On Pokédroid’s Removal

I posted the short version of this story to Pokédroid’s page on the Android Market:

Pokédroid will be removed from the Android Market shortly.

A legal representative of The Pokémon Company has responded to me via email. He has confirmed that TPC would like Pokédroid, and all similar apps, to be removed from the Android Market.

TPC’s stance is apparently that they don’t want any Pokédex or Pokémon-related apps at all for the Android platform. They feel that such apps infringe upon their copyrights and compete with the print versions of their strategy guides.

While I disagree with this decision, which I believe is detrimental to the interests of both Pokémon fans and TPC alike, I have decided to comply with their request. Thus, henceforth I will cease all development on Pokédroid and remove it from the Android Market.

When this page goes down, please visit my site (www.nolanlawson.com) for more information. I will _not_ host the APK there.

It has been a pleasure to serve the Pokémon community. I hope you had as much fun using Pokédroid as I had writing it.

– Nolan

Going through this whole process of being targeted for copyright infringement, trying to fight it with argument and persuasion, and eventually being defeated has been a strange odyssey for me. I’ve learned a lot about how IP enforcement actually works in the real world, and I’ve lost a little bit of my naïveté. I’ve also lost the hundreds of hours of work I put into Pokédroid, and I’ve let down my 400,000+ users. It’s been humbling, to say the least.

When Pokédroid Donate was first taken down by Google, along with a dozen other Pokémon apps, I was not very surprised. I figured that either Nintendo was trying to crack down on paid Pokémon apps, or they were targeting blatant copyright infringements like wallpapers, games, and soundboards. I assumed Pokédex apps, which are really just strategy guides, would be safe.

Google sent me a copy of the original DMCA takedown notice from The Pokémon Company (which is an affiliate of Nintendo). But the fact that it listed my app, Khiry Arnold’s “Poké Pal”, and Stephen Willey’s “Pokédex” among a dozen-odd wallpaper and soundboard apps seemed to me like a mistake. Anyway, the notice itself looked very hastily thrown together – it was obviously the result of an entry form on Google’s website, and some of the app names were even misspelled. (“Pokédroid” was listed as “Pokédex,” although they spelled my name right.)

So when I started trying to get in contact with The Pokémon Company to rectify the problem, I figured the stakes were low. The free version of Pokédroid was still on the Market (probably due to an oversight from Google), and I couldn’t imagine TPC would want it removed. So I felt like I was mostly fighting for Khiry and Stephen, whose apps had been forcibly removed by Google while mine was overlooked. I had the most users out of the three of us, and therefore the most clout, so it seemed the responsibility had fallen on my shoulders to clear up the misunderstanding. Sort of like I was representing the Pokédex App Developers Union or something.

I honestly thought that the content of the apps was uncontroversial, and that as soon as I could get in touch with someone at TPC they would rescind the takedown immediately. I mean, there are plenty of fansites that offer the exact same content as Pokédroid, and nobody seems interested in taking those down, so why would Android apps be any different?

I did worry, though, that TPC might frown down upon monetizing our apps. So to be on the safe side, I deprecated Pokédroid Donate, which had only distinguished itself by including the “shiny” sprites anyway, and added the shinies to the free version. Now I felt Pokédroid was scrubbed clean of anything even slightly questionable – it was a free (and ad-free) app, with no content that couldn’t be found at a half-dozen popular fansites, and to boot I had gotten written permission from all the people who had given me their data (mostly Marriland, but there were a few other FAQ authors as well). A perfect representative of our little Union.

So like a fresh-faced Jimmy Stewart going to Washington, I penned the following polite email to TPC:


I’m the developer of the Android Pokédex app “Pokédroid.” A few days ago I received an email from Google explaining that my app was to be removed from the Android Market due to a DMCA takedown notice from The Pokémon Company (see attached). Several apps are mentioned in the notice, including “Pokédroid” and other similar Pokédex-style strategy guide apps.

Could you please explain why The Pokémon Company is targeting these particular apps? My understanding was that they fall under the category of “fair use,” in that they function as strategy guides (i.e. research) and are not directly competing media. Furthermore, there are plenty of iPhone apps and web sites (such as Bulbapedia and Serebii.net) that offer the same content, so I’m perplexed as to why Android apps were singled out.

To be fair, many of the apps mentioned in the notice are clearly copyright-infringing – e.g. games, wallpapers, and soundboards. I can understand your desire to have these apps removed. But strategy guide apps, to me, do not appear to fall into the same category.

If this was indeed a mistake, please notify Google so that they can restore these apps to the Market. Hundreds of thousands of Pokémon fans use these apps as a resource when playing your wonderful games, so I’m sure that having them back in the Market would make those fans very happy.

If not, then I will be happy to keep “Pokédroid” off the Android Market, per your wishes.

Thank you for your time.

Nolan Lawson

For two weeks I received no response. I sent multiple emails and even left a voice message at TPC’s company phone number. Then finally, after finding the phone number of one of their lawyers and leaving a message there, I received this email:


I’m the position omitted for The Pokémon Company International, Inc. I’ve been given to understand that you’re trying to reach someone at TPCi to try to get some information about Pokédroid and Pokédroid Extras and more specifically about why we asked Google to have them removed from the Android Market. Since you’ve reached out to us and been reasonable about this, I wanted to take a moment to write you back and give you some insight into our thinking.

By way of background, and sorry but I do have to get legalistic for a minute, you have told us that you think your apps are fair use. Unfortunately that’s not the case. There are lots of websites that purport to give information about what is and isn’t fair use, but I find one good summary is from the US Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. Under US law all uses of a copyrighted intellectual property by anyone other than the owner of the IP are presumptively illegal, and it’s up to the person using the IP to demonstrate that their uses are permitted. So fair use isn’t an affirmative permission to do something, it’s a defense to an action that is otherwise illegal, which means that it’s your obligation to prove that you should be allowed to make apps based on Pokémon and unless you can prove that you’ve got a legal right to do that, your apps are infringing.

