Bungie says last week's Destiny 2 video takedowns were 'fraudulent'

Screenshots and artwork from Destiny 2's Season of the Lost and 30th Anniversary event.
(Image credit: Bungie)

It turns out that the wave of weird copyright strikes against a number of high-profile Destiny content creators last week were the result of fraudulent takedown requests mixed with a little help from Google.

The situation seemed off from the start last week: The takedown requests impacted some of the most popular Destiny content creators on YouTube, including MyNameIsByf and Aztecross, even though the content in question hadn't changed. Bungie stated that even some of its own content was affected, confirmed that the takedown requests had not been issued by itself or its partners, and said it was digging into the problem.

In today's TWAB, it revealed that the recent wave of takedown "included some takedown actions from fraudulent accounts created to impersonate our IP protection service."

"Google has confirmed that the accounts that have submitted fraudulent legal requests to YouTube have been terminated and will no longer have access to Google products," Bungie said. "All fraudulent submissions from these accounts will be reversed (some have already, the rest should come through shortly). The processing of these takedowns was an enforcement mistake by Google, and beyond rescinding the strikes and reinstating the videos, they are also working on process improvements to reduce the likelihood of any similar mistakes in the future."

Bungie asked that Destiny content creators have patience while it works with YouTube to reverse all the fraudulent claims, and requested that fans not harass employees of CSC, a company that works with Bungie on IP protection. It also posted a list clarifying a number of "misconceptions" about the incident:

  • CSC, a Bungie partner that aids in IP protection, did not go rogue or issue any unauthorized takedowns.  
  • Bungie does not use or authorize algorithmic takedowns on YouTube.  All actions by CSC are reviewed and authorized by Bungie.  
  • Because these are human processes, in rare occurrences human error has occurred, in which we have quickly worked to correct any issues.  
  • Bungie investigated the claims of suspicious takedowns and found that several strikes were perpetrated by a “bad actor” that is not affiliated with Bungie or CSC, but who has impersonated CSC by falsifying look-alike email aliases. This attack occurred after, and possibly in response to, a recent set of authentic takedowns of OST uploads. 

Bungie said that those recent "authentic takedowns" were primarily the result of people uploading Destiny soundtrack music, which is not permitted. But it also acknowledged that the community wants access to music that isn't currently available through other channels, and so it's taking steps to help make that happen.

Going forward we will be allowing certain Destiny music tracks to be uploaded to channels for archival purposes. For those creators interested in this type of content creation, the guidelines below should be reviewed:  

  • It can't be an OST song that Bungie has already released or posted elsewhere publicly.   
  • The content cannot be monetized.    
  • The creator needs to obtain permission from Bungie by contacting this email: licensing@bungie.com.

Bungie said that it is working to update its community guidelines "to make our boundaries as a business clearer so that you, the creators, can make the content your souls crave without fear." The current intellectual property and trademark policies are available at bungie.net.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.