So it turns out that LoveROMs.com and LoveRETRO.com have lost the lawsuit against them, to no one surprise. The total paid damages to Nintendo currently stand at $12.33 million. The two sites were run by two people in Arizona, and hosted large amounts of pirated games, including many older Nintendo titles. The duo agreed to a settlement, likely negotiated by Nintendo, to avoid a lengthy court battle.
“Plaintiff is hereby awarded judgment against all Defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of $12,230,000,” reads the final judgment agreed upon by both parties. The two owners have admitted guilt, and signed over ownership of both domains to Nintendo, who closed the sites permanently. And a permanent injunction should prevent any infringement of Nintendo property by the two going forward.
And there’s something else that needs to be mentioned here. And that’s the amount of the settlement. It’s highly unlikely that the two former site owners have this kind of cash sitting around. And based on precedent, it’s somewhat unlikely that they’ll be forced to pay the full amount of $12 million. What likely happened here is that Nintendo negotiated the settlement as a means of scaring other infringing sites out of the picture, but will accept a much lower sum behind closed doors. This is the same situation that occurred back in 2014 when the MPAA sued Hotfile, and was awarded an $80 million judgment, then was paid $4 million in a backroom deal. It’s possible that other deals of this kind were made in copyright infringement cases over the years.
The suit was filed back in July by Nintendo, against Mathias Designs LLC, in an aim to shut down a major source of infringing material on the two sites run by that company. Faced with millions of dollars in potential damages, the operator of the sites, Jacob Mathias, swiftly took down the two sites. This action also led to various sites either removing infringing content or shutting down entirely, fearing they could be the next to be sued. The most noticeable among these takedowns was that the massively popular EmuParadise removed all games from their site.
This likely won’t be the last settlement of this kind we see either. As there are thousands upon thousands of infringing sites out there, Nintendo will likely seek similar settlements against the biggest names, emboldened by their success here.