Posted on September 22 2010 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
While this news is a few days old, it’s 100% relevant to the field we are presently in. We are a Zelda fan site. We have done exactly what these few Pokémon sites have done with games that have recently been released. Yet, we have never received contact from Nintendo’s legal department save in one incident, and it was over magazine scans… and it wasn’t even Nintendo, or the actual magazine, contacting us. Of course, we won that little legal entanglement, but in the present situation, the Pokémon fan site community doesn’t have a leg to stand on, even if past examples show positive results for the Big N.
Essentially, two very notable sites (Pokébeach and Serebii) have been informed by Nintendo’s legal team that they are not allowed to post screenshots of Pokémon Black and White on their sites. Apparently, this violates their intellectual property and actually hurts Nintendo from a business stand point. Honestly, there is no way to win the legal debate over releasing screenshots from the game that don’t come from Nintendo themselves, but this is still, at least in our minds, a silly move. More after the juimp.
The reason this irks me so much is because we went far beyond what these sites did back when Spirit Tracks came out. We released videos of every boss fight in the game, and well over 3000 screenshots days before the game even became publicly available. What did Nintendo contact me about days later? They hoped I was enjoying the new game, and were just curious as to how much influence they think our coverage may have enticed for sales. Essentially, “how much do you feel your advertising helped us make money”. We like to think we influenced more than just a few sales, but the bottom line is they clearly had no issue with what we did. The question then becomes, why are they this lax on Zelda coverage, but so tight lipped on Pokémon coverage?
Releasing the screenshots, in all honesty, can only really help influence better sales of the game. In some regards, they could lessen the sales, but really… Pokémon is what it is, so all this could do is get some people who didn’t buy any recent games to possibly consider these two titles a nice way to come back. Nintendo (among other companies) has laid the smack down on fan communities in the past, but it’s interesting seeing how they treat two communities for different franchises as completely separate cases. I love Nintendo’s products and games, but sometimes I have to wonder why they do the things they do.
As a small test, here are some Pokémon Black and White screenshots. Lets see if Nintendo forces us to remove them as well.
Of course, no screenshot gallery of the game is complete without a peak at the in-game sprites for some of the pokemon:
Look, the bottom line is, chances are the screenshots that circulated around the net came from a ROM version of the game. While Nintendo wont come straight out and admit this is the case, they don’t want ROM’s getting any headway as they try to crack down on illegal pirating of games. While I applaud the attempt to crack down on the pirating, it’s also a big “what did they do wrong” remark in terms of going after the fan sites. They didn’t produce the images – users at 2ch did. Maybe Nintendo should start going after the source of the problem instead of after the sites trying to the increase the LEGAL sales of their products. Here’s hoping Nintendo isn’t holding different standards for different communities. Naturally, we will remove these images above with request, but I am curious if they will even bother to contact us over it. Different strokes for different folks.