Nintendo 'wins' £9.3m from ROM-hosting sites for copyright infringement

Alfred Osborne
November 14, 2018

An Arizona man has agreed to pay Nintendo $12 million for pirating the company's games through two ROM sites, according to court documents.

The video game company filed a complaint against LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co in July, stating the websites were "built nearly entirely on the brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo's intellectual property rights".

Nintendo made a show of taking out piracy sites over the summer, and this is one result of its efforts. The latest development is the owners and operators of these now-defunct websites - a married couple - have agreed to a settlement exceeding $12 million in favour of Nintendo.

"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", Nintendo's lawsuit alleged.

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After the initial complaint was filed to court in July, Mathias and his wife immediately took both sites down out of fear, alongside multiple other ROM site owners who did not want to be next.

Although the star power of Nintendo's classic titles unquestionably drew huge traffic, LoveROMS.com and other hosts also have represented the chief online archive for many older games that, thanks to defunct gaming systems, lapsed licenses, out-of-business publishers, and other factors, run the risk of being lost to history. Nearly immediately, those sites were taken down as Nintendo sought damages that could have potentially totaled as much as $100 million.

Nintendo is seeking up to US$150,000 for the infringement of each of its copyrighted works and up to US$2,000,000 for each trademark.

The LoveROMs home page directed users to a search bar to find and download retro games on computers or Android devices.

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