Back in March, a wave of bizarre copyright strikes (opens in new tab) rocked the Destiny 2 community. Not only did it affect some of the game’s biggest content creators, but also videos on Bungie’s own YouTube channel.
It turned out none of them had actually come from the developer but a “bad actor (opens in new tab)” impersonating two employees from the CSC, Bungie’s IP protection agency of choice. Now, that person has allegedly been identified and Bungie’s suing them for a whopping $7.6 million. Ouch.
Nicholas ‘Lord Nazo’ Minor is accused of fraudulently firing off 96 separate DMCA takedown notices throughout mid-March (thanks, TheGamePost (opens in new tab)). According to the lawsuit (opens in new tab), Minor was issued legitimate copyright strikes in both December 2021 and March 2022 for uploading the OST for Destiny’s The Taken King and The Witch Queen expansions. During that period, Minor is said to have created two separate email addresses impersonating CSC employees. He then used those email addresses to issue the false takedown notices.
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 at the request of Bungie or our partners. Please standby for future updates. https://t.co/xPY1EzkgThMarch 20, 2022
The lawsuit goes on to say that during the whole kerfuffle, Minor was “taking part in the community discussion of ‘Bungie’s’ takedowns, spreading disinformation” as well as trying to file a counterclaim with YouTube, saying the legitimate takedowns on his channel were included in the wave of fraudulent ones.
Bungie claims that the situation caused “significant reputational and economic damage,” with the publisher having to “devote significant internal resources to addressing it and helping its players restore their videos and channels.” It claims its “entitled to damages and injunctive relief, including enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the works implicated in the Fraudulent Takedown Notice that willfully infringed Bungie’s registered copyrights, totaling $7,650,000.”
We’ve recently seen big gaming corporations starting to win these sorts of suits—like Nintendo’s case against hacker Gary Bowser (opens in new tab), where the court made something of an example of the guy—so it’ll be interesting to see which direction this one goes in.