Bungie Slams YouTube’s DMCA System in Destiny Scammers Lawsuit

Image from game maker Bungie announcing Destiny 2's Season of the Risen.

Bungie has criticized YouTube’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) process in a lawsuit against 10 defendants of John Doe accused of sending fraudulent takedown notices against Destiny 2 videos.

“The Doe Defendants were able to do so due to a breach in the security of YouTube’s DMCA process, which allows anyone to purport to represent any rights holder in the world for the purposes of issuing a DMCA Takedown” , Bungie wrote in a lawsuit filed Friday. in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Bungie continued:

In other words, as far as YouTube is concerned, anyone, anywhere in the world can issue takedown notices on behalf of any rights holder, anywhere. A disgruntled infringer or competing content producer, for example, may issue takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Disney, Fox or Universal, or even Google itself. All they have to do is: (1) complete the video removal form… (2) have a Google account, including, after information and belief, an account created on the same day and with fake information; and (3) filling in information and clicking on verification buttons fraudulently certifying that they are entitled to submit the withdrawal request, without any verification by YouTube.

Although YouTube and its owner Google were not named as defendants, they feature prominently in Bungie’s lawsuit. The 10 Doe defendants have yet to be identified due to the “Byzantine procedural maze required by Google before addressing the fraud its users were committing, let alone identifying who its fraudsters were,” Bungie wrote.

The fraudulent reviews were allegedly sent in retaliation by Destiny 2 players who had received legitimate takedown requests from Bungie, the lawsuit said. The scammers apparently targeted other YouTubers who had received official takedown requests from Bungie, then sent emails to victims claiming that official Bungie reviews were also fraudulent.

“YouTube’s easy-to-play reporting system”

The fraudulent reviews began on or around March 17 and were aimed at destiny YouTubers including My name is Byf and Aztecross, which have 967,000 and 595,000 subscribers respectively. Even the Bungie official destiny The YouTube channel received a fraudulent takedown notice, according to the lawsuit. The notices were sent from “a fake Gmail address that was, based on information and belief, newly created that did not match the addresses used by Bungie’s brand protection provider for legitimate DMCA notices” .

“Thanks to YouTube’s easy-to-manipulate reporting system, the attack was successful and the videos were removed (and the YouTubers were given “copyright strikes” which, according to YouTube rules, threaten the future viability of their YouTube channels) based on fraudulent takedown notices,” Bungie wrote.

Subsequently, “the destiny The community was baffled and upset, believing that Bungie had reneged on its promise to allow players to create their own streaming communities and YouTube channels on Destiny 2 contents. destiny community members 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,” said Bungie.

Bungie said its attempt to resolve the issue was “complicated by the fact that although YouTube has a form that allows anyone to claim to represent a copyright owner and issue copyright strikes , it doesn’t have a dedicated mechanism for impersonating copyright owners to let YouTube know about the DMCA fraud.”

Contacted by Ars, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We take abuses of our copyright takedown process seriously and terminate tens of thousands of accounts each year for violating our policies, which prohibit to submit false information in a takedown request. We will continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems, and we are committed to taking appropriate action against those who knowingly abuse our tools.”

YouTube also said copyright law requires the website to take DMCA complaints at face value and promptly remove content when someone alleges its copyright infringement. YouTube further said it has employees and systems that work to detect suspicious behavior, but acknowledged that trolls and bad actors can sometimes circumvent the measures.

Bungie is looking for the real names of the accused

Bungie uses provider CSC Global to send its actual takedown notices, which are sent only after specific approval from Bungie’s legal department, according to the lawsuit. After learning of Aztecross’ fraudulent takedown, “CSC issued a takedown notice asking for the video to be reinstated, but on Monday, March 21, it reported that YouTube had denied the takedown request because the takedown notice didn’t ‘was not sent from the same email that issued the first fraudulent takedown notice,’ Bungie’s lawsuit said.

At 3:18 p.m. local time on March 22, after more urgent requests from Bungie, “Google provided an update that it had terminated the accounts that submitted the fraudulent claims and all fraudulent submissions would be reversed, but Google would not share any identifying information who the fraudulent users were, including channel IDs, email addresses, or other identifying information, without a request to law enforcement or civil process. videos have been targeted by fraudulent takedown notices, Bungie has the financial resources to begin this process in order to meet Google’s requirements.”

Bungie’s lawsuit said it was “entitled to damages and injunctive relief, including enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each fraudulent takedown notice that willfully infringes the copyrights of Bungie”. Bungie also charged the defendants with commercial defamation, violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, and breach of contract (the Destiny 2 Software License Agreement). Bungie said it suffered “significant damage to its reputation and economy”.