One thing that’s not commonly-understood by fan communities is that the owners of the Pokémon IP have the right to decide not to put this IP into the Android Market or anywhere else. Put another way: if we don’t create our own Android Market app, that’s not an invitation to other people to fill what they perceive as a gap, it’s a decision that they have to respect. You may think that Pokédroid and Pokédroid Extras don’t compete with our print strategy guides like the one for sale at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Pokemon-Black-Version-White-Official/dp/0307890600/ref=pd_sim_b_1) or the one available for free at our website www.pokemon.com. But as you can see from the Copyright Office link that’s not the only criterion in the test, and even if it was I’d have to say we don’t agree, and in any event we have chosen not to allow any Android Market apps for Pokémon.

I hope this helps you understand the situation and our position. I can’t ask that you agree with me, although I’d hope that after you’ve read this you’ll know that we didn’t act capriciously or lightly. But I do have to ask that you take Pokédroid and Pokédroid Extras out of the Android Market and not upload them anywhere else. Could you confirm to me by return email that you’ll do that?

I hope that you’ll find another way to contribute to the Android app community. Given how skilled you are at app development, I don’t think it will take long.

Name omitted

Needless to say, I was shocked. Were they serious? Why would Nintendo target apps that do the exact same thing as a half-dozen fansites, which they’ve never attacked before? (To be fair, TPC has attacked fansites in the past, but only for small portions of the content they publish.)

I’m not arguing that Nintendo doesn’t have the right to act in this way. They can do pretty much whatever they want with their own intellectual property. IP law, taken to its logical conclusion, means that they can prohibit me from whistling the Pokémon theme song as I walk down the street, for instance. This is kind of a silly example, but I’m just pointing out that determining IP infringement is not clear-cut. For this reason, most companies choose to act judiciously when they enforce IP, because too much enforcement could be dismissed by the courts or cause a backlash from fans. They have to find a middle ground.

And in the case of Pokédroid, IP enforcement seemed to me like a clear lose-lose for Nintendo. If there are no mobile Pokédex apps, then that seriously reduces the value of every Pokémon game that Nintendo publishes. Gamers love strategy guides because they increase their enjoyment of the games. Imagine if a resource like Bulbapedia were taken down – so much of the fun of playing Pokémon games would be sucked out of them! And it’s the same with mobile apps. Undoubtedly, taking down mobile Pokédex apps would cause fewer people to buy Pokémon games in the future, and Nintendo/TPC would suffer. They might sell more $10 strategy guides, but they’d sell fewer $30 games. They’d lose money.

Alternatively, TPC may be thinking of releasing their own app, which would explain why they’d want to eliminate competitors. But even that reduces quality for consumers. Undoubtedly TPC would release one monolithic app with a limited feature set, and if some fans wanted different features or a different presentation, then tough luck. With a lot of competing apps, though, choice is increased for consumers and everyone’s more likely to get what they want. This was already happening with “Poké Pal,” which was an app geared more towards serious, competitive players than my own. It was a free app, and it excelled in its own way, while Pokédroid excelled in other ways. Consumers could download one, the other, or both. Everybody wins.

I sort of doubt that TPC or Nintendo will release their own app, though. If anything, the author of this email seems to be suggesting that Nintendo is deliberately leaving a “gap” in the Android Market, and that I need to respect their decision to keep it that way. Similar to when Nintendo shut down that fan-made Zelda movie, or when Square Enix shut down the fan-made Chrono Trigger sequel, no replacement is intended. IP enforcement can be somewhat mindless in its destruction. I like to picture it as a grumpy old coot, waving his cane at those pesky neighbor kids when they’re having too much fun on his front lawn.

So at this point, reading the email, I kind of glumly realized that the game was lost. There was probably no way to convince TPC to take back the original DMCA notice. I felt a little frustrated that I had provoked them in the first place, since, if I had just done nothing, Pokédroid might have stayed on the Market awhile longer while they shuffled their paperwork around. But by buzzing in his ear, I had invited the giant to swat me down. It seemed there was nothing left for me to do but bow to their demands.

I wanted a little more clarification about their motivations, though, and I also hoped I could make an emotional appeal for them to reconsider. So I wrote the following:

Hi Name omitted,

Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to help explain these kinds of issues to me, especially since (as a layman) legal matters are obviously not my area of expertise.

I think I have a better understanding now of what is meant by “fair use.” I understand that TPCi has complete legal right to their intellectual property, and that therefore any third-party use of that IP is considered to be infringement until proven otherwise. Also, I’m perfectly willing to take down Pokédroid and Pokédroid Extras from the Android Market and not upload them anywhere else, per your request. In case you were wondering, the reason it’s still on the Market is because Google did not take it down themselves, probably due to an oversight on their part. I was confused about the situation, and so I left it up until I could get word back from your company.

I have to admit, though, that I’m surprised by TPCi’s decision, and I’m hoping you could tell me a little more about the motivations behind it. Specifically, why Android apps? To my knowledge there are about a dozen Pokédex apps for iPhone, and many of those are even paid apps. There are also popular web sites such as Bulbapedia and Serebii.net that offer similar content. Does TPCi plan on removing those sites and apps as well, or is there a specific reason that Android apps are being focused on? I’m not asking this in order to play “gotcha,” or to make some kind of “two wrongs make a right” argument; I’m honestly just trying to understand TPCi’s position on this issue. After having put several hundred hours into developing this app, I think it’s reasonable for me to want to know a little more about your company’s decision before shutting it down for good.

Also, I realize it’s sort of a “children’s letters to Santa Claus” argument that doesn’t carry much legal weight, but I do hope you’ll read some of the reviews for Pokédroid: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.nolanlawson.pokedex. Ever since I mentioned that the app might be taken down, there have been lots of comments expressing sadness and frustration over the news. Pokédroid has over 420,000 users, and it honestly saddens me to think about taking away what is obviously such a valuable resource for them.

Thank you again for your legal advice and courtesy towards me. I hope you know that, as a longtime Pokémon fan, I offer TPCi the same courtesy and will bow to any of its wishes regarding its own IP. But I also hope that TPCi will consider alternative solutions to this problem.

