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Nintendo launches infringement lawsuit against ROM site RomUniverse

Nintendo launches infringement lawsuit against ROM site RomUniverse

September 11, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

Nintendo is continuing its legal crusade against online piracy, this time by launching a lawsuit against the owners of the website RomUniverse and seeking damages in the millions.

The lawsuit spotted by Polygon is going after the site for both infringing on Nintendo’s copyrights by redistributing pirated games and for trademark infringement by using registered Nintendo trademarks.

To that end, Nintendo seeks damages of $150,000 per copyright infringement, and as much as $2 million per trademark infringement.

According to the lawsuit, the RomUniverse has facilitated around 300,000 downloads of pirated Switch games and more than 500,000 pirated 3DS games, and otherwise distributes games for nearly all of Nintendo’s current and legacy systems.

“[RomUniverse was] built largely on brazen and mass scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rights,” reads the complaint. “The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games.”

On top of any alleged infringements, Nintendo’s lawsuit points out that RomUniverse has added monetization into its platform, requiring members to pay for a $30 premium membership to download more than one game.  

“Defendants are directly profiting and have profited from their exploitation of Nintendo’s intellectual property through donations, paid memberships, and advertising on the Website,” explains the complaint.

Nintendo taking a harsh stance against game piracy isn’t anything new, but the last few years have been an especially busy time for the company’s legal team. Just yesterday, Nintendo won a case over a UK website that distributed Switch piracy mods and game files.

The last few years have also seen a legal victory against a Canadian site distributing piracy-enabling flashcarts, a copyright and trademark infringement win against two popular emulation sites, and a whole host of DMCA takedowns filed against fan games, homebrew 3DS tools, and more.

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