Rockstar Tries To Bury ‘GTA6’ Leak With DMCAs, Streisands Them Instead
At this point, we probably have enough stories about companies trying to bury leaked information or content that hasn’t been publicly released via DMCA takedowns that it warrants its own metatag. It’s both amazing and frustrating that this is still a tactic companies, particularly tech companies, think somehow works. It doesn’t. Once a leak is out on the internet, the game is already over. That footage is out there, and trying to do battle with internet to disappear it just isn’t going to work.
Which brings us to Rockstar Games. Days ago, Rockstar acknowledged that its internal corporate network had suffered an intrusion. As a result, a bunch of data and files were exfiltrated, including footage of the Grand Theft Auto 6 game that is in active development and the source code for past GTA games.
Let’s acknowledge first that nobody is cheering for companies to be attacked like this. Or, at least, nobody reasonable. Let’s also acknowledge that a game developer having raw footage of an unfinished AAA game being released into the wild must be incredibly stressful and frustrating. All the obvious questions emerge. Will the public take this as an indication of the quality of the finished project? How does this change their marketing strategies? Does any of the footage include enough information to give competitors a look at proprietary advancements within the game? Does any of this push back the development and release timeline?
All of that is entirely understandable. And, for the purposes of this Techdirt post, entirely besides the point. Because like many of Rockstars peers that have gone through this in the past, instead of trying to acknowledge the leaked footage in a PR mode that would be built around messaging to any members of the public that might view the leak and reach the wrong conclusions, Rockstar instead decided to just try to play DMCA whac-a-mole with the entire internet.
The effects of this weekend’s GTA VI leaks are going to be long-lasting, but the immediate aftermath is already bemusing enough to chronicle. As you might expect, Take-Two is launching into a full-on Streisand manoeuvre and trying to DMCA any and all footage from the leak. At the same time, the source code for GTA V appears to be being offered for sale, while the origin of the leak is playing whack-a-mole against himself. And just this minute, Rockstar have confirmed the leak as real.
Indeed it did. In fact, by DMCAing all of this leaked content, Rockstar even lost what little chance it had to simply not comment on any of this, which would have left the public unsure of if the leak was even real. If Rockstar is DMCAing it, it’s real.
And while, sure, some of the content has been taken down by DMCA notices around the internet, the content is still out there for you to find if you search for it with a bit of a can-do attitude. And now many, many more people know about the leak and that the content exists, all because of Rockstar’s decision to engage in a sure-to-fail battle with a resilient internet designed to route around this sort of thing. The Streisand Effect, in other words.
Now, it appears that the person who penetrated Rockstar’s corporate network is open to the idea of blackmailing the company, with some evidence that he or she is taking bids to not leak more content. And that sucks. But attempting to bury this leak once it’s already out in the wild makes as much sense as attempting to un-grill a bone-in ribeye.
It ain’t going to work and, meanwhile, your cooked steak is getting cold.
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September 20, 2022 at 08:19PM