RomUniverse To Attempt To Crowdfund Legal Defense, Which Isn't Going Well At All

from the lie-with-infringers... dept

We recently discussed Nintendo’s lawsuit against RomUniverse, part of a longstanding war on ROM sites that seems less than absolutely necessary given just how much cash the company is raking in from its retro consoles and titles. Several commenters pointed out that RomUniverse, while proclaiming that it’s a source for those who long ago purchased Nintendo games to preserve those purchases, also engages in plenty of other less than ethical behaviors. This includes offering up books and movies alongside the ROMs, for which it can’t really make the same claims. In other words, while Nintendo itself might not be the best paladin to slay RomUniverse, it’s not as though the site is on the side of the angels.

Given all of that, you would expect the operator of RomUniverse, Matthew Storman, to try to limit the damage here. That certainly doesn’t seem to be Storman’s plan, however, as he has both publicly stated he will fight the suit and is attempting to crowdfund his legal expenses.

The operator has added a donation option to the RomUniverse homepage and also launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, setting a goal of $100,000 to assist with the defense.

“RomUniverse.com was founded in 2009 under the notion that users like you should have easy access to the content that you purchased and the ability to relive those childhood moments. It is because of this, that I am asking for your help,” Storman writes.  “Now I know what you’re thinking, this one person is going to take on one of the largest console/gaming manufacturers in the world? And the short answer is YES,” he notes.

To be clear, he’s probably wrong. There is a multitude of risk factors here. For starters, ROM sites have always operated on the wrong side of copyright law. Even if we would advise companies like Nintendo that they should leave them alone, they certainly don’t have to. RomUniverse can put up as many banners as they like stating that downloads should only occur if the user has purchased an actual physical cartridge previously, but that doesn’t suddenly make offering the copyrighted game content not copyright infringement.

Add to that the possibility that the owners of the other types of media RomUniverse makes available might see all of this going on and decide to get their own piece of the lawsuit pie and this huge Nintendo lawsuit could suddenly morph into a multi-plaintiff apocalypse for RomUniverse. That’s all the more so possible given Storman’s public statements.

And, finally, if RomUniverse is really relying on crowdfunding to power its legal defense, it seems that nobody bothered to show up to its fundraiser.

On the GoFundMe page, Storman notes that he’s not “greedy” or a scammer. He merely wants to defend his rights and those of others in this “unknown” landscape. In the meantime, the site remains online.

While some people may have donated to the site directly, thus far, the crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe hasn’t gained any traction. After two days, the donation counter is still at $0.

For perhaps other reasons, the page for the GoFundMe for RomUniverse now returns a “Page Not Found” splash page. RomUniverse’s site now is soliciting direct donations instead.

There are enough clouds on the horizon here that Storman should probably go into damage control mode.

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Companies: nintendo, romuniverse

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Comments on “RomUniverse To Attempt To Crowdfund Legal Defense, Which Isn't Going Well At All”

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50 Comments
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Now I know what you’re thinking, this one person is going to take on one of the largest console/gaming manufacturers in the world? And the short answer is YES

“The long answer is, ‘I’m going to take on a 130-year-old multinational corporation worth billions of dollars and lose so badly that all of my descendants will disown me just to stay safe’.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And you usually flat out disagree with what Geigner says, and the fact that both Stephen and apparently you agree with him this time… is supposed to prove what, exactly? Moral victory?

you start howling that I’m for censorship by copyright

Which you are. Unless at some point the entities calling for SOPA and FOSTA, e.g. the RIAA and other "grassroots" groups they fund, suddenly stopped being corporations?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

The silent H in LGBTQ already stands for heterosexual.

His ignorance is not our responsibility.

And for some reason, there hasn’t been a group actively campaigning against hermaphrodites being recognized as fully functional humans with the same rights as everyone else.

All those letters in the alphabet soup pop up not because we’ve found a new way for humans to exist, but because a segment of humanity finds a new group to persecute due to their differences.

Today, we are all Homo.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

When you want to pass yourself off as “persecuted” because you’re heterosexual, ask yourself whether you’d be denied service, targeted for violence, or oppressed by the government based only on your sexual orientation. If the answer is “no” (and it will be), you’re not being persecuted. And disagreement with, and moral condemnation of, anti-gay attitudes is not persecution.

Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but of gay peoples’ right to exist without persecution. Instead of wondering why there isn’t a “Straight Pride” movement (or trying to start one), be thankful you don’t need one.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

"Instead of wondering why there isn’t a “Straight Pride” movement (or trying to start one), be thankful you don’t need one."

There have been a few recent attempts to start some kind of "straight pride" parade. Almost all of them seem to have been very thinly-veiled white supremacist rallies.

Society is telling these guys they are not welcome, but it’s not for the reasons they want to believe it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I remember this comment made by bhull242 from some time back:

I’m not entirely sure why this comment got flagged. It sounds like it’s just saying that there is no universally accepted distinction between sex and gender in the same way that there is no universally accepted definition of “patent troll”, along with a quip making fun of the many acronyms for the LGBT community. Nothing terribly offensive or trollish about that.

To this day I don’t know what alternate universe he lives in where he thinks that people et al won’t find any attempt to question the constantly-expanding acronym as a offense worthy of death by stoning. Incidentally there’s apparently two Qs, two As and two Ps in the acronym now. Goodness knows how they decided which letter decides to go first ("how dare you prioritize allies over asexuals!"). I suppose it’s a question they’ll have to figure out for themselves after they’ve finished closing the arguments from TERFs about transsexuals, and the gays/lesbians who think that bisexuality isn’t really a thing.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Here I thought part of all the groups uniting was them taking responsibility of informing us ignorant people of their existence

No, the point of different groups of queer people uniting under one metaphorical banner/tent was to create a larger group of people willing to look out for and fight for one another’s interests. Informing and educating the general public is a small part of that mission — and it is something no queer person is ever required to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Nor are you required to respond to OOTB, yet you feel it is in our best interest to do so. I think you do a disservice to yourself, as well as everyone else you think is too ignorant to figure OOTB out.

I am an ignorant motherfucker who can, does, and will learn, OOTBs’ job depends on him not learning.

When new things are invented/proposed, people need to be informed or they will remain ignorant. You don’t make up a new word and then call others ignorant because they have never heard it before.

IMHO, your priorities are a little mixed up.

You might never change my mind, but I would have a new understanding and if you had half a brain that remained open, you would too.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

When new things are invented/proposed, people need to be informed or they will remain ignorant.

If someone informs you of the new thing, they do not become your personal professor on the matter. Ask a trans person about being trans, sure — but don’t act as if they’re required to be your one, only, 24/7 source of information on the subject if they give you an answer. You have access to the Internet; fucking use it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

To be fair to his lunatic ravings, in this case ROM Universe was apparently a paid membership site. But, that’s more a case of a stopped clock being correct than any new insight.

But that, along with the fact that they were promoting new content rather than older ROM files on their front page, is why they’re almost certainly going to lose this lawsuit and there’s no reason for anyone to support it over more worthy causes. Whatever other valuable services they were providing, this particular site was clearly promoting piracy for profit over any other motive, so we’re best letting them face the consequences and saving out battle for the next site that’s being attacked for less black and white issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m sure you’ll have no problem proving exact damages, then, instead of the statutory garbage you like to pull out of your ass so much.

Personally, I think it’s funny that you guys still haven’t let go of the trope that donations and Google ads have made millionaires out of site owners. How much money did you manage to wring out of The Pirate Bay, again? Was any of the fine money paid to the artists who were "stolen" from? What’s that, you say? The site is still running, the IFPI couldn’t find a single "million" that was "stolen", and the money "stolen from artists" was instead used to fund even more litigation?

Gads, but you’re an insufferable prick.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Commercial-scale infringer should have set aside some ill-go

"Pirates will pay only for access"

Wait, wasn’t your old complaint that pirates won’t pay anything? Now you’re saying they will happily pay for reasonable access? As in, a "pirate" is a paying customer so long as the offer is of a value reasonable to them?

Why, it’s almost as though you’re agreeing with the central thesis that you’ve relentlessly attacked everybody on this site for over the years!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Shades of RIAA vs. Thomas

Not at all. Thomas was a single mother who probably couldn’t have afforded to buy all the music she downloaded, who was suddenly being held accountable for millions in supposed losses because a handful of files remained shared after she downloaded them. This case, however, appears to be a for-profit site that’s offering many thousands of files.

If you think these are even remotely the same thing, you’ve been buying into RIAA propaganda.

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