In June 2017 Alex Mauer began a series of events including DMCA claims, death threats, and releasing personal information of countless parties due to a contract dispute with her former employer, Imagos Softworks/Imagos Films. The dispute also spread to include River City Ransom Underground and includes several other games as well.
As sick as I am of talking about, hearing about, and generally being in the same plane of existence as this issue, it’s a very confusing and fast-moving topic and no one really has the full story. And unlike other articles, this one will be kept up to date with new events and will be corrected as needed.
So, here we are; a timeline of events in the Alex Mauer DMCA situation. There will be little analysis in this piece for various reasons; the horse is dead, I’m sick of talking about it, discussion on the issue turns nasty fast, an objective analysis isn’t easy to find, etc. etc.. Most of Mauer’s actions speak for themselves when presented in proper context anyway.
Times may be approximate. Feel free to contribute or correct anything you feel is relevant and I’ll update the list as necessary, but some of the more minor issues are not tracked due to the extreme depth of this ordeal.
If you’re curious about the YouTube specific situation, see this article by me on how YouTube’s DMCA system is being exploited by Alex (and could be exploited by pretty much anyone else).
Any transphobia, death threats, doxing, or generally being Alex Mauer in the comments will result in a hearty, permanent ban. I’ve dealt with more than my share of idiocy on this topic already. I do not need to hear your opinion on the situation either; believe me, I have heard it already. Let’s keep it to the facts.
2017-09-27: After seemingly abandoning her crusade in it’s entirety, Alex missed a vital court date and Imagos has filed for a default judgement. There’s currently no reason to believe they wouldn’t get it.
2017-07-29: Yeah she’s back. See July, 29th, 2017
2017-07-19: Evidence is entered to court providing written transcripts of Alex’s admission to malicious intent from at least February 2017. Meaning despite claims of mental illness, she has been acting deliberately and maliciously against Don Thacker for six full months minimum.
2017-07-18: RCRU developers concede to terrorism.
2017-07-17: Updated June 24th (her $1000 bandcamp listing of the Starr Mazer OST), July 3rd (her release from 302), July 13th (first court date & her ensuing harassment) July 17th (her insulting the Destructoid writer for helping her). Updated June 25th (Starr Mazer lost their publisher over this mess)
Thanks to NurmYokai on YouTube for discovering these: Updated May 2017, DMCA claims against 3 previously unknown games. Updated June 2017, two identical DMCAs sent against starr mazer’s trailer on Kickstarter, and one sent to Vimeo for the same trailer.
Buckle in, it’s a long ride.
Alex Mauer Debacle Stats
DMCAs sent: Over 100, possibly over 200 considering re-issuances of “first wave” of over 70 videos on Youtube
Different titles hit with DMCA claims: 7
Death threats sent: Threatened to kill at least 4 separate parties
Alleged Lawyers: 4 and counting
February 16th, 2015
Starr Mazer is successfully funded for $193,566 on Kickstarter by Imagos Softworks, a brand of Imagos Films. Imagos would go on to hire Alex Mauer to do the game’s music using a Work For Hire.
Provided as evidence by Imagos Softworks in 2017, here is the relevant excerpt from her contract regarding ownership of rights:
The contract is a bog-standard Work For Hire contractor position wherein the payer owns all rights and the worker at no point owns any rights to the work. This is extremely standard as paying for something you will not actually own is incredibly dangerous.
August 13th, 2016
Alex is arrested for various charges and placed on one year probation, hence her future inability to update her legal name. Committing further crimes is a violation of her probation. Tangentially related to later events and not, as far as I’m aware, the reason the contract was broken.
At a separate unknown time, Alex reportedly had medical issues of some manner and could not complete work and eventually left her contracting position with Imagos. She was not paid for weeks of work she missed, which is one of multiple reasons she has offered as a cause of the dispute.
August 26th, 2016
Starr Mazer DSP releases on Steam, a spinoff of Starr Mazer. As it’s under the Starr Mazer brand it uses Alex’s music.
In the following days a livestream is produced by yours truly and countless other Youtubers and Twitch livestreamers, having been given the explicit go-ahead by the game’s publisher to make videos.
Disclosure: I was provided a key of the game by the publisher for review purposes. I have nad no direct compensation or contact with the publisher beyond that and later receiving a partially redacted copy of the contract Imagos and Alex signed to provide as proof that my video did not violate anyone’s copyright.
