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Having already been shut down, RomUniverse - or, rather, the people behind the ROMs-sharing site - are now facing up to a huge settlement, after Nintendo won its summary judgment against the illegal download and distribution operation.
As reported on TorrentFreak and subsequently NintendoLife, RomUniverse's owner Matthew Storman defended his site's business - which extended to offering users a premium subscription, removing a download-limit cap - saying that he'd done nothing wrong. He'd not uploaded the ROMs, so, what was the big deal? Well, the big deal, of course, was that any distribution of such files is against the law, in the US and here in the UK - and offering a paid service was profiting from the activity.
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Storman and RomUniverse were first issued with a lawsuit from Nintendo in September 2019, and the site owner asked the court to dismiss the case. Unfortunately for him, it was not dismissed and the court sided with Nintendo - and while the website was closed in the summer of 2020, the Mario makers weren't finished. They demanded damages - and now, as a result of this new settlement, Storman has to pay up.
Claiming that thousands of their games had been pirated over ten and more years by RomUniverse, Nintendo demanded $15 million in copyright and trade infringement damages. The court decided against such a high figure, declaring that Storman - who was found guilty of various instances of copyright infringement - must instead pay Nintendo $2.1m in damages. Nintendo failed to prove that Storman had caused the gaming giant irreparable harm, and with RomUniverse already shut down, it posed no further threat. Nevertheless, that's not exactly chump change, is it.
Of course, there remain loads of ROM sites live, right now, featuring loads of Nintendo games. You can even get consoles pre-loaded with ROMs that definitely haven't been cleared. Storman's case - for which he represented himself in court throughout - isn't the first of its kind, and it sure won't be the last. There are many ways to legally (re)play the classics, as our emulation guide outlines, so don't get caught out yourself by sharing what you shouldn't online.
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