DMCA Forces Massive MapleStory Lawsuit Win

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DMCA Forces Massive MapleStory Lawsuit Win

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DMCA statutory minimums mean a huge penalty for UMaple.

MapleStory is a 2D, free-to-play MMO published in North America, Europe, South Korea and Japan by Nexon. It's a popular game, with more than eight million registered accounts in North America alone, but not everyone wants to play on official MapleStory servers, and so it is that unsanctioned servers like that of UMaple come into play.

UMaple runs an "off-the-books" MapleStory server, offering special in-game privileges in exchange for "donations" that help keep the lights on. That doesn't sit well with the MapleStory folks, who naturally filed a lawsuit; and when that suit went completely ignored by UMaple, it was granted a default judgment. But it doesn't sound like the judge in the case is very happy about it.

MapleStory's lawsuit sought all profits earned by UMaple, which it pegged at $68,764.23 brought in through donations and Google advertising, but Judge Otis D. Wright II wasn't buying it. He ruled that MapleStory "only satisfactorily proves that $398.98 in profits from Google was reasonably related to [the] infringement," and thus granted the request for disgorgement of profits with an award of precisely that much: 398 bucks and a coffee.

That part of the lawsuit was a big win for the UMaple folks, but then things got ugly. MapleStory requested the maximum statutory damages allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of more than $44.8 million, which the judge rejected out of hand in favor of the minimum damages required by the Act of $200 per infringement. That doesn't sound too bad, but each of the nearly 18,000 UMaple users counts as a separate infringement, meaning the court was forced to award statutory damages of $3,587,600.

"The Court would deem even the minimum statutory amount awardable under the DMCA in this case to be a significant windfall to Plaintiff far in excess of any amount necessary to deter future infringing conduct," the judge wrote. "Further, the minimum award here likely bears little plausible relationship to Plaintiff's actual damages. Nevertheless, the Court is powerless to deviate from the DMCA's statutory minimum."

The court also granted MapleStory's request for a permanent injunction against UMaple, which is fair, but rejected its claim for "reasonable" legal fees determined by a standard formula used in cases in which judgments of over $100,000 are awarded. Based on that formula, MapleStory would be granted $77.359.98 in legal fees, but the judge said that amount is "patently unreasonable in light of the amount of substantive work this case demanded" and ruled that it would only be awarded its actual legal costs, which it has 30 days to submit.

As Eric Goldman notes on his Technology and Marketing Law Blog, it's an ugly win for MapleStory that serves to highlight some of the serious flaws in existing legislation. "You don't expect to see such palpable skepticism from a judge when the defendant doesn't even show to protect its own interests," he wrote. "But this case does provide an excellent example of the ridiculousness of anti-circumvention statutory damages. $3.6 million can't be the right damages award in this case, and it's so guffaw-inducing that it further erodes the legitimacy of our copyright rules."

via: Techdirt

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Getting $3.5 million in damages from an "infringment" that only totaled $68,764.23 in profits?
How very syruptitious of MapleStory.

Good luck getting any of it though.

Andy Chalk:
That part of the lawsuit was a big win for the UMaple folks, but then things got ugly. MapleStory requested the maximum statutory damages allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of more than $44.8 million, which the judge rejected out of hand in favor of the minimum damages required by the Act of $200 per infringement. That doesn't sound too bad, but each of the nearly 18,000 UMaple users counts as a separate infringement, meaning the court was forced to award statutory damages of $3,587,600.

Wait. If the minimum was $200 which got multiplied by 17938 to find the total, does that mean the maximum would have been as well?

Unless I'm missing something, that means they were demanding $803622.4 million. Over EIGHT HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS.

Wow. I never played MapleStory and my opinion of the thing is already in the sub-basement. Good job!

Also, pardon my French but I can't think of a better way to say this: Fuck the DMCA.

I don't blame people from playing on a private server...

Maplestory has probably one of the worst online communities out there...

Formica Archonis:
Wait. If the minimum was $200 which got multiplied by 17938 to find the total, does that mean the maximum would have been as well?

No, the $44.8 million would be the total award at the maximum per-infringement rate.

I'm unclear on how an unofficial server is copyright infringement, unless they stole official server software or something. Then again, I guess it doesn't matter since the lawsuit went ignored (dumb, dumb, dumb).

P.S. Thanks

Running alt servers, for profit, for an active MMORPG has to be one of the worst decisions anyone can ever make ever.

Don't do the crime etc.

this is a messy one...maplestory demanding too much, UMaple denying MapleStory dignity(seeing how they are making fucking money at their fucking expense). The only good person here is the fucking judge!

Andy Chalk:

Formica Archonis:
Wait. If the minimum was $200 which got multiplied by 17938 to find the total, does that mean the maximum would have been as well?

No, the $44.8 million would be the total award at the maximum per-infringement rate.

Ah, thank you. That's at least slightly more sane.

