Bungie launched a lawsuit against the authors of the “fraudulent” Destiny 2 video removals last week, saying that the removal of community-created videos caused the studio “significant economic and reputational damage.” The lawsuit is also highly critical of YouTube’s “easy-to-play reporting system”, which it cites as the main reason why the attack on Destiny 2’s creators was successful in the first place.
The problem started earlier this month when several DMCA takedown notices were filed against prominent Destiny 2 content creators on YouTube. It wasn’t clear why the takedowns were being issued because they seemed to affect videos that Bungie’s policies specifically allow and, making it even weirder, some of Bungie’s own content was also targeted.
Bungie said last week that the drops were “fraudulent” and that it was working with Google, the parent of YouTube, to reverse all resulting copyright notices. It also found that many of the requests were issued by a “bad actor”, not affiliated with him in any way, who may have taken the action to retaliate for a recent round of legitimate video takedowns from Destiny 2.
Now Bungie is retaliating: just before the weekend, the studio filed suit against ten unnamed defendants for various allegations, including fraud, false designation, copyright infringement, commercial defamation and more.
The lawsuit says that in mid-March, one or more individuals used a Gmail address modeled after those used by one of Bungie’s IP protection partners to send a wave of DMCA takedown notices against videos that were not. actually infringing any of their policies. . The same address was used to send messages to content creators claiming that previously issued authentic takedown notices were in fact fraudulent. Defendants also allegedly sent “abusive messages” to Bungie’s legitimate IP protection partner.
“The Destiny community was perplexed and upset, believing that Bungie had reneged on its promise to allow players to build their own streaming communities and YouTube channels on Destiny 2 content,” the lawsuit states. “Members of the Destiny community were also misled into believing that Bungie’s brand protection agent was also fraudulent, causing confusion among users as to the authenticity of legitimate DMCA notices.
“Bungie has had to devote significant internal resources to dealing with this and helping its players restore their videos and channels – an effort complicated by the fact that while YouTube has a form that allows anyone to claim representation as a copyright and issue copyright notices, it has no dedicated mechanism for copyright holders being impersonated to inform YouTube about DMCA fraud.”
Bungie’s criticism of YouTube in the process is surprisingly harsh. The lawsuit describes YouTube’s DMCA policies as “flawed” and suffering from a “widespread security loophole” that literally allows anyone, including “a disgruntled infringer or a producer of competitive content,” to issue takedown notices without verification. Restoring videos and removing copyright strikes, on the other hand, is much more difficult: “Bungie had to work through multiple layers of YouTube contacts before they could properly communicate and begin to resolve the issue,” the lawsuit states.
The process includes a step-by-step breakdown of Bungie’s efforts to stop and reverse the false falls, a litany of climb and escape that will likely sound familiar to anyone who’s ever had to deal with customer service at a large, far-flung company. The wheels didn’t start turning until Bungie’s global chief financial officer sent out an email to several Google employees asking for help; after further clarification and delays, and double-checking to ensure Bungie “went through standard channels to submit a help ticket”, Google closed accounts that submitted fraudulent takedown requests and promised that all takedowns would be reversed. However, it refused to share any information about the people responsible for the falls without a request from law enforcement or a civil decision.
“Fortunately for the people whose videos were targeted by Fraudulent Takedown Notices, Bungie has the financial resources to initiate this civil suit in order to meet Google’s requirements,” Bungie said.
We are aware of a number of copyright takedowns on YouTube and are actively investigating. This includes content on our own Bungie channels. These actions are NOT being taken at the request of Bungie or our partners. Wait for future updates. https://t.co/xPY1EzkgThMarch 20, 2022
Bungie’s initial reaction to fraudulent DMCA takedown notices
One of the interesting things about the process is the way Bungie recognizes that the action is, in part, a kind of fan service. Destiny 2 is free to play: Bungie earns money by selling additional content such as expansions, seasonal content, and Silver, the in-game currency. The studio is therefore particularly aware of the need to keep its fans happy, something that kind of nonsense doesn’t 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 extremely negative reaction between the player base, which initially assumed Bungie was responsible, and the wider coverage that the falls received. across all mainstream gaming media.
The suit says Bungie will have the criminals’ identities soon, and when it does, it wants real and punitive damages, legal fees and an injunction barring them from further infringements. It also contains a warning for anyone considering taking advantage of Google’s takedown policies: “Bungie brings this action to recover from the wrongful and illegal conduct of the Defendants and, frankly, to demonstrate to any other stupid person the enough to volunteer as a Defendant when directing the Bungie community to a similar attack, they will be served by legal process.”
Bungie’s lawsuit against the as-yet-unnamed defendants is available in full at torrentfreak.