February 26th, 2017
Court documents filed in July show images of a text message conversation in which Alex admits to a co-worker that she is deliberately wasting Don Thacker’s lawyer’s time in order to bill him more money and that she is attempting to turn the lawyer and Don against each other secretly. Alex also admits to knowing the work was “for hire” which she would later claim to not understand the meaning of.
Read the entire exchange, it’s pretty pivotal in proving malice.
Alex Mauer deletes all traces of her web presence. She did not, as some believe, delete this once sending DMCAs, that came later.
Alex DMCA claims Starr Mazer DSP on Steam, bringing it down from sale. It would be the first of three times.
March 12th, 2017
It’s best you read it yourself, but the broad strokes are that they made every effort they felt possible to mend the situation, had full legal control of the assets, and would fight the DMCA claim on Steam.
Alex had also posted the Starr Mazer OST on Bandcamp and, once her Bandcamp was DMCA’d, reposted it on her personal website attempting to sell it once again, which was eventually also taken down (unsure if this was a DMCA or takedown by Alex as she purged social media).
March through June 2017
Starr Mazer DSP is put back up on Steam without Alex’s music, getting completely new music for the game to appease Alex despite owning full rights of the music due to her Work For Hire contract.
Alex DMCA claims Starr Mazer on Steam again claiming her sound effects (which are under the same contract), it is removed.
Imagos puts back Starr Mazer DSP on Steam again removing and replacing the entire set of sound effects.
Alex Mauer DMCA claims Starr Mazer on Steam a third time, claiming that while the sound effects were no longer used, the files she made (named things like a1.mp3) were still in the game though the game itself does not use them.
May 27th, 2017
Before the YouTube debacle even starts, Alex sends DMCA takedown notices to three Vimeo trailers, striking Potatoman Seeks the Troof, Legend of Dungeon and The Catastrophe at Catalina. Even at this early stage it’s clear that an honest contract dispute specifically over Starr Mazer is not what’s afoot.
A Death Road to Canada trailer and a Duck Game trailer are DMCA claimed by Alex. The DRtC video is back up, the Duck Game trailer has been deleted. Neither are remotely related to her Imagos contract.
June 4th, 2017
Alex Mauer sends a DMCA takedown notice to Kickstarter for Starr Mazer’s trailer. Alex then immediately resent the same notice.
June 5th, 2017
June 13th, 2017
TemmieNeko is the first victim of a DMCA strike from Alex Mauer in what would become a very, very long string of DMCA claims.
As a side note, filing a DMCA claim in bad faith (such as knowing you do not own the copyright) is an act of perjury and a criminal act requiring jail time. Though at present, no one in the US has been arrested for this offense (yet).
June 21st, 2017
Alex sends a Cease and Desist to Turner Broadcasting (parent of Adult Swim). Like many other random legal documents and people’s personal information, she emailed this directly to me and a few dozen other Youtubers for no apparent reason.
The Cease and Desist at no point mentions what material is actually in question. It’s presumably related to the Duck Game trailer which was DMCA claimed.
Nothing further has come of the Cease and Desist or her issue with Turner thus far.
June 22nd, 2017
Alex Mauer’s DMCA takedowns on Youtube kick into full gear, affecting my channel on this date, dragging me into this whole mess.
DMCA Copyright Strikes on Youtube not only disable the video, but disable certain features of the uploader’s account as long as they are active. If the claimed video was a live stream, the uploader cannot live stream until the claim is removed. If it was an upload, certain restrictions like a 15 minute time limit may be re-added to an account. 3 Copyright Strikes from different sources will disable a channel permanently unless they are counter-notified/appealed.
I emailed Alex Mauer in response to the claim asking her to remove the strike, to which she replied she would not be removing it. Apparently some YouTubers were extorted saying she would only remove the strikes if they posted about the Imagos case.
In response to my email Alex simply sent me a pretend invoice she claims to have sent Imagos, asking for $5,500 from the original contract, an extra $4,500 for Starr Mazer DSP “expected based on verbal agreement”. She prorated $1000 for “missed work due to illness” and then quite passive-aggressively tacked-on $1250 in late fees, just enough to make up more than her “generous” prorate.
Note that her invoice indicates that even Alex has at no point claimed she was not paid, only that she wanted more. Countless
idiots ill-informed people have posed hypotheticals that if she weren’t paid then blah blah-but the fact is, she was paid and she admits it.
June 24th, 2017
I posted a video covering the early situation from the perspective of a YouTuber caught up in it.
After getting banned on Steam discussions for harassing the developers, Alex Mauer creates a Twitter account (since removed), constantly deleting her own tweets. Eventually @MauerWatch is created to archive them to counter this abuse.
