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Controversy Evolves After Pokémon Trailer Seemingly Uses Uncredited Fan-Made Music

Fans Upset After Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Trailer Seemingly Uses Uncredited Music

Fans are expressing their concerns after The Pokémon Company seemingly used fan-created music in a recent trailer for the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet DLC, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero. The uproar began shortly after today’s Pokémon Presents wrapped up. While many tuned in for updates on things like Detective Pikachu Returns and the aforementioned add-on content, musician NightDefined (a.k.a. ND) noticed that some of the footage featured music they created. In many cases, it might be an honor for a fan to see their Pokemon fan music creation used by a company they admire, but for ND, it was also a surprise.

The tunes in question can be heard just three minutes into the latest trailer for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet’s The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero. It takes up a relatively small portion of the video, but it’s still a moment that is hard to ignore once you’ve heard ND’s arrangement for yourself. ND uploaded the music, which is essentially a more cinematic version of DLC’s music, in December 2022. ND says The Pokémon Company included the music in its trailer without their permission, with no credit to be found. It’s worth noting the musician’s original upload does give credit to Nintendo, developer Game Freak, Creatures Inc., and The Pokémon Company, as well as composers Go Ichinose and Toby Fox, but the uncredited use of ND’s specific arrangement in the trailer remains perplexing.

If you’re not sold on the similarities between ND’s music and the clip from the trailer, Twitter (X?) user and Pokémon content creator Lewtwo spliced together some footage of both. The resemblance is, unfortunately, undeniable.

“I’m not particularly upset,” ND said in a follow-up post, “but rather confused and surprised that an unofficial creation would be included in official content, especially coming from [The Pokémon Company].”

ND was caught off guard by the use of their remix in an official Pokémon trailer but doesn’t appear to be too upset with the use of their work. Fans, however, have jumped in to support the musician. While some are taking the opportunity to call out The Pokémon Company for “weird” and “unprofessional” behavior, others are simply confused.

Some fans have even gone as far as to suggest ND threaten legal action against The Pokemon Company, but any formal move against the company would almost certainly prove to be meaningless. As you might have guessed, The Pokemon Company got out ahead of any potential trouble regarding fan-generated content long before today’s controversy. In short, a legal disclaimer on the Pokémon website serves as protection and a warning for events such as this.

“Distribution in any form and any channels now known or in the future of derivative works based on the copyrighted property trademarks, service marks, trade names and other proprietary property (Fan Art) of The Pokémon Company International, Inc., its affiliates and licensors (Pokémon) constitutes a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license from the Fan Art’s creator to Pokémon to use, transmit, copy, modify, and display Fan Art (and its derivatives) for any purpose,” the page says. “No further consideration or compensation of any kind will be given for any Fan Art. Fan Art creator gives up any claims that the use of the Fan Art violates any of their rights, including moral rights, privacy rights, proprietary rights publicity rights, rights to credit for material or ideas or any other right, including the right to approve the way such material is used. In no uncertain terms, does Pokémon’s use of Fan Art constitute a grant to Fan Art’s creator to use the Pokémon intellectual property or Fan Art beyond a personal, noncommercial home use.”

The Escapist has reached out to both The Pokémon Company and ND regarding the Pokemon fan music, but did not hear back before this article’s publication. If you liked what you heard of ND’s music, you can watch their original upload in its entirety below.

About the author

Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.