Nintendo has taken its age old battle against piracy to new levels by filing suit against two of the largest ROM sites on the internet. Nintendo’s claim states that the sites, both based in Arizona, operate their business with “brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo’s intellectual property rites.”
In response, one website, LoveRetro.co, has already taken all of its files offline, and the other at LoveROMs has removed all Nintendo content from their website.
The LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites are among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games. Through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission. This includes thousands of games developed for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced.
Nintendo also states its case by claiming that these cases go beyond fans trying to play old games. Rather, that they are marketing and profiting off of Nintendo’s intellectual property.
Defendants have conducted their online piracy business in willful disregard of Nintendo’s rights. Defendants are not casual gamers but are instead sophisticated parties with extensive knowledge of Nintendo’s intellectual property and the video game industry more generally. Defendants know or should know that Nintendo owns the copyrights and registered trademarks for thousands of video games, related copyrighted works, and images that appear on Defendants’ illicit websites.
Overall, Nintendo is seeking “$150,000 per Nintendo game infringement, as well as up to $2,000,000 for each copyright infringement,” totaling roughly $100 million.
Don’t pirate your games, but do a better job, Nintendo.
First, the obvious. Please buy your video games, or at least, seek out all legitimate and viable means of playing them before turning to back channels. Money is at the foundation of our hobby, and by not paying, you’re not truly supporting it. DON’T give your money to pirates to justify this either.
Nintendo is well within its rights to protect its intellectual properties, and this marks one of the largest steps it has ever taken in doing so.
On the flip side, Nintendo has to make efforts to meet gamers halfway. Retro games are fun. People enjoy going back to play them, but without proper means of doing so, ROMs are sometimes the only way to go about it. ROMs allow for fan-translations of games that North American publishers never bothered to touch. They greatly reduce the price of classic titles that reach triple digits on the secondhand market. They are convenient to play and aid in reintroducing lost or unknown classics back into the fold.
Without ROMs, I would never have discovered a love for Umihara Kawase, which, by the way, I bought the second it got an official release in North America. It’s not far off to suggest that no publisher would have have touched Sayonara Umihara Kawase in North America had the ROM not made the game a cult hit in the first place. The ROM created a commercial need.
Whatever Nintendo is currently brewing to replace Virtual Console, it has to be something good and something universal. 20 NES games for a subscription fee isn’t going to cut it, Nintendo. Your spectrum of retro is too small, and the reason gamers turn to ROM sites is because they are simply better at delivering a retro experience than you are.
Piracy on films dropped overnight as Netflix and Hulu caught on, and the same will happen for video games. People want to pay to play retro games like ActRaiser, they just don’t have a legitimate option to. Get to work on improving your methods, and you won’t have to worry about websites so blatantly stealing from your business.