Nolan Lawson

The next day, I received the following response:


Not a problem to respond, and thanks also to you for your reply. It’s certainly not unreasonable for you to ask for a bit more background. Unfortunately and as you can probably imagine I can’t really discuss the specifics of other situations or other apps, except to note that we’ve sent a fair number of notices recently, will be sending some more, and if there are people out there who aren’t as great about this as you have been they may receive a slightly different form of communication from me. But you shouldn’t feel singled-out at all, and it’s not just Android apps. Apple has a slightly different approach to these kinds of things than Google does and so their process takes a bit longer to operate, for example.

Thanks again for your reply and for your understanding here.

Name omitted

He’s obviously not letting on very much here. He isn’t recognizing the contradiction in targeting Pokédroid while leaving Bulbapedia and Serebii up, and he doesn’t really explain why TPC has suddenly decided to go after mobile apps. The evasiveness of his answer was kind of a letdown for me, although I can understand why the legal team would want to keep mum about such things.

He’s also being very diplomatic about all this, which I appreciate. But I do detect a sort of “good cop” routine going on here (“as great as you,” “how skilled you are”), with the thinly veiled threat of the “bad cop” waiting in the other room in case I don’t play ball (“a slightly different form of communication”). He’s left little room for debate – the impetus is clearly on me to either follow directions or face the consequences. No response to my heartfelt Miracle on 34th Street reference, and no response to my suggestion to seek alternative solutions. I suppose I naïvely thought he might be touched by all the user comments, but it seems not.

So that’s pretty much the whole score. Nintendo: 1; me: 0. I wish I had the courage to fight this battle, but I searched my soul and came up empty. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me to stick out my neck and try to stop Nintendo from attacking their own customers. Also, I could do more harm than good if I continue this line of argument with them. I was worried enough that, when I mentioned Bulbapedia and Serebii, the lawyer might respond, “Hmm, shut down Bulbapedia and Serebii? Not a bad idea.” At a time when TPC’s legal team is clearly on the rampage, the last thing I need to do is draw attention to myself or anybody else. It’s like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park – stand still, and he might just leave you alone.

On a personal level, though, I’m deeply disappointed with this whole result. Although I haven’t been the most dedicated Pokémon fan (I tried but couldn’t really get into the newer games), I’ve poured my heart and soul into Pokédroid. In terms of Android app development, it’s my magnum opus. I put deliberate care into every inch of the interface, every function call in the code, every UI design decision.

Pokédroid might not look pretty (I don’t have an eye for design), but there are little touches that improve the experience in ways the user might not even perceive. For instance, the buttons’ “onClick” methods load in the background, so that the UI doesn’t slow down. The voice search uses string edit distance to try to find approximate matches. The moves and locations use dropdown lists, because I wanted to keep the interface clean and uncluttered. The “advanced search” uses optimized SQL indexes for the fastest possible searching.

All of these are things I put time and effort into, to please my 400,000+ users. I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying to improve Pokédroid, which, even with all my donations considered, was done at below a minimum-wage rate. And yet, I don’t regret any of it, because (and I’m going to get a little mushy here) I know Pokédroid has brought a little ray of sunshine to so many people’s lives. As of today, it’s in the top 50 free apps in the “Entertainment” category, it has a perfect 5-star rating, and it has hundreds of comments from satisfied users, all expressing how much joy, delight, and amusement Pokédroid has brought to them.

To say that this gives me the warm and fuzzies would be an understatement. In fact, Pokédroid was a great psychological boon to me, as I left the safety of college and entered into full “quarter-life crisis” mode. I wondered: What was my contribution to the world? What had I done to justify my existence? With Pokédroid, I could always point to it and say, “Right there. 400,000 people who got a kick out of my app. 400,000 people who reminisced about the cartoon show, looked up stats for their competitive team, or just giggled at the silly text-to-speech feature. 400,000 smiles. That’s what I’ve done for the world.”

I’d like to close this article with some of my favorite reviews from the Android Market. The fans are the reason I kept working at Pokédroid, and they’re the ones who gave me feedback and criticisms that helped me fix bugs, retool the user experience, and correct glaring flaws. I want to thank them for giving me a really cool project to work on for the past year, and for giving me lots of insights into application development. Thank you all.

  • this is the most amazing app i have ever seen, ive always dreamed of having a dex on my phone. i love you man<3 – Jonesyruless
  • Now i can trump my kids with my mad pokemon knowledge – Lisa
  • Kids love the talking pokedroid. Its a must have for any Pokemon fan! 5 stars – Ash
  • Is super great and I would buy the donate version but my mom said no haha but as soon as im off her plan I will if I still play Pokemon – Steven
  • I am donating asap. And I NEVER donate. Not to the homeless, friends in need of a buck for gas, never! – Philippe
  • Love it! Showed it to my office mate and we started getting all nostalgic – Lumpy
  • Why I bought Android – Nick
  • My 5 yo daughter loves this. – Eric
  • This app has amazing info, and the voice is hilarious! – Sean
  • I was out in the wild and a pokemon appeared. My friend asked me what it was but i didnt know. So i took out my Pokédroid and identified it! – Dal
  • I absolutely LOVE this app! My friends have become jealous and they want an android phone JUST for this app! Genius! ^_^ – Abigail
  • Incredible! This app has single handedly justified my Droid purchase. Please add egg moves! – |3reak
  • Thank you Thank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank youThank – Wonton
  • This is well cool. My friend’s all want android phone’s just for this app. :-) – Max
  • My daughter loves this app. Just like a pokedex from the cartoons! – Jessica
  • My son loves this keeps him occupied for ages – Lorna
  • Wow, this is simply awesome, no words to describe.. it just feels very special for some reason!.. thank you! =] – Cloud
  • I bought a Droid for this app! I love it. Keep up the good work. – Timothy
  • A real Pokedex? I love the future. – Craig
  • Would give it 1000 stars if I could, what an elaborately designed app. Thank you for sharing for free! – Zach
  • I use this pokedex on the regular. Helps with all versions. I am in college and I still use it to settle disputes. Great app. A+ – Dietrich
  • Fantastic! Work at gamestop and this app has gotten me some sales haha def donating. Game specifucations would be nice tho – Victoriano
  • I cant imagine playing the games w/out this app. I use it whenever i am in battle to help me choose what pokemon to use. Cant wait for b and w update. – Cameron
  • Being a programmer it takes alot to get 5 stars but he earned this – Jonathan
  • Awesome! My kid loves the black & white update. Really useful, and free! – Paul
  • Good resource! Great for keeping up with my 7 year old daughter ^^ – Midd
  • This is the best Pokédex app that is out there. It makes me feel like I’m part of the show. – Kohaku
  • Since the moment I downloaded this months ago I’ve loved it. The latest update makes the interface lightning fast and pretty much flawless. – Daenym
  • Thanks for B/W update! Scrolling is PERFECT now!!! Thank you for voluntarily working to satisfy such a prissy bunch of people! – Sidney
  • Perfect app for a beginner or veteran. Now I can stop getting on the PC to look up new Pokemon I haven’t heard of! – Frogmum
  • Best app on my phone – Tom
  • Childhood dream come true… enough said – Kevin
  • Not only is it a great app but the customer support is tops as well – Christopher
  • This has got to be the funnest/greatest app ever!! Absolutely in love w/ it! – Denise
  • So convenient! Considering that bulbapedia is down half the time! – Kathy
  • Best thing ever – Daniel
  • I love this app! Easy reference to help me train my pokémon in the best way possible! Plus getting to freak out my friends w/ random pokémon cries! – Bryan
  • 10 out of 10!!!!!! This is by far the most comprehensive pokedex I have ever seen. Fast, easy to use. Settings for different versions (Great for when I play Black and by daughter plays Platinum). Consistent updates. If you have not already downloaded this and the extras bundle… then you are dumber then a Magikarp! – Wayne

