Blizzard Sues StarCraft II Cheat Makers

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Blizzard Sues StarCraft II Cheat Makers

Starcraft 2 Social

Blizzard has filed a lawsuit against the makers of the "ValiantChaos MapHack" for StarCraft II, saying that it infringes copyrights, breaches contracts and just generally messes with its mojo.

"ValiantChaos MapHack" is a cheat that grants StarCraft II players who use it various unfair advantages over their competition, including the ability to see the full game map, even areas meant to be obscured, and the opposing player's unit moves. It also violates Blizzard's "technical security measures" and various aspects of its Terms of Use and End-User License Agreement, which has led the studio to file a lawsuit against those responsible for making it.

The lawsuit names the defendants as "Does 1 through 10," since the actual names of the people involved are unknown, but the claims are very clear. "The provisions of the ToU and EULA are designed to protect the integrity of the game by, among other things, preventing the very conduct demonstrated by the Defendants - providing certain players an unfair competitive advantage against other players," the lawsuit states. "The ToU and EULA provide commercially reasonable contractual protection of Blizzard's rights in and to StarCraft II."

Blizzard says the defendants are "well aware" that their hack violates its prohibitions but continue to sell it anyway, by offering it to forum users who "donate" $62.50 for a VIP forum membership. The damage caused by the hack is "immediate, massive and irreparable," the suit claims.

"Among other things, Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard's legitimate customers (ie., those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience of StarCraft II," the lawsuit says. "That, in turn, causes users to grow dissatisfied with the game, lose interest in the game, and communicate that dissatisfaction. This results in lost sales of the game and/or 'add-on' packs and expansions thereto, as well as harm to Blizzard's reputation, the value of its game, and other harms to Blizzard."

The suit claims direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement by the hack makers, as well as breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations and even trafficking in circumvention devices in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Blizzard is seeking an injunction against further distribution of the hack, access to all infringing and violating materials, a full breakdown of all monies earned from the sale of the hack, and of course various damages and legal fees.

This isn't the first time Blizzard has taken legal action over an in-game cheat - it successfully sued the maker of the World of Warcraft "Glider" bot in 2008 - and lawyer Jas Purewal of Purewall & Partners LLP, a law firm specializing in digital entertainment and technology (and also the man behind the Gamer Law blog) told the BBC that it will likely prevail this time around too, thanks in large part to the advent of the DMCA.

"The law in this area is relatively new as these forms of online games are only a decade old," he said. "Nonetheless, there have been a number of victories in this area and overall the odds are stacked against hackers and against cheaters once a games company is determined to take legal action."

Source: TorrentFreak

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As much as I'd like to say that a lawsuit is over the top, I've been a victim of online cheaters more than a million times. There's no excuse for cheating. It's a situation where everyone involved knows that it's the wrong thing to do. You shouldn't mess with anyone's mojo.

Rip them a new one please blizzard. I hate cheaters in online games.

To be honest, with gaming becoming more and more main stream and professional in terms of sporting competition and otherwise respected this is something that will happen more and more as people try to cheat and comprimise games like starcraft.

I don't hate the entrepreneur trying to make some coin but this is hurting a fair game which atually carries some value to a high skilled player who might actually make a living from this game, I hope these people are found and stopped as it is a problem and needs to be stopped.

It's cheaters like this that make cheaters like me look bad. I only cheat in single player since it doesn't effect anyone else but the idea of cheating in multiplayer just disgusts me.

Cheating offline only cheats yourself out of the genuine experience. Cheating online ruins the experience of everybody who plays. That's not cool.

I'm not a fan of the whole lawsuite system, but in this case... go Blizzard!

Bat Vader:
It's cheaters like this that make cheaters like me look bad. I only cheat in single player since it doesn't effect anyone else but the idea of cheating in multiplayer just disgusts me.

Eh, I don't think online cheaters ruin the reputation of anyone who chooses to cheat in a single-player game. But then again, for all I know there could be far more people who are unable to see the difference between cheating that affects others and cheating that does not than I am aware of.

