Nintendo filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the owners of RomUniverse.com, a video game emulation website that advertises itself as boasting downloads of more than 60,000 different games.
In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Polygon's Nicole Carpenter, Nintendo claims that RomUniverse violated its copyrighted work and trademarks by providing free copies of Nintendo games. These sorts of copies, called "ROMs," can be played on a PC or other device using emulation software, circumventing the need for Nintendo's popular video game consoles.
Nintendo says in the lawsuit it identified at least 3,200 of its own titles among the ROM collection on RomUniverse.com. The available games ranged spanned years worth of releases, from Nintendo's earliest titles to its latest hits, the company said, and at least 200 of the games were for the Nintendo Switch, a console released in 2017.
RomUniverse has been online for more than a decade and had nearly 400,000 visitors in March 2019, according to Nintendo's lawsuit. The lawsuit says that RomUniverse.com has offered a $30/year premium membership since 2013, which gives subscribers access to unlimited game downloads at higher speeds than non-subscribers.
With RomUniverse allegedly offering thousands of Nintendo games, the website's owners could be liable for millions in damages. Nintendo of America is seeking $150,000 in damages for each infringement of its copyrighted works, and $2 million for each infringement of a Nintendo trademark.
We've reached out to RomUniverse for a comment, though a represenative of the site declined to speak with Polygon. Nintendo was not immediately available for comment.
Nintendo is known for taking a hard stance against piracy and other forms of copyright infringement to protect the company's precious intellectual properties. In November 2018 Nintendo was awarded a $12.23 million judgement against a married Arizona couple in a similar case. The couple operated the websites LoveROMs.com and LoveRETRO.co, and offered free downloads to more than 17 million visitors each month.
Eurogamer reports that Nintendo also won a court case on September 10 in the United Kingdom that will require five of the country's internet service providers to block access to websites that share information on Nintendo Switch piracy.