Leaks are part of the territory in the video game industry, and lately there are few well known titles that manage to make it to release day without some sort of information leak. The Call of Duty franchise is definitely no stranger to leaks, with most of the recent installments facing a leak of some kind. The upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is no exception, but this time the leaks are on a more massive scale and developer Activision is having none of it.
After the writer behind a forum called Ayria, a new anonymous modding community, compiled several Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare leaks from multiple sources including Reddit, Activision swooped in demanding it be taken down. Webmaster "Convery" posted the cease and desist on his Twitter and on a mirror of Ayria, which is currently being hosted on a private server to avoid being taken down by a third party host.
This is not Convery's first run in with Activision. Convery and others also run a website specifically to facilitate torrents of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The torrent is not a crack of the game, and on the Facebook group the creators clarify users must have a working copy on Steam. Instead the torrent functions more like a heavy mod with far more features and details added than the typical mod. Activision has sent cease and desists demanding take down of the torrent, which is also hosted on a private server.
More recently however, Activision is demanding take down of a series of articles Convery wrote compiling not only leaks from the Call of Duty subreddit, from a since deleted post, but from private sources. Convery makes it clear he did not uncover these himself, but is simply relaying them as a member of the press. Convery primarily breaks down hints about what will be in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare based on file names, and drawing attention to interesting finds and speculations. Activision claims that by hosting the leak, Convery is violating US Copyright laws and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
Convery believes he is fully within his right to post the leaks though, not only because they are not hosted in United States jurisdiction but also implies that journalists have a right to report on leaks of that nature. The writer says he has asked Activision exactly how his articles violate the law and how the law applies internationally but received no response. As a result he has left the articles up on his private server (he says third party hosts have taken them down due to similar DMCA notices) and will be seeking legal counsel of his own. In the meantime he has sought the help of the Internet, including Ryan Morrison, the Video Game Attorney.
TechRaptor contacted Activision for comment but we have yet to receive a reply. International law as it applies to copyright and in particular confidential information is tricky. There is precedent for journalists reporting leaked information in the United States, however this applies mostly to public government organizations rather than private enterprise. While leaks are common and typically journalists report on them all the time, there may still be a legal foundation to have leaks censured, particularly if they are more sensitive. Convery has managed to avoid Activision's legal actions directed at his Black Ops 2 torrent, so most likely he will not be budging on these Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare leaks any time soon unless Activision proves its legal grounds.
We will continue to follow this situation and keep you up-to-date on any developments with updates and follow up articles as we learn more.