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
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.