Prominent Genshin Impact leaker and info gatherer Honey has been hit with a DMCA takedown by the game's developer miHoYo. The DMCA is part of a wider strategy on miHoYo's part to target leakers and data miners, several of whom have been sent cease-and-desist notices.
Why has Honey been hit by a Genshin Impact DMCA?
Honey posted the DMCA notification on their website. In the message - which was sent by miHoYo directly to Honey's website host Ionos - the developer alleges that the site "contains and displays openly" copyrighted Genshin Impact material and that it displays material that "has not even been published by us yet". As such, miHoYo requests that Ionos immediately remove the offending material from the website, and also "[stop] hosting the website or [invalidate] the link". This mirrors other DMCA notices issued by companies like Take-Two in recent months, suggesting that companies are perhaps growing more protective over their IP.
In response to the request, Honey raised a few legal issues they believed were apparent. These issues include improper enforcement of terms of service, questionable legality of said terms, and a dispute over whether copyright law is actually being infringed here. According to Honey, miHoYo's request boils down to the developer owning the game and its associated trademarks, and wanting Honey to "remove the fansite and stop writing about our game" as a result. Honey says that they have now moved the site to "DMCA-ignored hosting", indicating that they're no longer being hosted by Ionos.
On their official Discord, Honey subsequently announced that the site is back and currently being hosted in Amsterdam. Honey also says they're going to remove all copyright notices from Genshin Impact material on their site, as well as removing all mentions of copyrights owned by miHoYo. Still, Honey isn't entirely blameless in this process; in a now-removed edit of the site's disclaimer, Honey mocks miHoYo's usage of English and includes a number of other rather underhanded insults as well. It is worth saying that this notice doesn't apply to Honey's Monster Hunter material; miHoYo doesn't have the authority to issue a DMCA claim on Capcom's behalf, after all.
What's the backdrop to this DMCA takedown?
This comes as miHoYo has been issuing more and more cease-and-desist notices to prominent Genshin Impact leakers and data miners. The game - which is a nice little moneyspinner for miHoYo - is quite often subject to major leaks thanks to the fact that in China, a beta version exists in which new features and additions are often trialed before full release. As such, it's fairly easy for leakers to get hold of data present in the game and to leak it to gamers elsewhere in the world.
This DMCA notice against Honey is part of a wider trend of miHoYo targeting prominent Genshin Impact leakers. According to Dexerto, leakers such as ImpactYoimiya, WangshengFP, and abc64 have been "forced into exile" by miHoYo's cease-and-desist notices and legal threats. The developer is clearly aiming to put a stop to the leaks and data mining that are commonplace in the Genshin Impact community. While Honey seems to have survived the crackdown, for the time being, it's likely only a matter of time before miHoYo targets them again. Expect Genshin Impact leaks and data mining to slow down significantly in the future. We'll have more on this as we get it.
How do you feel about miHoYo's DMCA notice? Let us know in the comments below!