Nintendo, like most companies, takes piracy very seriously. In 2019, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against ROM site RomUniverse, and now the case has concluded in the big N’s favor. Speaking about the situation, Nintendo said that RomUniverse was “a straightforward game piracy case” and that the site “populated the website with pirated copies of thousands of different Nintendo games and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of those pirated games.”
To make matters worse, RomUniverse also allowed users to purchase premium accounts, which enabled the ability to download an unlimited amount of games. Matthew Storman, the website’s owner, attempted to defend himself in court, denying that RomUniverse provided pirated ROMs and that he personally didn’t upload any games.
U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall agreed with Nintendo’s trademark infringement claims. Nintendo managed to provide sufficient evidence against Storman, who previously admitted in a deposition that he did upload content to RomUniverse in the first place.
Judge Marshall had this to say:
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. Furthermore, Defendant testified at his deposition that his website ‘indicated’ that copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted video games were available for download on the website.
Nintendo was originally seeking over $15 million in damages, but Storman will be paying a lot less. Instead, the judge ruled that $35,000 in statutory damages for each game is enough, which still comes to a whopping $1.7 million. Furthermore, Nintendo also requested $400,000 for each of the 29 trademarks but will instead receive that amount for them all combined, bringing the total judgment against Storman to $2,115,000.