Note, at present @AlexMauerMusic is Alex’s only (non-sockpuppet) account out there. Any other Alex Mauer (it’s a common enough name) you find on the web should be assumed to be someone else. There are multiple Alex Mauers on Twitter and Facebook.
She’s used the account to both post alleged death threats she’s received in email as well as send death threats of her own.
Alex’s story constantly varies, having claimed at various points in time:
- That she simply owned the music (this is not how contracted work works)
- That she is a lawyer or had a legal background (while also hating lawyers)
- That the contract is invalid because she was not paid the full amount (this is not true)
- That the contract is not valid because Imagos Softworks is not a real company (this is not valid, Imagos Softworks is a brand of Imagos Films, to whom she signed the contract)
- That the contract didn’t exist
- That the contract is not valid because Starr Mazer DSP is not Starr Mazer (this is not valid, contracts typically cover any sub-works under a project which Starr Mazer DSP clearly is)
Alex changing her story on a daily basis once her last suggestion is proven inaccurate would be a recurring theme; it’s mentioned in Imagos’ original statement from March and continues to match the behavior that Mauer Watch archives.
Alex posts Overdrive, the Starr Mazer DSP OST, on Bandcamp for $1000, the third time she has posted the sound track for sale. It is eventually DMCA claimed several days later and taken off bandcamp at an unknown time.
June 25th, 2017
Leonard French posts a video explaining his take on the Alex Mauer situation from the stance of a copyright lawyer. He confirms, among other things:
- YouTube DMCAs are “real” DMCAs, meaning sending them in bad faith is perjury
- Alex’s contract does not give her any rights to the music
- He is likely to assist Imagos in their court case soon
Imagos confirms on Kickstarter that this whole drama has resulted in the los of the publisher for Starr Mazer.
June 26th, 2017
Hearing that Leonard French would be taking a case against her, Alex Mauer sends him a death threat; an image sent directly to his email of her having stabbed a kitchen knife into a man’s face on a box of Wheaties.
This image was forwarded to my email address. I would prefer not to post the image as it makes me sick. I emailed leonard to confirm that he is okay and could take any action necessary. He replied that he was well.
Alex Mauer would go on to threaten to kill SidAlpha (a Youtuber covering the case) and Don Thacker of Imagos softworks.
June 27th, 2017
Leonard French creates a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Imagos to hire him to take on their copyright dispute case. It reaches it’s goal within 24 hours. Leonard officially becomes Imagos’ lawyer soon after and begins legal filings.
Additional updates on the case can be found on the GoFundMe page’s Updates section.
June 28th, 2017
Abusing the personal information given to her by Youtube (sent ONLY so that legal action could be pursued), Alex Mauer left voicemail messages to some Youtubers who counter-notified.
June 29th, 2017
Sir TapTap (that’s me!) sends her the following message during her commitment (thinking in vain it might have been voluntary and an attempt to get help):
I’ve heard that you’re going to be getting help, and backing off the false DMCA claims. If true and genuine, I’m very happy to hear that.However, the DMCA claims already sent are still active; I’d like to remind you this final time, hopefully the last time the two of us are even aware of each others’ existence, that you can remove all of those claims with a click of a button. All you have to do is sign in and retract them here:Most of us only ever talked about this because our channels were hurt, our abilities limited; myself, I can’t stream to my friends until this is removed, for 90 days.You can make a lot of people happy just by clicking that link and retracting those claims. It won’t affect your court case (if anything your lawyer, if any, will be happy to hear it), but it will bring a relieved smile to dozens of people’s faces and allow them to let this issue go.I think you’ll find spreading positivity a far more powerful, enjoyable, and useful thing than spreading negativity ever could be.-Sir TapTap
Presumably before being committed, Alex posts “RCRU has been DMCA’d, F*CK YOU ALL” on the Steam Forums. She would eventually be community banned by Steam for countless harassing posts and threads in the Starr Mazer DSP discussions.
July 3rd, 2017
Alex is released early from involuntary commitment after a psych evaluation.
July 4th, 2017
Really feeling the spirit of the holiday, Alex Mauer sends a threatening email to Disasterpeace saying they will lose rights to “Lexi and the Cheap Disaster” if they refuse to join her cause. Within an hour of the original email, Alex chides Disasterpeace for “ignoring” her and says that she has lost said rights. She would later file DMCA strikes against the collaboration.
Valve rejects her initial attempt to DMCA claim River City Ransom Underground, replying to her with this (which she, for some reason, forwarded to my email):
The link is to a third party music site and has nothing to do with you. Therefore this is not valid and the complaint will be withdrawn.
