The game maker filed suit last week in a Los Angelos court against three programmers going by the handles Permaphrost, Cranix (both Canadians), and Linuxawesome (from Peru). Their suit alleges that:
Just days after the release of Starcraft II, Defendants already had developed, marketed, and distributed to the public a variety of hacks and cheats designed to modify (and in fact destroy) the Starcraft II online game experience. In fact, on the very day that Starcraft II was released, representatives of the hacks Web site advised members of the public that “our staff is already planning new releases for this game.”
Blizzard claims, as it has done in the past, that producing cheats and hacks for its online games diminishes the profit from said games, violates their copyright, and encourages gamers to violate copyright by using the software.
When users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they copy StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer’s RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license, as set forth in the EULA and ToU, and create derivative works of StarCraft II.
The harm to Blizzard from Defendants’ conduct is immediate, massive and irreparable. By distributing the Hacks to the public, Defendants cause serious harm to the value of StarCraft II. Among other things, Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard’s legitimate customers (i.e. those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience. That, in turn, causes users to grow dissatisfied with the game, lose interest in the game, and communicate that dissatisfaction, thereby resulting in lost sales of the game or ‘add-on’ packs and expansions thereto.
Now might be a good time to mention that this is not the first time that Blizzard has sued the makers of exploits for their games. In 2008, Blizzard began the process of suing MDY Industries for creating Glider, a popular botting program for World of Warcraft, which, when running, “plays your World of Warcraft character for you, the way you want it… It grinds, it loots, it skins, it heals, it even farms soul shards… without you.”
In the ensuing litigation, a court upheld that World of Warcraft was licensed, not sold, and ruled that MDY owed the game maker $6 million. Call it premature, but we expect that pretty much the same thing will be happening with these three StarCraft II hackers.