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Nintendo files multimillion-dollar lawsuit against ROM website, RomUniverse

xeecee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
597
"I can't buy X, so theft is an acceptable solution."

How did you survive before the internet was a thing?
the same way i do now: comfortable in my perspective that piracy and theft are two different things. would you like to see my bootleg tapes of songs i recorded off the radio and mix cds friends burned for me, officer?

if you think the way nintendo has handled their back catalogue is acceptable more power to you I guess. to me it's fairly obvious why emulation and ROMs are going to be an eternal game of whack-a-mole for nintendo given how inadequate their offerings are
 

Velezcora

Member
Nov 16, 2017
2,202
So I think it's worth pointing out I'm not in support of piracy.
I'm glad Nintendo took this site down. The fact that they are profiting off it is outrageous.
There are a ton of gamecube games I want and I'm not pirating them to play them.

However rom sites do play a part in game preservation. Despite it being legal a lot of art would be lost without them. That sucks and I don't know why you would be in support of banning them. There is more to preservation that rom sites, yes. Doesn't mean it's not part of it.
I'm not gonna download Fire Emblem Path of Radiance but at least I know its there.

Nintendo please sell your gamecube games tho. I buy all your games day one c'mon. lol
 

mazi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
24,200
if you think the way nintendo has handled their back catalogue is acceptable more power to you I guess. to me it's fairly obvious why emulation and ROMs are going to be an eternal game of whack-a-mole for nintendo given how inadequate their offerings are
you think if, starting today, nintendo offered every single game on every past system, 1st or 3rd party, for extremely reasonable prices, piracy would go away?
it won't. some people would always pick bot paying for something if it's an option.
 

Twister

Member
Feb 11, 2019
224
I mean they have every right to do it, and I'm pretty sure they're even legally obligated to do so, but it just makes me sad that they won't offer these games themselves. I would pay them for these games but they just refuse to re-release them in official capacity. There are so many GameCube games I'd love to play but the discs are super expensive. I've been collecting them slowly and adding to what I had as a kid, but if they just offered them on the Switch I wouldn't need to scour eBay for deals just to play Mario Baseball
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
8,963
if you think the way nintendo has handled their back catalogue is acceptable more power to you I guess. to me it's fairly obvious why emulation and ROMs are going to be an eternal game of whack-a-mole for nintendo given how inadequate their offerings are
Just want you to know I'm resisting to posting the gif again

Hey, I'd love for every company to handle it like how SEGA did and release their retro catalogue on Steam with a folder with the roms uncompressed for you to back up, but that'd be extremely hard. Of all companies, Nintendo is likely one of the best in how they do it, as much as I'd love to pay Sony for PSX games I can't.

Hell, thinking about it, currently they have these options for their retro games:

- Pay $20 a year and instantly access a lot of games from NES and SNES
- Buy the SNES / NES mini
- Virtual Console on Wii U
- Virtual Console on 3Ds (which is like what, $150 nowadays?)
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,363
So I think it's worth pointing out I'm not in support of piracy.
I'm glad Nintendo took this site down. The fact that they are profiting off it is outrageous.
There are a ton of gamecube games I want and I'm not pirating them to play them.

However rom sites do play a part in game preservation. Despite it being legal a lot of art would be lost without them. That sucks and I don't know why you would be in support of banning them. There is more to preservation that rom sites, yes. Doesn't mean it's not part of it.
I'm not gonna download Fire Emblem Path of Radiance but at least I know its there.

Nintendo please sell your gamecube games tho. I buy all your games day one c'mon. lol
This is BS.
Nintendo games are still being preserved.
They're in no danger of being lost forever.
My copy of PoR is still there and less of a risk of disappearing than a ROM site that could be sued tomorrow.
and that's even if I don't care to make any special thing to preserve it.
And that's without the fact that we know that Nintendo do archives pretty well on their side.
If you want to play it, for now there are copies available
 

Disgraced

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,328
So-Cal
Some of these things CAN be available though. Why take that away? It literally doesn't harm the IP holders.
People are obsessed with worth. I have a comic book collection. When people learn of this, the most common question I'm asked is a variation of "Do you have anything worth anything?"

No, I don't really. Most of my comics aren't worth diddly shit. I enjoy them and they're for me. I'm not interested in profiting off them (though I am perhaps interested in selling or donating some for space lol).

But I digress, the worth in them is what comes to mind for people and I think the same thinking extends to IPs. People cling to that shit in the hope that maybe one day they can produce a reboot or whatever—and maybe they'll succeed in that—but it's much more likely they won't. And I think that can be a difficult thing to accept—that most things aren't worth a ton monetarily—and our system has kind of made it easy for people to reject it.
 

