Nintendo Bullies Fan Sites Over Pokemon B&W Pics

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Nintendo Bullies Fan Sites Over Pokemon B&W Pics

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Nintendo has threatened a couple of Pokemon fan sites with a hardcore legal smackdown for posting images taken from the upcoming Pokemon Black & White.

Pokemon fan site PokeBeach put up some images of all the new Pokemon that will be showing up in the new Pokemon Black & White. Nothing too remarkable about that; videogame sites, and especially fan sites, make a habit of digging deep for the latest and greatest information about upcoming games and publishers generally seem happy to take advantage of the free publicity. But not Nintendo.

Over the weekend, Nintendo fired off a letter to PokeBeach and fellow fan site Serebii asking them to remove the images from their site and threatening dire consequences if they failed to comply. The company said it appreciates their "interest in and support of the Pokemon game series," but that their publication of the images violates Nintendo's copyrights and has the potential to cause it "substantial damage."

"We have accordingly submitted a copyright infringement notice to your domain registrar under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and anticipate that your website will be taken down shortly. We encourage you to immediately remove from your website all graphics, screenshots, and other protected content taken from the Pokémon Black and Pokémon White games," Nintendo wrote in the letter.

"Your full and immediate compliance with the foregoing should render further action on Nintendo's part unnecessary," it continued. "It is essential that we receive your written response confirming that you have taken these necessary actions by Sunday, September 19, 12:00 p.m. PDT, however, or Nintendo will have no choice but to consider its alternative legal remedies."

Both sites complied with the demand, quickly removing all offending images, although PokeBeach administrator "Water Pokemon Master" betrayed a certain understandable bitterness over the whole thing. The site has been renamed from PokeBeach to PokerBeach, "since we figured using 'Poké' also has the chance of causing substantial damage to Nintendo's property," and he encouraged everyone else on the net to do the same.

"We hope that all English-speakers will remove images of Black and White from their websites, forums, blogs, YouTubes, Facebooks, instant messages, e-mails, homes, and minds since under law Nintendo has the right to declare any media they want, on any website they want, illegal and out of the domain of fair use," he wrote. "We hope everyone will comply with their wishes or Pokemon may end up in the gutter, since covering and advertising new games for free is obviously counter-productive to Nintendo's sales."

Ouch. Somebody's not happy. Pokemon Black & White came out in Japan on September 18 and is set to launch in the rest of the world in spring 2011.

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I don't even know what to say to this. If they don't want this happening, why don't they just do a worldwide release instead of releasing it in Japan several months earlier?

That guy sounds understandably pissed off, kudos for him for telling Nintendo what's what.

Calm down, Nintendo - It's a game about silly looking monsters fighting each other. Besides, shouldn't you be happy your fans are so enthusiastic?

I don't understand the problem. It's free publicity. I can understand ROMs of B&W being a problem, but where's the issue with showing images of Issho (or whatever the region is called) and the new Pokemon? Oh, I'm sorry, "Pokermon," since apparently Nintendo is going all gung-ho Copyright Activist on us.

Seriously, Nintendo. Free advertising on sites that only the most hardcore fans hit? HOW is this a bad thing? All it does is spread awareness and boost your sales.

Wow, Nintendo really doesn't like it when there fans 'get out of line' do they? First they kill of the fan made 'Legend of Zelda' movie and now if you post images of upcoming games they threaten to destory you?

Nintendo seems to hate their fans something fierce.

No offence, but it looks like Nintendo is really wanting to alienate their fanbase and turn themselves into some sort of megalomaniacal profiteering company.

This is stupider than Microsoft calling most of their fanbase sweaty 30-year-olds in Metallica t-shirts hiding in their parents' basements.

Streisand Effect in 3...2...1...

If copyright was really the issue, they'd also be asked to take down any graphics they have posted from previous games as well.

Clearly they just don't want all the new Pokémon to be public knowledge until the games are actually available in the western markets

...aaand Nintendo has proven again that it hasn't lost its dickhead talent.

What can possibly harm the juggernaut that is Pokemon? I want to know. What can cause tarnish on a series that's been ongoing for nearly 15 years? I'm not one to throw around the term "boycott", but if you ask me, I'd say, "Oh. We can't talk about Pokemon? Okay. Then we won't buy Pokemon."

I can understand the kind of control Nintendo would want to keep on their property when they squashed the fan-made MMO (and yet that Mario crossover game is still up), but this is just asinine.

I was going to post the news from Bulbapedia that this might be a hoax, but it seems that they don't think it's a hoax anymore. Oh well. I'll still try to find that post from PokeBeach, though.

EDIT: Found it. Although it really doesn't prove anything, it's interesting to think about. Looks like we'll just have to wait and see how this unfolds, if indeed it does.

Is Nintendo afraid that people will see the copious amounts of poorly-designed new Pokemon and not want to buy the game? I think so.

Although, I will admit, there are a fair amount of decent new Pokes as well...

