A niche indie city-building game makes its return to Steam after a whole series of problems brought about by a highly vindictive player.
Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic has made its return to Steam following several weeks’ worth of legal troubles brought about by an aggrieved fan. While the situation seemed to be exceedingly messy at one point, indie developer 3Division seems to have been able to push back against the fan in question and clear the studio’s name.
While DMCA takedowns certainly have their place in the media industry’s legal landscape, one of the biggest problems with them is that they can be used to effectively dismantle an indie game developer’s intellectual properties when handled correctly. Since small-scale and indie developers don’t have the sort of legal backing that bigger studios do, they can be targeted to great effect, as was shown with Workers & Resources.
Workers & Resources was removed from Steam after a modder took issue with the way 3Division implemented their game mode recommendations into the game. Specifically, the studio didn’t feel the need to credit the modder for what was, in effect, just a series of statistical tweaks without any additional assets included. The modder in question was a lawyer and decided to file a series of DMCA takedowns against 3Division to get back at them. This eventually resulted in the studio being forced to pull Workers & Resources from sale on Steam. Now, however, it seems that the legal troubles have been concluded, as 3Division has announced that the game is available on the site once again.
According to 3Division’s latest update, the studio initially underestimated the situation, which led to its subsequent legal escalation and further troubles, though it would appear that these have been handled accordingly. In most instances, gaming studios target modders with DMCAs to get them to stop fiddling around with game files, but the problems encountered by 3Division plainly show that the whole system is a double-edged sword.
Bungie encountered DMCA takedown problems last year, too. A vindictive Destiny YouTuber targeted content produced by a huge number of other Destiny content creators, as well as Bungie itself, reporting a substantial amount of publicly available content just for the heck of it. Bungie, however, quickly responded with a massive lawsuit, suing the YouTuber for $7 million over their actions.
Naturally, Nintendo often wields DMCA takedowns as a weapon against those who feature its games in emulation videos and such, which led to numerous content creators coming up with systems to avoid litigious behavior. Overall, DMCAs have been nothing but problematic both to content creators and to media itself over the years, but since the system is unlikely to change anytime soon, it’s entirely possible that 3Division won’t be the only game developer facing such problems in the future.
Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is now available on PC.
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