Bungie has filed a lawsuit against one Nicholas Minor, claiming that, after receiving a copyright takedown notice on their Destiny 2 YouTube videos, they retaliated by creating a series of fake Bungie email addresses, and sending DMCA notices to other YouTubers, pretending to be from the company.
Minor was the owner of a YouTube account named Lord Nazo. According to Bungie’s filing, in December 2021, CSC Global – which acts as the developer’s brand protector – sent a takedown notice to Minor after they had uploaded to YouTube the soundtrack for the Destiny expansion The Taken King. Minor allegedly refused to remove their videos, and left them online until they were removed by YouTube in January. Minor then registered a new Gmail address, designed to mimic the email addresses of CSC Global employees.
In February, another Destiny soundtrack was uploaded to the Lord Nazo channel, this time from the Destiny 2 Witch Queen expansion, and again, Bungie issued an official takedown notice. Minor allegedly then registered a second CSC-style email address, and – according to Bungie’s filing (via The Game Post) – “began to send out a wave of fraudulent takedown notices.”
Bungie learned of Minor’s actions when it was sent data by Google, outlining the recent takedown notices that had been issued by the supposed “CSC”, as well as the IP address from which they had originated. The former Halo developer claims that Minor orchestrated the campaign in order to damage its reputation among players and the Destiny community, as retaliation for the copyright takedowns Minor had received – the studio claims that, as well as sending out fake takedown notices, Minor used his Lord Nazo online accounts to spread “disinformation” about Bungie, and the wave of false DMCA takedowns that Minor themself had engineered.
“Ninety-six times,” explains the studio’s legal filing, “Minor sent DMCA takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Bungie, identifying himself as Bungie’s ‘brand protection’ vendor in order to have YouTube instruct innocent creators to delete their Destiny 2 videos or face copyright strikes, disrupting Bungie’s community of players, streamers, and fans. And all the while, ‘Lord Nazo’ was taking part in the community discussion of “Bungie’s” takedowns, spreading disinformation.
“This caused Bungie significant reputational and economic damage, for obvious reasons. As discussed below, the Destiny community was bewildered and upset, believing that Bungie had reneged on a promise to allow players to build their own streaming communities and YouTube channels on Destiny 2 content. Destiny community members were also misled to believe that Bungie’s brand protection agent was also fraudulent, causing confusion among users as to the authenticity of legitimate DMCA notices. Bungie had to devote significant internal resources to addressing it and helping its players restore their videos and channels.”
Bungie is now seeking total damages of $7.6m dollars – $150,000 “for each of the works implicated in the Fraudulent Takedown Notice”. We will continue to keep you updated on this story as it develops.
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