Still not sane at all, just more sane than batshit crazy.

Can't say I pity UMaple much; they profited over someone else's game, and didn't even bother fighting the suit. I guess kudos to the judge for trying to be fair, but otherwise, Nexon sucks, the people behind UMaple suck, and the DMCA sucks.

I can see the MP folks getting royally pissed, but they're never going to get even close to all their "damages". The defendant's just gonna file for bankruptcy.

Well that sucks, the game is virtually unplayable without a private server, the community is legendarily bad, which the generally small populations of private servers fixes, and the exp bonuses are a God send because of how the game redefines grind fest, I remember there were quests to kill 999 of a certain monster and you would only get maybe 30% to the next level because of all that

Furioso:
Well that sucks, the game is virtually unplayable without a private server, the community is legendarily bad, which the generally small populations of private servers fixes, and the exp bonuses are a God send because of how the game redefines grind fest, I remember there were quests to kill 999 of a certain monster and you would only get maybe 30% to the next level because of all that

Seeing as I play Combat Arms, not Maplestory, I don't doubt it. Though for CA, they actually made the ranking up easier. That is, of course, if you can ever finish a game. Random crashes, hackers, ragekicking, and other fun things make it almost unplayable itself.

Remember "I fought the law and the law won?" Well if you don't even show up to the fight then the law will win. UMaple or whoever is gonna come back from a tropical vacation to a comically stuffed mailbox with red NOTICE written all over it and be like Poooooooooop.

MrBrightside919:
I don't blame people from playing on a private server...

Maplestory has probably one of the worst online communities out there...

not to mention the game it self kinda ... sucks ...

but more over, i'm confused.

its free to play right? why bother putting up a free to play server when its already free to play o.0

i mean i get why these servers pop up for WoW, and ToR, they have subscriptions, people are cheap, or broke, so i get that, this just confuses me ....

JaceArveduin:

Furioso:
Well that sucks, the game is virtually unplayable without a private server, the community is legendarily bad, which the generally small populations of private servers fixes, and the exp bonuses are a God send because of how the game redefines grind fest, I remember there were quests to kill 999 of a certain monster and you would only get maybe 30% to the next level because of all that

Seeing as I play Combat Arms, not Maplestory, I don't doubt it. Though for CA, they actually made the ranking up easier. That is, of course, if you can ever finish a game. Random crashes, hackers, ragekicking, and other fun things make it almost unplayable itself.

That game is unplayable, running fraps in the background is a kickable offense. So is being a headshot luck sack, using a specific gun, using incendiary, buying mercs, really all those fall under rage kicks but the fraps thing has happened to me before I actually had someone tell me my fraps was making them lag. God that game is awful.

fanklok:

JaceArveduin:

Furioso:
Well that sucks, the game is virtually unplayable without a private server, the community is legendarily bad, which the generally small populations of private servers fixes, and the exp bonuses are a God send because of how the game redefines grind fest, I remember there were quests to kill 999 of a certain monster and you would only get maybe 30% to the next level because of all that

Seeing as I play Combat Arms, not Maplestory, I don't doubt it. Though for CA, they actually made the ranking up easier. That is, of course, if you can ever finish a game. Random crashes, hackers, ragekicking, and other fun things make it almost unplayable itself.

That game is unplayable, running fraps in the background is a kickable offense. So is being a headshot luck sack, using a specific gun, using incendiary, buying mercs, really all those fall under rage kicks but the fraps thing has happened to me before I actually had someone tell me my fraps was making them lag. God that game is awful.

why would you need fraps now? they have a recorder built in. don't know how fraps would lag others out either

JaceArveduin:

fanklok:

JaceArveduin:

Seeing as I play Combat Arms, not Maplestory, I don't doubt it. Though for CA, they actually made the ranking up easier. That is, of course, if you can ever finish a game. Random crashes, hackers, ragekicking, and other fun things make it almost unplayable itself.

That game is unplayable, running fraps in the background is a kickable offense. So is being a headshot luck sack, using a specific gun, using incendiary, buying mercs, really all those fall under rage kicks but the fraps thing has happened to me before I actually had someone tell me my fraps was making them lag. God that game is awful.

why would you need fraps now? they have a recorder built in. don't know how fraps would lag others out either

I always keep it running for the frame rate overlay, and it wouldn't the guy was just making excuses because I was rocking his team by myself.

Covarr:
I'm unclear on how an unofficial server is copyright infringement, unless they stole official server software or something. Then again, I guess it doesn't matter since the lawsuit went ignored (dumb, dumb, dumb).

P.S. Thanks

It is because the people hosting the server were technically making a profit on Nexon's work, even though the donations would be put right back into hosting costs.

Lunar Templar:

MrBrightside919:
I don't blame people from playing on a private server...

Maplestory has probably one of the worst online communities out there...

not to mention the game it self kinda ... sucks ...

but more over, i'm confused.

its free to play right? why bother putting up a free to play server when its already free to play o.0

i mean i get why these servers pop up for WoW, and ToR, they have subscriptions, people are cheap, or broke, so i get that, this just confuses me ....

