Prior to the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield in November 2019, significant details and images of the game’s new Pokémon and evolutions leaked online, stemming from a strategy guide, and The Pokémon Company was having absolutely none of that. It issued takedown requests across the internet as various images cropped up, and it sought out the original leakers of the Pokémon Sword and Shield images for a lawsuit, swiftly identifying those responsible. Fast-forward a year and a half, and The Pokémon Company and the two defendants targeted for the lawsuit have settled in court, with each defendant agreeing to pay $150,000 in damages and attorney fees.
What happened is that one of the defendants worked for the printing company that published the Pokémon Sword and Shield strategy guide, which provided him the ability to take photos of its contents. The other defendant subsequently shared those images to Discord, which allowed them to proliferate globally. Contrary to what one might expect, these images did indeed cause some short-term havoc for the Pokémon brand, as fans were upset by what the leaks revealed to be a highly incomplete Pokédex. It led to the #GameFreakLied hashtag and a whole lot of anger for a series of games that has a cute electric mouse for a mascot.
Last year, an alleged beta build of Pokémon Sword and Shield leaked as part of the massive hack of Nintendo data, which was its own legal can of worms. But in the case of the leaked Pokémon Sword and Shield strategy guide, this lawsuit is settled. What do you think of the defendants having to pay $150,000 each?