'Dying Light' Mods Mistakenly Hit With Copyright Claims

Dying Light sword and pistol screenshot

Although Techland's zombie smasher Dying Light has reviewed quite favourably (including our own review which said it was frustrating but showed potential), the game has been hit with criticism in several other areas. At first, fans were disappointed to learn that physical copies of the game outside of the United States had been delayed past launch due to production delays. Then, eyebrows were raised as developer Techland chose to feature a quote from popular YouTuber PewDiePie on a Dying Light promotional poster, despite the fact that not only was his positive comment in reference to a preview build that Techland debuted two years ago but there are suggestions that it was paid for too.

There was also an issue with Dying Light's review copies. Typically, publications receive copies some days (or even weeks) in advance in order to put together an accurate criticism of the game. This time is important as it allows potential buyers to have a good idea of what they'll be buying and can be aware of any issues that they might want to avoid. So the fact that Dying Light's review copies were delayed right until launch day suggested that Techland wanted to pull the wool over buyers' eyes and garner as many early sales as possible.

And it doesn't stop there either. As many players start to create and release Dying Light mods, a patch and several copyright filings forces them to stop.

The patch, which was released on Steam on Friday, aimed to thwart cheaters in the game's PvP Be The Zombie mode who had been exploiting the the game "by changing game’s data files." However, this fix also prevented well-behaving players from modding any aspect of the game even if it is only for entertainment purposes and, although it was specifically introduced to combat cheating in the multiplayer game mode, many players are reportedly unable to mod for Dying Light's single player campaign either.

Dying Light mod DMCA takedown notice

While Techland meant well, and was clearly only trying to keep the game fair for everyone (the removal of modding from single player was an unfortunate side effect), many raised an eyebrow on Saturday when mods started to be removed from the Internet. Two MediaFire users were issued take down notices by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), having been informed that their mods violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Given that Dying Light's publisher Warner Bros. is one of many video game distributors that ESA represents, many players were angry and said that the companies behind the game are trying to strong arm them out of the mod-making business.

In a statement released to Ars Technica, the ESA has now apologized and has said that the DMCA notices were issued in error:

"ESA was notified this morning that potentially erroneous DMCA notices had been transmitted by one of its vendors. Upon further review, it was determined that the notices should not have been sent and retractions were issued immediately. We regret any inconvenience and have taken steps to avoid similar situations in the future."

Modders will also be glad to know that Techland too has vowed to make amends for its mod-restricting patch:

"With the recent patch (1.2.1) on Steam we blocked cheating to make sure the game’s PvP system (Be The Zombie) would not be abused. This, however, had the side-effect of hindering mod-makers from making changes to the game.

Creating obstacles for modders has never been our intention, and we are sorry for the inconvenience. We are now working on a quick patch that will re-enable common tweaks while stopping cheating in the game’s multiplayer mode.

At Techland, we have always supported the mod community, and loved seeing how our own game can be changed by the players. A big part of the original Dead Island’s success was the passion and creativity of mod-makers from our community. We want the same for Dying Light. For quite some time, we have been working, and still are, on giving modders all the power we can."

There's no timeline on that patch and the Dying Light mods that were removed from MediaFire do not appear to be back up on the site yet, but we'll keep you posted on future developments.

Sources: Ars Technica, Steam

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