The litigious Nintendo won its lawsuit against the owner of a ROM site called “RomUniverse” this week with a court ruling the owner had infringed on Nintendo’s copyrights by distributing the ROMs. The lawsuit was first filed back in September 2019 and is just one of several examples of Nintendo going after ROM sites and similar resources that host copies of the company’s games for people to download and emulate.
The latest on the case from years ago comes from TorrentFreak which reported on the decision that court had reached. With the court acknowledging Nintendo as the victor, it ordered the defendant, the ROM site owner, to pay a total of $2,115,000 in statutory damages to Nintendo.
Within the court documents cataloguing the legal proceedings that ended in that decision for the ROM site owner to pay millions of dollars to the massive company, we see some of the actions the owner took to avoid such decisions. The RomUniverse owner said that he didn’t upload files to the site nor did he verify the contents of the files as a way to say he didn’t knowingly upload copies of Nintendo’s games, but the declaration wasn’t recognized because it contradicted his previous statements about the matter.
“Defendant filed a declaration in opposition to the Motion wherein he declares that he ‘denies and disputes that he uploaded any files to said website and at no time did he verify the content of said ROM file’, which is directly contradictory to his sworn deposition testimony wherein he testified that he uploaded the ROM files onto his website,” the court documents read.
While ROM sites are common enough and haven’t been completely wiped out yet, most simply offer their games for free to download with only a few popups or intrusive ads to navigate first. RomUniverse, however, apparently offered a premium account for the site to offer unlimited downloads, a decision which was probably a poor one seeing how it equated the site to profits for the owner.
Moreover, Plaintiff filed a copy of a promotional advertisement from Defendant’s website for purchase of a premium unlimited account for his website for access to ‘1000s of game roms, movies, isos and ebooks’” ‘[i]ncluding [Nintendo] Switch, Wii, 3DS/DS, GBA and more Unlimited downloads for only $30,’” the documents said.
Nintendo recently went after not a ROM host but an individual responsible for creating an operating system used on the Nintendo Switch to play pirated games. That lawsuit is relatively new, so it’ll likely be a while longer before we get more news on that one.
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