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Sega Forcibly Forces DMCA Removal for Steam Data Tracking



The artist's performance about Sega lawyers coming to SteamDB ...
Enlarge / The artist’s performance about Sega lawyers coming to SteamDB …

Here at Ars Technica, we have covered plenty of examples of a little overzealous use of DMCA removal alerts, to say the least. But Sega̵

7;s latest removal request, about an innocent page on a Steam data tracking site, could take the cake.

As SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik shared on Twitter on Monday, Sega’s lawyers asked that the site and its host take down a page for Yakuza: Som a dragon. The removal request claims that SteamDB distributes or links to pirated copies of the game, although a quick glance at an archived version shows that this is not true.

That site, like all others on SteamDB, simply collects historical data about prices, concurrent players and other statistics from Steam’s own API and pages in the public store. While there is a link to install the game near the top, the link directs users to Steam itself, who will try to install a legitimate copy if the user owns it.

“SteamDB does not support piracy, it does not provide downloads, it does not sell keys, it does not link to any sites that do any of these activities,” the site writes on its FAQ page. “SteamDB only builds Steam’s official widget for the purchase of the game … We consider our site to be in reasonable use. Do not send us DMCA removals.”

Djundik says that such erroneous DMCA requests happen about once a year on SteamDB, and it’s not hard to imagine an overzealous web crawler misidentifying a site for some lawyers who want to deter software pirates. But Djundik says that previous problems have always been solved quickly with the removal requester. In Sega’s case, Djundik says that the company “did not respond to the first abuse report and sent a new one to our host.”

As such, the SteamDB page for Yakuza: Like a Dragon ” has been replaced with the following message: “This page has been removed because SEGA claims that we distribute their game here (we do not).”

Djundik followed up overnight to say that he has been in contact with Sega of America, which hopefully means that this snafu should be resolved relatively soon (a Sega representative was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica ). Still, the whole saga is another example of how easy it is for content that is not offensive, sometimes to get caught in the DMCA’s network.




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