A Russian studio has come under fire again for targeting an influencer to bring down any videos that are critical of its game.
In December, it emerged Battlestate Games has used DMCA takedown notices to remove more than 40 videos by a single YouTuber -- known as Eroktic -- because they were spreading "misinformation" and "negative hype".
Speaking to Polygon at the time, Battlestate admitted it was misusing the DMCA system and defended its right to do so, claiming the videos "spread a lie, and we had to act fast and stop this."
It also claimed it has never taken such action against another person. Yet Polygon now reports another YouTuber has come forth with a similar story.
Known as El_Dee, the influencer said that they were also issued 47 DMCA claims around their Escape From Tarkov videos, reportedly because the footage included Battlestate's watermark and logo.
But these appear in the footage uploaded by multiple other YouTubers as it appears on the game's title screen -- El_Dee believes they were also being targeted because of "negative hype."
When Battlestate responded to Polygon, it distanced itself from the action, claiming these copyright takedown notices were submitted almost eight months ago by one of its subcontractors, AbsolutSoft. It also assets that all affected videos should be 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," the spokesperson said.
However, Polygon has learned that AbsolutSoft has much closer ties to Battlestate than suggested, and El_Dee claims to have received requests to remove negative videos prior to AbsolutSoft's DMCA actions.
Both Eroktic and El_Dee have complained that these takedowns have significantly impacted their income from YouTube.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was designed to enable companies to protect their intellectual property, preventing YouTubers and Twitch streamers from making money with it without the IP holders' consent.
However, it has also become a tool in various disputes. Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III used it to block Star Control: Origins from release amid a legal battle over who owns elements of that series (although the game has since been restored to both GOG and Steam).
Meanwhile, a Malaysian studio used a DMCA to remove its own game from sale after its publisher failed to pay the developers.