Faced with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from one of the world's largest gaming companies, the wealthy Los Angeles resident Matthew Storman decided it would be a good idea to represent himself. The results … were predictable.
Storman was the owner and operator of a site called RomUniverse until the summer of 2020, when it closed. following a lawsuit from Nintendo—That he owned many of the hosted ROMs — that he was claiming a massive copyright infringement. Storman not only hosted the content, but also benefited directly by offering premium members that allowed unlimited downloads (thank you, TorrentFreak).
"This is a simple case of video game piracy, and the material facts are indisputable," Nintendo's lawyers argued in court. "For more than a decade, defendant Matthew Storman was the owner and administrator of the RomUniverse.com website. He populated the website with pirated copies of thousands of different Nintendo games and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of these pirated games ".
Nintendo filed a summary judgment against Storman and $ 15 million in damages combined
Representing against these allegations, Storman argued that the site did not violate any law and that the case should be dismissed. He claimed that RomUniverse did not offer pirated Nintendo games and that he had never uploaded ROMs. This argument was diminished by the fact that, in an earlier deposition, Storman had admitted to doing just that.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled on the matter and disagreed with Storman. Not a bit.
"The defendant filed a statement of opposition to the motion in which he states that he" denies and disputes that he has uploaded any file to the said website and that at no time has he verified the content of the "This ROM file," which is directly contradictory to his affidavit. Witness in which he testified that he uploaded the ROM files to his website, "wrote Judge Marshall, who called this claim" false affidavit ".
A little awkward. Storman had also previously stated that he benefited from the site’s premium accounts, saying that during 2019 the site earned between $ 30,000 and $ 36,000, which was his main income, and just before closing it in 2020 he earned about $ 800 per year. month.
Not surprisingly, Judge Marshall ruled that Nintendo had proven infringement of copies of various flavors, as well as trademark infringement. The court awarded the motion for summary judgment and "awarded the plaintiff $ 1,715,000 in legal damages under the Copyright Act and $ 400,000 in legal damages under the Lanham Act for a total of $ 2,115,000 in legal damages ".
That was far less than what Nintendo lawyers had pushed for $ 15 million. The judge also failed to grant a standing court order against Storman (because he had already closed the site) and rejected other sanctions Nintendo has asked for. But you wouldn't call it a victory for Storman, who "the only source of income at the time of his deposition was unemployment and food stamps."