A married Arizona couple will be responsible for paying $12.23 million dollars to Nintendo of America after being accused of copyright infringement in federal court.
In July, Nintendo filed a complaint against Jacob Mathias and Mathias Designs LLC in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, accusing the two of operating the websites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co, both of which distributed unauthorized downloads of Nintendo video games and software.
According to court documents obtained by TorrentFreak, Jacob’s wife, Cristian Mathias, was later named and added to the complaint following the original lawsuit’ filing.
Though the site was taken offline shortly after the complaint was filed, LoveROMS was one of the most popular emulation websites on the internet, bringing in 17 million visitors a month, according to the court documents cited by TorrentFreak. The site offered unofficial downloads for hundreds of retro video games from Nintendo and other publishers, along with emulation software to make the games playable on a computer.
According to the report, Nintendo’s original complaint suggested that Mathias Designs should be responsible for paying $150,000 per Nintendo game hosted on the site, and $2,000,000 for each violated trademark. This would have been the maximum awarded damages allowed by law, and with LoveROMs hosting hundreds of Nintendo games, the damages could’ve mounted to more than $100 million.
Instead of arguing their case in court, the court documents cited by TorrentFreak say the couple acknowledged running the sites and entered into settlement talks with Nintendo. They ultimately agreed to the final judgement of $12,230,000 issued on November 9th, according to the report.
Nintendo’s legal action against LoveROMs has led other emulation sites to reconsider their practices, with some choosing to go offline preemptively following the complaint. As Nintendo and other gaming companies work to monetize their back catalogs with new digital versions of classic titles, unofficial software downloads will continue to be a threat to their business model.
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