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Destiny 2 developer Bungie is suing a group of anonymous individuals who impersonated the company in a bid to sabotage Destiny content creators.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

March 28, 2022

2 Min Read
A screenshot from Destiny 2

Bungie has filed lawsuit against a group of anonymous "John Does" who allegedly impersonated the company to initiate a series of YouTube video takedowns under the auspices of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) enforcement.

If that sentence is a lot to wrap your head around, it's understandable. This turn of events is an unusual escalation of a niche community issue that apparently began when Bungie filed its own DMCA takedown requests against a group of users who uploaded copies of Destiny's soundtrack to YouTube. 

As spotted by Torrentfreak (via Kotaku), said users turned around and filed their own DMCA requests against Destiny content creators, using an email account that resembled the account used by Bungie in its own filing. To the impacted content creators, it looked like Bungie had decided to reverse its normally lax content policy for YouTubers and streamers.

Except it hadn't. The thrust of Bungie's lawsuit is aimed at identifying and penalizing the individuals responsible for the false takedowns, but the company also had harsh words for how YouTube handled the situation. The studio documented how when it became aware of the false takedowns, it reached out to several contacts at the company who were all out of office. 

Bungie's representatives finally got ahold of YouTube's director of gaming publishers and commerce content partners, who asked if they'd filed a support ticket. It took Google's video platform three days to mobilize resources to stop the attack.

"Thanks to YouTube’s easily-gamed reporting system, the attack was a success, and videos were removed (and YouTubers given ‘copyright strikes’ that, under YouTube rules, threaten the future viability of their YouTube channels) on the basis of the Fraudulent Takedown Notices," Bungie's lawsuit states. 

YouTube isn't named as a defendant in the suit, but Bungie does seem interested in calling out the platform's lax management of DMCA takedown requests. Because successful DMCA takedowns can have strong impacts on channels, it seems embarrassing that such a large corporation could let users assume the identity of copyright owners so easily on such a regular basis.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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