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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 9:54am

    This comment has been removed due to a DMCA violation filed by Battlestate Games. If you believe this was done in error, that's a shame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 9:55am

    We had to use this tool in order to stop the wave of misinformation.

    I hereby invoke the most pertinent, and most effective, rebuttal to this statement that is known to mankind:

    “Bullshit.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 9:59am

    No one wants to give money to a company that has abused a legal process to shut down criticism.

    It's important to note that this is not a legal process. It's an extralegal process, which is the root of the majority of the problems with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:13am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:33am

      Re: No Future

      Earnestly awaiting to see the new censorship free website that predict?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:59am

      Re:

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

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Dec 2018 @ 5:11am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:09am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 19 Dec 2018 @ 5:04pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:19am

    Isn't this situation exactly what a defamation lawsuit is for?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      That costs a lot more money than generating a few thousand DMCA notices.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        IANAL - defamation, 19 Dec 2018 @ 12:10pm

        Re: Re:

        1) IANAL
        2) Battlestate can sue for defamation but I think Battlestate would lose. Pointing out vulnerabilities in your database is not defamation. Also breaking their EULA/TOSS is not defamation.

        Now computer fraud laws, maybe... those have a lot of elasticity to them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      carlb, 19 Dec 2018 @ 9:37pm

      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)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:18pm

        Re: Re: a defamation suit?

        There is a small semantic difference between stating your opinion or representing your opinion as fact and AFAIK a persons stated opinion cannot be used to sue for defamation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:50am

    and the DMCA will NEVER,EVER BE ABUSED (except when it suits) and the government will sit and do fuck all anyway when it is!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:56am

    Penalty of Perjury!!!!!!!

    Which apparently means not a fscking thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:14am

    retribution

    What stops the assaulted party from filing a bunch of the same things on the developer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spikerman87, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:24am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:36am

    DMCA 512(f)

    It's almost impossible to prove a 512(f) claim normally, but the company is practically bragging about filing not just one false claim here, but dozens.

    If ever there was a 512(f) case that was open and shut, this would be it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:58am

    "We had to use this tool in order to stop the wave of misinformation. "

    Kinda sounds like "wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain." to me

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    GJ Guepe, 19 Dec 2018 @ 12:10pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 12:54pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 1:10pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 12:59pm

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

      This just in - Torrenting products covered by copyright not illegal because other torrents are legal to share!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 3:14pm

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

      Which % of "anomalies" (hint: they're not anomalies when their existence is due to the flaws inherent in the DMCA) must be reached before you stop lying?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 3:21pm

      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?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 7:54pm

        Re:

        Blue's "one-in-a-million" is the real world's 99.95%

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:13am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 3:35pm

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

      How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along bro?

      Anomalies... Bah! Humbug!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 5:13pm

      Re: 100's of lies among millions of your bullshit anagoloies

      “John Steele is gonna appeal, and he’s going to win!”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:34pm

        Re: Re: 100's of lies among millions of your bullshit anagoloies

        You've got it mixed up. John Steele's true fanboy is horse with no name, who took on monikers such as Whatever and was last seen as John Smith.

        They're both cunts, but distinguishable types of cunt.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:12am

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

      "And you've been doing it for TWO DECADES without effect."

      But, enough of the industry's failure to stop piracy through DMCA abuse, what about this site?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 19 Dec 2018 @ 5:12pm

    Didn't anyone get the memo? Copyright now covers anything the company doesn't like related to its products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:08am

    Huh, I'd never heard of this game, this developer or this player before. But, now I know that Eroktic is an organisation of desperate frauds, whose behaviour suggests that the data leak must be true.

    Funny how that works, eh Streisand?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Talmyr, 20 Dec 2018 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      Except that Eroktic was the abused YouTuber, not the Battlestate abuser.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 8:05am

        Re: Re:

        Wow... that was before my morning coffee in fairness... I do normally check these things..

        OK, I apologise to Eroktic and redirect my ire towards Battlestate Games.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2018 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hahaha, like it matters anyway.

          You never heard of the company or game, now you are upset with them/it.

          Who cares? The company isn't out any money, because you were never going to buy their product anyway.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 21 Dec 2018 @ 8:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except to copyright kool-aid drinkers, he now owes Battlestate infinity dollars for not being a buyer.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 23 Dec 2018 @ 12:57am

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 7:09am

    Abolish Copyright

    Or it will only get worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 8:23am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Dec 2018 @ 5:16am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 11:29am

    Hey, if you want to protect your good name, make a better game than what you released!!!

    Still, even Mother Teresa had her haters. Trying to shut people up using copyright like this is sure not going to work. Makes you look foolish at best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      Erm, you might want to look at the actual reasons for the hatred against Mother Theresa before using her as a good example here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      Still, even Mother Teresa had her haters.

      Because she was a monster who praised suffering. As PaulT noted, maybe find a better example.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Dec 2018 @ 5:24am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Dec 2018 @ 1:55pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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