Game Developer Admits It Filed Bogus Copyright Claims, But Says It Had No Other Way To Silence A Critic

from the can't-wait-for-Copyright-Shitposter-2 dept

If you can’t stand the heat, whip out the DMCA notices, I guess. Earlier this week, in response to criticism, a game developer hit a YouTuber with dozens of bogus DMCA claims. “Eroktic,” who has posted several videos of him playing Battlestate Games’ multiplayer shooter “Escape from Tarkov,” was on the receiving end of nearly 50 claims.

Rather than pretend this is about copyright by claiming it didn’t give Eroktic permission to use footage of its game, the Russian developer has been surprisingly open about its abuse of the DMCA system. Comments given to Polygon’s Charlie Hall show Battlestate is well aware it’s misusing YouTube’s copyright claim process, but says that’s the only way it can protect its good name.

“We know what this instrument is designed for,” said a representative, referring to the DMCA claim system. “We had to use this tool in order to stop the wave of misinformation. What’s important to be noted is that we didn’t ban this person in-game. We still allow him to play and to stream [on Twitch] because he never cheated, he never broke the rules of the game, and he never broke the rules of the license agreement on the game. But in his videos he spread a lie, and we had to act fast and stop this.”

The “lies” referred to here are statements made by Eroktic referring to an alleged data leak that exposed user info and passwords. Battlestate claims this never happened, but rather than just address this with a denial, it decided to carpet bomb Eroktic’s YouTube account with bogus DMCA claims. Even if someone could construe this to be a justifiable way to deal with alleged misinformation, that doesn’t explain why Battlestate filed claims on 44 Eroktic videos containing zero discussion of the data leak.

And it’s about far more than a discussion of a supposed data leak. Further comments made by Battlestate say it didn’t like the “tone” of Eroktic’s videos and promised it would issue more bogus copyright claims if videos containing its game contained “negative hype.” Transparency like this is stunningly refreshing, even though that’s swiftly overwhelmed by the rank odor of horseshit.

Hopefully, YouTube will penalize Battlestate for abusing the claim process. Battlestate’s own statements make it clear the claims it issued weren’t valid. That should be enough to remove any strikes handed out by YouTube and return Eroktic to good standing. But that all assumes someone at YouTube is paying attention to what’s happening. Given that challenges are at the mercy of a mostly-automated system with zero human operators standing by to take YouTubers’ calls, a restoration/smackdown is far from guaranteed.

So, it’s another “anomaly” we can file with the hundreds of similar anomalies this site has covered over the years. Give someone an automated tool to target and remove content and it will be abused. The only thing anomalous about this abuse is the perpetrator stating up front that it knows it’s abusing the system. This should warn plenty of people away from the developer and its offerings. No one wants to give money to a company that has abused a legal process to shut down criticism.

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Companies: battlestate

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Comments on “Game Developer Admits It Filed Bogus Copyright Claims, But Says It Had No Other Way To Silence A Critic”

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60 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Aaaaaand that’s why YouTube and its cloudy ilk has no future, only peer-to-peer “nowhere and everywhere” hosted video does. Preferably across many hosts in many unidentifiable (to the host) fragments to avoid liability against those trying to take it down by going after individual peers for as long as possible. And when that doesn’t work anymore, we’ll come up with something else. In the end it’s not their call what may stay up and it never will be.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"No future? I’m pretty sure YouTube’s going to stick around for awhile."

Depends on how widespread article 13 in the EU ends up spreading. Before it gets torn down it may very well do a lot of damage. And youtube is straight in the firing line here.

"Lots of people have posited the need for a decentralized alternative to the current content silos. But we’re quite a ways out from such a platform being any kind of a threat to YouTube."

Much the same as bittorrent not really being all that popular in the time when Kazaa and DC++ held the majority of the users. As older and more vulnerable protocols get forced offline more robust solutions evolve into viable alternatives.

The decentralized solutions will evolve and expand when the current centralized "content silos" burn. Pretty obvious that from the copyright lobby’s view their wet dreams will only manage to push a migration from youtube-not-paying much to darknet-networks-not-paying-at-all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sorry to tell you: Freenet hasn’t worked out all that well. Onion sites sort-of fit your description, but have been found to be traceable by fairly trivial means.

So I’d say unfortunately, YouTube has a longer-term future than most Internet technologies, because many millions of people use it, and it works. There are of course victims of its policies, but not enough to create public outcry. People just turn to another channel, and new creators step in to take the place of the fallen.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

Aaaaaand that’s why YouTube and its cloudy ilk has no future, only peer-to-peer "nowhere and everywhere" hosted video does. Preferably across many hosts in many unidentifiable (to the host) fragments to avoid liability against those trying to take it down by going after individual peers for as long as possible.

In other words, you want the vast majority of content to only be available for 3-6 months? Because that’s about how long most torrents live for. If a torrent is older than that and isn’t on a private site, forget being able to download it. Either there will be no seeders, or there will be one seeder listed, but you’ll never connect to them.

carlb (profile) says:

Re: a defamation suit?

Yes, this is what a defamation suit is for but Battlestate should be the ones being sued, as making a false accusation of illegal activity (in this case, copyvios) and sending that accusation to a third party (in this case, Youtube) is libel.

I wonder what it would cost to file such a suit?

(and yes, IANAL and YMMV)

spikerman87 says:

Hopefully, YouTube will penalize Battlestate for abusing the claim process.

Since when do they do that? I’d love to see an example since I’ve seen other people claim 200 videos in one day or 3,000 videos in a week and they didn’t get penalized at all.

Not saying they shouldn’t. They absolutely should. Their ability to take down should be removed for good if they try to take down anything above 3 videos falsely.

GJ Guepe says:

100's of anomalies among 100's of MILLIONS copyrighted products.

