Battlestate Games, developers of the multiplayer tactical shooter Escape From Tarkov, have issued nearly 50 Digital Millennium Copyright Copyright Act (DMCA) claims against a YouTuber with the handle “Eroktic.” Rather than citing piracy or unfair use of content for monetization, Battlestate tells Polygon those claims were made because of incorrect information and overall negativity about their game.
Reached for comment, Battlestate said it had no other choice than to issue DMCA claims, which could result in serious legal issues for Eroktic up to and including the removal of his channel from YouTube. The law, which is broadly written, tends to support these kinds of actions by game developers.
The confrontation between Battlestate and Eroktic stems from what the developer says was a pair of inaccurate video claiming that user information, including passwords and personal information, had been leaked from the company databases. Battlestate claims the misinformation was damaging to the company, and had to be dealt with quickly.
“The reason why we acted so strong and so quick is that we had to stop this misinformation about the data leak,” said a representative of Battlestate’s public relations team, in Russian and through a translator. Following the claims, those videos are no longer visible on YouTube.
“Right now we are reviewing all the videos which were copyright strikes. If we find that those videos have no issues with the law and with negative rhetorics, we might call back our strikes.”
A post on Eroktic’s Twitter account indicates that at least 47 of his videos had DMCA claims made against them over the weekend. Battlestate said that while misinformation was only part of several of those videos, “negative hype” was present in all of them. For that reason alone, they say they are justified in executing the takedown claims.
Many videos with Escape From Tarkov content in them remain on Eroktic’s channel. During a broadcast today on Twitch, Eroktic said that he has created more than 300 YouTube videos on Tarkov and that between 80 and 90 percent of his channel’s more than two million views can be attributed to that content.
The support for Eroktic on social media has been extensive. A so-called “emissary,” Battlestate’s term for affiliated content creators, in the U.S. has resigned. “OnepegMG” even prepared a 15-minute statement about his departure.
“On Dec. 13, Battlestate Games was a developer making the best shooter that the world has ever seen, in my opinion,” said OnepegMG. “On Dec. 17, Battlestate Games is now a developer that has levied a series of DMCA claims against a YouTube personality to the extent of which there is no precedent domestically or internationally, as is my understanding, as to the appropriateness of this action. They stopped being a video game developer with a beautifully crafted product, and started to become a developer that will make an example of you if you took things too far.”
Another content producer, who goes by the handle “Klean,” said that he is no longer comfortable creating the popular Talking Tarkov podcast.
Battlestate’s representative said that, due to what they consider to be the damaging nature of Eroktic’s videos, their organization was left with no other choice.
“We have been following a pretty much all the creators videos and all materials which are uploaded in the web,” a representative told Polygon. “We didn’t react to a lot of negative criticism, but in this particular case, Eroktic has crossed the line and we had to act hard on them. The thing is that we cannot allow this information, this false information to stay on the web.”
But, as even Battlestate admits, only two videos contained information about rumors of a security leak. The other 40-plus videos that it issued DMCA notices against did not. Rather, they pulled them down simply because of the tone of their content.
“We know what this instrument is designed for,” said a representative, referring to the DMCA claim system. “We had to use this tool in order to stop the wave of misinformation. What’s important to be noted is that we didn’t ban this person in-game. We still allow him to play and to stream [on Twitch] because he never cheated, he never broke the rules of the game, and he never broke the rules of the license agreement on the game. But in his videos he spread a lie, and we had to act fast and stop this.”
After what @bstategames did to @ErokticGaming I have decided that I will no longer host the Talking Tarkov podcast. I feel what they have done is unethical and wrong. I love EFT and will still play the game and stream it but I just need to take a step back.
— Klean (@KleanStreams) December 16, 2018
The representative said that there is not currently a formal policy in place for content creators regarding what is and is not allowed to be created with footage from Escape From Tarkov. Polygon asked if they feel that they may be overstepping with the scope and scale of their actions, and if that could cause a chilling effect on YouTube.
“We understand that other content creators are worried about this,” the representative continued. “But through all the years of development, it’s the first time when we used [DMCA claims] to the content creator. We are not going to do it anymore. We wanted to show that negative hype and misinformation cannot remain without any punishment. The game and this community do not deserve that.”
Rather than issue DMCA claims in the future, the Battlestate representative said that going forward they will instead employ more traditional lawsuits for things like defamation.
“It’s not about making content,” they continued. “It’s about false accusations. It’s about lies. It’s about misinformation. We don’t want to scare off anybody, it was applied to only this person and only in this case.”
“We understand your negative attitude regarding this situation,” reads the post, “but we urge you to take a comprehensive approach to its assessment before moving on to a new wave of accusations.”
Polygon has reached out to Eroktic for comment.