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Nintendo wins lawsuit against Love Roms owner and succesfully wins 12 million+ dollars in damages

Master Disaster
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This hasn't been picked up by any mainstream news sites yet. The only place I have seen it is on console hacking site GBATemp.

 

According to court documents filed on Sunday 1th November 2018 Love Roms & Love Retro website owner Jacob Mathias has lost the case brought against him by Nintendo of America and Nintendo of America have been awarded $12,300,000 in damages.

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Earlier this summer, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Jacob Mathias, otherwise known as the owner of LoveROMS and LoveRETRO, sites that notoriously hosted ROM files of retro Nintendo games. Immediately following the legal suit, both of the aforementioned domains were shut down to prevent further issue. Nintendo's legal action also had effects on other websites that had illegal content hosted on their servers, such as Emuparadise, which removed all download links shortly after the lawsuit was made public. Mathias and his wife, who were both charged on mass copyright infringement, plead guilty to the actions of trademark infringement and damages to Nintendo. They then entered settlement talks in order to find an agreeable amount of money to pay as reparations. Today, the final judgement for the case came in, showing that both Jacob Mathias and Nintendo had agreed for the former to pay $12,230,000 to the latter, over 12 million dollars.

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According to GBATemp (though I cant find any evidence to back it up) Jacob has also been ordered to surrender all copyrighted material currently in his possesion (I assume in relation to the websites) and ownership of both the Love Roms & Love Retro domains will be passed over to Nintendo.

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All copyrighted material owned by the couple must also be forfeited, and ownership of LoveROMs.com and LoveRETRO.co has been signed over to Nintendo of Japan.

https://gbatemp.net/threads/nintendo-wins-legal-case-over-rom-site-site-owner-ordered-to-pay-12-million-in-damages.523104/

https://torrentfreak.com/images/romsjudg.pdf

 

Damn Nintendo, I mean damn. 12 million dollars in damages against an ordinary bloke running a website because of a few ROMs? I understand protecting your property and all that but holy smokes thats excessive even by your standards.

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How can nintendo even prove they lost 12.3 mil from that particular website. Considering for most of that time there was no way to purchase thise games from nintendo. 

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1 minute ago, VegetableStu said:

wow did he agree to pay that astronomical sum in the "k it's my life now I guess" sense?! o_o

I'm assuming the alternative was much worse?

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12 millions fine. Jacob's life is fuck now. No more retired saving. Jacob needs to start investing on the stock market or be an entrepreneur to pay that 12 millions fine quick. 

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Crime doesn't pay. If he was wise, he would host the site under a corp, and not himself.

--edit: He did... smart guy.. so he is not in debt the rest of his life --

 

What's the difference? Even if he is the only employee in the corporation (unless his region law suggests a minimum number of them to be recognized as a corp), it is not HE that will be taken to court, but rather the corporation. And it would be the corporation that would need to pay 12 million dollars. The end result is that he can declare the company bankruptcy, and beside losing any physical object under the corporation name: servers (if it was self hosted), computer(s), desk, office supply, etc. He would not be in debt the rest of his life personally.

 

Anyway, the better news is that he doesn't need to pay Nintendo's own attorney fees, based on the last line of the lawsuit. Few what a saving out of that 12 million dollars. Must have fallen on Nintendo's good day. Oh how generous the great Nintendo is! :P

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That's one heck of a ridiculous sum the owners of the previous ROM website have to pay. I would just plainly refuse to pay that. Nintendo didn't lose that amount of money because of that ROM website. Besides, it's Nintendo's fault anyway that ROM sites exist. If they would still sell those games that are so called 'unavailable' right now for the Switch or other current Nintendo console, then this ROM site would not exist. 

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4 minutes ago, VegetableStu said:

is that what that is in the list of Defendants? the LLC thing o_o

Good catch actually, yeah LLC is Limited Liability Corporation i think. I reckon he will simply declare bankruptcy and not pay any of it.

 

Though the did name him and his wife on the court docs?

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Nintendo makes good games, but fuck the corporate side of them. Over $12 million for 20+ year old ROMs that are no longer being sold is total bullshit. We really need some serious copyright reform over here, as this entire situation is completely illogical and unreasonable.

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4 minutes ago, TimeOmnivore said:

Nintendo makes good games, but fuck the corporate side of them. Over $12 million for 20+ year old ROMs that are no longer being sold is total bullshit. We really need some serious copyright reform over here, as this entire situation is completely illogical and unreasonable.

Especially now that we found out about disc rot, we need ROM sites more than ever.

Cartridge games seem to last a ton longer it seems (at least that is what we have been able to observe until now), but disc games (which represents about half of Nintendo's library in the past 15 years) are starting to break, meaning we need a way to preserve this stuff.

