General Gaming News

Bungie is suing YouTube trolls for fraudulent DMCA

Destiny 2

Anyone who has ever had to deal with a bunch of YouTube’s nonsense over the years relating to copyright is likely very frustrated. Copyright trolls regularly abuse the DMCA system to take down content. The goal is either to take down content that you don’t like, or to steal ad revenue. Copyright trolls will regularly submit false claims by posing as the actual owner company, because YouTube is terrible about verifying the veracity of these claims.

And that’s the point. Copyright abuse is designed to steal revenue from creators. The intent is to claim ownership over a mass amount of content and then place ads on it to steal ad revenue. Because of the terrible way YouTube’s DMCA system is designed, there are multiple flaws that pose issues for affected creators.

The biggest issue aside from the claimant stealing ad revenue is the doxing threat. Users wishing to file a counter-claim to a false DMCA claim not only have to wait for YouTube to make a decision on the matter, but also have to submit sensitive personal information along with the request. And YouTube just forwards the counter-claim in full to the troll. This poses a severe issue with privacy and personal security for those wishing to chase off the trolls.

Surprisingly, Destiny 2 content on YouTube has been their latest target. And as a result, copyright trolls struck again. These rogue DMCA takedowns started to happen right after the release of The Witch Queen, which marked a major increase in interest in the game. In the coming weeks, a multitude of Destiny 2 creators have seen their content flagged with DMCA notices and copyright strikes. These have a huge negative impact on their channels, and the community as a whole. Bungie has stepped in as a result.

Enter the matrix…of nonsense

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. In a cruel twist, the trolls even claimed Bungie’s own videos. It’s pretty clear that they spammed out Destiny 2 DMCA claims using bots, a flagrant violation of the spirit of the legislation and YouTube policy. That has prompted Bungie to file a lawsuit against the unknown perpetrators.

The suit has a pretty clear goal, to identify the trolls. “Doe Defendants were able to do this because of a hole in YouTube’s DMCA-process security, which allows any person to claim to be representing any rights holder in the world for purposes of issuing a DMCA takedown,” Bungie wrote in a complaint filed Friday in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. This marks an occurrence that’s actually fairly rare. Rarely does a company step in to put their legal power behind affected creators for DMCA or other abuses.

The firm that Bungie uses to actually submit DMCA request also stepped in. The company, CSC Global, attempted to issue retractions, but Google refused. This was the clue that the claims came from trolls; as the grounds for refusal was that the email used to submit the claims was different from the one CSC Global normally uses. YouTube has since terminated the accounts that submitted the fraudulent requests. They also removed any of their active requests as well. But Google has refused to identify the fraudsters, hence the lawsuit attempting to compel them to do so.

When contacted by Ars, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We take abuse of our copyright takedown process seriously and terminate tens of thousands of accounts every year for violating our policies, which prohibit submitting false information in a takedown request. 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.”

One would think if that was true, YouTube would actually fix the glaring holes in their DMCA process.

Source: Ars Technica

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