First reported by Polygon, Nintendo has filed a lawsuit this week against another ROM site, as part of their recent crackdowns on piracy. This time, their target is RomUniverse, and its owner Matthew Storman.
The company is seeking up to $150,000 compensation per copyright infringement, and up to $2,000,000 per trademark infringement. Nintendo alleges in the suit that pirated games from the site display “counterfeit copies of Nintendo trademarks” when played, as well as infringing the copyright of the work. RomUniverse is in some especially hot water, as it apparently offers 30 dollar memberships to users of the site, offering both an unlimited amount of downloads and quicker download speeds than non-members. Nintendo states in the lawsuit that RomUniverse is “among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games,” with the site boasting over 300,000 downloads of Switch games and over 500,000 of 3DS games. The site offers ROMs of Nintendo games old and new, however, not just Switch and 3DS.
Nintendo claims in the lawsuit that Storman and other defendants are knowingly infringing upon their trademarks and copyright, with Storman even allegedly bragging about the fact that his site would still offer Nintendo ROMs following the company’s case against LoveROMS and LoveRETRO back in 2018. That case ended with a $12,000,000 settlement between Nintendo and the other parties, and scared many ROM sites into no longer offering Nintendo games.
There may be a case to be made when it comes to ROM sites – with preservation being a massive concern in an era where we’re quickly approaching a digital-only world – but charging money for ROMs is extremely illegal, and we don’t expect Storman to have a good time in court. We’ll have to wait and see what the end result of this lawsuit is, but we’d expect anything owed will exceeed $12,000,000 this time.
At the time of writing, RomUniverse is currently still active, but we don’t expect it to be for much longer. We at NintendOtaku do not endorse the use of such sites, and highly encourage you to play your favourite Nintendo games – or any game, for that matter – via a legitimate means.