95 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Vitor on May 26, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Well, this sucks a lot… I wish I was a lawyer and could help in some way.

    Pokédroid 1.5.2 will be never forgotten and will appear in torrent websites, that’s for sure.

    Thank you for all your effort.


  2. Posted by Emma on May 26, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Aw. Wow. I understand both sides, I truly do. But I love pokédroid so much! I think TPC should pay you for creating the best app ever. Then you could get something for your hard work, TPC would get to be a part of the app and put in thoughts and you guys could develope it side by side (well, if they are nice. If not, take their cookies as a hostage and put Gengar as a guard until they behave) and the world would still be able to enjoy Pokédroid. It’s win-win!
    Well. Thanks for creating the app in the first place and letting me enjoy it so far.
    Stay awesome.


  3. Posted by Kenneth on May 26, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Sad news :(….but on the other hand..hello fellow cyanogenmod user (:


  4. Posted by High Society on May 26, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    It’s a tragedy this is being removed from the market. You won’t have to host the apk file here, I’m sure your app will live on as an ‘unofficial’ download.


  5. Wow I’m bummed out, Nolan (if I have the privilege to call you that) all of my nerdy friends and myself truely appreciate all the time and work you put into this app it was a dream come true. You can be sure we will all download/ pay for any apps you may make in the future. Once again thank you so much, I cannot out into words how great pokedroid is.


  6. Nolan: Great Job!!! I’m from Mexico and I don’t have words for all this… it really sucks!!! TPCi is one nice example of being blind of a fan talent… idea I were them I obviously ask you to work for me to reach and expand my trademark, but the business people don’t understand the future or something else without money Andro thats dissapointing because talent and good ideas just are that… ideas.

    Something is true in the letter of TPCi, you are a talented guy, and I’m completely sure that Pokedroid is just the begining of a succesful developer carreer.

    Sorry about my English and cheers for Pokedroid… that is bigger than you ever imagine. =)

    PD. Check my Pokedroid review un my blog =) I made it when SS/HG arrived, I made a nice Photoshop image of t.


  7. Posted by Edgar on May 27, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    Man this is just depressing. Even though they have the right to it still seems like a weak move on their part. Well thanks for such an awesome app and will look forward to anything else you might put out. Just know that I will continue to use your app until some version of Android breaks it.


  8. Nolan, if you want to drop me a line I can probably explain the apparent contradiction here for you. While the TPCi lawyer wasn’t able to discuss specifics with you, I can probably fill you in on some of the likely motivations. It’s a bit more complex than just IP infringement.


  9. Posted by poki on May 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Nolan,continue to dev please!
    Post the news versions here!


  10. Posted by joseh on May 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    if everything in the market that wasn’t original was taken down…. it would be a dark lonely place. this is so stupid!
    and i wanted forme changes. *sigh*
    oh well they may be able to wipe it off the market. but it will be on my phone.
    i hope they see this. i hope this changes.
    its been fun, and i will look for your apps in the future.
    goodbye pokedroid!


  11. Posted by Michael on May 28, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Nolan, Please keep the app in the market for as long as possible. Hopefully they change their minds when they see all the bad press they’re getting with Android users. Love the app. Don’t despair. I’m sure you have a great future and there are other things out there you will surely excel at too! Keep up the good work!


  12. I just got an Android phone a month ago, and this was one of the first apps I downloaded. Excuse my n00bness here, but if an app is taken down in the store, is it deleted off of your phone? Thanks for any replies. Wishing you the best in future app making, Nolan.


    • Posted by joseh on May 28, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      no it is not. valid question though. but if it ceases to function… well thats another thing….


  13. Hi Nolan. I’m also a user of your app, and i just want to say that you did a great job making a pokedex like application for android, I find it very useful.

    I also want to send my sympathy about what TPCi is doing to your app and all other apps out there. Believe it or not, I’m hating what’s happening. But as a software developer too, I could not blame TPCi for their action. I do understand how they are just protecting their rights. Whatever their other reasons are, I’m sure it has a good purpose (i wished)..

    Anyway, i just comment out here just to thank you for the app that you created. Job well done!


