Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the operator of two websites serving ROMs of old Nintendo console video games, calling them a “brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rites.” Already, one site, LoveRetro.co, has been taken offline.
“The LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites are among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games,” reads Nintendo’s suit, filed July 19 in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. “Through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission. This includes thousands of games developed for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced.”
The lawsuit explicitly complains that the sites are a commercial infringement, not some fan site or expression of fandom.
Defendants have conducted their online piracy business in willful disregard of Nintendo’s rights. Defendants are not casual gamers but are instead sophisticated parties with extensive knowledge of Nintendo’s intellectual property and the video game industry more generally. Defendants know or should know that Nintendo owns the copyrights and registered trademarks for thousands of video games, related copyrighted works, and images that appear on Defendants’ illicit websites.
The lawsuit requests damages that could reach into the $100 million range if all of the titles were counted. More likely, the size of damages and the injunctions requested are meant to close down the sites rather than recover any damages. Nintendo further asked for an injunction handing it control over the domain names.