Nintendo is no doubt one of the most important video game companies out there, and owns iconic video game characters like Link, Mario, Princess Twilight and others. Its game franchises like Super Mario Bros. have been played by millions of people worldwide, while its Nintendo Switch console and Amiibo figurines have also been a big success in recent times.
Nintendo is also fond of protecting its intellectual property and actually does this with remarkable zeal, as YouTubers found out in 2017 when they discovered that those streaming Nintendo games had to join the Japanese company’s Nintendo Creators programme or cease and desist (and Nintendo does not allow livestreaming of its games on YouTube anymore at this time…).
And the latest case involving Nintendo and online copyright violators involves the use of ROMS. These are image files of Nintendo games (obtained from cartridges or other media) such as Super Mario Bros., which users had been downloading from pirate websites like LoveROMS.com and LOVERETRO and enjoying on non-Nintendo hardware such as PCs using third party applications known as emulators.
“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”, says Nintendo in the lawsuit.
According to Nintendo, these websites are owned by the same person, receive many millions of visits per month and exploit the company’s logo and characters without permission. And now Nintendo is seeking millions for trademark infringement amongst other things, meaning the website’s owners could definitely have been caught with their pants down here…
In their defence though, the people behind these websites have been quick to react, with those trying to access LOVERETRO currently being shown a message saying the website is “shut down until further notice”, while its sister website LoveROMS.com has removed all Nintendo titles according to a recent tweet.
It would be fair to point out that Nintendo could be being slightly hypocritical here though. This is because as PC Gamer reports, a version of Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo’s Virtual Console (the company’s official emulator for their games) was actually downloaded by somebody at the company, likely from one of the sites Nintendo is suing now…
It would be a great thing then, if both parties could come to terms, and that the final result of this lawsuit does more good than harm to the video game world this year or when a settlement is finally reached.