Home Gaming Nintendo hits emulation and ROM sites with a massive lawsuit

Nintendo hits emulation and ROM sites with a massive lawsuit

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Nintendo_Entertainment_System_Model

ROMS and emulation exist in a bit of a grey area. They’re technically illegal if you don’t own the games you have software dumps for, but they’re freely available to download on the internet with just a cursory Google search in the way. The ethics of it becomes a bit murky when you factor in game preservation; making games that can no longer be easily purchased available to play. Nintendo, however, isn’t a fan. They’ve now come down hard on two major emulation sites that distributed old Nintendo games.

Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against emulation sites LoveROMs and LoveRETRO for their part in distributing copyrighted games.

“The LoveROMs website alone receives 17 million visitors each month. Such visitors are drawn to the website by the widespread availability of free, unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games and other highly valuable intellectual property,” says the suit. “The resulting popularity of Defendants’ LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites has allowed Defendants to reap substantial ill-gotten gains, including through donations and the sale of advertising on the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites.”

LoveROMS has purged all of its Nintendo ROMS as a result, while LoveRetro has effectively shuttered. Nintendo wants more than that though. In its suit, the company wants damages of $US150,000 for each Nintendo game hosted on the pair of sites, along with damages of up to $US2,000,000 for each trademark infringement. Nintendo is not playing around.

ROMS

 

Not for the first time, Nintendo has found success in peddling its older games again with the NES Classic Mini and a 16-bit follow-up SNES mini. The company has also had a Virtual Console selling old games on all of its modern systems up to, but not including the Switch.

Of course, there’s a bit of hypocrisy at play here in that Nintendo was recently found to be selling a dumped and pirated ROM of one of its own games on the Virtual Console. Former Eurogamer video guy Chris Bratt discovered that Nintendo probably downloaded a dumped version of Super Mario Bros, only to sell it back to its customers.

That said, I understand why Nintendo’s trying to protect its intellectual properties and copyright by excising these ROMS from the internet (or rather, trying to). The costs per ROM seem a little on the excessive side though – especially as these ROMS are available to download for free. I’d much rather Nintendo targeted the companies that have built veritable empires by manufacturing, importing and selling bootleg consoles that come pre-packaged with hundreds, if not thousands, of illegal ROMS.

 

Last Updated: July 23, 2018

16 Comments

  1. HvR

    July 23, 2018 at 08:58

    Still not sure why Ninty is still so beloved gaming company. A lot of the times they drop down to EA level of corporate assholeness.

    They seem to love to target fans with their IP protection (this lawsuit, Youtube copyright strikes and cease and desists) since they are easy targets; funny thing is I wonder if their mini console release and their “new-generation” nostalgic fan base would have so successful and big if it wasn’t for the ROM sites and Youtube gaming/speedrunners and ROM community kept the IP alive while Ninty ignored it for better part of 2 decades.

    Reply

    • BradeLunner

      July 23, 2018 at 11:16

      That is a good question!

      Reply

  2. Kromas

    July 23, 2018 at 09:11

    Roms do what Nintendon’t. 😛

    Reply

  3. konfab

    July 23, 2018 at 09:15

    “In its suit, the company wants damages of $US150,000 for each Nintendo game hosted on the pair of sites”

    Yea, 25 year old games are not bringing Nintendo that kind of money…

    They actually would make far more money from those games if they put them in a browser and sold adverts.

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      July 23, 2018 at 09:36

      Only..they kinda are. While not quite that amount per game . the NES Classic mini brought Nintendo 128 million USD in income from November 2016 through April 2017.

      Reply

      • konfab

        July 23, 2018 at 10:07

        It bought them so much money that they cancelled it… Which to me indicates that it isn’t worth their while. Which also puts your figure as a once off sum.

        Heck, they don’t even have to use adverts. Make it a monthly subscription like Netflix or Twitch.

        Reply

        • Geoffrey Tim

          July 23, 2018 at 10:36

          Also no; they started reselling the NES Classic at the end of last month, bringing it back into production. It was originally meant to be a once-off limited system, but it’s been unfathomably popular.

          Reply

          • BakedBagel

            July 23, 2018 at 11:14

            konfab has a point tho.

            Why create hardware for this, when the majority of people just download an emulator, host it online with a subscription fee and run it in the browser

            WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY

          • BakedBagel

            July 23, 2018 at 11:14

            konfab has a point tho.

            Why create hardware for this, when the majority of people just download an emulator, host it online with a subscription fee and run it in the browser

            WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY

          • Geoffrey Tim

            July 23, 2018 at 11:25

            Yeah, I’d fucking love if the SWitch in particular did this – but Nintendo (and now many others) seem to have found that suckers will buy cute nostalgic things.

  4. RinceThis

    July 23, 2018 at 10:23

    Take a lot of notice takealot!

    Reply

  5. BakedBagel

    July 23, 2018 at 11:13

    God forbid someone downloads Pokemon Gold

    Reply

  6. Graeme Selvan

    July 23, 2018 at 12:57

    They should look at taking down those guys in JHB selling their roms by the thousands!

    Reply

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