Personally, I despise people who cheat online and fully support Blizzard in this.
I also fully support anyone who decides to use cheats/trainers in single-player games because it only affects that one person and in some cases let you bypass annoying game design features(like auto-QTE trainer for the new Tomb Raider).

Good luck with that... of course this will do nothing to stop the cheating (which is the funny thing) NO this is just butt hurt. There will always be cheaters and cheats and in the end.. that's part of gaming. You learn to deal with it. nI mean seriously... there are no actual named parties so who can they file suit against whomever made it. No law against distributing software as it were.

BigTuk:
Good luck with that... of course this will do nothing to stop the cheating (which is the funny thing) NO this is just butt hurt. There will always be cheaters and cheats and in the end.. that's part of gaming. You learn to deal with it.

That's a horrible way to look at things! Using that logic, we shouldn't lock up murderers and rapists just because there will always be more of them. If you expect change to occur, you have to take action to change things, not just complain until something happens.

This is a great move to help curb online cheating. I agree with everything this lawsuit is aiming at all the way down to these cheats down right making a game look bad and in turn a potential loss of sales.

I hope this will pick up steam and other publishers start taking action.

vun:

Bat Vader:
It's cheaters like this that make cheaters like me look bad. I only cheat in single player since it doesn't effect anyone else but the idea of cheating in multiplayer just disgusts me.

Eh, I don't think online cheaters ruin the reputation of anyone who chooses to cheat in a single-player game. But then again, for all I know there could be far more people who are unable to see the difference between cheating that affects others and cheating that does not than I am aware of.

Personally, I despise people who cheat online and fully support Blizzard in this.
I also fully support anyone who decides to use cheats/trainers in single-player games because it only affects that one person and in some cases let you bypass annoying game design features(like auto-QTE trainer for the new Tomb Raider).

I agree. I fully support Blizzard in this too. I feel like the lawsuit is more to scare other online hackers and cheaters. I can't find a sum they are suing them for.

I cheat hardcore every time I play Call of Duty...

.. by using whatever n00btube is available :D

Klonoa Prower:

BigTuk:
Good luck with that... of course this will do nothing to stop the cheating (which is the funny thing) NO this is just butt hurt. There will always be cheaters and cheats and in the end.. that's part of gaming. You learn to deal with it.

That's a horrible way to look at things! Using that logic, we shouldn't lock up murderers and rapists just because there will always be more of them. If you expect change to occur, you have to take action to change things, not just complain until something happens.

It's a stress free way to look at life. You'll understand when you're older. You'll learn theres a difference between meaningful action and pointless action.

Also this has nothing to do with murderers and rapists. Locking one up means at the very least *that* murderer/rapist will not be out and about.

This on the other hand ... well.. lets look at this. There is nothing that will change even if they win. The hack is out there... it's on the net, thusly it will be distributed. Heck right now it was costing peoples $63... the makers may out of sheer spite put it up for free on some torrent site out of Tonga or those other 'safe-haven' countries.

So at best... this stops *nothing* at worst it will make it that much more common.

Andy Chalk:
The lawsuit names the defendants as "Does 1 through 10," since the actual names of the people involved are unknown

If their real names are unknown, how do they expect to enforce any ruling? Do their online personas have assets that can be seized?

Avaholic03:

Andy Chalk:
The lawsuit names the defendants as "Does 1 through 10," since the actual names of the people involved are unknown

If their real names are unknown, how do they expect to enforce any ruling? Do their online personas have assets that can be seized?

I would assume they will seize the assets from that "donation" account and probably shut down the website. Also tracking down withdraws from that donation account might reveal the real names.

sue them to oblivion, nuke those cheaters offices from orbit and salt the earth so that nothing may ever grow in that place ever again... and thats only if they say they are sorry

if they dont, well, first we must find a way to bring Cthulhu to this realm...

vun:

Bat Vader:
It's cheaters like this that make cheaters like me look bad. I only cheat in single player since it doesn't effect anyone else but the idea of cheating in multiplayer just disgusts me.

Eh, I don't think online cheaters ruin the reputation of anyone who chooses to cheat in a single-player game. But then again, for all I know there could be far more people who are unable to see the difference between cheating that affects others and cheating that does not than I am aware of.