Hailinel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,014
the same way i do now: comfortable in my perspective that piracy and theft are two different things. would you like to see my bootleg tapes of songs i recorded off the radio and mix cds friends burned for me, officer?
So what you're saying is that you're OK with pirating games, then, under the flimsy justification that it gets you what you want without having to pay for it.

OK.
 

Velezcora

Member
Nov 16, 2017
2,202
This is BS.
Nintendo games are still being preserved.
They're in no danger of being lost forever.
My copy of PoR is still there and less of a risk of disappearing than a ROM site that could be sued tomorrow.
and that's even if I don't care to make any special thing to preserve it.
And that's without the fact that we know that Nintendo do archives pretty well on their side.
If you want to play it, for now there are copies available
FOR THE LAST TIME IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT PRESERVATION BUT ACCESSIBILITY.

It's not like a copy of PoR is like $60. It's more and that cash is going to a private seller.
 

xeecee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
597
you think if, starting today, nintendo offered every single game on every past system, 1st or 3rd party, for extremely reasonable prices, piracy would go away?
it won't. some people would always pick bot paying for something if it's an option.
it wouldn't "go away" but that's for a myriad of reasons. for starters, yes, the obvious: some people just like not paying for stuff. so it is, so it shall always be.

but it would certainly help. we saw game and TV piracy dwindle with the advent of convenient and comprehensive services like netflix and steam as alternatives to terribly arranged systems like cable tv packages (and in steam's case a lack of efficient digital distribution at all) and now it is on the rise again due to the splintering of streaming services once more. everything old is new again in that case.

but there are also reasons emulation and roms will never disappear completely: your hypothetical scenario here just will never happen. licensing deals fall through. source code goes missing. publishing agreements are dropped or simply never reached, and games just don't release in some parts of the world. roms are always, always always always, going to fill those gaps, because the technology is readily available and convenient. is that legal? no, but i think it's bizarre to care too much about that really. if the binary choice being offered is between potentially never being able to see certain obscure pieces of software again or going against a giant corporation's wishes, I know where I stand.

Just want you to know I'm resisting to posting the gif again

Hey, I'd love for every company to handle it like how SEGA did and release their retro catalogue on Steam with a folder with the roms uncompressed for you to back up, but that'd be extremely hard. Of all companies, Nintendo is likely one of the best in how they do it, as much as I'd love to pay Sony for PSX games I can't.
sega's collections are really great but the same problem persists there. some games are just never going to get official releases ever again and i can't get worked up about people wanting to download them for free.

So what you're saying is that you're OK with pirating games, then, under the flimsy justification that it gets you what you want without having to pay for it.

OK.
that's not really what i'm saying but i'm not going to change your mind so have a good day officer
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,363
FOR THE LAST TIME IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT PRESERVATION BUT ACCESSIBILITY.

It's not like a copy of PoR is like $60. It's more and that cash is going to a private seller.
Again you are not entitled to something that the owner is not willing to sell.
A copy of La Joconde would be perfect in my bathroom but if I can't pay the price, I can't pay it and that's that.
Also you can be pretty damn sure that it's not the Path of Radiance or the Captain rainbow that have people going to ROM sites but stuffs like BotW or SMW.
If anything PoR is a justification for the rest of the more popular piracy to exist.
 

Velezcora

Member
Nov 16, 2017
2,202
Again you are not entitled to something that the owner is not willing to sell.
A copy of La Joconde would be perfect in my bathroom but if I can't pay the price, I can't pay it and that's that.
Also you can be pretty damn sure that it's not the Path of Radiance or the Captain rainbow that have people going to ROM sites but stuffs like BotW or SMW.
If anything PoR is a justification for the rest of the more popular piracy to exist.
Again I'm not saying you're entitled to it. I'm saying it's a necessary evil to make these things accessible for the public.
Yeah if you can't get it you can't get it but the internet allows you to get it. So why is that wrong?
So should accessibility for out of print art be eliminated because some assholes don't buy new games? I don't think we should punish everyone for what pirates do.
 

Jbone115

Member
Oct 25, 2017
831
A game existing in the world doesn’t make you entitled to play it, even if nobody is offering it for a “reasonable price.”
 

Hailinel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,014
FOR THE LAST TIME IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT PRESERVATION BUT ACCESSIBILITY.

It's not like a copy of PoR is like $60. It's more and that cash is going to a private seller.
Once a legal copy of a game belongs to you, you're free to eBay it or sell it at a flea market or whatever else for the price you choose. That's kind of how secondary markets work.
 

teacup

Member
Oct 28, 2017
564
Like others this website seems a bit skeevy. But for example I mentioned a bit back wanting to play Pokémon soul silver and black and white 1 or 2- they aren’t on any virtual consoles or anything modern... and looking on eBay for a copy I saw many over the 100 mark.

