'Warner Bros. is threatening to destroy my YouTube Channel' says popular modder, alleging that a sweep of copyright claims forced them to scrub 1 billion views' worth of videos from the internet

RIck from Rick & Morty faces off against Peter from Family Guy in vicious Mortal Kombat.
(Image credit: NetherRealm Studios / Warner Bros - mod by ToastedShoes)

ToastedShoes, the mastermind behind a truly unhinged YouTube channel by the same name, has alleged that Warner Bros. is "threatening to destroy" his channel by means of an overkill IP infringement notice.

You might remember ToastedShoes as the guy who added Homer Simpson to Elden Ring, or the person who tempted the famously litigious Nintendo with a Palworld Pokémon conversion mod (which later received an accursed, but legally distinct version). 

Most recently, the YouTuber crafted a Star Wars clone trooper mod for Helldivers 2 with the help of his team—which is important context, since he's by no means a solo act. ToastedShoes the YouTube Channel is, by all accounts, a business with employees and salaries.

A large part of ToastedShoes' bread and butter, however, are (presently, were) his now-vanished Mortal Kombat videos, which featured characters from just about everywhere (including Disney and Pixar properties) absolutely wrecking each other in NetherRealm's gore-splattered fighting games. 

ToastedShoes discussed the situation on his Twitter in a lengthy post: "this morning I received an IP Infringement Notification directly from Warner Brothers stating that the Mortal Kombat mods in my content 'infringe' on their intellectual property rights. I've been requested to delete all Mortal Kombat 1 videos from my channel or else they will issue copyright strikes and essentially delete my channel in its entirety."

A report by IGN states that the takedowns in question were filed by an "AI-powered brand protection company called Tracer," which suggests that the takedown notices were, in part, automated. 

I've plenty of sympathy for ToastedShoes here, even if you could make the argument that his livelihood does very much hinge on playing with fire—especially in the modern age of increasingly aggressive copyright claims

An interesting wrinkle he highlights, however, is that NetherRealm Chief Creative Officer has retweeted and shown enthusiasm for the modding community before—despite NetherRealm itself being owned by Warner Bros Games. This might not be all that surprising, as claims like this tend to come from publishers and the like, rather than the studios themselves.

"The clips of my mods have over 1 billion views across all platforms that have allowed me to bring attention to the game as well as to continue supporting the team of developers I work with. My team of modders work with me on both a part time and full time basis and the revenue from these videos pays their wages." 

ToastedShoes alleges that he has been unable to reply to Warner Bros directly: "I have no way of contacting Warner Brothers or asking what exactly they deem [infringements] on their copyright. I also seem to be the only content creator that I know of that has been sent a cease and desist from Warner Brothers … due to all this I am now forced to remove all videos from my channel."

The whole thing does feel like a U-turn from Warner Bros, who otherwise let the videos exist unabated for months without so much as a peep. I've reached out to Warner Bros Games for comment, and I'll update this article if I'm provided a response.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.