I know most people use ROM sites to download games they just want to have, but some day we will need it to play the games we actually own but can't play anymore.

 

Of course original hardware is dying.. Gets thrown out, etc. so emulator development is also very important in that sense.

 

I love Nintendo to death, but I hate how difficult they make it to (re)play their games sometimes. From only having the game on a certain eShop.. To for example Pokémon games now allowing another safe file.. That is one thing I have also found super annoying; I may want to replay a game without deleting a safe file; why can't I just do that in Pokémon ? 

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Either he's actually really rich, or must be the dumbest person on the planet, to actually agree to pay that much. 

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35 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

Good catch actually, yeah LLC is Limited Liability Corporation i think. I reckon he will simply declare bankruptcy and not pay any of it.

 

Though the did name him and his wife on the court docs?

YUP! So, that is why he doesn't care, and just agreed to the amount.

Mind you, it is not as simple as I made it sound, as depending on where you are, you may be fully protected, or not....  laws variations in the region he is in can impact what he looses. He may possibly lose his car and home (unless he can prove in court that he can't live without... hard too prove for a home if you have the money to get an apartment, and hard to prove you need that Ferrari (if he has one) when a KIA will do.. unless those are in someone else name, like wife), but aside from this, he isn't in debt for the rest of his life.

 

So while he may have these legal and financial trouble to work, he isn't in debt for the rest of his life and no jail time. So it is pretty light sentence for his crime, possibly.

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And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you use peer to peer.

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1 hour ago, TimeOmnivore said:

Nintendo makes good games, but fuck the corporate side of them. Over $12 million for 20+ year old ROMs that are no longer being sold is total bullshit. We really need some serious copyright reform over here, as this entire situation is completely illogical and unreasonable.

Well... just the NES, it has 714 games on it, assuming that only 1000 people got them on average, that is 714,000$, now assume the license fees from the publisher are 5$, that is $3,570,000.... goes up quickly as you can see. So, now, we add SNES games, GameBoy, GameBoy Advanced, and a lot more. And that is assuming that he ONLY got 1k download per ROM on average, which I highly doubt it is this low.

 

Just a note, the number that Nintendo comes up with, needs to be justified in court. A judge will validate the amount. So the number they came up is not from their ass. The numbers I mentioned are all made up.

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42 minutes ago, TimeOmnivore said:

Nintendo makes good games, but fuck the corporate side of them. Over $12 million for 20+ year old ROMs that are no longer being sold is total bullshit. We really need some serious copyright reform over here, as this entire situation is completely illogical and unreasonable.

What do you mean they are not sold? Nintendo distributes some of the NES games through its online service, and sold NES and SNES classic consoles with games on them, which each owner of the game still gets a cut, by the way. It is the same as Netflix, and iTunes. If you purchase a song or movie the publisher gets a cut (which then get distributed to actors, extras, and so on). When you subscribe to Netflix, the fee you pay pays for what you watch to the respective publisher of the movies.

 

You don't know if tomorrow, Nintendo might add more games to its game service, so why should it be public domain? If you where a studio of a game, and 20 years later, people still play your games.. even if your game is 1$, you want to be paid. A business is not a charity. You have employees to pay, you have the lights to keep on, and anything that comes in, that allows you to have a larger budget to continue to make great games and push boundaries, is what you want, In this case, I don't know the details, but Nintendo may represent all the publishers/studios as part of their license fees they paid to Nintendo to make their games avail to the companies respective console.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

Well... the just the NES has 714 games on it. amusing that only 1000 people got them on average, that is 714,000$, now assume the license fees from the publisher are 5$, that is $3,570,000.... goes up quickly as you can see. So, now , he had SNES games, GameBoy, GameBoy Advanced, and a lot more. And that is assuming that he ONLY got 1k download per ROM on average, which I highly doubt it is this low.

The problem with that is that Nintendo was no longer selling the vast majority of those ROMs in any official capacity. Not only that, but Nintendo trying to claim that they somehow had damages from these ROMs being available is completely flawed logic in and of itself - they weren't hurt financially because these ROMs existed, as people weren't able to buy them officially nor does a download equal a lost sale even if they were available for purchase.

 

If Nintendo had an official emulator to replace their old hardware and officially sold copies of their ROMs to work on said emulator, I would completely understand them having a legitimate and understandable case, but they don't. If the law is on Nintendo's side here then the law needs to be changed - as this situation is neither just nor reasonable.

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41 minutes ago, Minibois said:

Especially now that we found out about disc rot, we need ROM sites more than ever.

You can backup, you can't freely distribute, unless you have the permission from the publisher, studio and the console manufacture.

 

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6 minutes ago, TimeOmnivore said:

The problem with that is that Nintendo was no longer selling the vast majority of those ROMs in any official capacity. Not only that, but Nintendo trying to claim that they somehow had damages from these ROMs being available is completely flawed logic in and of itself - they weren't hurt financially because these ROMs existed, as people weren't able to buy them officially nor does a download equal a lost sale even if they were available for purchase.

