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Bungie files lawsuit against individuals behind false Destiny copyright takedowns

In response to last week’s incident in which Destiny videos by prominent content creators on YouTube were hit with a spate of false copyright takedowns, developer Bungie has filed a lawsuit against ten unnamed individuals it believes responsible.

At the time of the incident, Bungie – whose own YouTube content was impacted by the bogus copyright claims – insisted the takedowns were not the result of a request by either itself or its partners. The studio later revealed the takedowns had come from “fraudulent accounts created to impersonate our IP protection service”, which it believed may have been retaliation for a “recent set of authentic takedowns of OST uploads”.

Following the results of its initial investigation, Bungie has now (thanks TorrentFreak) launched legal action against ten unnamed individuals, who it admits it does not yet know the identity of, but says it will “discover…soon, via subpoena or otherwise”. However, while those individuals – and the “nearly incalculable damage” their actions caused – are the focus of the lawsuit, it also has more than a few choice words for Google, extensively highlighting the flaws in what it calls the “gaping security loophole” of YouTube’s “easily-gamed” DMCA-process security.

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen – Savathûn’s Throne World.

“As far as YouTube is concerned,” the lawsuit explains, “any person, anywhere in the world, can issue takedown notices on behalf of any rights holder, anywhere. A disgruntled infringer or a competitive content producer, for example, can issue takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Disney, or Fox, or Universal – or even Google itself.”

“While YouTube has a form that allows anyone to claim to represent a copyright holder and issue copyright strikes,” the document continues, “it has no dedicated mechanism for copyright holders who are being impersonated to let YouTube know about the DMCA fraud.” Indeed, the lawsuit says this lack of a dedicated reporting mechanism meant Bungie was ultimately forced to escalate the matter through its legal team until one of YouTube’s senior execs eventually responded, some three days after the false claims were initially reported.

“While Bungie’s legal department, management, and executives were attempting to negotiate the Byzantine procedural labyrinth Google required before it would address the fraud its users were committing, let alone identify who its fraudsters were,” the lawsuit continues, “Doe Defendants themselves were gloating, confessing, and threatening.”

Bungie says that, as a result of the bogus takedowns, it “has suffered, is suffering, and will continue to suffer substantial damage to its business in the form of lost profits and injury to its goodwill and reputation” as a result of the incident. As such, it’s suing the defendants – claiming fraud, copyright infringement, defamation, breach of contract, and more – and seeking “damages and injunctive relief, including enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each Fraudulent Takedown Notice that willfully infringed Bungie’s copyrights”.

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