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Nintendo Sues ROM Sites Over Copyright Infringement

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Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the alleged creator and owner of two ROM sites, seeking up to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over emulations of games for its systems. The sites, LoveROMS and LoveRETRO, are being sued in Arizona federal court over copyright infringement and unfair competition.

TorrentFreak was the first to publish the 27-page PDF of the lawsuit, in which Nintendo claims that the sites are "built almost entirely on the brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rights." The company is seeking $150,000 in damages per Nintendo title on the sites, plus as much as $2,000,000 for each infringed trademark.

"The LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites are among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games," the lawsuit, filed on July 19, reads. "Through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission. This includes thousands of games developed for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced."

LoveRETRO has since been taken offline.

"Loveretro has effectively been shut down until further notice," the homepage reads. "Thanks for your patronage to date and we hope to get this figured out."

In a Facebook post, LoveROMS wrote that "All Nintendo titles have been removed from the site. #willupdateyoulater"

Nintendo is also requesting an order for the domain names for those sites, as well as others in the defendants' possession. For now, though, it seems to have already achieved its primary goal: getting those ROMS offline.

  • Dunlop0078
    Oh nintendo. I don't like the idea that these sites have nearly every piece of software nintendo ever produced. However if you do not provide any way for people to get their hands on old nintendo games legally and easily then people are going to pirate them. If nintendo could themselves sell these ROMs then im pretty sure we would see a lot less of these third party ROM sites.
    Reply
  • sauron18
    Nintendo being Nintendo. They do not sell this games, they are not loosing money over this, they do not offer a legal emulator. How can i get this games from Nintendo? Anyone knows?
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    I'm surprised it has taken this long. These types of sites have been up and running for many years now. My question is what has changed? All I can guess is that either Nintendo realized there is money to be made in these old games or their legal department is running short on lawsuits and needed someone to sue so they don't get laid off. Even if they won. There is no way those sites have that kind of money. They'd just declare bankruptcy.
    Reply
  • stdragon
    It's about monetizing their intellectual property via controlling the distribution of it. And, they have that right. That said however, it would be bad PR if they go after the individual downloaders instead of the core distributors on the net.

    Again, they're in the right on this, but they also need to tread carefully so as to not backfire on them.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    I can only imagine how much they would have made by releasing an iOS and Android app of their own. They obviously saw how well the NES and SNES classic sold, and they could have been doing that since the early 2000s.
    Reply
  • mgallo848
    @SAURON18,

    Here you go: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IFJBQ1E?tag=pcworld02-20&ascsubtag=US-001-3290395-000-000000-web-20
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    21167186 said:
    Oh nintendo. I don't like the idea that these sites have nearly every piece of software nintendo ever produced. However if you do not provide any way for people to get their hands on old nintendo games legally and easily then people are going to pirate them. If nintendo could themselves sell these ROMs then im pretty sure we would see a lot less of these third party ROM sites.

    Actually nintendo is gearing up it's online service, and will start offering retro titles to play with the service. They will change games on a regular basis and will most likely eventually offer a store to purchase retro games(it would be the smart thing to do).

    So the timing of this lawsuit makes sense.

    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21167186 said:
    Oh nintendo. I don't like the idea that these sites have nearly every piece of software nintendo ever produced. However if you do not provide any way for people to get their hands on old nintendo games legally and easily then people are going to pirate them. If nintendo could themselves sell these ROMs then im pretty sure we would see a lot less of these third party ROM sites.

    ROMs are completely legal in themselves. So long as you own the original you can have a ROM.

    That said, most people don't. Nintendo has plenty of ways to do this but they don't. They should have made the miniNES and MiniSNES as ROM holders. People buy the system and then Nintendo sells the ROMs for say $1 a piece allowing people to buy the games they want. Maybe have a limited amount to storage or possible expanded storage in MicroSD cards and have the games tied to an account so people can re-download them when needed.
    Reply
  • stdragon
    21167410 said:
    ROMs are completely legal in themselves. So long as you own the original you can have a ROM.

    IANAL, but it's my limited understanding that's not the case. Extracting ROM data from a cartridge could be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Hence, illegal.
    Reply
  • Dagstar
    I wonder if they've caught wind on recent developments in the world of Switch game piracy...
    Reply