City Builder Game Taken Down By DMCA Abuse Back Online After Several Weeks

from the damage-done dept

It was a couple of weeks back when we highlighted the story of how one game, Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic, was suffering as the victim of very clear DMCA abuse. If you don’t recall the post, you can get all the details in the link. The short version of it is: a fan of the game and member of the game’s community wrote a guide for making the game more realistic, the publisher liked it so much that they wanted to incorporate some of it into a new “realistic” game mode they were already creating, they offered to give him credit after the game mode was released, and then everything went sideways.

This community member, who the publisher claims is a lawyer, began DMCAing everything about the game, from the website for the game to the game listing on Steam. And… it all worked! The sites went down. The game got delisted from Steam. The studio’s YouTube videos for the game got taken down. All fraudulent, none of it legit. That was middle February.

Finally, in early March and the game got re-listed on Steam.

Dear Community and Players,

We are pleased to announce that our game is now back in the store! We thank you for your patience, support and understanding as we navigated this tricky situation.

We want to apologize to those who were looking to purchase the game and were unable to. We realize that we underestimated the situation, and it quickly escalated to a point that posed a threat to our game. We greatly wish that this had not been the case.

But we are now back on track and you can fully enjoy the game! We are excited to get back fully to the development and put this matter behind us.

How many potential sales were lost due to this whole episode? It’s impossible to say. How much reputational damage was done due to it? Also impossible to say. But the answer to both of those questions is absolutely not zero, that much is sure.

And more to the point, this highlights that the system is freaking broken. For a game to be disappeared for 3 weeks as a result of one person’s ability to take advantage of the DMCA takedown process shows the flaw in the system. It’s way, way too open for this kind of abuse. The sites are too quick to comply with takedowns, clearly. The online stores likewise.

But that is how the system currently works, unfortunately. And nobody seems all that keen on fixing it. So instead you get a publisher apologizing to its customers for being the victim.

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Comments on “City Builder Game Taken Down By DMCA Abuse Back Online After Several Weeks”

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Anon says:


When DCMA was first proposed, we were assured that nobody would fraudulently claim copyright violation since the had to swear a legally binding statement that they were the legitimate owners of copyright, and so could be prosecuted for perjury if they made a false claim.

Which immediately turned out to be false. Has anyone every been prosecuted for a false claim? Indeed, some made a living out of claiming others’ Youtube videos.

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