Nintendo, never afraid to go after the little guy, has sent a letter over the weekend to a Pokémon fan site, threatening them over their posting of pictures from the upcoming Pokémon Black & White.
Fan site PokéBeach, which obtained some copies of the game on September 17, was sent a letter on September 18 by Nintendo's lawyers, the highlight of which follows:
We recently learned that you have posted screenshots and other protected content from the Pokémon Black and Pokémon White games to your website at http://pokebeach.com. While Nintendo appreciates your interest in and support of the Pokémon game series, your publication of this content infringes Nintendo's copyrights in violation of federal law. Your activity also and has the potential to cause substantial damage to Nintendo, and leaves Nintendo with no choice but to take steps to protect its intellectual property rights.
The site was forced to remove "all graphics, screenshots, and other protected content taken from the Pokémon Black and Pokémon White games", or under the Digital Milennium Copyright Act Nintendo says it would be able to shut the site down.
Awfully heavy-handed for a bunch of screenshots, don't you think? I mean, it's Pokemon Black & White, you can't take three steps across a video game website without tripping over something to do with the game, whether they be screens, videos or even a list of all 156 of the game's new creatures.
We've contacted PokéBeach - who have since changed their name to PokerBeach - for more specifics, like when and how they obtained a copy, since that could very well be the reason behind Nintendo's actions. Likewise, Nintendo of America have been contacted for their side of the story.
UPDATE - Seems Nintendo sent the same letter to another fansite, Serebii, for the same reason.
UPDATE 2 - Jon Sahagian from PokeBeach tells us that while actual copies of the game are currently shipping to his staff from Japan, the images in question posted on his website were taken from Japanese forum 2ch, which may explain Nintendo's actions if they believed those pictures to have been taken from an illegal ROM (though we have yet to hear back from Nintendo of America on the matter).
UPDATE 3 - Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's senior director of Corporate Communications, tells Kotaku "Nintendo supports and appreciates the efforts that Pokémon fans go through to create fan sites. In most cases there is no issue with the content that is posted, but on this occasion we had to contact a select few websites to ask them to take down confidential images."
NO B/W IMAGES FOR YOU!! [PokerBeach]