Do you follow the latest happenings in gaming news? Maybe, like me, you just watch random YouTube videos out of boredom and gaming just shows up in your feed. Either way you’ve probably come across the story about Epic Games suing a fourteen year old for publishing YouTube videos with cheat instructions for their game, Fortnight.
This is the state of the video game industry. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your game experience ruined by cheaters and hackers … Or so I’ve been told. I don’t do online multi-player. I’m more of a couch co-op kind of gamer. Unfortunately, cheating happens in almost every game. Even Call OF Duty WWII had similar problems during its online multi-player beta. I’m just not sure filing a lawsuit against a teenager is going to fix the problem. The cheating and hacking are part of our larger Toxic Internet Culture. Some people just can’t have a good time without ruining it for everyone else.
Okay. Let’s see if I understand what this is all about.
- Epic made a game called Fortnite, which is pretty popular at the moment.
- Just like every popular online multi-player game, Fortnite has an abundance of cheaters, hackers, and trolls.
- Apparently, there exists a website that offers a subscription based cheating service which affects Fortnite.
- The defendant in this case was publishing videos on YouTube with information on how to use these cheat codes in this game. (These videos presumably contained in-game footage from the game.)
- Epic games issued a DMCA takedown notice for the defendants YouTube videos.
- The defendant filed a DMCA counter-claim …and finally
- Epic is suing the defendant for cheating and copyright infringement.
Does that about cover it? I haven’t seen any of the kid’s videos. It’s a fair assumption that they have all been removed pending the resolution of the lawsuit or at least the original DMCA complaint. I can’t imagine the videos were any more any more of a copyright violation than a “Let’s play” that essentially publishes the entire content of a game.
Epic seems to be taking the position that this lawsuit is about cheating. If that’s the heart of the matter, wouldn’t it make more sense for Epic to take legal action after this cheat service website instead of some snotty kid with a YouTube channel? If a website is genuinely infringing on the intellectual property of a copyright holder like Epic Games, That’s cyber crime. Seems rather petty of them to make an example out of the kid.
There’s an important discussion taking place about the amount of power game publishers and developers seem to have over critics and commentators. How do you feel about the issue? Are game companies abusing DMCA to silence negative opinions, or are these the only tools available to combat the trolls and hackers that make online life miserable for everybody. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Would you like to know more? Read a related article at The Verge.