Bungie has filed a lawsuit against a certain Nicholas Minor, claiming that, after receiving a copyright takedown notice on his Destiny 2 YouTube videos, he retaliated by creating a series of fake Bungie email addresses and sending notices DMCA to other YouTubers, pretending to be from the company.
Minor was the owner of a YouTube account called Lord Nazo. According to Bungie’s filing, in December 2021, CSC Global, which acts as a protector of the developer’s brand, sent a takedown notice to Minor after they uploaded the soundtrack for Destiny’s expansion, The Taken King, to YouTube. Minor allegedly refused to remove the videos of him and left them online until YouTube took them down 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 Lord Nazo’s channel, this time from the Destiny 2 Witch Queen expansion, and again, Bungie issued an official takedown notice. Minor allegedly registered a second CSC-style email address and, according to Bungie’s filing, “began sending out a wave of fraudulent takedown notices.”
Bungie learned of Minor’s actions when Google sent it data, describing recent takedown notices that the alleged “CSC” had issued, as well as the IP address from which they had originated. The former Halo developer claims that Minor orchestrated the campaign to damage his reputation among players and the Destiny community, as retaliation for the copyright takedowns Minor had received; the studio claims that in addition to sending bogus takedown notices, Minor used his Lord Nazo online accounts to spread “disinformation” about Bungie and the spree of fake DMCA takedowns that Minor himself had engineered.
“Ninety-six times,” the studio’s legal filing explains, “Minor sent DMCA takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Bungie, identifying itself as Bungie’s ‘brand protection’ provider for YouTube to instruct creators innocent to remove their videos or faces from Destiny 2. copyright strikes, disrupting the Bungie community of gamers, streamers, and fans. And meanwhile, ‘Lord Nazo’ was participating in the community discussion about the ‘Bungie takedowns’. “, spreading misinformation.
“This caused significant financial and reputational damage to Bungie, for obvious reasons. As explained below, the Destiny community was puzzled and upset, believing that Bungie had reneged on its promise to allow players to create their own streaming communities and YouTube channels on Destiny 2 content. Destiny were also misled into believing that Bungie’s brand protection agent was also fraudulent, leading to confusion among users as to the authenticity of legitimate DMCA notices. Bungie had to dedicate significant internal resources to address it and help their players restore their videos and channels.”
Bungie is now seeking total damages of $7.6 million – $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 unfolds.