Nintendo awarded $2.1m in lawsuit against pirate site RomUniverse

Nintendo has won its lawsuit against the now-closed ROM site RomUniverse, and has been awarded $2.1m in damages.

The lawsuit was filed in California in September 2019, and alleged that site owner Matthew Storman uploaded and distributed pirated Nintendo games, and profited from the copyright infringement via paid subscriptions. For this, Nintendo was originally seeking $15 million in copyright and trademark infringement damages, as reported by TorrentFreak.

The site owner elected to defend himself in court, and stated that the site hadn’t broken any laws and he hadn’t uploaded any ROMs himself. However, this claim failed to persuade the court, as he had admitted to uploading ROMs in a prior deposition.

“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,” noted US District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall.

“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.”

Storman testified that he profited by charging users for a premium version of the site. During 2019, the site generated between $30,000-36,000 in revenue, and was his main source of revenue at the time.

The Judge ruled that RomUniverse should pay $35,000 in statutory damages for each of the 49 copyrighted Nintendo works it hosted – which is less than half of the $90,000 requested by Nintendo.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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