It also doesn't help that some of the nexon servers don't work properly and they get hacked a good amount...

MrBrightside919:

Lunar Templar:

MrBrightside919:
I don't blame people from playing on a private server...

Maplestory has probably one of the worst online communities out there...

not to mention the game it self kinda ... sucks ...

but more over, i'm confused.

its free to play right? why bother putting up a free to play server when its already free to play o.0

i mean i get why these servers pop up for WoW, and ToR, they have subscriptions, people are cheap, or broke, so i get that, this just confuses me ....

It also doesn't help that some of the nexon servers don't work properly and they get hacked a good amount...

I'm aware. been playing Vin since open beta as well as DFO so I'm familiar with the hacker problem there. still, its free to play, i don't get it x.x

Ah, Maplestory... The game that stole the most hours of my life ever, with The Sims in second place...

Believe me, this isn't the first time a private server not only got shut down but the operator got a pretty hefty charge for it too. We're talking millions of dollars. I can't remember the name of the server though, but it was a pretty big deal at the time.

I've had some great memories with Maple Story, but I've outgrown it. Hitting cute cartoon pigs in the face with a frozen fish just isn't fun for me anymore...

That said, the Kerning City music is fucking awesome to this day.

Artemis923:
I've had some great memories with Maple Story, but I've outgrown it. Hitting cute cartoon pigs in the face with a frozen fish just isn't fun for me anymore...

That said, the Kerning City music is fucking awesome to this day.

Agreed. In my time of playing Nexon games in Korea, MapleStory was the shit. I'm disappointed to hear news of Nexon being an ass though. Not that my expectations were high in the first place >.>.

The problem is that the case wasn't deafened. The rule of thumb when dealing with commercial cases is that you get about 1/3 of the damages asked for. If you don't turn up and defend a case you and you don't present a counter argument to the court then the debate is going to be between the plaintiff and the court. Lawyers for the plaintiff are always going to ask for maximum damages, its the job of the lawyers for the defendant to say why they shouldn't get it.

The award of $398 was never going to stand and with or without the DMCA it would been overturned on appeal.

Well I cant actually say I disagree with the outcome of this in any way. If you run an unofficial server for an active multiplayer game and keep it running through donations you are an idiot. It doesnt surprise me though that somebody that dumb would not bother showing up for the lawsuit.

Also from reading this article I got the feeling that the judge was acting like a real dick.

I still play Maple Story. There's just something about an MMO that doesn't hit you in the wallet every month and has a level 200 cap instead of a piddly level 90.

That being said...this fine for the private server seems excessive considering the lack of comparable profits. Actually...they should say they refuse to pay until Nexon does something about all the advertising spammers that constantly show up. ESPECIALLY since they've gotten bold and started using Super Megaphones and whispers to advertise.

Clearly we don't have enough legislation and need to add one of the PIPA/SOPA/ACTA/CISPA clones to make sure companies never walk away without every offending participant jailed in addition to massive fines.

As far as the comment about Copyright law goes, from a technical perspective, this -is- the sort of thing that copyright law was made to protect. Maple Story -is- actively using this property and to copy it outright with a private server is a violation of copyright law, even in its original, not completely bullshit form. Its appropriate for maple story to win the case, but the amount awarded is ridiculous.

That's a hell lot, but 399 was a freaking joke.

I'm sure Nexon will take the money they just won (assuming they get it) and put it right into the game to make it appeal more to those on the UMaple server. Right?

/sarcasm off

Fiad:

Covarr:
I'm unclear on how an unofficial server is copyright infringement, unless they stole official server software or something. Then again, I guess it doesn't matter since the lawsuit went ignored (dumb, dumb, dumb).

P.S. Thanks

It is because the people hosting the server were technically making a profit on Nexon's work, even though the donations would be put right back into hosting costs.

I understand why it's wrong, but that doesn't mean it fits into the legal definition of copyright infringement. If they built the new server software themselves from scratch, they've not infringed any copyrights in doing so.

Were they distributing pre-modified copies of the game or something? I can see how that would fit.

P.S. Thanks

All I can say is that I hope UMaple was incorporated, otherwise some people's personal assets may be up for grabs.

All I can think of to say now after seeing the amount they we're awarded was "Good luck getting that buddy".

Ciao.

Thats like Notch (and Mojang) trying to sue a minecraft server that accepts donations. It doesn't make any sense at all. If they started selling the game, then maybe a there'd be a problem.

And people wonder why I hate the modern game industry.

jawakiller:
Thats like Notch (and Mojang) trying to sue a minecraft server that accepts donations. It doesn't make any sense at all. If they started selling the game, then maybe a there'd be a problem.

It's Nexon.

They are as evil as EA or Activision and are at least 3x times more greedy.

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