Nintendo Wins Major Court Case Against Pirate Website
Paris Court of Appeals has ordered ROM siteholder Dstorage to pay approx. $484,000 to Nintendo
With so much Nintendo lawsuit news circulating around, sometimes we wonder whether we’re discussing a gaming company or a law firm. In the most recent news, Nintendo won a legal battle with a sharehosting website that offered pirated copies of Nintendo’s games. This isn’t the first case in the last couple of years; the company also cracked down on a dead website a couple of years ago and continues its prosecutions of anyone infringing upon their IP, including a popular Zelda YouTuber.
According to VGC, the Paris Court of Appeals has ordered ROM siteholder Dstorage to pay approx. $484,000 to Nintendo, along with an additional $27,400 for legal fees. Nintendo previously demanded that Dstorage removes all unauthorized copies of Nintendo games on its website, 1fichier.com, but the company failed to comply with Nintendo’s demands, prompting legal action. The Court of Appeals backed up Nintendo’s demands, and after Dstorage failed to comply for undisclosed reasons, the Court ordered the company to pay various damages to Nintendo.
A spokesperson for Nintendo stated that the company is pleased with the Court’s decision, as it sends a clear message that non-compliance with the request to withdraw or remove access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo games, in spite of prior notification, will be held accountable. Parties infringing upon copyrighted intellectual property should be held liable for compensation to respective rights holders. Admittedly, the Court’s decision is significant for the entire industry, and not only Nintendo.
It’s decisions like this that actually level the playing field when it comes to software piracy. Piracy is illegal, and there’s no question about it, websites should remove pirated content. However, moderating sharehosting websites is notoriously hard, as people tend to post whatever they want. So, decisions like these prevent big legal bullies such as Nintendo from filing a lawsuit against anyone infringing upon their IP without prior written notice about copyright infringement.
This notifies the sharehosting website about pirated content, which should be removed promptly.
But at the same time, these decisions prevent shareholding websites from claiming that a court decision is needed prior to pirated content removal and claiming that they weren’t duly notified about pirated content. Interestingly enough, some of the biggest software pirate collectives—including both entertainment and utility software—actually encourage people to support software developers and buy the actual software they downloaded for free. This is mostly associated with pirated PC games, though, but some utility software pirates propagate this message as well.
There is a small gray area (not in legal terms) that is of interest to retro gamers. A good portion of retro games, unfortunately, aren’t accessible on various digital storefronts anymore. Mostly because they’re from a pre-internet era and the fact that many gamers lack the appropriate hardware necessary to run a pretty rare medium these days. A good example would be any lesser-known Nintendo Entertainment System game for which you would need to download an illegal ROM and an emulator—like the one found on Steam Deck.
Nintendo doesn’t want you to do this, and they have every right, as you’re using their intellectual property. But then again, despite offering plenty of retro titles on its Nintendo Switch Online, some titles just aren’t there. So, nobody actually profits from this form of piracy; the pirates do it for free, Nintendo only has imaginary losses, and the only ones losing are the players.