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Nintendo Just Destroyed This Bootleg Site

Like any kind of product, video games comprise the combined efforts of tons of talented people working their butts off to deliver the best experience to players. As such, video games are subject to the same kinds of shady audience engagement as other forms of media. These shady practices include pirating, specifically in the form of ROM sharing. Well, Nintendo — a company with a history of confronting hackers and video game pirates head-on — has had enough, and it has just sued the pants off of one of gaming's most notable copyright infringers.


As reported by TorrentFreak, Nintendo dropped a massive lawsuit on Matthew Storman, the owner and operator of game pirating website RomUniverse, in September 2019 — and the video game company just won to the tune of $2.1 million. Storman, who shut RomUniverse down last summer following discussions with Nintendo's legal team, apparently made the mistake of attempting to defend himself in court, alleging that he wasn't doing anything illegal. He also asked the court to dismiss the case, according to TorrentFreak.

Nintendo's legal team wasn't having it, with its lawyers arguing, "For over a decade, defendant Matthew Storman owned and operated the website RomUniverse.com. He populated the website with pirated copies of thousands of different Nintendo games and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of those pirated games" (via TorrentFreak).


Nintendo won the case, netting $35,000 for each of Storman's 49 pirated games named in the suit — which was still $55,000 less per game than Nintendo had requested.

Nintendo has a history of legal battles

RomUniverse's Matthew Storman might be the latest target of Nintendo's lawyers, but he's far from the first shady gamer to get a legal spanking from the company. In what can only be described as the greatest surname-based coincidence in gaming history, April saw an epic legal battle in a case colloquially known as — wait for it — "Bowser vs. Bowser."


Gary Bowser, a member of the hacking group Team Xecuter, was initially charged with two trafficking counts and one count of copyright violation, after the group was found to be selling hacked Nintendo Switch consoles in October of last year. Following this federal indictment — which coincided with the arrests of two of the group's leaders — Nintendo's lawyers and company CEO Doug Bowser dropped an extensive lawsuit on Gary Bowser, seeking $2,500 per anti-trafficking violation and demanding $150,000 for each copyright violation.

Before gamers begin praising Nintendo as some sort of champion of copyright justice, however, it's worth considering that the company has taken up arms against some considerably less copyright-infringing gamers. Take, for instance, TikTok star and popular streamer Pokeprincxss (real name Marissa Cloutier), who was made to pay Nintendo an undisclosed amount and forced to rebrand to the considerably less Nintendo-centric moniker "Digitalprincxss."


Even though Nintendo as a company might have a bit of a shady side, it makes sense that the company would move against sites like RomUniverse, which was making money off its intellectual properties.