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Nintendo awarded $2.1M in pirated games lawsuit

More lawsuits ongoing against hack sellers and creators

Mario runs from Fury Bowser in Bowser’s Fury Image: Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo of America has been awarded $2.1 million in damages after winning a lawsuit against pirated game seller RomUniverse. Nintendo originally filed the lawsuit in September 2019, with the company asking for $15 million in damages. Though the case was decided in Nintendo’s favor, the judge opted for a lower number: $2,115,000.

TorrentFreak first reported the Nintendo win last week.

RomUniverse was originally operated by California resident Matthew Storman, who argued in court that he didn’t upload the pirated games himself. But Nintendo, in its original complaint, said the site reportedly offered memberships for as much as $30 per year, which let subscribers download games faster than non-subscribers.

Showing that kind of profit off of Nintendo’s copyrighted works is how the company won the $2.1 million judgment. Nintendo said RomUniverse had a catalog of both new and old Nintendo games, which were downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

Nintendo has previously won similar cases, both in U.S. and U.K. courts, including a $12.2 million settlement against ROM sellers. The company is well known for cracking down on those it perceives as stealing its intellectual property; multiple lawsuits are in the works, targeting Nintendo Switch hack creators and resellers.

The actions aren’t limited to just civil lawsuits. In 2020, two hack creators — including one named Gary Bowser — were arrested and charged with 11 felonies. Nintendo also filed a lawsuit against Bowser this year, alleging similar copyright infringement for creating and selling Switch hacks. Nintendo called this sort of copyright infringement a “serious, worsening international problem” in one of its earlier lawsuits.

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