  14. Posted by MarioSergio on May 28, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    We are going to miss Pokedroid, you probably a little bit more because all the time you spent developing it. I give you the most sincere thank you for creating this app, it is the best app I could ever get on my android. And we all know that lawyer was just trying to be nice when he said “how skilled you are”, but he is totally right, if you were able to do something like this, you can do much more, count on it. Right now the only thing I can do for you is to wish you good lock in your career, as one of your 400 000 users and as a pokefan. Thanks again, and sorry for my misspellings and my grammar, I’m still learning your language.


  15. Posted by Aremeshi on May 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Army dude here. I’d spend alot of my free time in the motorpool just browsing through this app. I’ve introduced this app to many of my battle buddies also. It really hit me when the removal of this wonderful app became a a reality. I’m very sad to see this app go. My condolences, Mr. Lawson.


  16. AMAZING… you actually read my comment, and everybody else’s. You really are a dedicated developer!

    I just wanted to thank you one more time for all the wonderful work you’ve done for all your fellow Pokemon fans (and your fans!) and hope to convince you just a little bit that your hundreds of hours’ work is not lost. I also don’t believe anybody here will tell you that you let them down.

    I’m sure Pokédroid’s going off the market will just cause all of us to hold onto our copies of your app even tighter.

    Thanks again Nolan. Awesome job!! ;)


  17. Posted by charlielover on May 29, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    So sad to hear the news, this app has given me so much fun. Keep your chin up and your next thing will be just as good, you have soo much talent and dedication


  18. Posted by AySz88 on May 29, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    I just realized that it might be important that you’re actually talking to someone in TPCi, not Nintendo. According to Wikipedia, TPCi is “a marketing and licensing front” – so it’s not surprising that they’re viewing things from a business/legal standpoint instead of the gaming/enjoyment side of things. I’m not even sure if there’s anyone there that might work solely on the “fun” side of things.

    I just sent this letter through Nintendo of America’s Corporate Questions e-mail form – hope it helps, if only a little bit. :)

    To whom it may concern,
    I have recently heard that your affiliated licensing company, The Pokémon Company International, has filed copyright-related takedown notices against Android applications that provide help and reference information for Pokémon games. This had been done in spite of the fact that these applications are highly popular in the Pokémon fan community – for example, Nolan Lawson’s “Pokédroid” app has over 400,000 unique users. I’m writing in support of such applications, and I feel that you should explicitly grant permission for these applications to continue to exist.

    There have been several precedents of Nintendo supporting fan community projects, created out of fan appreciation, that result in helpful tools which augment the experience of Nintendo’s games. For example, Nintendo has before granted explicit permission for Chuggaaconroy’s Let’s Plays, wherein Chuggaaconroy provides commentary and guidance as he walks viewers through various games in detail. Various fan websites also provide in-depth guidance and walkthroughs with the cooperation of Nintendo, such as Bulbagarden and Zelda Universe. These various projects expose gamers to a wider breadth of games and their lore, tactics, and strategy, helping to deepen their relationships with their games and solidifying their loyalty to those game series.

    One of the biggest benefits in having a large gaming fan base is that they will volunteer to assist one another in optimizing their enjoyment of their games. I feel that this is another case in which Nintendo should grant their gaming community the ability to share these helpful tools with one another to enhance their gaming experience.

    I hope you agree with this view and will join your fans in supporting the availability of these applications.

    Thank you,
    (name removed)


  19. Posted by Timothy L Kazzee on May 29, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    My 3 sons and I have enjoyed your app for at least a year now. I wish TPC would allow you to continue your work on Pokedroid. I wish you good luck with your future endeavors.


  20. Posted by trav on May 29, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    This app is fantastic! I hope they reconsider the decisions because this is a great resource that supplements all of the Pokemon product-books, cards,tv episodes, movies- my kids buy on their own. When out and about they use the pokedex to reinforce and memorize their favorites. I myself am not a huge Pokemon fan but felt this was a good hobby that they enjoyed. Ive come to know more and we have good pokemon family times. We are saddened to hear of the demise…you did a terrific job on this app and having your own pokedex …Pure Genius…THANK U. Remember-On the road far from home/ but you don’t have to feel alone/brave and strong together we will be…its our DESTINY!


  21. Posted by AySz88 on May 29, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Oops, it looks like I forgot to submit my first comment – I had mentioned that I thought that it sounded like they were the wrong kind of person to be talking to – a cog in the machine rather than a decision-maker.


  22. Posted by AySz88 on May 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    From a quick skim, I suspect you may well be communicating with the wrong person at Nintendo – it sounds like your contact is more of a cog in their machine than the decision-maker, and can’t overturn the decision whether or not (s)he wants to. Chuggaaconroy (on YouTube) actually managed to get a letter from Nintendo explicitly allowing him to do his Let’s Plays so as to be a YouTube Partner – so Nintendo apparently *can* be quite liberal with permitted uses of their IP. The trick is to find that person that’s receptive. Chuggaa is fairly responsive to communication, so you might want to see if you can get some advice from him. (I’ll try to point him your way, too.)

    I think it’s probably possible to turn the app into just a skin for something like Bulbapedia (i.e. load the information from the web on demand), but I’m not sure you’d want to do that at this point.


  23. Posted by Codexx on May 30, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    May I just say that this is complete and utter bullshit. You do not need to respect their “decision”, and far from it, I’d say it very clearly constitutes fair use. You’re not longer making a profit from it and you provide a service you’ve written yourself. If you fail to defend your copyright, then others are, at some point, allowed to do what they want with it. Since they are not suing Prima or other strategy companies over their products, it’s not right that they can selectively push out competition as they choose. They can’t decide print strategy guides are okay, and some fan sites are, and then say that no mobile applications are. That’s not how copyright law works if you want to defend your IP.

    There’s no reason development can’t continue and you can’t argue, to Google, that your app constitutes fair use. Failing that, alternative markets often don’t really listen to takedown requests the same way Google does. As a free app, you can continue development for a very long time and there’s nothing they can actually do about it.

    If you really don’t want to continue, please open source it and let the community do what they want with what you’ve already built. It’d be a shame to just kill it off like that. I’m not even a Pokemon fan, I just know quite a few and I know that they appreciate this app. Please reconsider. Copyright law sucks, but it’s not impossible to fight.


