Bungie Strikes Back After False Claims

Bungie Strikes Back After False Claims

Peyton Markel, Staff Writer

The soon-to-be PlayStation-owned game developer, Bungie, has been wrapped up in much controversy recently. Unfortunately, many Destiny 2—Bungie’s live service sci-fi shooter—content creators have been hit by false DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedowns, which has spurred numerous content creators to go to social media, such as Twitter, to speak out about this. 

One of the unfortunate realities of YouTube is that almost anyone can have a piece of content taken down, which can be easily abused, and many large companies—not necessarily Bungie, but others, such as Take-Two Interactive–rely on third-party companies to protect their content and interests. Often times, these third-party companies go overboard, skipping right past the dictates of Fair Use and go after just about everything, like hounds set on a fox. No matter the context, or if it’s been transformative, a significant number of these companies will be much too aggressive in their pursuits. 

This was the belief that many had with this situation, as this is not the first time there has been copyright issues with Bungie and Destiny-related content. So, those believing the information were surprised to find it was indeed an imposter! Because anybody can have content taken down and impersonate a popular brand, this has become a problem with YouTube in particular, one which they have never really been able to address.

     Quickly, Bungie moved to clear things up, saying on Twitter, “We’re aware of a series of copyright takedowns on YouTube, and we’re actively investigating. This includes content on our own Bungie channels. These actions are NOT being taken down at the request of Bungie or our partners. Please standby for future updates.” TorrentFreak reports the game studio has sued 10 anonymous people for allegedly leveling false DMCA claims against a host of Destiny 2 creators on YouTube, and even Bungie itself. The fraudulent notices began on or around March 17 and targeted Destiny YouTubers including My Name Is Byf and Aztecross, who have 967,000 and 595,000 subscribers, respectively. Even Bungie’s official Destiny YouTube channel got served a fraudulent takedown notice, the lawsuit said. The notices were sent from, “a fake gmail address that was, upon information and belief, newly created, which did not match the addresses used by Bungie’s brand protection vendor for legitimate DMCA notices.”

Bungie hoped a DMCA subpoena and other measures would help identify the attackers and punish them, including damages that could reach $150,000 for each false takedown notice. As said best by Ms. Lauren Schmidt, a teacher here at EHS, “Laws put in place are only good if those who are breaking those laws can be found; the technology is there, we just need to implement that technology to create a safe and secure platform!” Thankfully, YouTube appears to be addressing the problem seriously, a YouTube spokesperson told the gaming outlet Engadget over email. “We’ll continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems, and we’re committed to taking appropriate action against those who knowingly misuse our tools.”

Bungie has received emails from one of the Fraudsters, claiming such things as, “I intended to get caught,” and that users should blame YouTube for its sloppy copyright takedown system and Bungie for ignoring this issue for so long. The email went on to insult Bungie’s DMCA representatives and claimed that this was all a ploy to make Bungie realize the “corruption” within their YouTube community. What was Bungie’s response? Bungie’s lawsuit said the takedowns issued by CSC on its behalf were legitimate and that the email “manifesto reads like a hackneyed ‘look what you made me do’ letter from the serial killer in a bad novel.”

Now, with justice seemingly being served, YouTube committing to taking actions against others who do similar. And, Bungie having restored the videos that were taken down, it appears as though not many will be so eager to fight YouTube or Bungie on their content.