Pokémon Violet save data threatens Japanese man with 5 years in jail - The UpStream

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Pokémon Violet save data threatens Japanese man with 5 years in jail

posted Sunday Apr 14, 2024 by Scott Ertz

In the world of Pokémon, one of the most popular parts of the game is collecting the full Pokedex. However, anyone who has regularly played any of the games in the series knows that it can be a challenge. There are rare creatures that are hard to find. In some games, like Pokémon GO, some creatures are location-locked, meaning you have to go to another country or continent to find them. This creates a scenario for people to obtain these creatures through illicit means, and that could land you in prison, as it might for one Japanese man.

What is the Unfair Competition Prevention Act?

The Unfair Competition Prevention Act, enacted in 1993 and subsequently amended, serves as a legal framework in Japan to combat unfair business practices and protect intellectual property rights. Its primary objectives are to ensure fair competition among companies and facilitate the proper implementation of international agreements related to trade and commerce. The Act addresses various aspects of unfair competition.

In 2018, the Act was revised to enhance the utilization of "data" as a valuable resource for company growth. The revision introduced provisions related to "shared data with limited access," aiming for efficient data provision and utilization. In the case of videogames, the data protections provided for in this law extend to game save data. As such, tampering with game save data to do something that is not legitimate is a direct violation.

Arrested for fake save data

According to a report from NHK, a 36-year-old man was arrested by Japanese police after a "police cyber patrol" encountered the man creating and reselling falsified Pokémon Violet save data. The data gave Pokémon in the file moves that they are either not supposed to have, or that are not common for their type. This data tampering violates the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, or more specifically, the 2018 amendment.

According to the report, the man was creating the fake data specifically to sell. He made these files available for users on a particular digital marketplace for 13,000 yen, or around $84 USD each. If you wanted 6, you could buy them as a package for $30 each, working out to about $180, which was a decent deal comparative. The orders for rare Pokémon and move sets took place between December 2022 and March 2023 and netted him a decent amount of sales. Enough, at least, to attract the attention of the police. The man has allegedly admitted to the crimes, leaving only sentencing. The sentence could involve up to 5 years in prison, as well as up to 5 million yen ($32,600 USD) in fines.

The latest Pokémon crime

Japan has seen a number of high profile crimes surrounding the Pokémon franchise. In 2021, a man tried to scale a 6 story building in order to steal a large collection of Pokémon cards. In 2022, a series of Pokémon heists took place across the country. In one instance, thieves got away with over $60,000 worth of Pokémon cards from a collection. Any time a property becomes this popular, it will inevitably create a black market around it. This could include stolen in-game items, real world items, hacked game data, and even counterfeit products.


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