YouTubers hit back at developer for spurious ‘scare tactic’ DMCA strikes

A second YouTuber has come forward to complain about Russian developer Battlestate Games, alleging the studio of maliciously implementing The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to silence "negative hype".

YouTuber Eroktic said he was targeted by the Escape From Tarkov developer back in December – a fact Battlestate subsequently admitted, insisting it had the right to address the content as Eroktic’s videos "spread a lie, and we had to act fast and stop this". Eroktic said the action led to him losing "80-90% of the views on Youtube" and 1100 subscribers on Twitch.

"I am not streaming for last 1 week now and I am not uploading videos on youtube anymore because my community only wants me to play Tarkov," Eroktic said. "I would rather play and provide content for heavy pay-to-win game full of micro-transactions that costs $60, than support developers that can’t accept criticism and suggestions."

After a month-long investigation, Polygon is now reporting that a second influencer, El_Dee, has also been issued 47 DMCA claims against their Escape From Tarkov videos, reportedly because the footage included Battlestate’s trademarked watermark and logo. El_Dee maintains other influencers, too, have shown the logo without such recourse and believes their content has been intentionally targeted because of "negative hype."

"I went from having over 5k subs [and] we were on our way to 6k when the copystrikes hit me," El_Dee said. "My videos were getting 10k views or more, some were seeing 50k views and all of that stopped when they copystriked [sic] me, took time to create a pocket of hate for the name ‘EL_DEE’ on Reddit. It’s a 61-day ban on their subreddit if you even say my name."

"This company took my Youtube down for 3 weeks," El_Dee added. "If I didn’t have the gall to fight it, my channel would have been deleted, that’s what they were hoping for. To scare me into not fighting. It was a scare tactic to take down videos that weren’t 100% positive."

In a statement to Polygon, Battlestate claimed the takedown notices were submitted almost eight months ago by one of its subcontractors, AbsolutSoft and all affected videos should be fully accessible now.

"We have made our internal investigation into the matter," a Battlestate representative told Polygon via email. "It appears that copyright takedown notices were submitted nearly 8 months ago by AbsolutSoft, a company that was developing some parts of [Tarkov]. To the best of my knowledge, all affected videos are fully accessible now.

"Following the recent events we have established an internal procedure to make sure that the company, its employees and agents are very careful with everything that constitutes a legal process."

While the statement shifts responsibility of the copyright strikes to third-party AbsolutSoft, EL_Dee insists it was project lead and producer Nikita Buyanov himself who personally requested that negative videos be removed from YouTube prior to the DMCA complaints by AbsolutSoft. 

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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