Escape from Tarkov devs apparently abused DMCA to target more than one YouTube critic

    
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Back in December, we covered trouble brewing in the Escape From Tarkov community, as Russian developer Battlestate stood accused of abusing DMCA takedowns against a YouTube critic. The YouTuber, Eroktic, claimed nearly 50 of his over 300 Tarkov videos had been pre-emptively issued strikes by the developer alleging negativity, incorrect information, and not-valid criticism, none of which is actually a legitimate use of DMCA takedowns – which, bizarrely, the company acknowledged. Battlestate even appeared to passively threaten other critics, not that it stopped multiple influencers and content creators from abandoning ship and supporting Eroktic.

Now Polygon is reporting a second YouTuber was targeted by the Tarkov developer, contrary to Battlestate’s claim that it had never abused DMCA in this way before. This vlogger, EL_Dee, told the publication that Battlestate had used DMCA to target 47 of his videos, supposedly because they used the company’s watermark and logo from the game’s title screen, but since plenty of other YouTubers with less criticism of the game were allowed to use that splash, it seems more likely the rationale was more nefarious.

Indeed, Polygon reports that it took Battlestate a month to respond to its initial fact-check, at which time the studio shifted blame to a subcontractor, AbsolutSoft… which actually turns out to be a company run by Tarkov’s project lead, who himself stands accused by EL_Dee of personally putting in the DMCA requests.

Both YouTubers say they lost YouTube views, Twitch followers, and income thanks to Battlestate’s strikes. EL_Dee even says gamers who mention his name on the game’s Reddit are hit with multi-month bans, pointing out that the whole ordeal was a “scare tactic.” Hopefully both of them have moved on to better games under better companies. In fact, hopefully everyone does.

Source: Polygon
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Bruno Brito

Seems like these russians are pretty proud of being such dickwads. Is this something cultural there?

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I wouldn’t say it’s cultural… Just few people being assholes and being afraid of any critique.

For example, there is a famous Russian movie critic, “BadComedian”, who criticizes a lot of Russia-made movies in his YT videos (because most of them deserve that). And while a few Russian movie directors/producers attempted to use DMCA to remove his videos from YT – most did not care about his criticism and did not bother with any of that.

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Rolan Storm

Yeah… Those pesky Russians.

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NebulaDragoness

However, what EL_DEE failed to tell polygon, was the content of his videos they took down. They were all exploits. Gamebreakingly bad abuse and instructions on how to do so, that effectively ruined the game for a solid few weeks. And im pretty sure cost BSG a fair sum in lost sales. Everyone that plays the game knows of it as a dark time.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

They were all exploits. Gamebreakingly bad abuse and instructions on how to do so

That’s a good thing, though. While I personally do not cheat or exploit in games and do not want other players to do so – I am all for exposing exploits and cheats for as many people as possible because the more people will know about those = the faster the lazy-ass developers will fix those and will add more measures to prevent those in future (including doing a better QA before releasing the game or patches for it).

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NebulaDragoness

Again, you clearly haven’t played tarkov. the devs are anything but lazy and constantly request things be sent in as bug reports. i’ve seen them reply to issues on reddit and have them fixed within the hour.

They’re one of, if not the best russian dev teams out there.

In a game where death means loss of items, glitches that work around that ruin the game for everyone. EL_DEEs actions caused them to rush fixes for that issue and delayed the development timescales at that point. He’s getting no sympathy from any of the game’s players, loyal to BSG or not.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Part of it is also Youtubes fault. Their current policy is to take down vids based on any claim, legit or not.

This has led to ridiculous manipulation of the system including Youtubers taking down other Youtubers, devs taking down critical reviews, and a cottage industry of firms that send out blanket DMCA and get paid per incident even if the claims aren’t valid.

Not too long ago, it got so bad that game vids were being taken down because the firms I mention claimed the games own soundtrack was in violation. Heh.

IMO, the policy should be that no vid should be taken down without at least some evidence to back up the claim. But that is not how it works right now.

Yangers
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Yangers

I’m still amazed someone hasn’t copy striked YouTube’s own channels.

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rafael12104

Lol! That would be interesting because from what I understand it is an auto-shutdown.

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silverlock

YouTube is just following the law they didn’t right it. Basically when it comes to DMCA it’s guilty until proven innocent but that’s not YouTube’s fault.

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John Kiser

Yeah, except that youtube has to follow the rule of law when dealing with DMCA. DMCA works like this if you are unfamiliar. People can file a DMCA claim against something (they require no real proof and it doesn’t even need to be the rights holder which leads to trolling bullshit often). The site that hosts the video or content with the DMCA claim has to take it down immediately and that content has to stay down until a counter claim is made and then court date is set and someone has to show up to court in which case if only one party shows then it rules in their favor immediately.

There are trolls/harassers online that use it as a means to get people’s personal information during the counter claim (if people can’t afford to have a lawyer file for them they risk exposing personal info like name address etc). The system is HORRIBLY designed, but none of it is youtube’s fault at all.

Alyn
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Alyn

Those “NO Goodniks”!

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Tuor of Gondolin

I’m shocked that any company would abuse the DMCA this way. Yes, very shocked.

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Sorenthaz

Gotta love how copyright claims/strikes can be abused so regularly because the DMCA system is outdated as hell and wasn’t really created with today’s Internet accessibility in mind. And sites like Youtube and Twitch essentially do the bare minimum to enforce it so that they can keep their hands clean and folks who get unfairly striked/etc. get a permanent mark on their account unless they go through an appeals process. And most of the time this system is abused by folks who want to profit off of others – got a 15 second clip featuring something that can be claimed by someone? Whole video’s ad revenue now goes to them.

Unfortunately it’s probably going to be a long while before anything gets done about it since a large majority of those in leadership are older folks that have no grasp of what the Internet allows folks to do.

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Jeremy Barnes

Those folks who don’t have a grasp often have money in their pockets from people who benefit from the ridiculous copyright laws in place…especially the fact that there’s no punishment for abusing the system.

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rafael12104

Yup. It’s a mess. Youtube and Twitch have to do more but there is no incentive to do so.

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Sorenthaz

Basically they do the bare minimum to ensure they can’t get sued by other media corporations. Music, TV, etc.

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Darthbawl

It’s rather obvious that the DMCA has holes in it large enough to maneuver a aircraft carrier through. Lots of vids out there where folks talk about the increase in weaponizing of the DMCA and the gross abuse of it.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah because it was designed for a period before the Internet really kicked off and we saw the huge boom with Youtube/etc. in the mid-late 2000’s.

Sad part is it’s probably going to stay this way for a few decades until government branches/etc. start getting regularly filled out with folks who actually understand the Internet and the ways people abuse these copyright laws.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ve heard a lot about this dev acting like this before this newest event. I know I was watching WAB and he mentioned these devs being downright vicious in this regard. I want to say, you know guys, if you make a decent game with fair practices in the first place, you can be less defensive about it. Just a thought.

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Jeremy Barnes

…but then you have to make a decent game with fair practices..

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IronSalamander8 .

I know right? I swear if half these devs spent as much effort on the game and making a solid, fun experience as they do fighting their critics, we’d have more good games to choose from and less garbage.