In the end I just deal and don’t play it. But I get how people see such an easy offering and take it, morales aside.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
18,186
Don't make up shit to try to make others look bad, and own up to what you say.
What you are saying in this topic is making you look bad, not my replies.

For one, I own a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga, and I'd be far happier if everyone could play the game. But Sega can never bring it to market as they don't have the source code.
What is emulation for 500, alex?
 

Velezcora

Member
Nov 16, 2017
2,202

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,363
Again I'm not saying you're entitled to it. I'm saying it's a necessary evil to make these things accessible for the public.
Yeah if you can't get it you can't get it but the internet allows you to get it. So why is that wrong?
So should accessibility for out of print art be eliminated because some assholes don't buy new games? I don't think we should punish everyone for what pirates do.
If the issue was just out of print old games there would be no issue and these sites would probably still be operating without any issue for anyone.
Same reason why Nintendo shut down a remake of Metroid II when they had a similar project on their own.
And we KNOW that Nintendo is not keep their stuffs forever to be locked for no reason.
 

Velezcora

Member
Nov 16, 2017
2,202
If the issue was just out of print old games there would be no issue and these sites would probably still be operating without any issue for anyone.
Same reason why Nintendo shut down a remake of Metroid II when they had a similar project on their own.
And we KNOW that Nintendo is not keep their stuffs forever to be locked for no reason.
Okay I understand where you're coming from.

I'm sorry if I was being rude or obtuse. It just makes me sad to think stuff could be lost because of copyright law preventing it from being released. As there is stuff like Little Samson which has almost no chance of coming back in an official capacity. Where as a Nintendo game always have a chance.
But yeah I am in favor of taking down games currently available for sale. You should buy SMB off the VC or buy NSO if you want to play it.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,363
Like others this website seems a bit skeevy. But for example I mentioned a bit back wanting to play Pokémon soul silver and black and white 1 or 2- they aren’t on any virtual consoles or anything modern... and looking on eBay for a copy I saw many over the 100 mark.

In the end I just deal and don’t play it. But I get how people see such an easy offering and take it, morales aside.
I got Black and white 1 and 2 all of them off Gamespot.
Like they're widely available DS games.
Granted Soul silver and heart gold are truly way more pricey.
But seriously though 3DS are still being sold new, they aren't hard to find.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,363
Okay I understand where you're coming from.

I'm sorry if I was being rude or obtuse. It just makes me sad to think stuff could be lost because of copyright law preventing it from being released. As there is stuff like Little Samson which has almost no chance of coming back in an official capacity. Where as a Nintendo game always have a chance.
But yeah I am in favor of taking down games currently available for sale. You should buy SMB off the VC or buy NSO if you want to play it.
don't worry no offense was taken.
there are some games that I really wish some billionaire would buy the right to and just make sure the game wasn't lost to the wind.
But like some movies and some books some things just can't be preserved and not even ROM sites are gonna help in any way for that.
I may never cross path with a way to play Alien Olympics on GameBoy (and that's a good thing if you ask me) but I very much doubt that ROM sites are gonna preserve that over all versions of Super Mario Land.

Interestingly enough ROM sites do provide an easy to get ROMs that emulators help getting to innards of the games if you wanna look at that.
It's for a public that's really far smaller to justify the expense of making a site hosting the ROMs so that's just (an appreciated ) added bonus.
 

SpaceCrystal

Member
Apr 1, 2019
922
Please stop Nintendo. You need to get your roms from somewhere so you can dump them on your NSO service.
You don't think video game companies like Nintendo have ROMs/source codes of their own in their archive databases?

How else do you think that we get re-releases, compilations/collections & remasters (or remakes) of older games?
 
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Apocrypha

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,274
The same kind of people who call rom sites, "presevation," are the same kind of people who sent death threats for not releasing the Sonic Xtreme source code.
I think this behavior is common and in this case from FOSS zealots. In fact Kaze Emanuar a Super Mario 64 Modder, was given shit to what extent I don't know about not releasing the source code to if I'm remembering correctly his Modding Tools.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
18,186
I think this behavior is common and in this case from FOSS zealots. In fact Kaze Emanuar a Super Mario 64 Modder, was given shit to what extent I don't know about not releasing the source code to if I'm remembering correctly his Modding Tools.
Yup, assembler games used to not allow anyone to ever mention the word Sonic on their site, because of the entire Sonic Xtreme ordeal. Years, and years later, I hit up assembler asking if he'd like to do an interview for a 20th anniversary retrospective on sonic scene preservation, noting to him that I was actually part of the crew that released the project and thus not the normal trouble makers, and he told me to never contact him about Sonic again, which I totally understood. These things can be RAW. It's legitimately scary when someone is threatening you like that.
 