I read the original letter and called bullshit.
The Pokemon Company has their own lawyers based in Houston.
It seems logical they they would respond first, rather than the big Nintendo dogs.
And besides, the game has already been released. Posting images is allowed under the Fair Use doctrine.

I understand the bitterness of it, but I don't think this is considered fair use. Unreleased materials is a heavy grey area, even for demonstration or academic purposes.

I was upset when i went onto Serebii and couldn't see any pictures, not even Pokemon...What's so bloody different this time! =( seriously Nintendo. Grow. Up.

Let me get this correct Nintendo:
I find that the pokemon have been posted. In excitement, I call my friends and have them view the new images. Now me and other DS owners are excited about your game. This type of free publicity and hype is therefore bad and should be immediately removed.

Listen, I know there are problems with piracy, but there is a difference between losing money on downloading copies of the game beforehand and saving money thanks to free advertising.

The game's already out. What the hell kind of copyrights are they infringing on?

Wow, way to go Nintendo. You guys are being nothing but d-bags to your fans. Unbelievable that a company that has been in the business this long would pull something so stupid as this. Its not like these websites just sprung up out of nowhere, these have been around for a while. They're just showing their very loyal support to this game and Nintendo does this? Very, very foolish.

They could just do a worldwide release. Just saying. You don't have voice acting, 90% of the translations are already done (Pikachu is still Pikachu).

I'm really tired of companies being overly protective of pre-release material. (Square Enix pulled some bullshit last week about western audiences not being allowed to see the TGS trailers, fuck you.) Welcome to the digital age, we share information. Maybe if it was a hidden design document you didn't want us to see yet, I can understand, that's practically espionage now. But this is just game details that have been RELEASED. Seeing the sprites is practically an ad. If you don't want a market seeing it before they can play it, than you better start working double-time to release it there quickly. Or just be a bitch and hire a lawyer.

So what's next? Are they gonna put pressure on magazines and sites that say that Black and White is the just another re-hash of Red and Blue like the rest of the series?

Nintendo are probably embarrassed at how awful the new pokemon look

I'm afraid Nintendo might shoot itself in the foot if they keep this up. They have some of the most die-hard fans in the business, but every time they try to show a little love it's "copyright infringement for you." If they keep this kind of thing off, people might get turned off of their games rather than hyped up.

BlueHighwind:
They could just do a worldwide release. Just saying. You don't have voice acting, 90% of the translations are already done (Pikachu is still Pikachu).

I'm really tired of companies being overly protective of pre-release material. (Square Enix pulled some bullshit last week about western audiences not being allowed to see the TGS trailers, fuck you.) Welcome to the digital age, we share information. Maybe if it was a hidden design document you didn't want us to see yet, I can understand, that's practically espionage now. But this is just game details that have been RELEASED. Seeing the sprites is practically an ad. If you don't want a market seeing it before they can play it, than you better start working double-time to release it there quickly. Or just be a bitch and hire a lawyer.

Like the fact that it's impossible to see the Captain America trailer that was privately screened a few months ago. Why? Shouldn't people who want to know a product be able to hype themselves up with pre-release info? Do these people even understand what advertising is supposed to do?

PokeBeach is right to be angry here. This is just a complete blockheaded move from Nintendo. Why stop fans getting psyched for your game?

If this is a hoax, it's an effective one.

Nintendo feels contempt for its fanbase, that's not a big secret, but this seems a bit drastic.

Heart of Darkness:
I was going to post the news from Bulbapedia that this might be a hoax, but it seems that they don't think it's a hoax anymore. Oh well. I'll still try to find that post from PokeBeach, though.

EDIT: Found it. Although it really doesn't prove anything, it's interesting to think about. Looks like we'll just have to wait and see how this unfolds, if indeed it does.

I mean, this is something I expect Nintendo to do, but the post linked to there makes it seem unlikely. I suppose we'll track details as they unfold.

Ridiculous. At this point many people (I assume) have already imported the game and will see these new Pokemon anyway. Hopefully the Nintendo thought-police will not execute me for daring to look at the sprites in my imported copy of White. Now if you'll excuse me...(returns to my semi-legal activities)

I'm pretty sure the use of any and all images of an unreleased, or already released game on a fansite in a noncommercial way that is used to provide commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, etc etc, for the upcoming, or already released game, constitutes the Fair Use Exception. This seems pretty harsh on Nintendo's part.

This smells Activisiony

"fair use"???
but then again, fansites dont have the monetary power to resist nintendos wishes.

Well, Nintendo doesn't like free publicity on a game now do they?...

If Nintendo is gonna be this dickish to their fanbase, then I'd say fuck them too.

Thank you nintendo for hiding all info on this game. Now I won't know about it and won't buy it since you took down all info on it. Mission accomplished.

Your mission was to stop people from buying the games, right? Because if so then yeah, mission accomplished.

Nintendo's legal department at it again, I guess. I wonder what's up with those guys...

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