Video game studio Naughty Dog, together with its parent company, Sony, has been flooding social media platforms with questionable copyright complaints aimed at censoring critics of their upcoming title, the widely mocked The Last of Us 2.
Because social media platforms rely on automated systems to process copyright complaints (known as “DMCA complaints” after the Digital Millennial Copyright Act), this has resulted in numerous online critics being forced to delete tweets or face suspensions from major platforms.
One of those suspensions included the Twitter account of Breitbart News contributor Christian K. Caruzo, a Venezuelan writer based in Caracas who documents the economic catastrophe brought about by the socialist regime. Twitter reinstated Caruzo’s account shortly after being contacted by Breitbart News.
There really is a Trump tweet for everything. https://t.co/f01iJW1HeO
— Kaleb (@KalebPrime) May 21, 2020
Mr. Caruzo was dealing with one of Caracas’ regular cutoffs to running water when he received news that his Twitter account, that he uses to notify the outside world about deteriorating conditions in Venezuela, had been suspended. Because of a Sony/Naughty Dog DMCA request. Over a video game.
The tweets that were reported by the video game companies consisted of retweets of material from other Twitter users, including parody screenshots of The Last of Us 2. One of the reported tweets contained a parody image of leaked footage from the game, while the other reported tweets were quotes of other users commenting on the material.
Under normal circumstances, no video game studio would claim that this constituted a breach of copyright. However, the creators of The Last of Us 2 are in a panic over growing criticism of their upcoming title, which has been marred by mockery of its purportedly leaked plot points.
As a result, Sony is now going after ordinary social media users for posting memes.
As ReclaimTheNet reported last week:
Sony is the parent company of The Last of Us 2’s developer Naughty Dog and ever since the leaks hit the internet, videos, memes, and all manner of other online posts that reference them have been taken down in response to copyright claims from Sony Interactive Entertainment and MUSO TNT Ltd, the copyright agent representing Sony.
Some of the content that has been taken down as a result of these claims doesn’t even feature footage or screenshots from The Last of Us 2 leaks and is simply people discussing or referencing the leaks.
In the last couple of days alone, the Twitter account of commentary channel TheQuartering was hit with 21 DMCA claims from MUSO on The Last of Us 2 video thumbnails that had been posted to Twitter, commentary channel HeelvsBabyface had his copyright claim appeals on two The Last of Us 2 videos rejected by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and commentary channel Just Some Guy had a copyright claim on his The Last of Us 2 video lifted and then the same video was flagged again 15 hours later by MUSO.
Twitter users discussing the game continue to be hit with DMCA reports, with one journalist revealing that he received a report simply for discussing the reports.
Breitbart News has reached out to Sony and Naughty Dog for comment.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.