The site owner of RomUniverse must pay $2.1 million to Nintendo after a court decision. This is the result of a lawsuit that Nintendo filed in September of 2019 for violation of copyright and federal trademark law. TorrentFreak first broke this story last week.
RomUniverse pedaled pirated copies of Nintendo games through their site. The site carried recent and retro Nintendo games. These games were downloaded over 100,000 times by users. ROMs are files ripped from disks, which in this case meant Nintendo games. The website was taken down during the summer of 2020 after staying alive throughout the proceeding of the case.
RomUniverse also offered a “premium” service which allowed for faster access and downloads. This service could cost up to $30 annually. The judge found this detail to be particularly damning, as he highlighted the fact that the owner “received a direct financial benefit from the infringing acts of the users of his website who downloaded copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted video games, and Defendant did not stop the infringing activity despite having knowledge of the Infringement.” These services put anywhere from $30,000 to $36,000 in the hands of the site’s operators.
RomUniverse was first controlled by Matthew Storman. Storman, who lives in California, has claimed that he never uploaded files to the site. He also purports that he did not “verify the content of said ROM file.” The court did not accept this statement as he was previously on record saying that “he and/or his ‘admin’ uploaded ROMs of Nintendo’s copyrighted works.”
Nintendo first requested around $15 million in damages from the site. This number originated from a $90,000 charge on each of the 49 copyrighted properties and a $400,000 charge for 29 trademarks that were infringed upon. The court reduced the charges to $35,000 per copyrighted property and a $400,000 collective payout for all of the trademarks. This brought the total damages down to $2,115,000.