Blizzard Sues the Creators of StarCraft II Hacks

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After banning 5,000 players for using hacks, mods, and other tricks that are against the StarCraft II terms of use, Blizzard is now suing three of the people who created and distributed those hacks, mods, and tricks in the first place.

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.

The claim that simply using the hacks, not just creating them, is a copyright offense is based in the fact that, as set out firmly in the Terms of Use of StarCraft II, users do not actually own the software, they are simply licensing it from Blizzard for a specific use, and that use is whatever Blizzard says it is.

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.

(GameSpot via Kotaku.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.