WOTC Hires Pinkerton To "Raid" YouTubers Home... And This Isn't The First TimeNews Wotc
Genoslugcs · April 27, 2023 · 7 min
The news of Wizards of the Coast sending Pinkerton Security agents to the home of the YouTuber who leaked the "March of the Machine: The Aftermath" cards on his channel has been spreading like wildfire over the last few days. Now, with the topic in the spotlight, it has surfaced that this is not the first time WOTC has employed the notorious Pinkertons to do their bidding. So, let's take a look at not only this most recent incident but the lesser-known ones of the past as well.
The March of the Machine: The Aftermath Leak
If you're not up to speed, here's the most recent situation - YouTuber Dan Cannon, known as oldschoolmtg, opened several collector booster boxes for the upcoming March of the Machine: The Aftermath set on camera, spoiling most of the set. Someone along the distribution chain apparently sent these cards out by mistake, believing them to be the main MOM set.
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Then they ended up in the hands of Dan Cannon, who says he paid around $4,000 for the boosters in total. He also said that he was not aware of any embargo against revealing cards and that other YouTubers frequently open early boxes and are allowed to show off cards early. So, he opened them on his channel over the course of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Then, he's greeted by Pinkerton agents on Saturday morning demanding that he return the "stolen cards" and remove his videos.
He had this to say of the initial contact, “as soon as my wife answered the door, they aggressively asked for me by my full name… announced themselves as the Pinkerton Agency (which I am very familiar with their reputation), and said they were there to recover ‘stolen goods.’”
He then says that they forced their way at least partially through his front door, refusing to let his wife close the door after she asked them to wait outside. He says they continued to say that he was in possession of stolen property. He was then told that failure to “immediately” give them the packaging and cards would escalate the situation to local law enforcement. Furthermore, he said, “They claimed copyright infringement and said I would face between one and 10 years in jail and up to $200,000 in fines plus all legal fees.”
His wife was quite frightened at this point, and not wanting to escalate the situation further, he gave them the cards and all the packaging and removed his videos. He was then put on the phone with WOTC, who said that they would replace the cards with a set that was currently out.
Who Are The Pinkertons
To get the total absurdity of the situation, you need a good grasp of what the company is, what it does, and its reputation. Pinkerton is a private security firm and detective agency established somewhere around 1850. Yes, they've been in business for nearly 200 years. They were even hired by Abraham Lincoln to protect him against assassination attempts and to spy on the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Moving forward, they became notorious for their involvement in "strikebreaking" during the numerous labor strikes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time, businesses would hire the company to infiltrate unions, break up strikes, and use "goon squads" to intimidate workers into doing what they wanted. It wasn't uncommon for these efforts to end in violence either.
In more modern times, the company has rebranded itself as a "personal security and risk management firm," where they continue to be hired by companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Wizards of the Coast, where "Loss Prevention" is one of the services they offer. Oh, they are also the bad guys from Red Dead Redemption. All things considered, it's not surprising that the company approached the situation in a less-than-graceful manner and intimidated someone with threats.
Wizards of the Coast Comments On The Situation
According to Wizards, the company was hired “As part of an investigation into the unauthorized distribution and disclosure of embargoed product,” and they only reached out to the company after “several phone calls went unanswered. They [Pinkerton agents] visited him and asked that he reach out to us as part of our investigation and return the embargoed product and packaging. He agreed to do both. We are replacing all of the unreleased product with the product that he intended to purchase.”
In regards to the way the agents handled the situation, they said they “strongly refute this depiction of events, which contradicts both the report from the investigation as well as the conversation between the individual and the Wizards of the Coast representative after the interaction in question.” And that, “under no circumstances would we instruct any employee or contracted agency to intimidate an individual.”
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Of course, I wasn't there, and neither was anyone else... So, we'll never know for sure. However, it would seem that Pinkerton agents don't need to be instructed to "intimidate an individual.” It's pretty common knowledge that intimidation is the company's modus operandi. So, I don't doubt that Dan Cannon's telling of the events is the more accurate side of the story.