Please be aware that continued false DMCA filings will be considered harassment of our user base, and we will ban your account from Steam.
– Valve employee
Alex’s first set of YouTube claims are canceled (unknown if by her or by Youtube) as YouTube notices her claims may be fraudulent and warns that further abuse will result in the termination of her account.
July 9th, 2017
Alex brags on Twitter that she has resubmitted all “first wave” DMCA claims against Starr Mazer videos, despite being told by Youtube to rescind all her DMCA claims or have her account deleted for fraud.
Due to Alex constantly deleting her own tweets, particularly the death threats and admission to malice and crimes, @MauerWatch is created by an unknown party, using Archive.is to archive her tweets. Many tweets have to be edited due to Alex’s propensity for leaking private information and are shared as redacted screenshots instead.
I recommend pawing through the posts yourself if curious, there’s far, far too much for me to point out.
“Highlights” of Alex’s tweets, preserved by Mauer Watch include:
- Doxing herself (birth certificate, phone number, address, driver’s license)
- Releasing the phone number of a 15 year old who direct messaged Alex trying to support her and talk to her
- Telling multiple people trying to support her to “fuck off” and calling them “creepy”
- Stating she “doesn’t think this is going to court”
- Repeated insistence that the only thing that mattered was that her legal name was on the record, which she didn’t like (as she is on probation, she cannot change her legal name without authorization).
- Harassing the judge of her case
- Harassing her lawyer before (and after) firing him
- Faking a panic attack over text (as someone who has had a panic attack, they do not make you turn off Autocorrect and send a silly misspelled text message, or do basically anything she posted here)
- Countless threats of DMCAs
- Invitations to come to her house to get stabbed
- Somehow being in a quantum state of being a lawyer, hating lawyers and refusing to work with them, and also hiring a small fleet of lawyers all at once.
- I already want to throw up again so I’m not finding any more.
July 10th, 2017
Alex Mauer begins sending DMCA takedowns to youtube videos of River City Ransom Underground, hitting an unknown sum of Youtubers.
Alex Mauer admits her goal is to disable Youtube channels, deliberately targeting channels with only one strike left. She uses a second (and likely a third) email to make the strikes count against Youtube’s “three strikes and you’re out” rule; multiple claims from the same source only count as a single strike. A DMCA is filed against Mah Dry Bread as “[email protected]” while the original complaint against Sir TapTap and most others was “[email protected]”.
Note: Youtube channels cannot be deactivated by counter-claimed DMCA strikes. As long as a counter-notification is submitted, the claimant is forced to either sue you (and provide evidence of legal action to Youtube) or release your video.
A second DMCA strike is levied on my Starr Mazer DSP video, even though it had previously and successfully been counter-notified, a clear abuse of Youtube’s system. I posted this video in response and moved by livestreaming over to Twitch due to my exceedingly low confidence in Youtube resolving this issue.
July 11th, 2017
Bandcamp takes down Disasterpeace and Cheap Dinosaur’s collaboration with Alex Mauer after a DMCA notice from Alex.
July 12th, 2017
Alex admits in a Facebook chat that her intent in the case is to make Don Thacker, who she previously threatened to kill, spend all his money on legal fees.
Alex harasses Disasterpeace again, threatening to go after them next if Disasterpeace does not pick her side. In less than six hours from her initial email she decides to go full bore and DMCA them.
Alex Mauer brags about taking down Starr Mazer’s youtube channel. It is restored within the day. Most Starr Mazer DSP claims are released by Youtube the same day.
July 13th, 2017
A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is granted to Imagos/Leonard French. The restraining order states, amongst others:
- Defendant shall not issue further copyright claims or takedown notices, including DMCA takedown notices, for any work relating to Starr Mazer
- Defendant shall refrain from making threats of harm and physical violence against Plaintiffs or Plantiff’s lawyer
Violating the TRO (I believe) would be a criminal offense.
Alex Mauer DMCA claims River City Ransom, successfully removing it from Steam. A previous attempt was rejected by Valve’s copyright office, according to an email from Alex forwarded to my inbox. It is still down at present and the company is working to restore it. Leonard French has offered to assist in RCRU’s case as well.
Alex is taken to court for the first hearing. It does not go well for her. She fires then harasses her lawyer, sends an insulting letter to the judge, then mocks her parents as food delivery spam hits their house, proudly stating that she released their address publicly weeks ago.
July 15th, 2017
A Destructoid writer posts a pro-Mauer article to the main section of the site referring to Youtubers (that’s me!) as “ambulance chasers”, decries death threats made against Alex while making no mention of the death threats Alex made herself despite being made aware of them by a primary source.
