Wargaming Sloppy DMCA Takedowns against 3D Tank modellers

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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