No... if Nintendo has evaluated that if someone wants to license from them a game for an approved system is 3$... then 3$ per game it is.

Now you have a game that is fro Activition and they say, oh you want this 20 year old game that we now own... hmmm... ok., add mico-transaction, and the license fee is only 6 billion dollar per user. Then it will be 6 billion + 3$ from Nintendo.... but in this case, it would be Activation that needs to take him to court.

 

 

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If Nintendo had an official emulator to replace their old hardware and officially sold copies of their ROMs to work on said emulator, I would completely understand them having a legitimate and understandable case, but they don't. If the law is on Nintendo's side here then the law needs to be changed - as this situation isn't neither just nor reasonable.

You don't know the future. No one expected the NES classic. Maybe in the future, 10 years from now, FPGA chips might be cheap enough to make a genuine NES replica for cheap, and have a store system where you can buy each game, or pay a Netflix subscription style service and access all games. As a company, you would want to have all your doors open, and all opportunities open to make money, right? so it is logical for Nintendo to defend itself. Yes it sucks for us, the consumer, but sadly, that is the reality of things.

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1 hour ago, Master Delta Chief said:

That's one heck of a ridiculous sum the owners of the previous ROM website have to pay. I would just plainly refuse to pay that. Nintendo didn't lose that amount of money because of that ROM website. Besides, it's Nintendo's fault anyway that ROM sites exist. If they would still sell those games that are so called 'unavailable' right now for the Switch or other current Nintendo console, then this ROM site would not exist. 

... Puts Nintendo off the "company I love for what they make" shelf to the "Yuor With Apple and Facebook now" shelf.

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Just now, GoodBytes said:

You can backup, you can't freely distribute, unless you have the permission from the publisher, studio and the console manufacture.

 

You can legally make a backup of the stuff you own, for personal use (where I live we even pay a fee for this. It's called home copy tax and it's 2,60 euros for a PC/laptop and €0,60 or an external HDD/flash drive), but it's completely absurd that all these companies are making it impossible to actually make these backups yourself (either by using proprietary standards like for example 3DS cartridges or by adding DRM to their 'normal' discs).

 

Once you do have a backup of your game, you have to homebrew your console/handheld to play the games and Nintendo is not a huge fan of that. They are either blocking compatibility with new updates or outright banning homebrewed systems from playing online. Seems like they are actively working against this backup your own games thing.

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4 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

You don't know the future. No one expected the NES classic. Maybe in the future, 10 years from now, FPGA chips might be cheap enough to make a genuine NES replica for cheap, and have a store system where you can buy each game, or pay a Netflix subscription style service and access all games. As a company, you would want to have all your doors open, and all opportunities open to make money, right? so it is logical for Nintendo to defend itself. Yes it sucks for us, the consumer, but sadly, that is the reality of things.

We shouldn't be waiting at all for them to come with a NES classic or whatever because waiting time is over. They should've solved this ROM 'issue' ages ago. If they weren't that incompetent, this situation wouldn't exist. Of course, I should not forget that they did put some games 'back' on the eShop, but that's still in some regard limited. 

 

And saying the fact that this is a reality, it shouldn't be at all. This is just not only hurting the consumer, but this guy's financial life as well most likely. 

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10 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

You don't know the future. No one expected the NES classic. Maybe in the future, 10 years from now, FPGA chips might be cheap enough to make a genuine NES replica for cheap, and have a store system where you can buy each game, or pay a Netflix subscription style service and access all games. As a company, you would want to have all your doors open, and all opportunities open to make money, right? so it is logical for Nintendo to defend itself. Yes it sucks for us, the consumer, but sadly, that is the reality of things. 

True, but we don't have any such system now. As such, Nintendo being able to take legal action against someone for making a product that is no longer reasonably available available again isn't justifiable. If Nintendo created such a system wherein the consumer had the option of obtaining all of their products legally, I'd be okay with them taking down someone distributing that content unofficially. If the consumer has no method, aside from piracy, to obtain content, then the companies who own said content shouldn't be able to do anything, as they've afforded the consumer no other choice.

 

Nintendo could easily create their own, official emulation+ROM storefront today and give consumers the ability to play and enjoy all of their old games today. But they don't, and that's entirely their fault, so they shouldn't be able to punish someone who does it for them. This entire situation is a problem of Nintendo's own making. When there are gaps in the market, people will rush to fill those gaps.

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2 hours ago, TechyBen said:

... Puts Nintendo off the "company I love for what they make" shelf to the "Yuor With Apple and Facebook now" shelf.

Oh boy.. you better not read what else they have done in the past...

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