Solid

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,065
I think it can be argued that piracy has played a part in the ongoing preservation of games and game builds, but websites like this are bit players at absolute most, and are generally just irrelevant to game preservation. So invoking that argument, without demonstrating knowledge of or paying mention to the sorts of dedicated preservation groups and private piracy platforms that are actually facilitating preservation on some meaningful level, just comes off as grasping at straws to me.
 

Apocrypha

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,274
Yup, assembler games used to not allow anyone to ever mention the word Sonic on their site, because of the entire Sonic Xtreme ordeal. Years, and years later, I hit up assembler asking if he'd like to do an interview for a 20th anniversary retrospective on sonic scene preservation, noting to him that I was actually part of the crew that released the project and thus not the normal trouble makers, and he told me to never contact him about Sonic again, which I totally understood. These things can be RAW. It's legitimately scary when someone is threatening you like that.
Now that's an interesting story thanks for sharing! I can definitely also understand why he'd have a zero tolerance policy even to this day, trauma is awful. It is scary, you threatening someone is already crossing the line but to do it over fucking video games and software licensing models. Now if that doesn't scream perfectly sane and not capable of acting on your threats I don't know what does!
 

Jakenbakin

Member
Jun 17, 2018
633
I'm all for ROMs being easy to find online, but charging someone for a game that you didn't make or have no ownership over is pretty ballsy.
I've seen this sentiment a lot in this thread. While I get the subscription model might be more ballsy, it's not like any of these sites are likely running some kind of non profit, and I'm sure their ad revenue is more than sustainable. So what really makes this site different than any of the others?
 

teacup

Member
Oct 28, 2017
564
I got Black and white 1 and 2 all of them off Gamespot.
Like they're widely available DS games.
Granted Soul silver and heart gold are truly way more pricey.
But seriously though 3DS are still being sold new, they aren't hard to find.
Good for you. I don’t live in your country and I don’t have a gamespot to go to. We have ebgames but none of them exist around.


Think about music piracy. Right or wrong it went down when options like iTunes came out and offered an alternative. I just wish more developers had these options for their back catalogue and some more consumer friendly practises.
 

Effect

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,002
It's always a really dicey and greyish situation when it comes to roms for systems and games no longer being sold and there is no way to obtain said games or systems. Charging a membership and hosting current games for currently sold systems is an open invitation to be sued into the ground and worse. No sympathy for this when you go that far and are that stupid. That's beyond playing with fire.

Who is even paying for this!? What is the excuse they've come up to convince themselves this was even remotely okay!?
 

higemaru

Member
Nov 30, 2017
1,565
Why History Needs Software Piracy - Benj Edwards

a primer for anyone who actually wants to talk out the potential pros and cons of software piracy but is worried about stepping on Era’s pro-corporate toes

anyway, this site (the ROM site) is gross and antithetical to what I consider the point of ROM sites to be.

also, anyone who thinks earthbound got re-released on virtual console because of smash brothers of all things has no sense of time, didn’t follow the story of its re-release at all, and is just an overall dummy talking out of their ass. It got there through dedicated fans repeatedly saying that they wanted it until Nintendo finally listened. My guess is that most of the fans weren’t playing the original SNES cart which begs the question...how did they play it🤔
 
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Nairume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,328
I think it can be argued that piracy has played a part in the ongoing preservation of games and game builds
Anecdotal of course, but it can also be harmful in ways. Going beyond the easy example of early roms being hacked to run on crappier older emulators being more common than proper versions (the other big rom site Nintendo went after recently was especially bad about this), there's a depressing issue where a lack of care in maintaining proper metadata and having different versions available has meant that the original IBM pc port of Wizardry (a historically important release!) is just unavailable online. Even if you specifically try to find the original release, its going to just be the same few rips of the tweaked rerelease from the Wizardry Archives compilation released on CD in the late 90s because that was the easier one to upload back in the day and every abandonware site just copied from the same few sources.
 

