Skip to main content

Owner of ROM site nuked by Nintendo wants to bring it back

The RomUniverse site as it appeared in 2019 (cropped)
(Image credit: RomUniverse)

Last month, RomUniverse owner Matthew Storman found himself facing a $2.15 million fine after Nintendo hit out with a copyright infringement lawsuit. Despite this, he plans to bring his website back online—and naturally, Nintendo is none-too-happy about it.

Given that Storman is unemployed, that fine took the form of a $50/month payment Nintendo says Storman "proposed and agreed to" (via ArsTechnica). Paying off the full amount would take 3,500 years—or longer, considering Storman missed his first payment. 

Meanwhile, in a post-ruling conversation one of Nintendo's lawyers in the case noted that Storman's been thinking about bringing RomUniverse back online—but likely without all that troublesome Nintendo content.

"Mr. Storman stated that he was still considering what to do with RomUniverse and that if he were to bring back the website, it might have video game content and ROMs from companies other than Nintendo but would not have Nintendo content," attorney William Rava noted in a court filing.

Given that, Nintendo is now re-applying to have a permanent injunction struck against Storman. The site owner's inability to even pay back the bare minimum fine has been raised as further cause for action.

"This failure to make even the modest $50/month payment, an amount that he proposed and agreed to, demonstrates that Nintendo has no adequate remedy at law for Defendant's past or future infringement and underscores the need for a permanent injunction," Nintendo wrote in a court document.

"Defendant's threat to continue to operate RomUniverse to distribute videogame ROMs, using the same website he used for the past several years to mass-infringe Nintendo's copyright and trademark rights, necessitates the entry of an injunction."

Storman infamously represented himself in a case that saw Nintendo attempt to strike him with $15 million in damages and a permanent injunction against any future infringement of its IP. The court initially rejected the injunction and lowered the fine, in part because the site had already shut down at time of hearing. Opening it back up, even without hosting Nintendo titles, may open up Storman to a fresh attack from the Japanese publisher.

Natalie Clayton

A one-time dog sledder, pancake flipper, alien wrangler and indie darling, Nat now scours the internet looking for the hottest PC gaming news. Destined to become Scotland's first Battlemech pilot.