they should get the funds for the games they make. It’s when it comes to fan-games and YouTubers that I think they take it too far.

      1. I agree with you guys 100%. Nintendo will do anything in their power to put a stop to this and prevent this from happening again in the future. Rom hacks and piracy games are illegal till this day. Those monkeys got what they deserve.

    1. I have a rather mixed opinion on this. If there’s no way to get a game directly from Nintendo, then roms should be allowed. There’s never been a service for Gamecube games, so the only way to play games like Chibi Robo or Path of Radiance the right way is to shell out several hundred dollars. Imo it’s both foolish for Nintendo not to port those games given the obvious demand with those pricee points, and people shouldn’t have to resort to paying those high prices.

      1. The problem is that fans being able to have free access to games that don’t have modern re-releases reduces the demand to make a rerelease, reducing the chance that we get them.

        Why spend money modernizing old games when 80% of the audience for that game is already getting it for free?

        I’m not personally offended at piracy in this case. I don’t think the damage caused is spectacular, but from a legal perspective, if there are damages, and there are damages, its hard to deny Nintendo their rights. Distributing endless amounts of Path of Radiance for free effects the market for a future Path of Radiance release.

        1. I can see your point on how it may affect sales from a legal perspective, but in Nintendo’s case does it really? It’s really easy to play a rom of Earthbound, but when Nintendo finally decided to release it on the Wii U eshop it was very successful. The best way to fight piracy is through convenience.

      2. But conversely, what gives these pirates the right to charge a premium for Nintendo’s IPs and ROMs? Selling stolen property.

        1. In that case, then never. Roms should be available when the company can’t be bothered to make their product available, but the only one who has the right to charge is the company itself.

      3. +shinygold2
        I do see your point but to me piracy is not the right solution and only makes the consumers as bad as the company selling them.
        Just because a company is being incompetent doesn’t automatically give the consumers the right to flat out break the law, the proper approach would be to keep pressuring Nintendo to re-release these games. If anything; Piracy would only make the issue worse because if people can download these games for free, it’s going to make less and less people pressure Nintendo which will only hinder the chances of them actually listening to the fans.

      4. ” It’s really easy to play a rom of Earthbound, but when Nintendo finally decided to release it on the Wii U eshop it was very successful. ”

        But its a comparative issue. It isn’t whether or not Earthbound sells. Its whether or not Earthbound could have sold better if people were unable to play the rom for free. In a very technical sense, I’m sure it would have. Someone, somewhere, would have bought that game, but didn’t for that reason. I’m on your side in that I don’t think that’s a lot of people, but if its anyone at all, that’s a measurable damage, and a measurable damage is all you need for a valid lawsuit.

        We’re entirely on the same page about how things actually work in practice. I just think its really hard to make the jump to making it law.

    2. Fan games are illegal as well and righteously so. You have NOT RIGHTS WHATSOEVER to take Nintendo’s IPs or assets and make and distribute your own games/remakes with it. Being a “fan” doesn’t justify stealing property! I agree on the YouTube part though, this is just ridiculous. But I see this more as a problem with YouTube than a problem with Nintendo.

      1. +bootyranger
        I was going to take your comment seriously but then I saw your username and realized it was bait.

  2. Super smash brothers, pokemon stadium, pokemon stadium 2, kirby 64, mario kart 64, bomberman hero, star fox 64, paper mario, pokemon snap, ridge racer 64, mario tennis and namco museum need to be ported to Nintendo switch.

    1. They really missed the opportunity to port Stadium to the Wii U and making it communicate with RBY on the 3DS. I don’t think they’ll ever port Stadium because of the whole transfer pack problem.

  3. Yea piracy is bad, I like paying creators for their work. Though if they’re not making their old work available for sale, then that’s on the creator, the corporate creator with the means to distribute their back catalog. If this site was just selling access to easily available 3ds and Switch games, then yes by all means ask for 5X the amount of what the judge ended up finding fair.

    They got their money, sweet, now put that money towards fixing the bunk ass joy cons they sold their fanbase, since they’re so concerned with fairness and whatnot.

  4. Sadly this doesn’t help any of the Retro Gaming and Mom and Pop shops that went out of business because so many people use the excuse “the original company doesn’t get the money anyways” as a reason to pirate games. We reached the point where people where selling entire collections of games with no worry because they had everything backed up on a SD card. Meanwhile the stores that bought the games couldn’t sell them, as smaller titles would juat be pirated and larger titles would both be pirated and where sold on their respective companies online stores for around $5-$20 instead of $40-$80.

    1. The mom and pop stores also have to deal with Amazon. As an individual seller, there is very little incentive to sell something to a small store if there’s a chance someone will purchase your item for more of a profit. I’ll admit that I price check items that I find in those stores to see what is a better deal, and very rarely is the mom and pop prices better than the ones I find online.

      1. Mmm you know for some reason this is exactly why Nintendo should not allow gamers and fans to used rom hacks on there games. I wonder how do they ever got their hands on Nintendo rom hacks in the first place.

        1. I mean, not necessarily. Personally I like the official way of playing games much better than pirating because of several factors, but the mom and pop stores offer the exact same way to play the game with the only difference being wear and tear and price.

  5. And Nintendo can use the money to start on Metroid Prime 5 to close the gap between the 4th sequel. That way fans dont have to wait 25 years for the 5th one.
    Or maybe Bayonetta 4 work on that the moment the 3rd sequel is complete. I’m tired of waiting 20 years for Nintendo to release sequels.

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