Nintendo wins $2.1 million from pirate site owner who probably shouldn’t have defended himself in court

Ed Nightingale June 2, 2021
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Nintendo Bowser's Fury

Bowser's Fury. (Nintendo)

Nintendo has won a lawsuit against pirate site ROMUniverse after the owner defended himself in court without a lawyer.

Nintendo filed the lawsuit back in 2019, alleging that ROMUniverse owner Matthew Storman uploaded and distributed pirated Nintendo games and profited from copyright infringement through paid subscriptions.

They’ve since won $2.1million in damages, as reported by TorrentFreak.

Storman represented himself in court, claiming he was not breaking any laws and asking for the case to be dropped. He claimed that he had never uploaded any of the Nintendo games to the site himself.

However, it emerged that Storman had in fact previously admitted to uploading Nintendo games himself.

“Defendant filed a declaration in opposition to the Motion wherein he declares that he ‘denies and disputes that he uploaded any files to said website and at no time did he verify the content of said ROM file’, which is directly contradictory to his sworn deposition testimony wherein he testified that he uploaded the ROM files onto his website,” Judge Marshall notes.

“Furthermore, Defendant testified at his deposition that his website ‘indicated’ that copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted video games were available for download on the website.”

Storman profited from the paid subscriptions, testifying that in 2019 they were generating $30,000–$36,000 in revenue – his main source of income.

He was found liable for direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement as well as trademark infringement.

The Judge ruled that Storman should pay $35,000 in statutory damages for each of the 49 copyrighted Nintendo games available on the site. In addition, the trademark infringement damages total $400,000 for all 29 trademarks.

In all, Storman must pay $2,115,000 in damages.

This is significantly less than Nintendo had requested – over $15 million in trademark and copyright infringement.

The Judge also refrained from issuing a permanent injunction against Storman, considering the ROMUniverse site has already been shut down. 

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