    • Posted by David A. on June 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM

      ^ This. If the source code just happened to be leaked onto some website in some far corner of the net, us code-monkeys could completely resurrect the project and continue work on it. Even if you don’t, we are willing to fight.

      To get around copyright law it could be a personal project and not intended for mass consumption (or even purposefully non-working) and have a Swede or citizen of another IP-liberal country “fix” the code as a fork, thereby being a different project. There are ways around copyright laws governing digital media; technology progresses too fast to have specific enough laws OR have much legal precedence given the new technology, therefore loopholes are everywhere. TPCi uses them, why shouldn’t you?


  24. Posted by AySz88 on May 30, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Here’s the generic reply I got:


    We’re unable to comment on any legal actions in which Nintendo is currently involved or in which the company might become involved in the future. For general information on Nintendo’s intellectual property (IP) rights, please visit our website. I’ve included a direct link below:


    Dale Thompson
    Nintendo of America Inc.


  25. Posted by Malika on May 30, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Well, Nolan, thank you so so much for putting all this time and effort into the pokédroid. I really appreciate it. I downloaded this right away once I discovered pokémon about a year ago (i know, way to come late to the party). This has been the most useful app ever. I feel like i’m going to rub a hole in my screen for clicking on it so much! Again, thank you.


  26. Posted by antihero on May 30, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Just re-release the App with trademark infringing content removed. Don’t be such a cop out.


    • Posted by joseh on May 31, 2011 at 12:58 AM

      it doesn’t work like that. all the names, pictures, moves, and locations are technically copy-rited, i think. (if i am wrong please let me know.) so therefore re-releasing it, would mean that it wouldn’t not be able to be a pokedex.


      • Posted by David A. on June 12, 2011 at 1:04 AM

        Exactly. From http://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#copyrights


        A copyright is an exclusive right granted to an author of a literary, musical, audiovisual or artistic work, giving the author the sole right to reproduce and distribute that work. There are several different types of copyrights which are associated with Nintendo’s products. These include various copyrights in Nintendo’s software source code, executable code, game visual display, game music, game characters, product packaging, game manuals and labels; hardware chip microcode; artwork and publications.

        This means any game visual display (maps), game music (arguably pokemon cries), game characters (pokemon names, images, movesets, etc.), and artwork (ANY Pokemon images whatsoever) CANNOT be associated with the app. The point of PokeDroid is to catalog these very things so fans can use it for research. Unless Nolan wants to release the UI source code without the database… We would also appreciate the database schema so we can build our own for personal use.

  27. There is a thread on reddit where someone posted that you should license Nintendo’s IP and sell this app, or work out some kind of deal with them. You should seriously consider this idea. Talk to someone you trust who knows about business.


  28. Posted by Bjartr on May 31, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Just an FYI from the reddit thread at http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/hnl7s/pokedroid_to_be_removed_from_the_market/c1wwgp3

    You can submit a counter-DMCA letter ( example you can modify at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Terrorism/form-letter.html )

    TPC will have two options, sue you (which would fail miserably due to them leaving bulbapedia alone) or give up


  29. The Pokemon Company gave me this reply:

    Hello Amber!

    We appreciate your candid feedback concerning the Pokemon Company’s stance towards pay-to-use mobile applications and your ticket will be forwarded to the proper department.

    Please understand that the Pokemon Company strives to please it’s fanbase while still protecting it’s intellectual property. We hope that some day you will return to Pokemon.


    Pokemon Support Staff


    If anyone would like, we’ve started a petition to see if we’re able to change their minds as this is NOT a “pay-to-use mobile application,” as they put it, and if our opinions really count as their “fanbase” they should listen to us! Perhaps I’m just optimistic, but I don’t want to see the ideal Pokedex I’ve been searching for just cease existing!



  30. Posted by Beylan on May 31, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    Well what a bummer stupid copy right pains in the butt. I dont get it i am poor as can be i manage to buy the games sometimes but without free guides likes yours and bulbapedia i get stuck. They take away what i can do then how much fun can i have when i get stuck and cant play. They should be ashamed


  31. Posted by Pacman on May 31, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    I welled up reading the comments. This my first app I ever downloaded on my first ever smart phone. Ever. To see it go… even if the app stops functioning i’ll never be able to bring myself to remove it from my home menu, let alone delete it. Tis the end of an era and should go out with a bang. Please join me in song friends.

    I WANNA BE THE VERY BEST, LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS *sobs from heart break*


  32. Posted by tk on June 1, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    i just saw this on a pokemon community on livejournal


    maybe this is why? i’m kinda down for an AR pokedex…


  33. Posted by Jacob on June 1, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    I have played pokemon, since it first came out. I love this app, and it sucks that TPC greed is blinding there eyes. they may pull it from the Android market, but they can’t pull it from my phone…I hope. Maybe I shouldn’t have typed this on my phone.


  34. Posted by kalsjdakls on June 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Do you want to know more? The real reason they did this was so they could release a poor watered-down app on the 3ds, with ar support to blind serebii n00bs.


  35. Posted by abiriv on June 1, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    It is a pity that this will be removed. I cannot download to my CEL because the market will not permit me according to where I live.

    Is it possible I could obtain this any other way, via link, email-attachment, etc…

    I would really appreciate it.


  36. Posted by Finnboy11 on June 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I understand that this program competes with strategy guides, but why not to make it as an addition to them. That means making this app as a legal Pokémon Company app with a small price that would partly go to The Pokémon Company. You could ask for permission to use that copyrighted material and pay for it. Pokémon Company is clearly lacking a mobile version of the strategy guide.


  37. Posted by abiriv on June 1, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    anybody willing to help me plz contact me at abimaelrivera@gmail.com


    • Posted by Victoria on June 5, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      Im sorry, i don’t know how to obtain this app now that it will be removed, but if you find out, please let me know! :D


      • Posted by David A. on June 12, 2011 at 1:22 AM

        It’s not hard to find the apk on torrenting sites (technically on the individual machines of the users). Demonoid is one of the places I’ve seen it, though it may be hosted elsewhere.

