Two defendants are ordered to pay $150k US each in damages after leaking images from an unpublished Pokémon Sword and Shield strategy guide.
In the run-in to release, people on the internet got upset – as they often do – about Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Specifically, it was the news that Pokémon Sword and Shield would be the first mainline entry that wouldn’t feature the full series’ Pokédex.
If you’re not sure what that means, an explainer:
With every new Pokémon game, The Pokémon Company adds more monsters. Some are brand new, some are variants of existing ones. Each game has what’s called a Pokédex, a catalogue (or index) of all the monsters in the game.
Before Pokémon Sword and Shield, each new game’s Pokédex was a cumulative tally of all the monsters in all the games that came before it, plus all the new additions in that game.
But in Pokémon Sword and Shield, where the total number of monsters approached a thousand, The Pokémon Company changed tack. Not all Pokémon would be included in Sword and Shield’s Pokédex.
And this made people on the internet very upset.
Had this information come out in reviews of the game, they would have been upset enough. But this actually leaked several months prior to the Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release, where photographs of the game’s unreleased strategy guide surfaced online. This generated a lot of negative publicity for the game and, arguably, harmed pre-orders.
So, in November 2019, armed with just the leaked images, The Pokémon Company filed a lawsuit. Now, 19 months later, that lawsuit has culminated in two defendants each being required to pay The Pokémon Company $150k US (around £108k GBP) in damages and legal fees.
One of the defendants, it turns out, worked for LSC Communications, the company that printed the strategy guide for Pokémon Sword and Shield. The other? Just someone who shared the information on Discord, where the leak then became public knowledge.
If you weren’t already aware, this should serve as a reminder that leaking things online – or even sharing leaked things – can be a risky business.
And if the publisher involved is the notoriously protective Nintendo or one of its subsidiaries (The Pokémon Company is joint-owned by Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures), then you should probably expect legal action.
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