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Nintendo's ROM Site War Continues With Huge Lawsuit Against Site Despite Not Sending DMCA Notices

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Roughly a year ago, Nintendo launched a war between itself and ROM sites. Despite the insanely profitable NES Classic retro-console, the company decided that ROM sites, which until recently almost single-handedly preserved a great deal of console gaming history, need to be slayed. Nintendo extracted huge settlements out of some of the sites, which led to most others shutting down voluntarily. While this was probably always Nintendo's strategy, some sites decided to stare down the company's legal threats and continue on.One of those sites was RomUniverse, which not only refused to shut down, but essentially boasted that it wasn't scared of Nintendo's legal attack dogs and would continue on. That stance is about to be put to the test, however, as Nintendo has filed a copyright lawsuit seeking enormous damages against the site.

In a complaint filed at a federal court in California, the Japanese gaming giant accuses the site’s alleged operator, Matthew Storman, of “brazen” and “mass-scale” copyright and trademark infringement.“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 complaint reads.Nintendo states that the site, which has 375,000 members, offers downloads for nearly every video game system it has ever produced.
Now, to be clear, there is nuance to our stance here. Does this constitute copyright infringement of Nintendo's property? Hell yes. Can Nintendo sue over this on solid legal grounds? Of course! Should it do so? Well, that's a more complicated question. You have to wonder just exactly what Nintendo is going to get out of all of these lawsuits. Yes, it may succeed in shutting down this and other sites. But does that mean those that use ROM sites are suddenly going to buy a Nintendo console, retro or otherwise? It's not obvious that the answer to that is "yes." Instead, those pirates will probably just not play Nintendo games at all. Or, more likely, will find another venue for ROMs, and rinse and repeat that process as Nintendo goes on its whac-a-mole expedition.And, given that Nintendo only recently really invested in making retro games available on its consoles, these sites actually did preserve gaming history for millions of people who would otherwise have never played these aged titles. Not to mention that ROM sites are also a place for home-brewed games on these older consoles, which themselves are not infringing.And, finally, if Nintendo really just wanted to combat piracy in all of this, why not at least start with the DMCA process?
RomAdmin from RomUniverse informed us that he hasn’t received anything from Nintendo, no recent takedown notices either. The site does respond to takedown notices.“We’ve always immediately taken down questionable material, per their take down notices,” RomAdmin told TorrentFreak.
Instead, Nintendo went straight to the nuclear option, with a lawsuit asking for potentially over $100 million in damages. Again, it can do this, but given how much money the company is already raking in off of retro gaming... why?

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Sep-2019
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The MoviePass Mess Has Finally Come To An End

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Moviepass is no more. The company's all you can eat movie ticket business model never worked as advertised, and a letter to subscribers informed them that the service would be shutting down over the weekend. Users are supposed to be getting refunds without having to ask for them.MoviePass initially seemed like it might be a plausible idea, though in recent months the company has been exposed for being aggressively terrible at this whole business thing. The service initially let movie buffs pay $30 a month in exchange for unlimited movie tickets at participating theaters, provided they signed up for a full year of service. But it wasn't long before the company began hemorrhaging cash, something made immeasurably worse when it dropped its price point to $10 a month as part of a last ditch attempt to spur growth.A bombshell Business Insider expose offered a stunning look at the company's dysfunction, and executives' interest in focusing on flashy marketing instead of fundamental business basics. Particularly entertaining was the fact that as things began to fall apart, company CEO Mitch Lowe thought it would be a good idea to arbitrarily change the passwords of heavy users so they couldn't actually use the service as advertised:

"Lowe dreaded the company's power users, those high-volume MoviePass customers who were taking advantage of the low monthly price, constantly going to the movies, and effectively cleaning the company out. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the average moviegoer goes to the movies five times a year. The power users would go to the movies every day."Before Mitch came on it was, 'How do we slow down those users?'" one former employee said. "With Mitch it was just, 'F--- those guys.'"Per Lowe's orders, MoviePass began limiting subscriber access ahead of the April release of the highly anticipated "Avengers: Infinity War," according to multiple former employees. They said Lowe ordered that the passwords of a small percentage of power users be changed, preventing them from logging onto the app and ordering tickets."
With that kind of "leadership," it's probably not too surprising that the effort fell apart. Granted the idea itself wasn't terrible, and individual movie chains have since adopted it with some fairly decent success, something acknowledged in the goodbye letter to company subscribers:
"We still deeply believe in the need for the MoviePass service in the marketplace, to maintain affordable access to theaters and provide movie lovers with choices of where to go to the movies. In August 2017, MoviePass began a transformation of the moviegoing industry by introducing its low monthly price subscription service. Since then, others in the industry have followed our lead. Now, as a result of this transformation, movie lovers throughout the United States have the ability to see movies in theaters using subscription services at prices they can actually afford, albeit with limited choices of theaters using those services."
SEC filings indicated that the company's net loss ballooned from $7.4 million in 2016 to $150.8 million in 2017, in no small part thanks to the $10 Hail Mary price hike attempted by the outfit. And while the company says it has formed a new strategic review committee to explore strategic and financial alternatives for the company, that likely means a bargain basement fire sale of the company's remaining assets in short order. There's also still that ongoing NY AG probe into allegations that the company misled investors as to the sorry state of the company's financials.

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