Nintendo Continues Campaign Against Piracy

Nintendo of America Inc. v. Matthew Storman and John Does 1-10
United States District Court for the Central District of California
Filed September 10, 2019
Case No. 2:19-cv-07818

Nintendo has filed a new lawsuit against the owner of a ROM website called RomUniverse.

RomUniverse is a website that offers its users unlimited downloads of pirated games in return for a yearly membership fee. Nintendo’s suit alleges that RomUniverse is one of the most visited online sites for pirated Nintendo video games. Notably, according to Nintendo’s filings, RomUniverse has allowed users to download Nintendo Switch games nearly 300,000 times, and has also allowed users to download Nintendo 3DS games over 500,000 times.

Nintendo’s suit alleges that RomUniverse infringes Nintendo’s copyrights and trademarks and violates unfair competition laws. Nintendo alleges that RomUniverse’s ROMs display “counterfeit copies of Nintendo’s trademark” when they are played, and that such ROMs also directly infringe the copyright on these same works.

This suit appears to be in furtherance of Nintendo’s recent efforts in the UK to address piracy of their software on a worldwide scale. Nintendo appears to be trying to protect game developers who rely on sales of their games for a profit. Particularly, if piracy is left unchecked, developers could lose sales, and those developers’ livelihoods could be harmed. In addition, excessive pirating could lower incentives to develop for Nintendo consoles if the developers’ earning potential is decreased through piracy.
In 2018, Nintendo pursued similar suits against ROM websites and Both suits had similar allegations, and both ended in settlement (including a large $12 million payment to Nintendo).

While fans of Nintendo may question Nintendo’s frequent efforts targeting infringement of their content, such efforts are necessary component of maintaining the strength and protection of their intellectual property. We will provide updates on this case as it becomes available.