Yep, you’re right that this is an anomaly! But you as typical get excited and admit that your entire basis to attack DMCA is one-in-a-million anomalies! Sheesh. And you’ve been doing it for TWO DECADES without effect. YEESH. Techdirt is an anomaly among web-sites with extreme fringe views and not enough sense to try new tactics.

the Russian developer has been surprisingly open

Exactly. Openly stated as inapt tool but for desirable purpose as honest people do. So it’s not "abuse" as you term it. Probably not wise legally and definitely not practice to be urged, but honest, and that evidently enrages the re-writer, hence the sub-title and challenges.

Know what, kids? The next and EVERY anomaly you re-write from now on will also be an anomaly! Almost no implication for DMCA. You cannot succeed with anomalies.

If want to effectively attack DMCA you should — have fostered a forum in which persons aren’t attacked for own honest opinion: THEN you might have gotten the ferment of ideas that used to be advertised and bragged about on Techdirt’s Press page (until I hooted it down). But instead all you have is anomalies and ad hom.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: 100's of anomalies among 100's of MILLIONS copyrighted produ

Utilizing a copyright law, claiming copyright infringement, to silence a critic and destroy his YouTube channel (They sent 3 takedowns rather than 1 in a calculated attempt to get his channel deleted) over supposed defamation is abuse of Copyright law. It is illegal to claim copyright infringement over material you have no copyrights in. And not only do most of these videos host no content from Battlestate (and none of the defamitory videos do), Most of them also fail to discuss the supposed defamation. If this is a Defamation claim, the DMCA is not a legal remedy. Just because the tool might have vaild uses, it does not mean that invalid uses aren’t abuse. But you can’t say that, can you? Because you have repeatedly stated that it doesn’t matter if a tech has valid uses, if it has illegal uses, it must be banned (like torrents). So you can’t admit that abusing the DMCA takedown is abuse, an illegal use of the takedown provision, because someone might realize you are a hypocrite.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: More drivel from a resident troll

Openly stated as inapt tool but for desirable purpose as honest people do. So it’s not "abuse" as you term it.

So when we openly state that we use the flagging system (inapt tool) here on TD to silence your tripe (desirable purpose) it’s not abuse, right? Just so we’re clear.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

You know, you keep saying things like “one-in-a-million anomalies” and such, but you have not offered one scrap of evidence (with proper citations) that proves your “one-in-a-million” claim or the proposition that YouTube processes “hundreds of millions” of “proper” Content ID/DMCA claims in a given timeframe. Even more astonishing: You call this an “anomaly” despite it happening more than 40 times.

Even worse: You refuse to address the fact that this was done, by the developer’s own admission(!), to censor someone who was shit-talking the developer and its game. For someone who loves to constantly browbeat Twitter and Facebook for “corporate censorship”, you seem awfully quick to defend—or at least refuse to attack—a corporation for using its copyrghts as a tool of censorship. (You did say “it’s not ‘abuse’​”, after all.)

So I have to know: How is this situation not the kind of “corporate censorship” that you have so openly decried in the past? How is Battlestate Games using bogus DMCA claims to take down videos of someone who was generating “negative hype”—something to which Battlestate Games openly admitted, something which is proven by the fact that the majority of the videos yanked down by its DMCA claims were not about the data leaks—not an abuse of the DMCA (and thus an abuse of copyright) to stifle someone’s legally-protected speech?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“you have not offered one scrap of evidence (with proper citations)”

Because none exist, presumably.

“How is this situation not the kind of “corporate censorship” that you have so openly decried in the past?”

Because they’re on his “team”, so can’t possibly be in the wrong. See also his reactions on stories where record labels are caught literally stealing form m their artists, and so on.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Never have” and “never would have” are different things. It’s possible that I would have come across this game, or a future game, in future and be interested enough to buy. Now, they’ve lost that chance, even on games they haven’t made yet.

But, hey, keep supporting them since you apparently share their belief that attracting new customers isn’t a priority for a business.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Abolish Copyright

"Boy, you sure like doing that thing where you spam the same comment on every thread and figure that if you’re saying the opposite of what Blue would say, people won’t notice you’re him."

In all fairness though, when blue tries to troll by taking the hyperbolic pirate route he still makes a lot more sense than when he tries to defend copyright.

Abolishing copyright…yes, I think I’d get behind that as the least harmful alternative by now.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Still, even Mother Teresa had her haters."

Well, she glorified suffering, apparently believing that the more people suffered in this life the better off they’d be in the next. As a result of which numerous "patients" of hers who could have lived with proper care were instead exposed to terminal infections, and no matter how severe the suffering of the patient, no analgesics of any kind were ever use to mitigate the pain.
Her deathbed last rites also fell under "forced conversion" in many cases.

And let’s not forget her dogmatic approach to contraception, abortion and divorce.

Self-sacrifice loses all meaning when someone makes it a religious calling to glorify martyrdom – for herself and everyone else.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Self-sacrifice loses all meaning when someone makes it a religious calling to glorify martyrdom – for herself and everyone else.

When it came to self-sacrifice and suffering mostly for everyone else though in her case.

From wikipedia.

Teresa had a heart attack in Rome in 1983 while she was visiting Pope John Paul II. Following a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after a bout of pneumonia in Mexico, she had additional heart problems. Although Teresa offered to resign as head of the Missionaries of Charity, in a secret ballot the sisters of the congregation voted for her to stay and she agreed to continue.

In April 1996 she fell, breaking her collarbone, and four months later she had malaria and heart failure. Although Teresa had heart surgery, her health was clearly declining. According to Archbishop of Calcutta Henry Sebastian D’Souza, he ordered a priest to perform an exorcism (with her permission) when she was first hospitalised with cardiac problems because he thought she might be under attack by the devil.

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