The comments section immediately tears the poor reporting apart noting the major factual omissions and biased reporting.
Alex Mauer confirms she has DMCA claimed over 100 videos (over 100 instances of perjury too!) and admits to threatening and insulting YouTuber Mah Dry Bread, also stating his disability “has nothing to do with it”, despite having repeatedly brought up the fact that she is on disability, claims to have PTSD herself (and repeatedly said she’s not pulling the victim card while doing so).
July 16th, 2017
Destructoid issues multiple updates and apologies for the poor quality of the article and shoves it into their Blog section, implying that’s where it was meant to be the entire time.
The author of the article apologizes on Twitter, though curiously the publication apparently told him not to. To their credit, it appears Destructoid staff recognize that this was a pretty major screw up.
The Destructoid fiasco and confusion following is a major reason I decided to make this list, since clearly certain parties are in need of a proper source of information. Any journalists looking for information on this topic are free to contact me, and also be sure to contact Leonard French, the lawyer assisting in Imagos’ suit against Alex.
July 17th, 2017
Right on time, Alex Mauer insults the Destructoid writer who tried to write a puff piece on her, consistent with her ditching and subsequent harassment of anyone attempting to help her including her lawyer, parents, coworkers, supportive internet strangers, and friends.
Alex deletes her Twitter posts again after posting various insults. Again, check MauerWatch for the full details.
Ars Technica offers a frosty-cold take failing to mention Alex’s death threats. I’ll no longer be including additional examples of poor writing on this topic, but if you see a journo, politely send ’em this article so they don’t embarrass themselves, eh? It’s possible to report the facts while being “balanced”, mostly by not omitting critical facts.
Conatus confirms that Alex was paid in full for her work on RCRU. Again, not even Mauer is claiming she was not paid.
Alex fills the voicemail of her ex-lawyer and sends him harassing emails despite having fired him days prior and having him formally removed from the case already. It’s entirely consistent with her pattern of harassing everyone who attempts to help her.
July 18, 2017
Even though they and their lawyer know they’re legally in the right, River City Ransom Underground’s devs announce they will remove Alex Mauer’s music from the game. Note that Starr Mazer did this exact thing after their first DMCA yet still ended up with two further DMCAs, DMCA claims on all videos of the game, and a court battle. It seems incredibly ill advised, as I’ve personally informed them on Twitter.
Basically this solves nothing and encourages a horrible spiteful person to continue attacking innocent people.
A collaborator on Starr Mazer DSP enters into evidence a text message conversation from February 28th 2017 where Alex admits her intent is to harm Don Thacker’s bank account and attempt to pit him and his lawyer against him.
July 19th, 2017
The temporary restraining order against alex is sustained, she has 30 days to get a(nother) lawyer and respond.
Ars Technica updates their article, including more relevant info and a link to this timeline. Thanks Ars! Assorted other articles were posted, corrected, etc, but as noted that’s the last I’ll be including in this for now.
July 29th, 2017
The River City Ransom Underground page is back up on Steam and the game can be purchased again, showing the latest illegal DMCA claim by Alex was removed.
Alex Mauer brags about taking down the Conatus Creative’s Youtube account using the same multi-strike abuse method she used before to count as three different entities. It would at first seem like this was her lashing out for the game being back on Steam, however according to Conatus the channel had already been down a few days. Seems clear Alex is just bragging about it to seem dangerous/relevant again.
July 31st, 2017
The DMCA troll is once again bragging about targeting videos and sending out more DMCAs. Note the name of the music she’s using here is the River City Ransom Underground OST.
August 3rd, 2017
September 25th, 2017
Alex is a no-show for a vital court hearing and Imagos files for a default judgement in their favor. There’s currently no reason to believe they won’t win. Alex appears to have abandoned the crusade in it’s entirety.
December 29th, 2017
Conclusion and Thanks
That’s the deal so far. Apologies if I missed anything, and contact me if so. It’s…a big issue, and even thinking about it makes me want to vomit. Comment/contact if there’s anything noteworthy; a large amount of her offensive posts were ignored in this document for the purpose of brevity.
I’d like to thank Leonard French for covering this matter professionally and as fast as the law allows, TotalBiscuit for contacting YouTube early on to get them to accelerate Counter Notifications in this process, @MauerWatch for the incredibly unenviable task of cataloging her tweets, and the Starr Mazer and River City Ransom Underground teams for standing up for YouTubers and helping them counter the spurious DMCA claims.