Video game giant Nintendo is suing a Gilbert man over claims that he operated two websites that were “among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games.”
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona on July 19 says Jacob Mathias’ websites were entirely based on a “brazen and mass-scale infringement” of Nintendo games. One of the sites garnered 17 million visitors a month, according to the lawsuit.
The sites — LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co — reproduced and distributed a “staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games,” the lawsuit says.
Both sites now appear to be shuttered.
The lawsuit’s claims
A ROM, according to Nintendo’s legal page, stands for “read-only memory” and is the kind of chip the company uses in its cartridges holding game software. The term is often used on the internet referring to a game copied off a Nintendo cartridge.
The lawsuit alleges that users on Mathias’ sites could download pirated video games to play on their phones, capitalizing on the nostalgia many have for games like Donkey Kong and Mario Kart.
Nintendo, claiming copyright and trademark infringement, is asking the court for up to $150,000 for each copyright infringement and $2,000,000 for each trademark infringement.
An exhibit attached to the lawsuit claims Mathias and his company Mathias Designs LLC breached at least 40 Nintendo trademarks and more than 100 copyrights, including for well-known games such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.
Mathias also used Nintendo logos and promoted the pirated games on LoveRoms’ Facebook page and made money through advertising on his sites and donations, the lawsuit claims.
Patent attorney Lance Venable, Mathias’ attorney, said the allegations in the lawsuit “are being taken very seriously.”
I have been in contact with Nintendo’s counsel and we are hopeful that we can resolve the matter amicably,” Venable said.
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