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Bungie sues Destiny YouTuber for sowing chaos with fake copyright strikes

Bungie has filed a lawsuit Destiny player who has reportedly filed dozens of false copyright notices to his name. the lawsuit, covered by TheGamePostsays California YouTube creator Nick Minor who turned a single Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice into 96 fraudulent claims against other YouTubers.

The complaint alleges: Bungie ‘brand protection’ contractor CSC Global sent Minor a legitimate copyright notice in December 2021, asking him to remove music from the soundtrack of Destiny extension The Taken King† Minor reportedly responded by creating a Gmail account that mimicked the CSC account, then making similar requests to a slew of other YouTube accounts — even hitting an official Bungie account. He identified himself as a CSC representative and demanded that the accounts remove videos or face YouTube warnings for copyright violations.

Meanwhile, Minor under his YouTube alias Lord Nazo apparently ran what Bungie calls a “disinformation” campaign against the studio. It claims he spread reports of rampant copyright warnings, falsely blamed Bungie for over-aggressive enforcement, and distributed a “manifesto” that was “designed to confuse” the legitimacy of all Bungie DMCA requests. (An editorial states that the manifesto “reads like a hackneyed ‘look what you made me do’ letter from the serial killer in a bad novel.”) It quotes Destiny community members who described the takedowns as “heartbreaking” and “appalling,” said the announcements — which could have resulted in account deletion, if repeated — frightened them into posting more videos.

Ninety-six times, Minor allegedly sent DMCA takedown notices on behalf of Bungie, identifying himself as Bungie’s ‘Brand Protection’ supplier to let YouTube instruct innocent creators to Lot 2 videos,” the indictment reads. “The Destiny community was stunned and upset, believing Bungie had waived a promise to allow players to build their own streaming communities and YouTube channels on Lot 2 content.” Destiny publicly denied being behind the March incident, and the published guidelines intended to clarify when it would request takedowns, saying it “wanted to make our boundaries as a company clearer”.

the controversy amassed coverage in game media, and Bungie said in March it was investigating the matter. According to the complaint, it identified Minor by connecting the dots between different email addresses he used during the extended campaign. It alleges that Minor carried out the operation in retaliation for the original takedown request, and it is seeking monetary damages for defamation, filing false DMCA notices, and – somewhat ironically – copyright infringement.

In addition to Minor’s individual actions, Bungie suggests that he exploited weaknesses in YouTube’s reporting system. It says he could easily impersonate a CSC employee, for example because YouTube requires all reports to come through a Gmail account — not a corporate domain that a content creator can verify. With Google’s system, “anyone can claim to represent a rightholder for a takedown, with no real safeguards against fraud,” Bungie complains.

More broadly, however, because of its copyright status, Minor’s campaign has worked as a powerful, controversial weapon that can strike YouTubers (and other internet content creators) with little warning and painful consequences. Other “copystrike” senders have used the system to extort channels for ransom or censor news, and studios like Nintendo have placed heavy copyright restrictions on their games in the past. Minor apparently went one step further – arming the blowback to the DMCA itself.

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