A DMCA subpoena application filed in a California court wants to find out the names of up to tens of thousands of people who are members of Roblox groups. Some of these groups reportedly have members who steal games. Billions have already seen Christopher Boomer’s games. His copyright and trademark filings hint at a lifestyle beyond luxury.
About 30 million people play Roblox every day. Roblox is an online game where people can play games made by other users. The latest figure is that there are about 40 million games.
It can be very profitable to make games for Roblox. Roblox’s company said developers and creators made more than $500 million on the platform in 2021 alone. This is a huge amount, especially since most developers are young adults who make around $2 million a year.
So, it’s clear that Roblux content is worth protecting. It wasn’t much of a surprise when a DMCA subpoena was filed last week in a California court to stop piracy on the platform. As soon as you look into the details, it’s clear that what happens in Roblox doesn’t always stay in Roblox and can have real-world effects.
The developer wants to find out who is breaking the rules.
The DMCA subpoena application, submitted on July 8, 2022, is nothing special. It says that Roblox received four DMCA complaints between December 2021 and May 2022. It says that it will only use the information it gets to protect the developer’s intellectual property rights.
The app says that Christopher Boomer is the developer. Although that doesn’t mean much until you look at the original DMCA takedown notices. Boomer’s lawyer says that his client owns the copyrights to several games. They provided links to the Roblox platform (below) as proof.
Weight Lifting Simulator 2 was put on Roblox in August 2017 and has been seen 77 million times since then. Weight Lifting Simulator 3 was uploaded in September 2018 and has been seen more than a billion times. Muscle Legends was uploaded in September 2018 and has been seen more than a billion times.
According to the application, other Roblox developers have been taking advantage of the popularity of the above games by putting out games with the same names that use artwork, code, and assets from the originals.
One alleged copy, uploaded in July 2021 and called Weight Lifting Simulator 3, has been removed. It was renamed, but not before it got more than three million visits. Weight Lifting Simulator 5, another copy, was also taken down after a million visits.
Those were the smaller ones. Two other alleged clones got 34.3 million and 15 million visits, respectively.
A developer focuses on specific infringers
In a letter from May 17, Boomer’s legal team in Northern Ireland told Roblux’s legal team that the platform was still breaking Boomer’s registered copyrights. The letter was the proof of Boomer’s registered copyrights in the above games and others, like Legends of Speed and Ninja Legends.
The letter also says that Boomer is being targeted on purpose and asks Roblox to do something. A Roblox developer group called “17 Qv Studio” is singled out. Estatics (20K+ members) and Estatic Networks (71K+ members), which are said to be connected, are also mentioned.
The DMCA subpoena covers a lot of ground.
Boomer has a long list of people he wants to identify for the DMCA subpoena. It’s not clear if the court clerk will sign the subpoena papers. But given the scale, it’s almost certain that a judge should be in charge.
There are three types of information requests: game URL, groups, and specific users.
For each allegedly-infringing game URL on Roblox (10 in total), the developer demands “documents sufficient to identify all current and previous owners, operators, developers, and contributors to the game,” including usernames, real names, physical addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses “associated with each owner, operator, developer, and contributor.”
For each infringing group (7 in total), the developer demands “documents sufficient to identify all current and previous members of the Infringing Group, including but not limited to Documents sufficient to identify all usernames, real names, physical addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses associated with each member.”
Large group of people affected
To say that this could affect many people is to say it mildly. There might be some overlap between the groups. If the subpoena is just signed off, thousands of people, including some who haven’t done anything wrong, could get caught up in it.
Here are the affected groups and how many people are in them: 17 Qv Studio has over 248K members, Estatic Studios has over 63K members, Estatic Games has over 93K members, Estatics has over 20K members, Speedster Games Inc has over 11K members, and FreshyWay Studios has over 25K members.
Roblox users Vectus, Avectus, and Avectus II, who are also members of Flamen’ Studios and Speedster Games Inc, are named in connection with an alleged copy of Weight Lifting Simulator 3 that got more than 155 million visits, an alleged copy of Weight Lifting Simulator 2 that got more than 6.1 million visits, and Ninja Simulator (408K).
Roblox users Underesteem, Codosky, and Bitdows are listed. They may have been involved in a Weight Lifting Simulator 2 release (384K visits). Also in a Speed Simulator 2 release, respectively (2.8m visits). Metadowed, MrN3koglai, BabyJohn, DUDUARTZRBLX, and Mark are all users who have been linked to releases of Weight Lifting Simulator 3.
Boomer wants to match usernames with real names, physical addresses, email addresses, and IP addresses, just like the other groups.
Trademarks and Luxury
If no one fights the DMCA subpoena, which seems unlikely given how broad it is, the information that is gathered can only be used to protect copyrights. Still, Boomer has a lot of trademarks registered in both the United States and the United Kingdom. These trademarks cover the games and other intellectual property listed above.
Trademark registrations need the name and address of the owner. Both are on the database, where anyone with a browser can see them.
There could be some unknown factors at play here. If piracy of Roblox games is causing lost sales, there will be no objective evidence of hardship here. Or maybe it’s just a very big mortgage that must be paid in Robux.