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Pokémon leakers say Nintendo is aggressively taking down Scarlet and Violet leaks

DMCA takedown requests everywhere

Two Pokémon trainers stand next to Hisiuan Zorua and Zoroark under a dark purple sky. Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

After leaked footage from Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet went viral this week, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are aggressively targeting unauthorized content with copyright strikes, according to leakers.

Several prominent Pokémon fan and leak accounts reported they and others received Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) strikes shortly after they published leaked footage and screenshots purported to be from the Scarlet and Violet games. The footage included a grainy photo with what appears to be Fuecoco’s evolution, other unannounced Pokémon, and a 30-second clip from the games’ introduction cinematic. Many of the images have been removed from social media following or anticipating the copyright strikes, but some remain elsewhere on the internet.

A Pokémon fan account that aggregates leaks, called PearlEnthusiast, tweeted a screenshot of the DMCA takedown notice they received on Monday, which included a number of Twitter posts. Other users had images and video clips removed from their posts, while some accounts were temporarily locked. On Monday, a Twitch stream was reportedly taken offline almost immediately due to a copyright claim from Nintendo.

This isn’t surprising, really. Nintendo is notorious for being strict with unauthorized content, whether that’s leaked footage, fan art of Bowser’s penis, and a fan-favorite game soundtrack channel. The Pokémon Company itself has made its fair share of DMCA strikes in the past, too — and in 2019, the company filed a lawsuit after someone obtained a Pokémon Sword and Shield strategy guide and posted photos of it online. Though the Sword and Shield leak was published anonymously, The Pokémon Company was able to track down the people involved. The Pokémon Company settled the lawsuit in 2021, with the court ordering the leakers to pay $150,000 each in damages and attorney fees. However, the strategy guide photos weren’t the only major leak in the lead up to Sword and Shield; a freelancer for a Portuguese games website, called FNintendo, was later identified as a leaker. Nintendo blacklisted the website.

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company’s hard stance on leaks appears not to have spooked actual leakers. Earlier this year, someone published Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ full PokéDex and its opening sequence, as well as renders of new Pokémon. Like this time around with Scarlet and Violet, the companies have been quick to take the leaks down — but not before they spread widely.

Polygon reached out to Nintendo and The Pokémon Company Monday to ask whether either is taking action against leakers. The Pokémon Company declined to comment, and Nintendo has yet to respond.

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