‘RomUniverse’ Is Called to Pay $15.6 Million in Damages to Nintendo

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated May 26, 2021

Nintendo has pushed the owner of the now-defunct ‘RomUniverse’ to the corner, as the Japanese gaming company is seeking a damage compensation of no less than $15.6 million. The case is in the hands of the U.S. District Court of California. The plaintiffs are naming not only the boss of the pirate platform, Matthew Storman, but also up to ten “John Does” and associated corporations.

Back in September 2019, Nintendo was going for a damage compensation of $100 million, which is what the legal team estimated to be the amount Storman made from user subscriptions on ‘RomUniverse.’ The platform was allowing registered members to download as many ROMs as they wish for only $30. Storman decided to fight back and actually turned to the community, asking users to fund his legal bout with the Japanese on a GoFundMe campaign.

That plan didn’t go very well, so the man appeared in court and tried to convince the judge that ‘RomUniverse’ wasn’t breaking any laws. In January 2020, the request to dismiss the case fell apart, so Matthew Storman had to resort to damage limitation.

First, he refused to give any evidence like tax records and ROM download statistics as these would probably not play a positive role for him in court. At some point, he produced some documents of dubious authenticity while he alleged that user statistics are no longer accessible.

From what seems to be the case, the defendant has fabricated a “lost evidence” situation by destroying evidence or locking it out of reach. All in all, he has shown no willingness to cooperate, and this may actually work against him in court. Claiming that all evidence from a website that operated for over a decade has been somehow lost is quite far-fetched and very difficult to substantiate in any way that would be acceptable in court.

Now, Nintendo has dropped its compensation demands, placing them within a more realistic context, probably to make their approval more straight-forward. The gaming company is asking the court to approve $4.41 million in copyright damages and $11.2 million for trademark infringement. Of course, a request for a permanent injunction is also present, in which case, Storman would have to destroy all ROMs he may be holding and hand over whatever domains are under his ownership.

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