Video game news outlet IGN has deleted a series of video uploads which featured Mortal Kombat 11 content stolen from original recordings produced by YouTuber BabyZone, having gone as far as editing out the creator’s watermark in their initial uploads.
On July 7th, IGN Brazil uploaded a pair of videos showing “famous skins in Mortal Kombat 11,” which featured various celebrity appearances modded over existing characters in the game, including Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Gal Gadot and Scarlett Johansson.
It was soon discovered that these videos were stolen from video game YouTuber BabyZone, who produced the videos using deepfake technology.
BabyZone posted a statement to YouTube writing, “It’s a shame to see IGN stealing my DeepFake videos and trying to cut my watermark and then uploading to their facebook pages and getting million of views so making bunch of $$$ without even taking my authorization.”
BabyZone added, “I spend 3 weeks in average to make each deepfake and they just didn’t bother and re-uploaded my videos without permission. I filled a DMCA take down and facebook protected them!”
“If they stole a 500 subs channel content, I wonder how many smaller creators were stolen by IGN and none even noticed! What a Shame!,” BabyZone concluded.
The original series of videos was uploaded by BabyZone beginning in February 2020, with the latest posted just last month on June 6th.
The first set features Keanu Reeves, The Rock, Bruce Lee, Bruce Campbell, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The next set featured Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot, and Donnie Yen.
In March, he featured Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr.
According to a community post made by BabyZone to his YouTube channel, IGN “stole 3 deep fake videos for MK11”, directly re-uploading one video and using the others for a compilation.
BabyZone wrote, “Many asked which videos IGN stole from me. Well they stole 3 deepfake videos from MK11.”
He added, “They made 1 compilation video and re-uploaded my celebrities MK video featuring Keanu reeves after adding their watermark.”
He then provided a screenshot from the re-uploaded IGN video featuring his watermark.
Hilariously, contrary to IGN’s ‘best’ attempts to remove his watermark from the videos, BabyZone’s signature can still be seen briefly within both videos, as seen in the screenshots above.
The theft was soon brought to widespread attention by Reddit user /u/RPNATOR, who shared a screenshot of BabyZone’s first community post to the /r/gaming subreddit in a thread titled “IGN stealing a deepfake video,and not even crediting the artist,smh.”
This sharing of BabyZone’s situation resulted in an outpouring of support from the /r/gaming community, who took to Twitter to address IGN Brazil directly. However, the screenshot of BabyZone’s post was ultimately removed by the /r/gaming moderators, despite the thread’s massive popularity.
Upon further examination of the Facebook page by BabyZone, the YouTuber claimed that the IGN Brazil “channel is full of plagiarism.”
Eventually, IGN Brazil removed the videos, issuing an apology to BabyZone and assuring audiences that “this is not going to happen anymore and we are committed to mention individual creators when we share videos in the future.”
Following this apology, BabyZone would thank /u/RPNATOR and his fans for their support, and noted that the screenshot was allegedly removed from the original Reddit post because of IGN’s “licenced partners.”
He would also ask if the apology was “enough”, pointing out that IGN “get away with money and FB didn’t strike them when I filled the DMCA.”
He also expressed his frustration that the company’s Facebook page “with over 75% of stolen content from YouTubers is still there and generating money from the hard work of others.”
This isn’t the first time IGN has had issues with plagiarism.
Back in August 2018, the company fired their Nintendo editor Filip Miucin after he was accused of plagiarism for his Dead Cells review.
IGN and Miucin were called out by YouTuber Boomstick Gaming who revealed the similarities between his review and IGN’s review.
Boomstick told Bounding Into Comics at the time that he did not want to see Miucin fired.