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Nintendo reaches settlement shutting down ROM hosts for good

$12.2 million agreement likely a message to others

Mario Tennis Aces - Mario tipping his cap as he reaches out his racket Camelot Software Planning/Nintendo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Nintendo and the operators of two ROM sites it sued this summer have reached a proposed settlement, for a sizable amount.

Whether the owners of and end up paying Nintendo $12.2 million remains to be seen. A judge has not yet signed the settlement. It’s also possible Nintendo asked for, and the defendants, Jacob and Cristian Mathias of Arizona, agreed to, a large symbolic amount as a deterrent to other ROM hosts; the actual amount changing hands could be much less. The settlement calls for both sides to take care of their own legal fees.

TorrentFreak first reported the settlement.

Perhaps more importantly, the settlement contains a permanent injunction keeping the Mathiases out of the ROM sharing business, at least as it pertains to Nintendo’s games, for good. They must also turn over all of their Nintendo video games, files and emulators, and surrender the and URLs. Both sites were taken down shortly after Nintendo filed suit.

Nintendo sued the Mathiases in July, calling their sites “among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games.” The original complaint characterized the Mathiases’ operation as a deliberately commercial copyright infringement, not the work of enthusiasts or hobbyists.

In the aftermath, the emulation site EmuParadise announced that it would no longer offer ROMs. Though the site’s owner was not sued, and didn’t say Nintendo’s action was the cause, he did say the risk of legal exposure was too great for both himself and those who had supported the ROM library over the past 18 years.

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