Sega Lawyers Threaten Wrong Website Over Yakuza Piracy

Sega Lawyers Threaten Wrong Website Over Yakuza Piracy
Screenshot: Kotaku

There are lawyers somewhere out there working for Sega HQ in Japan who have been tasked with hunting down the people responsible for pirating Yakuza: Like a Dragon. And they are not doing a good job.

SteamDB, a website devoted entirely to recording statistics related to the Steam shopfront and multiplayer platform, has had to remove its page for Yakuza: Like a Dragon after pressure from Sega, who claim that the game itself was being illegally distributed from the page. Which it wasn’t.

Interestingly, site creator Djundik adds that “SteamDB gets at least one DMCA per year, but we [are] always able to quickly resolve it”, likely because those DMCAs are the result of a busted/rogue internet search. Which may be the case here too, but unlike those other instances, “SEGA on the other hand just ignored any replies”.

And so if you wanted to check the stats on Like a Dragon at the moment, its page looks like this:

Screenshot: SteamDB Screenshot: SteamDB

If Sega are taking recommendations, I know a lawyer who would have done a better job…


  • Despite the constant implication in articles such as this one that there’s some nefarious cabal of lawyers constantly trawling the intrawebs in search of pirates, sometimes firing off the occasional, amusing, accidental miss-hit, the reality is far more banal.

    The reason that SteamDB is not getting a response is almost certainly because some automated process on a computer somewhere is tasked with sending out hundreds if not thousands of pro-forma take down notices an hour based on nothing other than a brute force keyword search or a simple hash – no human involvement required other than a quick tick of the system check box saying that someone in the office has a “reasonable belief” that copyright infringement has occurred.

    Sure, eventually someone may or may not get around to checking their inbox in order to provide a response, but that’s not really the point – few if any of these take down notices ever get anywhere near a court anyhow because in a great many instances, not least this one, they’re practically indefensible.

    The system relies instead on people doing as they’re told because getting a letter apparently from a lawyer is kinda scary and it’s just easier to comply than to waste time worrying about it.

    • Content hosts need to lead the charge on this farce that is the status quo. They could start with an automated system for restoring content after a DCMA counter-claim is filed. It should be the host’s responsibility to then notify the original claimant so as to put the onus on them to actually put their fucking money where their mouth is on takedowns instead of just throwing their weight around.

      ‘Fair Use’ has been burned, shot, stabbed, and lying left for dead in a fucking ditch off the highway and the body was carried there in YouTube’s car.

    • The behaviour you are describing amounts to perjury, so it is not surprising that people get annoyed at it.

      The DMCA allows a company to get content taken down without a court order by making a sworn declaration that the site is infringing their copyright. If the company is not upholding their obligations here, why should they be allowed to issue DMCA notices?

      Further more in this case you’ve got a web site operator replying with a counter notice, and Sega ignoring it and just sending a new DMCA notice to the next step up in the hosting chain. That’s bad faith behaviour.

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