A massive The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom artbook leaked in February, and Nintendo hasn’t forgotten. The Switch maker is currently trying to subpoena Discord, where images from the artbook first started making the rounds, to force the social media platform to disclose the identity of one of the users alleged to be behind the leak.
The subpoena, first reported by TorrentFreak, was filed in the Northern District Court of California on April 4, and attempts to force Discord to “disclose the identity, including the name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), and email addresses(es) of the user Julien#2743, who is responsible for posting infringing content,” that appeared in a fan-run Discord server called the “Tears of the Kingdom Official Discord Server.” (Nintendo does not run any “official” Discord servers for Tears of the Kingdom or any other games.)
Nintendo and Discord did not respond to requests for comment.
The posts include images from the 204-page artbook that will come with the collector’s edition of the game. They quickly spread to other Discord servers, various subreddits, and beyond. While a ton of original art for the game was in the leak, it didn’t end up revealing much about the mysteries surrounding Tears of the Kingdom players have spent months speculating about. There was no real developer commentary in the leak, and barely any spoilers outside of some minor enemy reveals.
Still, Nintendo’s lawyers traced the leak to one particular server and took swift action. The subpoena filing shows the company’s lawyers first contacted Discord on February 21 demanding the copyrighted material be removed, following up a day later to request that the entire server be taken down. Nintendo even curated a list of Discord users who were allegedly distributing the copies of the leak who had “PDF Pirate” labels in their bios, and submitted screenshots of their server activity to Discord in its original takedown request.
Here’s a sample entry:
Member: ravio – dm for pdf aka @wyrm milk
a. Updated server username to “ravio-dm for pdf” and instructs members to DM for the link
b. States they have sent the link to “like 200 people lol”
c. Roles include “THE PDF PIRATE”
Nintendo’s subpoena specifically targets a Discord user named “Julien.” It’s unclear if they are the same person who originally shared the leak on Reddit claiming to have received the artbook from a friend. Even on the Tears of the Kingdom subreddit and the subreddit’s corresponding Discord server, however, some users dispute that “Julien” was the original leaker, rather than someone just taking credit for helping to popularise it.
Kotaku reached out to Julien#2743 for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s sent its lawyers hunting for random internet users. A Pokémon Sword and Shield leak from 2019 that spread from 4chan to Discord came from someone allegedly involved in the printing of the game’s strategy guide. Nintendo’s lawsuit in that case also revealed the incredible lengths it goes to to prevent leaks, including keeping strategy guides in secure areas under tarps where no personal recording devices were allowed. It was eventually settled two years later for $US150,000 ($AU225,800), a life-altering penalty for the average person.
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