Nintendo is suing two big ROM sites

By Sherif Saed
23 July 2018 11:17 GMT

Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against two big emulator sites, seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the owner of two major sites that deal in emulators for its classic systems, as well as ROMs for many classic Nintendo games.

The sites are LoveROMS, and LoveRETRO, both of which Nintendo believes are operated by the same owner. The company has filed a suit with a federal court in Arizona over what it says is copyright and trademark infringement.

A 27-page PDF of the lawsuit was obtained by Torrent Freak. In it, Nintendo details how Jacob Mathias and his Arizona company, Mathias Designs, offer pirated video games and other unauthorised copies through the two sites.

“The LoveROMs website alone receives 17 million visitors each month. Such visitors are drawn to the website by the widespread availability of free, unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games and other highly valuable intellectual property,” the lawsuit reads.

“The resulting popularity of Defendants’ LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites has allowed Defendants to reap substantial ill-gotten gains, including through donations and the sale of advertising on the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites.”

Nintendo highlights this so called commercial infringement several times throughout the filings, essentially saying that the sites’ owner makes money off of Nintendo’s products and intellectual property.

Nintendo is asking for $150,000 in damages per Nintendo game, and up to $2,000,000 for each trademark being infringed upon. This could add up to over $100 million if you consider the number of games being offered. The figure is probably intended to force the sites to shut down rather than being the end goal itself.

So far, LoveRETRO has shut down “until further notice,” while LoveROMS removed all ROMs for Nintendo games.

The subject of emulating old games has always been a murky one, with enthusiasts often operating in grey areas of the law. Most companies are typically against it, even if the games and hardware being emulated are no longer on sale or easily accessible.

Nintendo has historically been adamant in its stance against emulation of its games, shutting down fan-made games based on old ROMs, cracking down on links to certain popular ROMs and generally making it a hassle for people who don’t know where to look to find said ROMs.

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