Personally, I despise people who cheat online and fully support Blizzard in this.
I also fully support anyone who decides to use cheats/trainers in single-player games because it only affects that one person and in some cases let you bypass annoying game design features(like auto-QTE trainer for the new Tomb Raider).

You'd be surprised. I used to frequent the VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) discussion forums on Steam, and it really was amazing how many people refused to distinguish between online and offline cheaters.

I even saw one idiot in a different forum telling another forum user he deserved to have his Steam account disabled because he used a Game Genie on his Super Nintendo. I bullshit you not: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/familysharing/discussions/0/846965882691848618/#p4 (Last part of post #106, just saying if you bother to check the link since it's VERY long). The reply was particularly hilarious, though.

Originality:
Cheating offline only cheats yourself out of the genuine experience.

True, however, for some players cheating is the only way they'll ever get to see the later parts of games. Too many of us start a game and, like recent statistical studies have shown, quit halfway through either because it's too hard, time consuming, or another game is released that piques our interest more.

As an example, I have a brother-in-law who would use cheat codes in just about every long campaign-type game he played (HoMM series being the one I remember most). When I asked him about it he said it'd take him too long to play it legitimately what with having to re-load earlier saves or even worse re-start entire scenarios just because he didn't know the maps or enemy strategies yet and lost part-way through. Cheating was the only way he could get through the games to the end and experience the full story even if it wasn't "earned".

In other words, for some players:
Don't cheat = see 10-25% of what the game creators wanted you to see...
Cheat = see the complete vision of what the developers had in mind for their game.

Of course that WAS only for single-player. He wouldn't do it for multi-player.

Infernal Lawyer:

vun:

Bat Vader:
It's cheaters like this that make cheaters like me look bad. I only cheat in single player since it doesn't effect anyone else but the idea of cheating in multiplayer just disgusts me.

Eh, I don't think online cheaters ruin the reputation of anyone who chooses to cheat in a single-player game. But then again, for all I know there could be far more people who are unable to see the difference between cheating that affects others and cheating that does not than I am aware of.

Personally, I despise people who cheat online and fully support Blizzard in this.
I also fully support anyone who decides to use cheats/trainers in single-player games because it only affects that one person and in some cases let you bypass annoying game design features(like auto-QTE trainer for the new Tomb Raider).

You'd be surprised. I used to frequent the VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) discussion forums on Steam, and it really was amazing how many people refused to distinguish between online and offline cheaters.

I even saw one idiot in a different forum telling another forum user he deserved to have his Steam account disabled because he used a Game Genie on his Super Nintendo. I bullshit you not: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/familysharing/discussions/0/846965882691848618/#p4 (Last part of post #106, just saying if you bother to check the link since it's VERY long). The reply was particularly hilarious, though.

I'm not surprised, there's a lot of dumbass comments all over Steam. Especially workshop comments, the level of inanity is unfathomable.

Charging for the cheat-mod means that (A) they have no chance in court and (B) they're in serious risk of being reeled in by the money trail.

Oh look Blizzard is throwing a hissy fit.

You know this wouldn't be that big of a problem if we could just cheat in the first place.

Despite being in support of Blizzard in trying to put a very real financial stop to an exploitation system that's sold for money, I also don't know how much I like the idea of a lawsuit being filed on the claims of "violation of digital property". Whilst these people clearly impact the game, it's also not without assumption that real-world laws should probably not apply here. The various agreements and signatures that we go through to access an online experience are, by and large, not actual legal documents, and I'd personally prefer them to stay that way. Being removed from the game is one thing, being charged under court for "cheating in SC2" scares the shit out of me, regardless of me not using any such exploits.

Assuming this case -only- involves the people who come out with these methods, especially on the counts of charging for their infringing product, then I suppose yeah, it's fine. If it becomes a precedent of accusation that extends to actual players, fuck that. I don't need a company swinging its dick around on its playerbase and impacting a real-world situation based on online experiences that aren't inherently breaking legality.

Valderis:
Oh look Blizzard is throwing a hissy fit.

You know this wouldn't be that big of a problem if we could just cheat in the first place.

Uhhh, what?

