Nintendo filed a lawsuit against RomUniverse.com, a website involved in hosting pirated versions of Nintendo games, in September of 2019. Nintendo claimed that the site facilitated the infringement of its intellectual property. Its initial complaint said that the site reportedly offers memberships of up to $ 30 a year, allowing subscribers to download games faster than non-subscribers. This was seen as an act of profiting from Nintendo’s copyrighted works, and it sought $15 Million in potential damages.
Matthew Storman, the site’s operator, did not take down the site until last summer, even after repeated DMCA takedown notices.
He decided to defend himself in the court of law without an attorney and claimed that he did not upload pirated games. He asked the court to dismiss the case. However, Nintendo picked his defence apart and found itself in the court’s favour.
After winning a lawsuit against RomUniverse, Storman was charged with copyright and trademark infringement and was ordered to pay over $2 Million in damages to Nintendo.
Storman was penalised $35,000 in statutory damages for each of the 49 copyright violations. He was also punished $400,000 in statutory damages for each of the 29 trademark violations to Nintendo, amounting to the $2.1 million figure.
Nintendo is well known for suing those that infringe its intellectual proper and has previously won similar cases in US and UK courts, including a $ 12.2 million settlement with illegal ROM distributors. There are several ongoing lawsuits against the creators and distributors of Nintendo Switch hackers.
Litigation is not limited to civil litigation. In 2020, two hackers, one of them named Gary Bowser, were arrested and charged with 11 felonies. Nintendo also filed a lawsuit against Bowser this year, accusing him of creating and selling Switch hacks similar to copyright infringement.