[Updated] ROM Sites Hosting Nintendo Games Taken Down For Copyright Infringement

Published: July 24, 2018 5:30 PM /


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Nintendo has taken down two popular ROM sites, loveRETRO and loveROMS, sites both owned and operated by Jacob Mathais of Mathais Designs LLC. This is just one of the many legal moves that we've seen Nintendo take to protect their IP with many ROM sites not even hosting Nintendo in fear of legal action, and we've also seen Nintendo take steps to protect their IP by taking down various fan projects over the years.

For those not familiar with the concept, ROMs can be used with an emulator of a Nintendo handheld or console to allow people to play titles for free as if they were playing on the original hardware. It's a way that you can play games like Super Mario 64 on your PC, phone, PSP, or almost any other open device with enough power.

The lawsuit documents found by TorrentFreak highlight the exact grounds of the lawsuit including distributing "the proprietary BIOS software for several of Nintendo’s video game systems," "unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games," and even " make extensive use of Nintendo’s registered trademarks, including the Nintendo logo and the most recognizable Nintendo video game characters, to encourage visitors to download and play unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted works."

Nintendo also outlines in the document that they are seeking reparations of $150,000 for each of the 140 titles hosted and then a further $2m for each of the 40 trademark infringements. This totals out to Nintendo seeking $101 Million from these two sites.

Nintendo is taking this matter a step further too as they've demanded that the sites immediately cease operating, which both already have, turn over their domain and also reveal the sources of who provided their site with ROMS. This could be Nintendo attempting to stop the creation of ROMS at the source, or even to scare ROM creators into stopping their practices.

We have reached out to Nintendo on further information following the close of loveROMS and loveRETRO and will update this article as more information becomes available.

Update: After reaching out to involved parties and others in a similar position TechRaptor received a response from the owner of one of the biggest emulation websites. The questions and answers have been listed below.

TechRaptor: What do you think of Nintendo taking legal action for these sites hosting this content?
Owner: Nintendo is well within their rights to take action. The question here is, should they have that right, especially when it comes to IP that they are not exploiting? Today, copyright is at a 70 year+ term. Most of the games we played as children will never enter the public domain until we're dead. If you poll the people, most regular folks would be in favour of shorter copyright terms. The way we arrived here is because of lobbying and special interest groups wanting to keep these creations locked into the private domain.

So Nintendo can do this because they are supported by the law. But we're all probably a lot poorer because of it.

T: Do you think that ROM sites should begin to take preemptive action to protect themselves against Nintendo?
O: Yes, they should. It's just not worth it for any of us. We do this for the love of retro video games. It's enough pressure that we often get C&D's and legal threats from various groups. Our hosts often get letters threatening them with legal action.

However, to be sued to the point of bankruptcy and beyond? No thank you.

T: What are your thoughts on Emulation and ROM usage, do you see it as a way to conserve the history of gaming?
O: It's literally the only way to conserve the history of gaming. The companies that produced these games have dropped the ball on this. However, the true and absolutely best way to preserve these games and any other IP, really would be shorter copyright terms with conditional renewals. Video games are a part of our shared cultural heritage. It's unfair that we cannot find, access, or play them without huge barriers even when they are 25 years out of production. Especially given the fact that the companies which produced these games often do not exist, or are not exploring these works anymore.

Since the original story there has been no further comment or news from the now closed down loveRETRO and loveROMS, as well as no further comment from Nintendo.
What do you think of Nintendo suing these companies? What do you think of the ease of accessing unauthorized versions of not only Nintendo's but many other companies games?

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

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Andrew has written Video Game and Entertainment news, reviews, and guides for 10+ years. As Senior Content Manager, he assists in creating and editing… More about Andrew