"Cheat in the first place?" What does that even mean? They're not suing some dude for creating single-player mission cheats or some-such nonsense.

Kuala BangoDango:

As an example, I have a brother-in-law who would use cheat codes in just about every long campaign-type game he played (HoMM series being the one I remember most). When I asked him about it he said it'd take him too long to play it legitimately what with having to re-load earlier saves or even worse re-start entire scenarios just because he didn't know the maps or enemy strategies yet and lost part-way through. Cheating was the only way he could get through the games to the end and experience the full story even if it wasn't "earned".

The problem with those "long" games is that most of its content is repetitive busy work. Basicly you allways do the same thing in the hero games, first you gather resources, build up your town and hero. Wait till you get the super unit of your faction and then go stomp the AI if it didnt unfairly screw you over... not because it plays smarter then you but because it gets a shitload of units for free despite the fact that it should not be able to produce that many, theres for example no way of bleeding out a AIs resources.

So yeah.. those long campaign games.. kinda get where the notion to cheat in them comes from because sometimes they are really frustrating. Especialy when the ubber army of the AI comes along to roflstomp you midgame and you have to start at zero because no matter how often you reload the last turn there is no way of beating the enemy.

Pyrian:
Charging for the cheat-mod means that (A) they have no chance in court and (B) they're in serious risk of being reeled in by the money trail.

As with many things the devils in the detail. They are not chargine for the cheat mod per say.. they are charging for a "premium" forum membership that so happens to contain the ability to download files from their site.

Biiiig difference in legal terms actually. And while i get all the outrage i do not like the idea that all mods are basicly copyright infringments. Cheating should be treated like doping is treated in sports. You get banned from ever participating in any sports event and have to pay a hefty fine if they catch you, but the last one is reserved for the pros. Everyone else just gets banned... a practice that happens today allready.

This case concerns me. If they win based upon some of the grounds they've stated (violations of the EULA for example) then the precedent that it sets/solidifies (the legal power behind EULA's is something that's still up in the air in a number of countries) is only going to harm consumers in the long run.

However if Blizzard wins purely on the grounds that the cheat is harmful to their business then I'm going to be quite pleased. Multiplayer cheating is scummy bullshit, however I'd rather have the legal wiggle room to laugh off the EULA and deal with some cheaters that will eventually get banned anyway than not and not.

This happens every now and then, people cheat/hack/Whatever in a blizz game, blizz sues. And then blizz wins. Which is pretty awesome.
You'd think people learn by now..

Wasn't there a guy last year that ended up owing them a few millions?

Baron_BJ:
This case concerns me. If they win based upon some of the grounds they've stated (violations of the EULA for example) then the precedent that it sets/solidifies (the legal power behind EULA's is something that's still up in the air in a number of countries) is only going to harm consumers in the long run.

However if Blizzard wins purely on the grounds that the cheat is harmful to their business then I'm going to be quite pleased. Multiplayer cheating is scummy bullshit, however I'd rather have the legal wiggle room to laugh off the EULA and deal with some cheaters that will eventually get banned anyway than not and not.

This covers many of my concerns. Additionally, I'm not sure I like their use of the DMCA/copyright law in the claim. It's one thing to accuse someone of theft or plagiarism, but this is closer to developing a tool specifically designed for a given product. It's gaming Croc Butter for jerks. I think most people that don't cheat online (IE Most People) are against it, but we need to be careful that we don't accidentally condone negative legal precedent...

Valderis:
Oh look Blizzard is throwing a hissy fit.

You know this wouldn't be that big of a problem if we could just cheat in the first place.

You do realize there are actually perfectly legit cheats for the single player parts, right?
You can cheat, just not in multiplayer.

If your argument is that cheating in multiplayer games should be allowed, I am afraid that you might have a very egocentric view on the world then.

I'm actually fine with this right now. But I can already see this as a legal precedent that opened the floodgates for EA to sue every modder out there who tries to "fix" one of many broken EA games and takes away even the smallest cut from their DLC sales by modding the game.

Baron_BJ:
This case concerns me. If they win based upon some of the grounds they've stated (violations of the EULA for example) then the precedent that it sets/solidifies (the legal power behind EULA's is something that's still up in the air in a number of countries) is only going to harm consumers in the long run.

