Bungie filed a lawsuit against the perpetrators of the “fraudulent” Destiny 2 video removals last week, claiming that the removal of community-created videos caused the studio “significant reputational and economic damage. “. The suit is also very critical of YouTube’s “easy to play reporting system”, which he cites as the main reason the attack on Destiny 2’s content creators was successful in the first place.
The problems started earlier this month, when several DMCA takedown notices were filed against prominent Destiny 2 content creators on YouTube. It was unclear why the takedowns were being issued because they seemed to impact videos that Bungie’s policies specifically allow, and making it even weirder, some of Bungie’s own content was also being targeted.
Bungie said last week that the takedowns were “fraudulent” and that it was working with Google, YouTube’s parent, to reverse any resulting copyright strikes. He also found that many of the requests were made by a “bad actor”, unaffiliated with him in any way, who may have taken action to retaliate against a recent string of legitimate Destiny 2 video takedowns.
Now Bungie is getting revenge: Just before the weekend, the studio filed a lawsuit against ten anonymous defendants for multiple allegations including fraud, misrepresentation, copyright infringement, commercial defamation, and more.
The lawsuit says that in mid-March, one or more people used a Gmail address inspired by those used by one of Bungie’s IP protection partners to send a wave of DMCA takedown notices against videos that didn’t actually violated any of its policies. . The same address was then used to send messages to content creators claiming that genuine takedown notices issued earlier were in fact fraudulent. The defendants also allegedly sent “abusive messages” to Bungie’s legitimate IP protection partner.
“The Destiny community was puzzled and upset, believing that Bungie had reneged on its promise to allow players to create their own streaming communities and YouTube channels based on Destiny 2 content,” the lawsuit states. “Members of the Destiny community were also misled into believing that Bungie’s Trademark Protection Agent was also fraudulent, leading to confusion among users as to the authenticity of legitimate DMCA notices. .
“Bungie had to dedicate significant internal resources to remedying this and helping its players restore their videos and channels – an effort complicated by the fact that, although YouTube has a form for anyone to claim to represent a copyright notices and to issue copyright strikes, it has no dedicated mechanism for impersonated copyright owners to notify YouTube of the DMCA fraud.”
Bungie’s criticism of YouTube in the lawsuit is surprisingly harsh. The lawsuit describes YouTube’s DMCA policies as “flawed” and suffering from a “gaping security flaw” that literally allows anyone, including “a disgruntled infringer or competing content producer”, to issue withdrawal notice without verification. Restoring videos and removing copyright strikes, on the other hand, is much more difficult: “Bungie had to go through several layers of YouTube contacts before they could communicate adequately and start fixing the problem,” says the pursuit.
The combination includes a step-by-step breakdown of Bungie’s efforts to stop and undo fake takedowns, a weekend-long litany of escalations and workarounds that will likely sound familiar to anyone who’s ever had to deal with customer service at a large, remote company. The wheels only started turning when Bungie’s global CFO emailed several Google employees asking for help; after further clarification and delay, and double-checking to ensure that Bungie “followed standard channels for filing a help ticket”, Google terminated the accounts that submitted the fraudulent withdrawal requests and promised that all withdrawals would be void. However, he declined to share any information about who was responsible for the takedowns without a request from law enforcement or a civil order.
“Fortunately for the people whose videos were targeted by the fraudulent takedown notices, Bungie has the financial resources to initiate this civil action to meet Google’s demands,” Bungie said.
We are aware of a series of copyright takedowns on YouTube and are actively investigating them. This includes content from our own Bungie Channels. These actions are NOT taken at the request of Bungie or our partners. Please wait for future updates. https://t.co/xPY1EzkgThMarch 20, 2022
Bungie’s First Reaction to Fraudulent DMCA Takedown Notices
One of the cool things about the lawsuit is how Bungie acknowledges that the action is, in part, a kind of fan service. Destiny 2 is free: Bungie makes its money from sales of additional content such as expansions, seasonal content and silver, the in-game currency. The studio is therefore particularly aware of the need to please its fans, something that this kind of nonsense does not make it easy.
“The level of connection and community that Bungie players share directly affects Bungie’s bottom line,” the lawsuit states, before noting the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the player base, who initially assumed Bungie was responsible, and the wide coverage received. in mainstream gaming media.
The lawsuit says Bungie will soon have the identity of the perpetrators, and when it does, it wants actual and punitive damages, legal fees, and an injunction restraining them from future infringement. It also contains a warning to anyone else considering taking advantage of Google’s takedown policies: “Bungie is bringing this action to recover the tortious and unlawful conduct of the Doe Defendants, and, frankly, to demonstrate to anyone else foolish enough to volunteering as a defendant targeting the Bungie community for a similar attack, they will face legal action.”
Bungie’s lawsuit against the as-yet-unknown defendants is available in full on Torrentfreak.