As the years go by, it seems like it’s getting easier and easier to find ROMs for classic games. Nintendo, naturally, is not happy about this. The company is taking legal action against two major ROM-hosting sites, and the sites could be looking at millions of dollars’ worth of damages.
Nintendo’s legal actions are targeting two of the most major ROM sites around, LoveROMs and LoveRETRO. Both sites are believed to be run by the same company, Mathias Designs LLC. Nintendo’s statement against the websites, in full, reads:
“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. 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.” — Nintendo
Judging by the price tag Nintendo is putting on their complaint, they’re taking this legal claim very seriously. The sites could be looking at $150,000 for every Nintendo title in their library and $2,000,000 for every infringed copyright.
LoveRETRO’s website has been taken offline, replaced with a statement that states that “action is being taken against [them] by Nintendo and until [they] figure it out, the site will remain down.” LoveROMs’ website is still operational, but all Nintendo titles have been removed from their library. On their official Facebook account, LoveROMs referred to the legal action as simply “rumors.”
A fair number of the ROMs available for download in the sites are not on the market anymore. Video games are not like films that get reissued every few years with special editions on Blu-Ray. Only the popular, profitable games get ported and rereleased, so many video games remain unplayable without the use of emulating.
That said, Nintendo has been fairly good in recent years at producing high-quality emulation on their own, and it’s safe to assume not everyone using LoveROMs is downloading obscure games only released on the N-Gage. So if someone downloads a game for free that Nintendo is still trying to profit off of, it’s not too much of a stretch to call that stealing.