Court Order Demands Nintendo ROM Website Destroy All Game Files and More or Face Perjury

Super Mario Sunshine

Nintendo have won a court order, demanding the owner of a ROM and emulation website destroy all the game files and more that they have.

A September 2019 lawsuit against RomUniverse concluded in May 2021; with its owner having to pay out $2.1 million USD to Nintendo. Originally Nintendo has asked for an eye-watering $15 million USD, before US District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled for more “sufficient” damages.

It should be noted that RomUniverse offered paid premium accounts (granting unlimited game downloads), thereby profiting from copyright infringement. Owner Matthew Storman, defending himself in court without a lawyer, was undone by claiming he had never uploaded any of the games himself.

This was contradicted by his admission of uploading content to the website in a previous deposition. In 2019 he had also testified that the aforementioned premium accounts generated $30,000 USD to 36,000 USD in revenue.

VGC reports that at the time, Nintendo failed to gain a permanent injunction to prevent Storman or the website’s return; as Judge Marshall ruled Nintendo had not shown they suffered “irreparable harm,” and the website was already shut down.

Nintendo filed a motion for reconsideration in July 2021. They argued there was nothing preventing the website to operate again, fearing Storman would ignore the court’s original orders as he had failed to pay the first $50 installment of the fine.

Now a permanent injunction has been granted (filed August 5th), along with the demand that Storman “shall permanently destroy all unauthorized Nintendo games or other unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s intellectual property including movies, books, and music no later than August 17, 2021.” This will be followed by a declaration from Storman on the 20th, stating that he complied.

VGC note that failing to do this will result in Storman being accused of perjury. In the state of California, this can result in substantial court fines, or prison time of up to four years.


While ROMs and Emulation are usually a legal grey area (often when the game is no longer being sold or is for a console that is no longer in production), those that tend to sell or accept money tend to be deemed piracy.

Nonetheless, Nintendo’s reputation of being hostile to fan games and headlines on their battle against emulation has made them infamous; especially when they do not make their older games available. Ordering the destruction of the ROMs is also sure to upset those who wish to preserve older games, even in an emulated state.

In September 2019, Nintendo obtained a court order demanding UK internet service providers block access to at least four websites that were sharing or encouraging piracy of Nintendo Switch games.

In 2018, a former ROM website owner was ordered to pay $12 million in damages to Nintendo. The owner of Emuparadise effectively ceased operations of the website that same year, fearing legal action against them.

Nintendo’s protection of their brand was also notable in 2020. They issued a cease and desist order to a Super Smash Bros. tournament that used emulated versions of older games with online play (and protecting others during the COVID-19 pandemic). Another was issued against the creator of Etika-themed Joy-Con shells, who was selling them for charity after the suicide of the streamer.

Image: Super Mario Sunshine via YouTube

, ,


Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!