Wargaming Sloppy DMCA Takedowns against 3D Tank modellers

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Special thanks to IcedForce for helping to make this article possible & Deconoir for a quick revision!

Greetings,

Last week, an outrage occurred among the community of a 3D model website called Thingiverse after Wargaming.net decided to make a DMCA claim over printable 3D models. So, let me clarify things.

For those unaware, Thingiverse is a website which allows users to share their printable 3D models and while there’s a lot of original content created by the users there also happens to be a lot of stolen intellectual property from games like World of Tanks. It is to no surprise that Wargaming.net would eventually place a DMCA takedown notice on content which is rightfully theirs and they also have attempted to profit from in the past.

Until now sounds like there is no reason for us to be even writing this piece and we would not have but unfortunately instead of taking every copyrighted case individually, Wargaming demanded Thingiverse to remove every model found by searching “world of tanks” (without quotation marks) which brings up every model that has the words “world” and “tanks” in their name or in their description. This caused Thingiverse to remove models that had nothing to do with Wargaming or World of Tanks other than being tanks or having those words. The most affected users from such foolish decision were Zachary Kavulich (TigerAce1945) and m_bergman, who both make printable 3D models from war vehicles using their own sources and skills without using any models from Wargaming titles.

TigerAce1945, in particular, had something to say:

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After I was made aware of this I contacted Wargaming.net  for a statement and this is that I was given (which was also duplicated on Reddit):

“Thank you for raising attention and awareness, we reviewed the actions and followed up the processes internally. The models reported on Thingiverse may have contained the titles, trademarks, logos and other protected intellectual property from World of Tanks and other Wargaming products. When the protected content is removed from the items then the claim will be removed, and the person will be free to re-upload the modified material. To this end, please contact us directly through Thingiverse indicating the link to your materials, and we will swiftly review your notice and respond.

I have further updates with regards to the OP:

Wargaming faces a lot of infringement on its intellectual property, including vehicle models and trademarks, e.g., World of Tanks®. IP protection is important for us. There was a significant amount of infringing materials found on Thingiverse that were reported recently. We requested Thingiverse to react to these infringements of our intellectual property. It also came to our attention that other content has been impacted from these actions. Due to the substantial amount of this content, we will revoke all the claims related to World of Tanks® so that none of the legal materials will be blocked. However, we will continue to work with Thingiverse to review all the models and ensure non-infringing material remains freely available. No material you have should use any Wargaming Intellectual property without permission.”

Simply put, Thingiverse and Wargaming are both on the wrong, Thingiverse should have enforced their own ToS rules against users that were infringing them while also protecting original content creators from such sloppy DMCA Takedowns and Wargaming, despite having the right to claim their content, their approach was not the most appropriate either by making such a broad demand from Thingiverse.

At the end of the day, however, and thankfully, Wargaming quickly backtracks their wrongfully made DMCA takedowns once contacted, but it’s a headache that could have been easily avoided in this instance.

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19 comments on “Wargaming Sloppy DMCA Takedowns against 3D Tank modellers

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just love how WG broke the law and got away with it… the DMCA system is absolutely broken and every non-US company takes easy advantage of it

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    • Robopon says:

      So US companies are not taking advantage of it? They’re some sort of saints?

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, the thing is that non-US companies take easier advantage of it and 95% of the DMCA claims filed are from non-US companies… mostly eastern-europe and even more, Russian and Ukranian…

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      • fuwg/\/!6z says:

        wtf is this whataboutery you stupid russian monkey fan boy

  2. Andy Wynn says:

    What gives WG the right..they don’t own rights to every tank ,coming from a model maker who has done 3d printing they are not the only ones to have 3d models and designs of vehicles.

    • Nocomment says:

      They were only attempting to stop the distribution of their models (does not matter if they subcontracted the 3d modelling to another company)

      Where they f***d up was to demand anything containing the word tank or the word world without them being linked together as a single search term.

      More like typical WG half-assed ess.

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  3. Nameless says:

    What’s even funnier is, most of their 3D models were outsourced (made by someone else). So WG are actually claiming someone else’s work.

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    • alangallery says:

      If you are an artist employed or contracted to work for pay, the IP belongs to the employer.

      ps. Any copyrightable, design work or patentable innovation you produce as a student or member of staff of an educational establishment may be claimed as the IP of the establishment. Shitty I know but ……

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      • 0gungrave0 says:

        A good example of that being Thomas Edison…yes the guy who didn’t invent the lightbulb contrary to popular opinion was known for stealing other’s worth from those that worked for him and passing it off as his own and never giving credit to them. One could almost say he patented the process of stealing ideas from those working for you.

  4. bsutak says:

    Everyone is screaming how WG wanted to claim things that were not theirs. WG claimed all items under the search “World of Tanks” which happened to include “World” and “Tanks”. Yes, this was a sloppy takedown for sure, but it was in no way malicious towards property they did not own.

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    • bsutak says:

      TL:DR WG screwed up by not clarifying that they only wanted “World of Tanks” by including quotations around the search term and are not completely inherently evil people

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    • OrigamiChik3n says:

      Let me get this straight. So let’s say SWAT receives notification that armed terrorists took hostages in a shopping mall. They storm in, gun down everyone with a head and four limbs. At the press conference some time later: “Yes, it may have been sloppy. But in no way it was malicious towards people that were not a threat”.

      I’m glad that makes sense in your book.

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      • M M says:

        >Comparing getting shot and dying with a sloppy and reversible DMCA

        That’s a yikes from me dawg.

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      • bsutak says:

        What happened with WG would be like if the SWAT team was told to “gun down every terrorist with with a head and four limbs” and the SWAT team decided to kill everyone with a head and four limbs. It was obviously not the intention of the mission, but got interpreted as such by the people carrying it out, because the search term “terrorist” was not in quotations in the original request.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thats a shit argument mate

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  5. PeterParker says:

    So the original designers of the original tanks depicted in WoT must DMCA Wargaming for taking his designs?

    • alangallery says:

      There are 3 types of intellectual property.

      Copyright – This applies to expressive works – painting, sculpture, writing, music, photography ie. arty shit. Protected Life +

      Patents – inventions that have an original element and are technological or scientific. Protected 20 years once registered.

      Design right – Generally useful physical things, the exterior of products, typography, industrial design, etc. Protected 20 years from registration or exposure to public

      Military stuff usually not registered for design protection and may involve the suppression of the publication of a patent to protect national security.

      WG would like their designs to be considered copyright but they may only be considered copyright in relation to the computer game. That is, if you reproduced the designs in another game that would be infringement. If you made a physical model of the design it could only be an infringement of design right if WG had made and marketed that the model before hand.

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  6. churroburromonkeydonkey says:

    Wait let me get this straight. DuhBuhYuhGee claims copyright on computer models of real world tanks which are presumably the IP of someone else (or a nation)…..

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