Nintendo of America has brought forward a complaint to a federal court of Arizona against two emulator websites for unauthorized usage and alleged profit from their IP. The sites in question, loveROMs.com and loveRETRO.co, are believed to be owned by Jacob Mathias of Mathias Designs LLC. The complaint was filed on July 19.
Nintendo claims in its suit that “Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission… including the proprietary BIOS software for several of Nintendo’s video game systems and thousands of Nintendo’s copyrighted musical works and audio recordings.” The company seeks $150,000 damages for each game infringement and up to $2,000,000 for each copyright infringement.
Their complaints against the sites revolve in large part around the allegation that, rather than hobby sites as most ROM sources are, loveROMs and loveRETRO are (at least semi-) professionally owned and operated by Mathias, and that the individual enjoys illicit profits from the distribution of the ROMs. They also demand the domain names be turned over to them and the “sources” of the offending ROMS be revealed.
That would be the Internet.
This is not the first time the big N has gone after emulator websites, nor is it the first time the company has claimed possible irreparable damages. Leading up to Pokemon’s generation five release, many franchise-dedicated fan sites were notified by the company’s attorneys and asked to remove images of the Pokemon, citing that their use could cause damages.
Since the filing of these lawsuits against loveROMs and loveRETRO, the latter has been taken offline indefinitely. LoveROMs remains standing, though all Nintendo titles have been removed from the site. No further details are known as of this writing. For those interested in following the case, the number is CV18-o2282-PHX-SPL, Nintendo of America Incorporated vs. Mathias et al. It can be found on the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona website, in the civil filing case log under Phoenix.
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.