  38. Posted by Pacman on June 1, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    TO CATCH THEM IS MY GREATEST TEST, TO TRAIN THEM IS MY CAUSE (which thanks to Nintendo is that much harder)!!!!!!


  39. Posted by Matthew on June 1, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Nintendo just announced a Pokedex app for their 3DS system, though it looks like it will only cover Generation V and nothing more. Still complete BS, but now it seems less completely random.


  40. Posted by Jason on June 2, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Nolan, I want to say thank you very much for this application. I had a PokeDex from the Gold/Silver/Crystal era, and did buy one for Diamon/Pearl. My biggest complaint, especially with the newer books is that if you want ALL of the information, you had to buy 2 books, the main strategy guide, and the PokeDex separately.

    Sure, Bulbapedia and other sites are great resources, but sometimes, I just needed to look up some quick info, and PokeDroid was perfect for that. Everything in one small package. No fancy graphics, no fancy navigation, it was something so.. stupidly simple that was still great and epic.

    TPC, with your decision, you won’t make me buy the strategy guide, actually, as much as I hate to say it, after 10 years of being a huge Pokemon fan, I may have to sell my Pokemon White and my Emerald copies. This isn’t the TPC I remember, now they’re just greedy. I’m ^Still^ not buying a 3DS, $250 is a bit much just to get a PokeDex that only has, what 156 Pokemon?

    Thanks again, Nolan, PokeDroid will remain on my phone until something happens that I can’t get it back, its that great of a tool (and used more than any other app on my phone!)


  41. Posted by soraxd on June 2, 2011 at 9:36 AM





  42. Yeah, apparently all of these takedowns in the mobile space were to clear the path for their official pokedex app.

    Not much of a consolation, but at least it’s free, so it’s not a question of money grubbing so much as rubbing out the competition.


  43. Posted by Nathan Olonoff on June 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    so Nintendo goes and shuts down all these apps and developers so they can put out a 3d pokedex with basically no information and only 150 out of 156 black & white pokemon.

    Nolan, this whole situation sucks and is bullshit. But i backed up your APK and i will continue to use it every time i play any of the current games.

    And honestly, with this, it makes me not even want to buy any version of the 3DS or any new pokemon game so in that case no more pokedroid updates will be just fine.


  44. Posted by Ash Ketchum-all on June 3, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Thanks to TPC, I can’t become a Pokemon master because I have no Pokedex.


  45. Posted by Angel on June 3, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Thanks for all the time and effort that you put into Pokedroid. I will never delete this amazing app.


  46. Posted by ReyOzymandias on June 4, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Nolan, PokeDroid is, in my opinion, by far the best executed mobile app of all time, and of this, regardless of circumstances, you should be incredibly proud. I will hold on to this app dearly, it is a powerful and convenient resource that I’d hate to be without.

    If I can find some extra cash about, I’ll throw you a nice donation via paypal. I didn’t get the paid version, and you deserve some compensation for this labor of love.



  47. Posted by KawaiiKyukon on June 5, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Dude, I just want you to know this is one of the most AWESOMEST apps on my phone!
    And that it will always be there . . . Cuz I saved it to my SD Card:3
    Now let’s see them try to delete it from my Phone . . . XD lol. Thank You for all you hard work on it! :)


  48. Posted by Victoria on June 5, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Dear Nolan,
    First off, thank you for making a childhood dream a reality.
    I have enjoyed your Pokedroid more than anything else, and i have used quite frequently. Whenever i needed information on a Pokemon, or whenever i encountered a new. I can honestly say that it has been the best thing on my phone. Ever.
    It saddens me beyond words, that it has to be removed from the market, but i respect your decision.

    I just want to tell you that i really, really appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into it, and i hope to see more apps from you in the future.

    Victoria, a huge fan of your work.


  49. Posted by Erin on June 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Makes me so sad… :/ but what can you do? I do hope to see other types of Apps from you, I’ve never enjoyed an app layout more than Poke Droids.


  50. Click my name to download the app


  51. Posted by Becky on June 7, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Companies are required to go after anybody they find ‘infringing’ on their copyrights. If they don’t defend it, they risk losing it. That’s probably why they’re trying to wipe everything off of the mobile app markets and then-some.

    But I would just like to say, Mr. Lawson, you did NOT let down your 400,000+ users. Not at all. Thank you for everything you have done.


  52. Posted by anonymous on June 7, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    You’ve made my childhood dream come true. This application gave me a lot of entertainment, and I won’t ever forget your hard work you put into this. I’ll always treasure this piece of art, and hope you the best.

    I never want to play without this amazing app. Thanks again, and I look forward to any new applications you may write. Your work will always be remembered, and i suggested this app for my cousin when she got her first droid. I also appreciated that you never forced anyone to get the paid application and the few one was so comprehensive. Thanks so much. You did the best you could have.


  53. Posted by Laurie on June 8, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    So sorry to hear such a great app will be taken off the market.. thanks so much for all your hard work, the poke nerd in me appreciates it immensely. ;p


  54. Posted by Tom on June 9, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    You have no idea how much I loved and used that app! I have played like every pokemon game ever and the pokedex was perfect. I hope to see others like it or maybe Nintendo will come out with a full one and not just the crapy one on the 3DS. Can you release the code or .apk as open source for other developers? So maybe someone can/will pick up where you where forced to stop. I personally disagree with Nintendos request and in your shoes I would have not have taken off the app. And I would have fought Nintendo but that’s me. I 100 think you are in the right in that, you can find all the information on in unofficial websits for free. Also there are countless unofficial apps on the Apple market and Nintendo has done nothing to take them off. So please continue to work on the best pokemon app ever or at lease release the .apk.
    Thank you for reading and making one of the best apps of all time on Android market.


  55. Posted by David A. on June 12, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Is there any way that someone else could host the database (downloadable) and you could just provide the interface? This way it would not be you who would be infringing on TPCi, it would be each individual user. Google will reinstate the app if you remove the trademarked content and appeal the app’s removal with the change. Talk to places like Bulbapedia about hosting the trademarked content. There is a way to save this!


