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Nintendo is using legal action to take down emulator sites

While there’s an argument to be made for video game emulation when it comes to the preservation of titles, Nintendo has been staunchly clear from the beginning that it is against such practices. Now it is targeting two ROM-hosting websites with a lawsuit, aiming to claim for statutory damages, seize back the properties and shut the sites down.

There are a lot of sites on the net that advocate emulation, however few pull in over 17 million monthly visitors like LoveROMs and LoveRETRO, making them targets of Nintendo’s wrath across a 27-page legal filing, via TorrentFreak.

“Such visitors are drawn to the website by the widespread availability of free, unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games and other highly valuable intellectual property. The resulting popularity of Defendants’ LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites has allowed Defendants to reap substantial ill-gotten gains, including through donations and the sale of advertising on the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites.”

All Nintendo titles have been removed from the site. #willupdateyoulater

Posted by LoveROMs on Saturday, 21 July 2018

Nintendo’s primary criticism beyond the freely accessible copyrighted content is the alleged perpetrator’s intricate knowledge of the company’s trademarked content. This essentially makes them a threat towards Nintendo’s long-term profits as the firm explores various ways to continue disseminating its classic content.

LoveRETRO “has effectively been shut down until further notice,” while LoveROMs is doing its best to stay afloat by removing all Nintendo games under its banner. Unfortunately, Nintendo is looking for much more than a cease and desist, hunting to get control of the ROMs, the seizure of domain names and restitution of $150,000 per game and $2 million per trademark breached on the sites.

Such an attack shows some hypocrisy from the publisher, however, as Eurogamer’s Chris Bratt has previously caught Nintendo repurposing illegal copies of Super Mario Bros, selling it on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Still, courts are unlikely to see this as valid reasoning to ease up on copyright infringement, which LoveROMs is still guilty of no matter of the public perception on emulation.

KitGuru Says: All of this effort to take down third-party emulators and there’s still no sign of classic games hitting the Nintendo Switch. I’d always advocate paying for content, despite being debatably overpriced on some platforms, but if the content isn’t even accessible then it will draw people elsewhere. How do you feel about Nintendo’s stance on emulation?

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