Another ROM site has fallen victim to Nintendo’s legal department. A lawsuit filed by the company yesterday accuses RomUniverse.com of “brazen and mass scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rights.”
The lawsuit (via Polygon), states that ROMUniverse “is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games,” allowing users to download “games for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced including hundreds of games for its recently released Nintendo Switch.” Nintendo claims that around 800,000 copies of Nintendo 3DS and Switch games have been downloaded through the site.
The result, according to the company, is an awful lot of copyright and trademark infringement, made worse by RomUniverse’s $30-per-year premium memberships, which allow users to pirate Nintendo’s games faster than non-members. Nintendo now says it’s seeking damages of “up to $150,000 for the infringement of each [Nintendo of America] copyrighted work and up to $2,000,000 for the infringement of each NOA trademark through use of counterfeit marks.” It also demands that the website’s owner cease distribution of Nintendo titles.
Given the success that Nintendo claims the website has had in the past, it’s unlikely to be able to claim all of those damages, but this lawsuit is still likely to spell significant financial trouble for the owners of ROMUniverse.
Last summer, Nintendo sued the owners of LoveROMs and LoveRETRO, taking the two sites offline. Shortly thereafter, Nintendo won that suit (in which it was seeking exactly the same damages as this week’s case), and was awarded more than $12 million by an Arizona court.