Regarding Cannon's story of how he ended up with the cards in the first place, WOTC declined to comment, instead stating that “what happened leading up to this individual receiving the cards is still under investigation.” My money is on this being a case of human error by a Wizards employee in sending the cards out. It would be pretty easy to see how it would happen. After all, the company was in the process of sending out the leading "March of the Machine" set, and the set that was sent was "March of the Machine: The Aftermath."
I don't blame WOTC for investigating the leak. I also don't blame them for retrieving the packaging from the boxes. The numbers and codes on the wrappers and boxes would help them narrow down exactly where the mistake happened. The physical cards, however, have no distinguishing features, so it seems they were taken on general principles.
Of course, the main issue most people are having is the use of a private security firm (much less one with such a sketchy reputation) would be brought in to collect the cards. It seems that the local police if anything, would have sufficed. Dan said he would have fully cooperated with the investigation had they sent him an email or a phone call regarding the matter.
There's also the matter of whether what he did was illegal. If his story is to be believed and the person he got the cards from didn't, unbeknownst to him, steal them, he simply opened cards that he legally purchased from a game store. Regardless of if the company was in the wrong (legally or otherwise), I think it's clear that Dan prefers to give the cards over than fight with them (legally or otherwise), and that's probably for the best.
That said, just for the record, I think Wizards is in the wrong, and they know it. I also think they choose Pinkerton to send an unambiguous message to the public that should this sort of situation arise again, they will take action against the person, regardless of who is to blame.
Given how often these mixups happen, I'm not surprised they'd want to send that message moving forward. Next time, the person certainly won't be able to claim that they didn't think it would be a big deal. Furthermore, Pinkerton wasn't only chosen for safeguarding against future problems, but it's someone the company has used in the past as well.
Ixalan Theft And Leaks
In August 2017, an employee stole several uncut sheets of the then-unreleased set "Ixalan" from a printing facility. The information has since then been removed from the WOTC site, but an archived version still exists. According to the archived article, the employee took several sheets, evaded security, and fled the building. However, they were caught on camera.
Shortly after this, the sheets began to show up for sale on various websites, which spoiled the set. The article says, "From there [the pictures being posted], we began working with a number of groups and individuals, including private investigators, investigators who specialize in supply chains, cyber security experts, and local law enforcement."
It's now been confirmed (although from sources who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation) that one of the "private investigators, investigators who specialize in supply chains, cyber security experts" was the Pinkerton agency. So, this recent situation isn't the first time WOTC has employed the services of Pinkerton. And given that the thief was caught and sent to jail, apparently, Wizards felt they could be trusted to get the job done again.
While I still don't know if the agency was entirely necessary here, hiring them makes more sense than the MOM situation. First, you've got a clear-cut case of theft by an employee, who you'll have to track down, and perhaps beat cops would take the situation as seriously as you'd like. Next, this person is trying to sell the things they stole, which is a vast difference between the situations.
The YouTuber didn't steal anything (quite the contrary, he paid $4,000 for it), and he wasn't trying to flip the boxes and profit from them. Overall, I think he was legitimately excited to have gotten the boxes early and cracked them on his channel - I would have done the same thing and meant Wizards no ill will. And I certainly wouldn't have expected a visit from Pinkerton goons for my actions.
Overall, the situation is pretty insane, and the story is being covered everywhere. That said, I found it very interesting and telling that this wasn't the first time they had done this. Having hired them in the past and hiring them now shows it's something they will continue to do should the need arise, which I think is the point. It sends the message that if you leak cards through theft or otherwise, you can expect retaliation from the company and its hired muscle.
On controversial matters, I usually ask readers to leave a comment down below with their thoughts and opinions. However, I think, for once, the world of MTG might be united in something - Thinking this situation, which is ultimately Wizard's fault and their overkill reaction to it, is crazy. Still, I would love to hear what everyone thinks on the matter.
1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. They are not law enforcement. They cannot enter or take your property. Period.
2. Shoot them. If they try to invade your home you shoot them. Buy a gun, use the gun. (Dummy)
3. Hire a lawyer. Sue them and make this 100x more costly than if they just took the hit from their screw up
4. Stop being SHEEPLE