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Nintendo sues two websites for distributing ROMs of its games

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Among major video game publishers, there is perhaps no company more threatened by video game emulators and ROMs — digitized versions of games for use on those emulators — than Nintendo. The company takes a hard-line stance against them on its corporate website, and Nintendo has now sued the owners of two separate ROM sites, alleging copyright infringement.

The lawsuit, the text of which was obtained by TorrentFreak, was filed in Arizona against Jacob Mathias and the company Mathias Designs over the websites and, both of which are used to distribute ROMs of Nintendo’s games, as well as other Nintendo properties such as musical recordings.

According to Nintendo’s lawsuit, the websites have damaged Nintendo, and the unauthorized use of its software “infringes and threatens irreparable injury to Nintendo’s intellectual property rights.”

Nintendo is seeking a ton of money in the lawsuit, including $150,000 for each case of copyright infringement found on the sites as well as up to $2 million for each infringement of one of its trademarks. Nintendo also seeks “compensatory damages” and an award to cover its legal fees.

The lawsuit resulted in quick action being taken by the websites. was taken down completely, while had all Nintendo titles removed from its library. Nintendo requested as part of its lawsuit that the two websites transfer their domain names into Nintendo’s control, and that they identify those who originally provided them with the unauthorized copies of its games.

We hear about Nintendo taking steps to prevent piracy against its older games far more often than we do from other publishers, primarily because the company’s back catalog of games continue to be popular.

“It doesn’t make any business sense,” said Nintendo regarding support emulators in a post on its corporate site. “It’s that simple and not open to debate.”

Nintendo certainly still plans to sell its classic games to new customers. In addition to the NES Classic and SNES Classic systems, which contain a number of acclaimed titles for Nintendo’s older systems, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service will provide players with access to several more classics. Many will have added online support, but they’re being offered in place of a “Virtual Console” system like on the 3DS, Wii U, or Wii.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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