Two weeks ago, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the game download portal RomUniverse.
The website, which also allows users to download movies and books, stands accused of massive copyright infringement, including that relating to many Nintendo titles.
“The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the Website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games,” the Japanese gaming giant wrote.
In the complaint filed at a federal court in California, Nintendo further stated that the site, which reportedly has 375,000 members, offers downloads for nearly every video game system it has ever produced.
According to the game company, “hundreds of thousands of copies” have been illegally downloaded through RomUniverse. The site, meanwhile, profits from this by offering premium memberships that allow users to download as many games as they want.
The alleged operator of RomUniverse is California resident Matthew Storman. He was served shortly after the action was filed but has yet to file a response to the allegations. Going up against a major company such as Nintendo is no easy feat and to foot the legal bills, Storman is now asking the public for help.
The operator has added a donation option to the RomUniverse homepage and also launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, setting a goal of $100,000 to assist with the defense.
“RomUniverse.com was founded in 2009 under the notion that users like you should have easy access to the content that you purchased and the ability to relive those childhood moments. It is because of this, that I am asking for your help,” Storman writes.
A representative of RomUniverse previously informed TorrentFreak that the site responds to takedown notices, but that it didn’t receive any from Nintendo recently. While it’s not hard to see that pirated games are indeed shared on the site, Storman is determined to put up a fight.
“Now I know what you’re thinking, this one person is going to take on one of the largest console/gaming manufacturers in the world? And the short answer is YES,” he notes.
“I believe that I have a solid defense, and considering that other romsites have folded and settled, this has never been done before,” Storman adds.
The RomUniverse operator likely refers to the now-defunct ROM sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co. These were sued by Nintendo last year and the owners, a married couple, agreed to resolve the matter in exchange for a $12 million consent judgment.
The ‘admin’ of the official discord channel shared the link to the GoFundMe campaign with us, so the crowdfunding campaign is indeed linked to the ROM site. We subsequently requested more information on the forthcoming defense but, at the time of publication, we have yet to hear back.
On the GoFundMe page, Storman notes that he’s not “greedy” or a scammer. He merely wants to defend his rights and those of others in this “unknown” landscape. In the meantime, the site remains online.
While some people may have donated to the site directly, thus far, the crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe hasn’t gained any traction. After two days, the donation counter is still at $0.
Update September 25: The GoFundMe page was removed. We reached out to the admin for a comment but have yet to hear back.