Nintendo's Lawsuit Against 2 ROM Sites Reaches US$12.2 Million Judgment
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The TorrentFreak website reported on Monday that an unsigned copy of a final judgement it obtained reveals that the parties in Nintendo of America's lawsuit against the owners of ROM sites LoveROMs.com and LoveRETRO.co. have reached a consent judgement. A federal court in Arizona awarded a judgement amount of US$12,230,000 against the defendants. According to the document, each party will pay its own costs and attorneys' fees. TorrentFreak noted that similar lawsuits have resulted in defendants paying much less than judgement amounts due to additional private settlements.
Defendants Mathias Designs, LLC and husband and wife Jacob Mathias and Cristian Mathias admitted that LoveROMs.com and LoveRETRO.co caused harm to Nintendo. As of at least November 6, the websites at both URLs have only the following message:
Our website, LoveROMS.com/LoveRetro.co, previously offered and performed unauthorized copies of Nintendo games, in violation of Nintendo's copyrights and trademarks. LoveROMS.com/LoveRetro.co acknowledges that it caused harm to Nintendo, its partners, and customers by offering infringing copies of Nintendo games and has agreed to cease all such activities. To access legitimate Nintendo games online, please visit www.Nintendo.com for information about the Nintendo Game Store.
In addition, the defendants agreed to a permanent injunction that will prevent them from infringing on Nintendo's copyrights in the future. The Mathias couple must also give Nintendo of America ownership of both of the involved websites, as well as all of their Nintendo games and emulators at their own expense.
Nintendo of America initially filed the lawsuit on July 19 against only Jacob Mathias and Mathias Designs, LLC. However, an updated complaint filed on July 26 added Cristian Mathias as a defendant. The suit was filed for counts of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition. According to Nintendo's complaint, the sites have reproduced and distributed "thousands of games" owned by Nintendo, as well as Nintendo's music, audio, and video game system software. Nintendo also accused the defendants of using registered Nintendo trademarks, including logos and characters.
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 court document lists 142 copyrights and 40 trademarks that the sites allegedly infringed upon, so the potential total is more than US$101 million, not including Nintendo's other demands for attorney's fees.
Nintendo is also seeking to identify the sites' suppliers, take custody of all unauthorized copies of its works, and to take control of the www.LoveROMS.com and www.LoveRETRO.co domain names.
The LoveROMs home page directed users to a search bar to find and download retro games on computers or Android devices. The site's library included games for Nintendo devices as well as other consoles, such as PlayStation and Atari.
Unauthorized ROMS (read-only memory files) distributed online are copies of software that can be played on computers or phones through the use of an emulator that mimics a video game console.
The LoveRETRO website similarly directed users to a library of games, but they could be played online through an emulator.
According to the complaint, Mathias Designs was incorporated in Arizona on February 17, 2016 with Jacob Mathias as the sole manager and employee, though Jacob Mathias had posted a video in 2010 directing users to LoveROMs. Nintendo's complaint also notes that LoveROMs had 17 million visitors each month.