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Firewatch Review Bombed After PewDiePie DMCA

Review Bombing is defined as large groups of people leaving negative reviews en masse. This is designed to impact the popularity and eventually the sales of the game that is seen as being offensive or unpopular in some way. Firewatch is the latest high profile game to come under attack due to developer Campo Santo claiming Youtube personality PewDiePie’s playthrough.

A Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown is a tool on YouTube that allows for copyright holders to remove from YouTube any content that they feel infringes on their copyrights. It takes the entire video down from YouTube that until the complaint is removed. DMCA is usually invoked in the case of copyrighted material being uploaded without any changes.

In a recent livestream, PewDiePie uttered a racial slur toward another player during a heated firefight during a session of Player Unknown’s Battlefield. Shortly after, Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman tweeted the company’s intention to pull down PewDiePie’s playthrough of Firewatch in attempt to distance themselves from actions they don’t condone.

The internet was predictably not amused. According to Eurogamer, on digital game storefront Steam, users have taken to spamming negative reviews toward the game. Firewatch has an average of 80% positive reviews, but since this incident the game has only 45% positive reviews. Most of the negative reviews mention PewDiePie.

This incident his the latest in the battle between YouTube content creators and copyright holders over the grey area between where is the line between “transformative work” and “copyright infringement.” Whether this battle will head to court, the only way Campo Santo can keep their DMCA takedown in effect after the 14 day appeal period, or not remains to be seen.

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