Activision uses DCMA to remove competition from Steam

David here. Game Director from Orion. I wanted to give our official response to the recent events, as well as open up a dialogue and see what YOU all think below in the comments.

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01. I received the DCMA request after its removal from Steam with no warning/contact from either Valve/Steam or any developer associated with Call of Duty nor anyone from Activision.

02. I never was provided specific examples of assets, or screenshots of what offended them – nor given the chance to rectify or remove any offensive content prior to having our game removed from sale.

03. We assumed which pieces of content based on what they self-labeled of their own as well as community-provided assets.

(Comparison 1 – Auto Shotgun)

(Comparison 2 – Auto Rifle)

(Comparison 3 – Fan Submission)

04. We immediately offered to remove ANY offensive content (as it wasn’t specified) and this was not accepted.

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I was informed by Steam that accordingly to their policy, Activision has 10 business days (until July 7th, 2016 – basically a month due to the Holiday) to act or do anything.

If Steam doesn’t receive a copy of a legal complaint within 10 business days, then our game will be re-instated.

What this means is that Activision has maliciously and erroneously used a DMCA request to aggressively attack a small, independent development team during the BIGGEST Sale Event of the entire year, the Steam Summer Sale.
The sight is the only similarity we can see. Even if it was a 1:1, that’s not enough for a design infraction, even by legal standards and by a significant amount.

And the sight is just a futuristic M1 Garand, so either way both are homaging a real world property, the only thing that could actually hold up and is the only one without a dog in this fight.

Regardless, an invalid and malicious act from Activision on wrong or non-existant evidence. They are are multi-billion dollar company coming over what is currently a 50 cent game, without contacting us or requesting anything of us NOR providing any specific assets or images of the offensive content to begin with

That being said, if our community finds our weapons or content offensive we are of course always listening and will integrate feedback/suggestions based on such. If you want weapons changed, we are a developer that reads what you write. We’ve demonstrated this for many years now across a variety of products:


ORION: Prelude

“Valve received a DMCA copyright take down notice about your game, Orion, on Steam at*REDACTED*, on behalf of Activision, alleges that the game Orion uses weapon art content from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The weapon art in question includes the M8A7 rifle, the Haymaker rifle, and the Bal-27 rifle. Use of this weapon art content without permission infringes Activision’s copyright in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.…/call-…/call-of-duty-black-ops-3,…/…/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare.

As a result, we have removed your posting from Steam.

Valve follows the procedure set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA is a United States copyright law that governs online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. When we receive a DMCA notice, Valve must take down allegedly infringing copyright materials; otherwise Valve could be subject to a claim of copyright infringement. ”
Orion is a game all about homages. It’s what it’s always been, since it was announced as a retro homage to the classic 90’s games with a modern take. It’s GI Joes action figures versus your Jurassic Park toys. It’s Halo meets Turok. It’s what we all did as kids in our heads.

I just can’t believe of all things, it was over a generic sci-fi weapon. Regardless what it was over, the most important thing was that we were not warned, contacted by either party nor able to remedy it. We were given no specific information relating to assets, only left to guess or use fan-submitted content/links to decipher.

We offered immediately to remove any offensive content right off the bat, this was rejected.

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In the end, what Activision is claiming isn’t a valid or legal use of DMCA. If they were alleging that we had actually RIPPED the Black Ops 3 weapons FROM their game and used them exactly – their shipped meshes, their shipped textures – that is a DMCA case.

What they are alleging is that our very own, separately created content is “too visually” or “artistically similar”. That is *NOT* what the DMCA covers. That is a form of copyright and IP infringement dispute. Their lawyers know this, but filed this anyways.

We will be seeking resolution for all damages wrongly inflicted by us FROM Activision via this malicious and overly aggressive tactic.

Our desire to remove said content is purely for our own benefit. We are a small indie team, any minute the game is not for sale during the biggest event is a stake to the heart. Us willing to remove any offensive content and to get it back for sale is to protect our selves, our company and our IP.
We are happy to read any feedback about the game. Any ORION fan knows we do this regularly. We are always reading and listening and if fans find any of our content offensive we have and will always replace it.

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