Sixthhokage1

Member
Nov 14, 2018
7
Ft Worth, TX
A copy of La Joconde would be perfect in my bathroom but if I can't pay the price, I can't pay it and that's that.
Since La Joconde (or as it's more recognizably known, the Mona Lisa) is a work in the public domain, anyone is free to make reproductions and derivatives of it. You can pick up prints of it starting at less than $20 on Amazon. If you want to make a point about needing to suck it up and deal with art being inaccessible, this was probably not a good piece for that point.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,189
Piracy is a service problem exhibit A: These guys can charge for their piracy service.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,537
USA
Why History Needs Software Piracy - Benj Edwards

a primer for anyone who actually wants to talk out the potential pros and cons of software piracy but is worried about stepping on Era’s pro-corporate toes

anyway, this site (the ROM site) is gross and antithetical to what I consider the point of ROM sites to be.

also, anyone who thinks earthbound got re-released on virtual console because of smash brothers of all things has no sense of time, didn’t follow the story of its re-release at all, and is just an overall dummy talking out of their ass. It got there through dedicated fans repeatedly saying that they wanted it until Nintendo finally listened. My guess is that most of the fans weren’t playing the original SNES cart which begs the question...how did they play it🤔
Lol I played Eartbound on a legit cartridge back when it was originally released because my cousin bought it. Hell I was even able to buy my own copy from a retro game store in 2003 for $60. It’s only recently that game got stupid expensive.

Without hard data it’s stupid to assume old games are popular because people pirated them. Games like Earthbound and Panzer Dragoon Saga are known through reputation. Reputations those games earned from people playing the original copies in the first place.

I’ve never played Panzer Dragoon Saga myself, despite owning a Saturn at the time of it’s release but I’d day one buy a re-release or remaster due to it’s reputation as a great RPG and my love for the series in general.
 

MoosetheMark

Member
May 3, 2019
98
Once a legal copy of a game belongs to you, you're free to eBay it or sell it at a flea market or whatever else for the price you choose. That's kind of how secondary markets work.
If I have a copy of Path of Radiance I bought at launch, I'm free to sell it at the price I want. Whether people are willing to bite is another matter.
This is called "first-sale doctrine" in copyright law. We accept that the copyright holder was compensated during the initial purchase, the first sale, and permit all subsequent transfers. The holder of the copyright to the work as a whole can't tell you not to sell your personal copy, or not to sell it to a certain person, etc.

What's interesting about this re: this discussion around the availability of older games is that first-sale doctrine does not exist for digital goods. You don't own anything you buy from Steam, Virtual Console, etc. You can't legally sell me your serial number for Windows 8 when you decide to upgrade to Windows 10. When you buy these old games digitally, you're merely buying a non-transferable license that can easily be revoked.

I'm not saying this to justify the preservation argument, I just thought it would be interesting to note. I have no personal problems with pirates but I think a lot of folks need to be more honest with themselves about why they do it.

I wrote an article about first-sale doctrine and software for a law journal if anyone is interested in reading more about the concept.
 

Seesaw15

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,818
Piracy is a service problem exhibit A: These guys can charge for their piracy service.
Eh, as stated multiple times in this thread the majority of those subscriptions were probably bought by other rom sites.

Also, what service could Nintendo possibly offer to compete with this?
with nearly 300,000 downloads for the offered Nintendo Switch games and “more than 500,000” downloads for Nintendo 3DS games.
Pay $25 bucks a year and get every new Switch game.
 

Instro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,467
you think if, starting today, nintendo offered every single game on every past system, 1st or 3rd party, for extremely reasonable prices, piracy would go away?
it won't. some people would always pick bot paying for something if it's an option.
It's known that services, accessibility, and convenience all help curb piracy. This is how Steam, GoG, have made a difference with regards to PC piracy. While there will always be people who want things for free, particularly those in poorer countries, there's no doubt that making things available for purchase in a fast and convenient way makes a huge difference. Additionally:


You don't think video game companies like Nintendo have ROMs/source codes of their own in their archive databases?

How else do you think that we get re-releases, compilations/collections & remasters (or remakes) of older games?
All of these companies, including Nintendo, have been caught re-using ROMs downloaded from the internet.
 

Sixthhokage1

Member
Nov 14, 2018
7
Ft Worth, TX
All of these companies, including Nintendo, have been caught re-using ROMs downloaded from the internet.
I don't know about other companies, but the claims about Nintendo being caught downloading ROMs are overstated, based solely on their Wii VC release of Super Mario Bros using the same headered ROM format that the unauthorized emulator scene developed. A simple 16 byte header that gives the size of the PRG and CHR data and has flags about things like what mapper hardware is used in the cart. They used the format because it was practical and they had experience using it with their own emulation already. There's a lot of details in Krvavi Abadas' posts in this thread: https://www.resetera.com/threads/tomohiro-kawase-mightve-been-hired-by-nintendo-to-put-rom-headers-into-vc-updated-dec-1-2018.64755/