  56. Nintendo are too blind to see your skill and talent. (if I were them I would definitely consider employing you). I’ve been playing the Pokemon franchise for ten years now and I can tell you know your Pokemons. I won’t delete this app ever. I hope you can find success in Pokemon elsewhere. Keep it up, Nolan.


  57. hi! just want to say thank you again.. so i posted your app as one of my most favorite droid application.. :)



  58. […] * The developer’s blog has the rest of the story complete with outraged comments from Pokéfans. […]


  59. Posted by Nathan on June 18, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    It sucks that they have done that. I believe your program was a decent program. I think they are on overkill and looking to make money and wipe out potentional competion


  60. Posted by kathryn on June 19, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    I stumbled apon this app for heartgold.. with no intenion of ever buyinlg black or white but while looking at all the new pokemon on this app I HAD to buy white or black… it also helped me deside which version due to the info on legendary pokemon! This will definately be a loss for The Pokemon Company


  61. Posted by Vasto on June 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    The thing that’s stupid in Nintendo’s argument is that they compare Pokedroid to a Strategy guide. It’s just a “Pokedex”, it doesn’t tell you which trainer has which pokemon and at what level, it doesn’t give you strategies on how to defeat some gym, it’s just raw info on pokemon. Knowing that ThePokemonCompany is such a pain in the ass, I’ll just go along and put a shitload of poke-games on my AceKard2i. Why give them money when they take legal mesures to remove something that’s free to the comunity. Maybe I could write a program that interprets wikipedia, in which I could force it to look up bulbapedia instead, and have an app that way… But I don’t dare, cause maybe TPC will shut bulbapedia down!


  62. Posted by Dim on June 22, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    You know,, my friend bought a droid phone just 2 days ago only to get dissapointed that Pokedroid was no longer in market… keep up your good work Nolan my friend


  63. I hate going to the PC every time I need to know what weakness my foes have. But, with only one click I could find that and much more!

    A pokedex in my phone? Makes me feel like the money I spent on my cell phone was worth it. I even put a shortcut to your app in my cellphone’s home! And I NEVER do that!

    Its sad. It was the best app I had on my phone. Now I wont play Pokemon White with the same enthusiasm.

    Thank you man, you helped me a lot :)


    • Posted by joseph on June 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      same here. last time i played heart gold i had to force myself. its just not fun anymore.
      and knowing i will probly have to buy a 3ds to play grey (if they make it) i just cant justify it. wspecially since i made a promise never to buy a non-backwards compatible portable nintendo system the day i got my ds. looks like im off nintendo for awhile.


      • Posted by tehkapi on June 28, 2011 at 2:25 AM

        If they make Gray 3DS only, I’ll flip. I am “stereo blind,” that is, I can’t see 3D at all. So, there’s no reason for me to fork out $250 for a system I can’t take advantage of to begin with, let alone buy and play games on it!

  64. Hey Nolan. I was really hoping to get my android phone that i’m buying soon and downloading this app. now seeing this makes me sad. I really wish there was a way to keep the Pokédroid app going, because i need a better pokédex than my slow ass computer…. you should find a way to bootleg this.


  65. Posted by Lilah on July 8, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    This is sooooo not fair! I love this app! I use it all the time!


  66. […] It finally happened. Since it’s been more than a month after I heard about it happening on Android, I was wondering if it ever was going to happen on the iOS as well… but it looks like it […]


  67. […] notice is very similar to the one my buddy Nolan Lawson received and after conferring with him in private, I can confirm this is the same person who contacted […]


  68. Posted by ScottyIsLegit on August 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    I’m a programmer and have written my own language (Unorthodox Scripting Language). I understand your several hundreds of hours of dedication. The Pokédroid is my most favorite app ever. I have 5 friends who all still have it on their phones and we all signed the petition to restore your project. This app is way more convenient than Serebii. Thank you for fulfilling a childhood dream for hundreds of thousands of PKMN trainers!

    Much love, Scotty.


  69. […] the meantime, if you’d like to help out, there may be a way for you to do so. When Nolan Lawson’s app Pokédroid was pulled, a dedicated young lady named Amber set up a petition to try and convince TPCI otherwise. The […]


  70. Posted by chris on May 29, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    I miss you pokèdroid <3


  71. Posted by niklikl on June 9, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Go pokedroid! I’m gonna try to bring it back, seeing that I know a legal dude from Nintendo.


  72. Posted by Jimmy on June 15, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Yet Bulbapedia is ok?


  73. Posted by Janet on June 30, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    I never had this app but I panicked when my favret app was taken off the market. I can see TPC’s point of view but pokedex apps would be amazing! I went in surcharges of one but insted found this. It’s a shame for good apps to be taken off the market. I would help if I could but I wouldn’t know how. Fight for what ya think is right!


  74. Posted by Jason H on October 8, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    I love this app and I will continue to keep it on my phone. I hate knowing it will not be upgraded again though. This decision by Nintendo makes me question my loyalty to a company that obviously cares so little about the fans.

    This app was a dream come true for me and I find it so disrespectful for them to make decision like this which goes against so many people. I can go to many websites and find all the same information albeit that takes much longer and can be a bit aggravating sometimes in comparison to this easy to use app.

    I think companies need to realize that keeping fans happy will make them more money in the end than being an IP tyrant and forcing fans to deal with lack of support and/or research material /guides.

    They should be hiring people like this that make these amazing apps, but instead they crush them under boot and lose out on opportunities.


  75. […] It finally happened. Since it’s been more than a month after I heard about it happening on Android, I was wondering if it ever was going to happen on the iOS as well… but it looks like it […]


  76. […] sketches, designed to scratch a personal itch. I wrote a Japanese transliterator, a Pokédex (no, not that one), a debug logger, and many others. Looking back, they form a pretty motley […]


  77. I see your blog needs some fresh content. Writing manually is time consuming, but there is solution for this hard task.
    Just search for: Miftolo’s tools rewriter


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