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  1. #1
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    Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Not FFXI, but certainly made an interesting read in the attempts of a bot maker claiming he has every right to make and sell a tool for the game.

    Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7314353.stm

    Combat forms a core part of the game play
    The makers of World of Warcraft are locked in a legal battle with a firm that has produced a tool to automate many actions in the virtual world.
    Blizzard is suing Michael Donnelly, the creator of the MMO Glider program, which performs key tasks in the game automatically, such as fighting.

    Both sides have submitted legal summaries to a court in Arizona.

    Blizzard says Glide is a software bot which infringes the company's copyright and potentially damages the game.

    In its legal submission to the court last week, the firm said: "Blizzard's designs expectations are frustrated, and resources are allocated unevenly, when bots are introduced into the WoW universe, because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time."

    'Infringed agreement'

    Blizzard argued that Michael Donnelly's tool also infringed the End User License Agreement that all parties have to adhere to when playing the game.

    More than 100,000 copies of the tool have been sold, according to Mr Donnelly. More than 10 million people around the world play Warcraft.

    Mr Donnelly said the first time had had been aware of potential legal action over his program was when a lawyer from Vivendi games, which publishes Warcraft, and an "unnamed private investigator" appeared at his home.

    In his legal submission, he detailed: "When they arrived, they presented Donnelly with a copy of a complaint that they indicated would be filed the next day in the US District Court for the Central District of California if Donnelly did not immediately agree to stop selling Glider and return all profits that he made from Glider sales."

    "Blizzard's audacious threats offended Donnelly," according to the legal papers.

    Mr Donnelly says his tool does not infringe Blizzard's copyright because no "copy" of the Warcraft game client software is ever made.

    Blizzard has said the tool infringes copyright because it copies the game into RAM in order to avoid detection by anti-cheat software.

    The two parties are now awaiting a summary judgement in the case.

  2. #2
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Interesting, but even if Blizzard wins all it will do is set a precedence that you can't sell 3rd party cheats. At least not in the U.S. Overseas sales as well as free cheats will always be an issue no matter what the courts rule.

  3. #3
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.

  4. #4
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Has this been going on for like 2 years? I remember reading nearly this exact same shit around that time.

  5. #5
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    I doubt he does. It's just in the preliminary stages, isn't it? I think legal proceedings have to progress to the judicial phase if the prosecution doesn't bow out, the court just can't automatically find the defendant guilty. If it goes to trial the guy is going to more than likely lose, unless Zombie Johnny Cochran comes back from the grave, because then Blizzard will be screwed.

  6. #6
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhqwghads
    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    I doubt he does. It's just in the preliminary stages, isn't it? I think legal proceedings have to progress to the judicial phase if the prosecution doesn't bow out, the court just can't automatically find the defendant guilty. If it goes to trial the guy is going to more than likely lose, unless Zombie Johnny Cochran comes back from the grave, because then Blizzard will be screwed.
    If the bot doesn't claim, it must be lame.

  7. #7

    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    is there anything about making and selling the bot?

  8. #8
    Sea Torques
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Remyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    is there anything about making and selling the bot?
    Yea I feel they can't really sue him when other people are the ones breaking the T&C. I feel blizzard is the one who doesn't have a leg to stand on here when they are suing him. All the people that bought the software are the ones breaking the rules not the guy. It's kinda like suing the guy who sold a gun to someone who killed someone with the gun: it's just silly.

  9. #9
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakana
    Quote Originally Posted by Remyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    is there anything about making and selling the bot?
    Yea I feel they can't really sue him when other people are the ones breaking the T&C. I feel blizzard is the one who doesn't have a leg to stand on here when they are suing him. All the people that bought the software are the ones breaking the rules not the guy. It's kinda like suing the guy who sold a gun to someone who killed someone with the gun: it's just silly.
    Nah I disagree with you there. Guns don't have a single-minded purpose. You can target practice with them, go hunting game with them, collect them as a hobby, and I'm sure lots of other things besides shooting people with them. The software this person is selling has one purpose, and one purpose only: add functionality to World of Warcraft that the developers never intended. You can't use his software to do your taxes with, nor play a different game with, nor browse the web. I would say he had a leg to stand on if it was a framework library built to interface with any number of applications, but this is absolutely targeting one specific app. He's wrong, and the only way he'll win is if there's a loophole in the TOS that he can exploit.

  10. #10
    jponry
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Too bad SquareEnix doesn't give a fuck.

  11. #11
    Demosthenes11
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    T&S =/= law
    blizzard has nothing to stand on here lol

  12. #12
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhqwghads
    Quote Originally Posted by Dakana
    Quote Originally Posted by Remyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Popeh
    I wouldn't of thought he would even have any ground to mount a defence considering that the usage of such tools would of been stated in the T&C that he agreed, and players agree when they play the game not to use.
    is there anything about making and selling the bot?
    Yea I feel they can't really sue him when other people are the ones breaking the T&C. I feel blizzard is the one who doesn't have a leg to stand on here when they are suing him. All the people that bought the software are the ones breaking the rules not the guy. It's kinda like suing the guy who sold a gun to someone who killed someone with the gun: it's just silly.
    Nah I disagree with you there. Guns don't have a single-minded purpose. You can target practice with them, go hunting game with them, collect them as a hobby, and I'm sure lots of other things besides shooting people with them. The software this person is selling has one purpose, and one purpose only: add functionality to World of Warcraft that the developers never intended. You can't use his software to do your taxes with, nor play a different game with, nor browse the web. I would say he had a leg to stand on if it was a framework library built to interface with any number of applications, but this is absolutely targeting one specific app. He's wrong, and the only way he'll win is if there's a loophole in the TOS that he can exploit.

