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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Court Declares Scumbag Pokémon Sword/Shield Strategy Guide Leakers Liable to Pay Hundreds of Thousands in Damages

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I think they should pay more. (Though they probably lack the money.)

This story makes me really happy and giddy, so I'll summarise it. Back at the end of 2019, KoopaTV wrote about how The Pokémon Company International (TPCi) filed court documents to try to defend their trade secrets and take action against the anonymous scumbags who leaked the contents of the Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield Collector's Edition Strategy Guide to the Internet. That guide had information that was not known about the game, since unlike Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, TPCi didn't reveal every dang thing about the game before it released. This is so gamers could be surprised about the game when they play it, which is a more preferable way than being spoiled.

But, as I wrote, the jerks who did this were anonymous. I briefly mentioned in February 2020 that TPCi had hired private investigators and then didn't update you ever since.

So here's a summary of all the legal documentation: By March 2020, TPCi identified Bryan Garcia Cruz as the guy who posted the images and details to the public Discord server. Bryan Garcia Cruz was eventually cooperating with TPCi's investigators, though the CCP Virus apparently made this process take longer than anticipated. Then at the end of November 2020, TPCi was able to identify to the court a David Andino Maisonave. David Andino Maisonave is a guy who worked at LSC Communications, the printing company with the strategy guide's production line. (Coincidentally and unrelated to this, LSC had since filed for bankruptcy and were purchased by a private equity firm.) He took photographs of the contents of the strategy guide as it was going down the line (he was described as a “material handler”), despite LSC signing a non-disclosure agreement with TPCi and the production line being secured with cameras not allowed inside.

David Andino Maisonave, according to documents, showed the photos to a friend (who gets to remain anonymous—besides the name DimensioNz#3307—and not having to pay anything. My speculation is that DimensioNz#3307 is probably the main source to the private investigators to that ratted out Bryan Garcia Cruz, while Bryan Garcia Cruz probably ended up ratting out David Andino Maisonave) who is also friends with Bryan Garcia Cruz. And THEN Bryan Garcia Cruz posted it to the public Discord.

TPCi then told the court they'd reach a settlement on May 4... and on May 6 the court said, alright, guess we're all set. Under 30 days later at the start of June, TPCi asked the court not to close things out, because while the defendants are agreeing to the settlement, they're representing themselves (pro se legal representation) so they need just a little more time to sort it out legally. And so, on June 22, the settlement was executed and agreed to, legally: “[Each] Defendant is liable to Plaintiff for $150,000 in monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.” It's a final, unappealable ruling.

Pokémon Sword Shield strategy guide book leak Discord buizel DimensioNz
(To this day, Buizel still isn't in.)

I'd like to think that David Andino Maisonave should be paying more than Bryan Garcia Cruz because the former did something more nefarious (actually took the photos and broke a contract) than the latter, but it's not like Bryan Garcia Cruz was just some giddy fanboy who passionately shared juicy Pokémon information to his buddies. He knew exactly what he was doing was wrong, which is why he was talking through another person (DimensioNz#3307). That's not a sign of an innocent conscience caught up in something. Still, for what the leakers did, I think TPCi could've gotten reasonably more money...

In conclusion, good for TPCi, and I hope this serves as a warning to other leaker scum out there that it's the wrong thing to do. It should also serve as a positive message to companies that there are ways to investigate and bring to justice people who try to damage your brand. And, by the way, zero people in the world benefit from hearing leaked information of something that is going to eventually happen (be officially released) anyway. If you disagree with that statement, let's argue about it in the comments section.

Ludwig plans to publish a huge project tomorrow that's sort of on a related topic to this—though he doesn't believe it's a leak because he doesn't think it's true. (But lots of other people apparently do.)

Here's that huge project: An attempt at a comprehensive list of media outlets that spread the rumour (not a leak because it's not true) of a Nintendo Switch hardware revision appearing at or before E3 2021.
Skip a few years and an art book has been leaked by Discord users for a new The Legend of Zelda title.


  1. By "CCP Virus" you mean something about something something China, right? Not the Scandinavian company that publishes EVE Online.

    1. Ya, the coronavirus pandemic slowed down the legal process.

    2. Good because EVE's community may be vicious but they don't deserve THAT kind of shade thrown at them.

    3. Well, "CCP Games" stood for "Crowd Control Productions", and that's exactly what the Chinese Communist Party ended up doing at Tienanmen Square, 1989!

  2. People should keep this in mind when fake leakers publicly say things. If they were legit they would risk so much just for a bit of fame.

    1. Some companies have, as part of their media strategy, purposeful leaks.
      Though I don't understand why they think these are better than real announcements, though I guess with a leak you don't have to put a YouTube trailer together to go with your announcement.

  3. And no strategy guide has been published since :/

    1. You're right; the last official guide published was the Sword and Shield one.
      Coincidence? I think not.


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