Andrew Masson is an IPilogue writer and 1L JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.
YouTube content creators must be hyper-aware of copyright. In one of the strangest instances of a copyright takedown, Bungie, the developer of Destiny 2, was issued copyright takedowns on their own YouTube page for content they created and held copyright in. In Bungie’s most recent TWAB (This Week At Bungie), they revealed that someone had impersonated CSC (the company Bungie partners with to protect their IP) to target Bungie and Destiny content creators with DMCA strikes.
The IPilogue recently published a piece on DMCA strikes. DMCA strikes are the mechanism by which content hosting websites can protect themselves from litigation by IP holders. The penalties for DMCA violation on YouTube are severe. After three strikes, a channel is permanently deleted. Thankfully for the targeted content creators, their videos were enabled and the fraudulent strikes removed.
The TWAB provided some rare insights into how Bungie handles its IP protection. Early speculation was that it was an algorithm error, but Bungie clarified that they do not use or authorize CSC to use algorithms on YouTube to issue takedowns. Another prominent rumor was that their recent acquisition by Sony had meant Sony Entertainment was instituting stronger IP protections. However, Bungie stated that all CSC actions are manually reviewed and authorized by Bungie, indicating Sony has no part in Bungie’s IP protection. It also would not have made sense for Sony to issue a DMCA strike against Bungie, the first indication that these DMCA strikes were a targeted attack.
Bungie speculates that the targeted attacks occurred because of recently issued legitimate strikes against people publishing their OSTs (original soundtracks) on YouTube. It is believed that those individuals targeted Bungie and content creators as a result. The creators they targeted were publishing Destiny content but had not violated bungie’s IP policy. The creators and their communities were initially upset with Bungie over the strikes. However, Bungie and YouTube quickly resolved the issues with Google identifying the fraudulent accounts that originated the DMCA strikes and removing them.
Bungie has used TWAB to control the narrative concerning the attacks. It prides itself on being responsive to its community and encouraging community creation. By handling all DMCA actions manually, Bungie is demonstrating that it wants to enforce DMCA strikes only against actual violations. People will be less fearful and more prone to creating with the Destiny IP. Additionally, Bungie has dedicated themselves to working with creators to publish more of their OSTs not currently available on their channels.