Nintendo Suing Pirate Websites For Millions

On July 19, Nintendo filed suit in an Arizona Federal Court against the operator of two popular retro gaming sites, which had been hosting ROMS of some of the company’s most famous games.

The suit alleges that the two sites, LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co — both owned and operated by Jacob Mathias — are “built almost entirely on the brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rights”.

“In addition to Nintendo’s video games,” the suit says, “Defendants reproduce, distribute, and publicly perform a vast library of Nintendo’s other copyrighted works on and through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, including the proprietary BIOS software for several of Nintendo’s video game systems and thousands of Nintendo’s copyrighted musical works and audio recordings.”

“Defendants also make extensive use of Nintendo’s registered trademarks, including the Nintendo logo and the most recognisable Nintendo video game characters, to encourage visitors to download and play unauthorised copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted works.”

As you can see below, Mathias’ sites made no effort to conceal the fact they were using Nintendo’s property. Everything from company logos to box art to console branding was employed so that people knew exactly what they were playing when they visited the sites.

A screengrab of a Nintendo game appearing on Loveroms.com (Image: Case 2:18-cv-02282-SPL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA)

Nintendo claims in the suit that Loveroms “receives 17 million visitors each month”, and that “Such visitors are drawn to the website by the widespread availability of free, unauthorised copies of Nintendo’s video games and other highly valuable intellectual property”.

The company is asking the court to award “$150,000 [$AU202,172] for the infringement of each Nintendo copyrighted work”, and “up to $2,000,000 [$AU2,695,630] for the infringement of each Nintendo trademark.”

With well over 100 games having been playable on the sites, that adds up to a lot of money.

Since the suit was filed last week, Loveretro has been taken completely offline (above), while Loveroms posted on its Facebook site on Sunday that “All Nintendo titles have been removed from the site”.

Via TorrentFreak


Comments

    Phew, Emuparadise wasn't targeted.

    I mean, what website? I've never even heard of it. Is it a reserve for flightless birds? Never mind!

      EP long ago removed all the Nintendo published roms, or at least the big ninty IP

    I always thought it was odd that these sites were given a free pass and allowed to operate. They've always used the thin veneer that "these roms are legal if you own a physical copy". Nothing to mention that emulators are completely infringing copyright....

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out but it isn't looking good for roms sites.

      They never cared before now. That thin veneer has been tested in court, which is why its (ab)used so readily. Its essentially considered format shifting, which is legit given theres no DRM on the ROM's.

      The argument generally goes down the path that theres been no readily purchasable version of the game, so accessing it is a grey area as its been abandoned. What we're finding though is that the modern generations of mobile gaming devices has created a new and ever expanding market for these old games, if the companies holding the rights can find a way to monetise it.

      Catch being that if they change things too much, its no longer the same product and the abandoned status doesn't change.

      It was only a matter of time though before this happened. Anyone with any common sense would have seen this coming for years. Those products are still abandoned by the way (try finding a new copy of Super Mario Bros 3 you can play on a vintage NES) just able to be remastered for new platforms.

      Which includes mobiles, Switch type devices, retro consoles, etc. So now theres a new revenue stream to exploit, meaning they start caring again.

    i quite honestly i don't know why this hasn't happened sooner and i'm a supporter of having rom sites.

    Now where will Nintendo go to get their copy of Super Mario Bros to sell to us on the Virtual Console?

      they downloaded the full romset a long time ago.

      They'll rip it straight from the ROM like the rest of us...

    I don’t support piracy. BUT. Companies like Nintendo frequently fail to provide legal copies of legacy titles, and if they do, they release 10/1000 titles on a closed system. There is clearly a demand for legacy titles. Hard to have sympathy for Nintendo.

      Not to mention titles which can’t be re-released because of whatever archaic ‘licencing’ Issues. Not the consumers problem. Fix it.

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