    The thing is people are allowed to spend their money however they want. I'm sure he made no claims that it didn't violate the ToS and most likely made in clear that it did violate them. The only way I see it going bad for them is if wow's lawyers proves that he violated the copyright when he interfaced with the game. The ToS can only really go as far as baning people form wow.

  13. #13
    blax n gunz
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Terms of Service is a contract, and contracts are law. By circumventing Blizzard's Warden program and enabling others to do the same he's basically fucked. Open and shut in my books.

    The good news is even if this drags out cheaters are seldom richly rewarded in WoW the way they are in FFXI. It's not like there's only one Kil'Jaeden up every 24 hours. And money is ridiculously easy to make. A dedicated player can pull in 300 gold per day just doing quests for three hours, and easily another 300-500 selling the incidental drops from those quests. The only thing botting gets you in WoW is experience points and week-long bans.

  14. #14
    Ridill
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    When are they finally going to pass a law stating that selling unauthorized third party tools for a game is illegal. A law that is flexible enough that if FFXIApp were sued, for example, then it wouldn't matter how tricky their lawyer is. All the judge would have to do is see that FFXIApp is a third party tool making money off SE's game, and consider it an open and shut case no matter what their attorney has to say.

    Same thing for RMT. All the judge should have to do is see that someone is making money off SE's game without permission, and consider it an open and shut case regardless of what loopholes any lawyer can come up with.

    Why is it so hard to pass a law capable of that, that cannot be defeated by whatever the defense cooks up, if it's plainly obvious that someone is indeed making money off the game company by selling unauthorized services?

  15. #15
    Dr. Salami
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Khamsin
    When are they finally going to pass a law stating that selling unauthorized third party tools for a game is illegal. A law that is flexible enough that if FFXIApp were sued, for example, then it wouldn't matter how tricky their lawyer is. All the judge would have to do is see that FFXIApp is a third party tool making money off SE's game, and consider it an open and shut case no matter what their attorney has to say.

    Same thing for RMT. All the judge should have to do is see that someone is making money off SE's game without permission, and consider it an open and shut case regardless of what loopholes any lawyer can come up with.

    Why is it so hard to pass a law capable of that, that cannot be defeated by whatever the defense cooks up, if it's plainly obvious that someone is indeed making money off the game company by selling unauthorized services?
    Because there is the major setback in that of international law, the main reason that until recently, SE was basically powerless to go after RMT companies. The laws that Japan and America do have in place, aren't in place in China and wherever else RMT work out of, so basically all someone would have to do is set up shop in a foreign country and they'd be exploiting this law that you suggest. Can't hold a non american company liable for something if they aren't operating in america, and by american rules, as far as I know.

  16. #16

    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Blizzard misusing copyright law to shut down projects they don't like? Say it ain't so!

    Based on the article summary of Blizzard's complaint, Blizzard should lose. But often these disputes are more about who can throw more money at the suit rather than the details of law.

  17. #17
    Ridill
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Quote Originally Posted by Selamis
    Quote Originally Posted by Khamsin
    When are they finally going to pass a law stating that selling unauthorized third party tools for a game is illegal. A law that is flexible enough that if FFXIApp were sued, for example, then it wouldn't matter how tricky their lawyer is. All the judge would have to do is see that FFXIApp is a third party tool making money off SE's game, and consider it an open and shut case no matter what their attorney has to say.

    Same thing for RMT. All the judge should have to do is see that someone is making money off SE's game without permission, and consider it an open and shut case regardless of what loopholes any lawyer can come up with.

    Why is it so hard to pass a law capable of that, that cannot be defeated by whatever the defense cooks up, if it's plainly obvious that someone is indeed making money off the game company by selling unauthorized services?
    Because there is the major setback in that of international law, the main reason that until recently, SE was basically powerless to go after RMT companies. The laws that Japan and America do have in place, aren't in place in China and wherever else RMT work out of, so basically all someone would have to do is set up shop in a foreign country and they'd be exploiting this law that you suggest. Can't hold a non american company liable for something if they aren't operating in america, and by american rules, as far as I know.
    But even within America, people have trouble suing for this sort of thing because the defense attorneys get creative... despite the fact that anyone can look at the case and go "Yeah, they're profiting off SE's game by selling third party services alright" regardless of how carefully they describe the services they are offering or not offering.

  18. #18

    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Selling third-party services is not something you can just sit down and outlaw.

    Or maybe you'd like it if your car manufacturer could force you to only use their auto shops when maintaining your car?

  19. #19
    blax n gunz
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    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    I don't think I can hire a third party to change my FIOS box, or unlock cable channels I'm not paying for. What's the difference between that and Blizzard prohibiting bots with the force of law?

  20. #20

    Re: Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

    Bad analogy. In order to unlock cable channels you are not paying for, you would need vandalize the cable company's cable box. Of course it's illegal to hire someone to vandalize property that is not yours.

    The limitation of Blizzards power here is that they can choose to decline services to someone who is doing things they don't like. They cannot legally prevent him from distributing tools that enable cheating, except under the condition of the DMCA where such tools are intended as copyright-control circumvention devices. Thus, assuming the bot isn't primarily designed to allow people to circumvent copy-control, it's legal.

    Edit: relevant case-law
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galoob_v._Nintendo

    The Court denied Nintendo's motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that Game Genie did not create a derivative work and also suggesting that even if it did, it might well be fair use. As the district court wrote, "Having paid Nintendo a fair return, the consumer may experiment with the product and create new variations of play, for personal enjoyment, without creating a derivative work."

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