War Thunder producer takes down YouTuber channel in act of vengeance

A Gaijin Entertainment gameplay producer has been suspended after abusing his DMCA powers to wrongfully bringing the channel of a leading Russian YouTuber to a halt.

Polygon reports that Pavel Kulikov issued multiple Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims against a YouTube channel owned by Kirill ‘alconafter’ Fyodorov, who has in three years attracted in the region of 35m views.

Filing so many DMCA claims in such a short time triggered Google’s automated systems, taking the channel offline and resetting the viewer count.

Kulikov’s ill-feelings toward Fyodorov stem from an incident in 2013 when his video channel promoted a social media ‘flash mob’ style attack against Gaijin’s social media accounts – allegations that Fyodorov disputes.

"At Gaijin, and for me personally, our policy is that we don’t make any kind of censorship attempts," Gaijin’s CEO Anton Yudintsev said. He said that their DMCA claims were only used to go after clones of War Thunder, or games and other properties that used his team’s video and artwork to misrepresent themselves.

"We allow anyone to review the game, to stream the game or to criticize the game. [Kulikov] issued the copyright strikes even though he has no right to."

Yudintsev added that he personally called the home of Fyodorov in Latvia when it had been discovered what had happened to apologise.

However, Fyodorov’s account of the fiasco is somewhat more scathing of Gaijin. He revealed that Kulikov offered him an official video partnership, presenting what is described as a bizarre” contract that imposed a number of fines should he fail to hit the required standards.

Among the demands were that Kulikov release four War Thunder videos per week, none of which could speak negatively of the game. The fine for breaching this would have been $10k per case.

Kulikov has admitted that his acts were emotional and unprofessional”, and confessed to the DMCA takedowns, as well as drafting the bogus contract and adding in additional clauses designed to hurt Kulikov.

Fyodorov’s channel was down for a total of three days after the incident. DMCA claims normally take two weeks to resolve, but Gaijin worked closely with YouTube to expedite the process. Fyodorov also turned down an offer of compensation for lost revenue.

"I lost money. I lost subscribers. I lost views," Fyodorov said. But, I’m not the kind of person who wants conflict. I want to work. They offered me compensations or something like that … money, press accounts, [in-game currency] … But, for a man, it would not be handsome to accept.

"Three years of free advertising of your game, three years of my working and of my nerves. It’s all my life. I really love my job, and for three years I haven’t had even a single day of holiday. Even one day. Even New Years, Christmas, my birthday — every day was a video on my channel and all videos were dedicated to War Thunder.”

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