The Takedown of Orion: Answering The Call of Duty

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Orion developer David James is threatening a counter-suit after a DMCA takedown notice from Activision resulted in Orion being removed from sale on Steam during one of the larger sales of the year. The takedown notice alleges that Orion stole assets from Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

James has uploaded his own comparisons of the weapons in Orion to the weapons in Call of Duty, but the truth seems to go a bit deeper. Community members have been creating their own comparisons that show a more damning story.

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The allegations against Orion would be more surprising if this were the first time that the developer had been accused of content theft, and it isn’t. Spiral Game Studios has been the focus of numerous scandals in the course of its existence. Their previous title, Orion: Dino Beatdown was alleged to use stolen assets from several games. In his responses, James conduct readily slips into immature schoolyard banter (emphasis mine).

We need everyones help and support to rectify this immediately as this erroneous claim has already costed what is a very small team a significant amount of money and we need it remedied ASAP so we can get back to work on real content, something that Activision should take note of.

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. And the fact that they made an artist feel this way when it’s ALL they do is absolute crap.

On a side note: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes production of technology that circumvents digital rights management. Title II of the DMCA provides limited liability for content hosts if they respond to a takedown notice and remove said offending material within a certain period of time. James is incorrect in his statement that DMCA is not valid in this case.

Alternately, you can check out Orion’s original character: Bloba Fett (not his actual name). And yes, the name of the video is Every Man’s Sky, a polar opposite of that game No Man’s Sky. You may have even noticed the name of the developer, Trek Industries.

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When it comes to copyright, the law is very lenient when it comes to ‘real’ things. You can’t sue for making similar looking trees, for instance. In regards to inventions that don’t have any real world counterpart, the law is more strict. The Orion gun, shown below, appears to be cobbled together out of several Black Ops 3 weapons.

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The case appears to be open and shut, however we will have to see how Trek Industries responds and whether or not Activision decides to push this into a full lawsuit.

(Source: Steam)

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