Bungie is going after a Destiny 2 YouTuber who allegedly struck back at DMCA takedowns leveled on his account by filing false DMCA claims, on Bungie’s behalf, against other streamers and the studio itself. Bungie’s lawsuit, filed in federal court on Wednesday, seeks at least $7.6 million in damages.
Nicholas Minor, who was broadcasting as Lord Nazo under his handle, has created two fake Gmail accounts to pretend that he is CSC Global’s copyright management team. In the suit, it is claimed that Lord Nazo used these addresses to request YouTube 96 removal in February. This was citing 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The takedowns involved videos posted by YouTubers My Name is Byf (who has 974,000 subscribers); Aztecross (615,000 subscribers) and Bungie’s own YouTube account. “Minor’s attack sent shockwaves through the Destiny community,” the complaint said. “Content creators described the chilling effect the false takedowns had on their own work, saying, ‘I’m scared to make new Destiny videos, let alone keep the ones I’ve already made up.’”
YouTube, among others, is required by the DMCA to remove any user-published content which infringes a copyright of another. Such a broad mandate has enabled abuse of the statute’s provisions, with some filing DMCA declarations to YouTube and elsewhere to thwart business rivals or social media adversaries.
Bungie’s complaint alleges that Minor “exploit[ed] the hole in YouTube’s DMCA-process security that allows anyone at all to claim to be representing a rights holder for purposes of issuing a takedown, with no real safeguards against fraud.”
Bungie said Minor mounted his retaliatory campaign after he himself was served with DMCA takedown demands in December 2021, related to uploading the original soundtrack for 2015’s Destiny: The Taken Kings. “Ninety-six times, Minor sent DMCA takedown notices […]YouTube can instruct innocent creators not to remove their videos Destiny 2 videos or face copyright strikes, disrupting Bungie’s community of players, streamers, and fans,” the complaint says. “This caused Bungie significant reputational and economic damage, for obvious reasons.”
In March, Bungie alerted fans via Twitter that it was aware of the copyright takedown demands and said they “are NOT being taken at the request of Bungie or our partners.” The complaint quotes a “Manifesto” from Minor, also sent that month to the Destiny community, in which he admits to the false takedowns.
“The Manifesto reads like a hackneyed ‘look what you made me do letter’ from the serial killer in a bad novel,” Bungie’s lawyers wrote.
The lawsuit is filed in the Western District of Washington state, where Bungie’s headquarters are located. In the complaint, Bungie notes that it “permits players to create videos using Destiny gameplay” and upload them to YouTube and other services that monetize the content. The studio reserves its intellectual property rights and has the authority to enforce these rights in any cases that violate the guidelines for user-created content. Minor’s wholesale uploading of The Taken King’s OST violated those guidelines, the complaint says.
The suit seeks at least $7.6 million, or $150,000 for each of 51 instances in which Minor allegedly infringed Bungie’s registered copyrights in issuing the false takedown demands. Other parts of the suit seek unspecified actual and statutory damages, “to demonstrate that serious consequences await anyone else foolish enough to […] target Bungie’s community for attack.”
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