One real copyright strike led to 96 fakes.
Back in March 2022, Destiny 2 YouTubers were hit with fake DMCA takedowns. Now, Bungie has found the culprit… and it’s on a warpath worth as much as $7.6 million.
A lawsuit filed by Bungie yesterday claims that Nicholas Minor, a YouTuber going by the name Lord Nazo, is responsible for the fake DMCA notices, issuing them to fellow YouTubers after he himself was hit with a real DMCA notice from Bungie.
“Ninety-six times, Minor sent DMCA takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Bungie,” the developer explained. “[He identified] 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.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, it looks as though Lord Nazo was heavily involved in community discussions surrounding the DMCA takedowns, which were at the time, assumed to be from Bungie.
“All the while, ‘Lord Nazo’ was taking part in the community discussion of ‘Bungie’s’ takedowns, spreading disinformation,” the studio said. “This caused Bungie significant reputational and economic damage, for obvious reasons.”
Minor’s original (and real) DMCA notice was issued by Bungie after he uploaded the soundtrack for the Destiny expansion The Taken King to his YouTube channel. Minor allegedly refused to remove his videos, leaving them online until they were eventually removed by YouTube in January. Minor allegedly retaliated by registering a new Gmail address, designed to mimic the email addresses of employees of CSC Global, the company who enforces Bungie's copyright. He then began issuing fake DMCA notices to Destiny 2 creators.
“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,” explains Bungie in the lawsuit. “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.”
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Screenshots
Bungie is now suing Minor for the staggering sum of $7.6 million – a total of $150,000 for each of the works implicated in the fraudulent DMCA takedown notices.
Just days ago, cheat company Elite Boss Tech agreed to pay Bungie $13.5 million in damages to end a copyright infringement lawsuit. Meanwhile, Sony’s planned acquisition of Bungie is being probed by the FTC.
Need some help with Destiny 2? Check out our guide to the Destiny Content Vault to find out which strikes and raids have been vaulted, as well as our guide to the latest expansion The Witch Queen.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.