from the the-end dept
What a ride for RomUniverse and its owner, Matthew Storman. By way of background, 2019 saw Nintendo start an all out assault on ROM sites, websites where users could download ROMs of old Nintendo games to play on emulators. When the company set its eyes on RomUniverse, Storman attempted to crowdfund a legal defense, which failed, only to represent himself in court and make a lame argument that somehow first sale doctrine allowed him to commit mass copyright infringement. When that all failed miserably and RomUniverse lost in court, Storman was ordered to pay $2.1 million in damages in monthly $50 installments. He failed to make even those payments.
And so now this all comes to an unceremonious end, with Nintendo asking the court for a permanent injunction on RomUniverse and that injunction being granted.
A California court has ordered RomUniverse owner Matthew Storman to keep the website permanently offline and to destroy all illegal Nintendo ROMs.
As reported by TorrentFreak, he has until August 17 to comply with the order. The publisher had filed a request for a permanent injunction in May to keep the website offline, but the court at the time denied it. Nintendo however asked that the decision be reconsidered in June as Storman didn’t specifically dispute that the website would be revived.
To be clear, everyone in this story is somewhere on the spectrum of dumb. Storman’s defenses were laughable and the fight he attempted to put up in court pitiful. When Nintendo specifically brought evidence that Storman had been directly involved in some of the infringing content either appearing on his site, or with him pushing rewards for uploaders to induce them, his argument of first sale doctrine was incredibly weak.
Nintendo, for its part, has buried what mostly amounts to a current non-threat. Nintendo’s sales of older consoles and older games, including on new consoles, has been wildly successful. It buried this site not because it acted as some major threat to Nintendo, but rather because it could. That is very much the Nintendo way, as is the total lack of acknowledgement as to how ROM sites like this, whatever you might want to say about their legality, certainly served for decades to keep interest in classic Nintendo games alive.
But instead, Nintendo has gone through this entire process, spending whatever money it had to and cannot extract from Storman, just so RomUniverse is no longer online. If that’s how the company wants to spend its money, mission accomplished, I suppose.