However if Blizzard wins purely on the grounds that the cheat is harmful to their business then I'm going to be quite pleased. Multiplayer cheating is scummy bullshit, however I'd rather have the legal wiggle room to laugh off the EULA and deal with some cheaters that will eventually get banned anyway than not and not.

Your words echo my thoughts. I don't want there to be strong legal precedent for enforcing contracts you aren't privy to prior to purchase on products you can't return.

milijanko:
I'm actually fine with this right now. But I can already see this as a legal precedent that opened the floodgates for EA to sue every modder out there who tries to "fix" one of many broken EA games and takes away even the smallest cut from their DLC sales by modding the game.

That's what I'm worried about as well. I still play mods (for BF2 and Command & Conquer Generals primarily). I'm worried this will make it legal to deem mods "a violation of the EULA because 'it infringes on our intellectual property,' or whatever. For example, there are guys that ran a community for a BF2 mod that would ask for donations to keep their site/severs up and running. I wouldn't be surprised if EA (or someone) says that "these guys are profiting off of our product via their "mod," under the guise of "donations."

On the one hand, it sucks that there are people out there that will use hacks/cheats to ruin the experiences of others. On the other, I do enjoy seeing companies get riled up with other people use language like "donations" as a workaround in the hopes of avoiding litigation. To me, it's like fucking with the big guy. The way politicians accept "donations" and "campaign contributions," because outright saying "yeah, I'll take your money and as a result be more prone to cater to your interests" well, that'd be just "wrong."

It always a puzzle to me why these people don't operate out of countries where they can't get sued.

If you want to make a living out of this, you should at least protect yourself against lawsuits, especially from Blizzard who has sued cheatmakers before. Take it from the guy who creater the Glider Bot for WoW. He got sued by Blizzard and lost almost everything, as he explains in this very interesting video from DEFCON about cheating (worth watching all 50 minutes).

XenoScifi:
This is a great move to help curb online cheating. I agree with everything this lawsuit is aiming at all the way down to these cheats down right making a game look bad and in turn a potential loss of sales.

I hope this will pick up steam and other publishers start taking action.

Cheaters actually increase sales, they don't decrease it.

Cheaters cheat because they get a kick out of it, and since they run the risk of getting banned, they often purchase multiple accounts (I've heard of cheaters who have upwards 20 paid accounts just for one game), or maybe they just have one account that they just repurchase if they getbanned. So in fact cheaters are actually paying the most to the company on a per-customer basis.
This, btw, is also one of the reasons that companies does 'Ban waves' (banning a lot of cheaters at the same time, rather than banning cheaters the instant they detect them). Instant and frequent bans reduces the chance that cheaters will repurchase accounts, but occasional bans keeps them around. Ban waves are also good for marketing, since the game company can boast that it does something about cheaters, when in reality they are holding back.

The 'lost sales' argument is also a rather weak argument, although I'm sure it's still an easy sell in court. Unless the game is subscription based, like an MMO, people have already purchased the game, and since games sell most of their copies in the initial time of existence, your game will really need to have accrued a very bad reputation as a 'cheaters paradise'. And even then, most people who still buy it will still be unaware of that until they experience it first-hand. There is also little to no evidence that cheaters is a strong reason that people stop playing a certain game.

If this picks up, then cheaters will simply modify their tactics, and start releasing cheats from countries where they can't be prosecuted. You can make a lot of money with cheats (some people have made millions of dollars), so there isn't exactly a lack of motivation for relocating yourself if necessary.

So in short, this solves nothing, neither in the short or the long run, regarding cheaters. It does, however, have the potential to set a scary precedence regarding software modification (including mods that aren't cheating-related). So i sure as hell doesn't hope that this picks up... or at least i don't hope it's gonna have consequences for software modification outside of cheating.

I am completely behind Blizz in this one. Given that I haaaaaate spambots, hackers, cheating in games (minus of course using them in single-player and just messing around not harming anyone else)and just ruining people's days. Oh and gold sellers. God, I hate gold sellers.

captcha: one, two, three *DINGDINGDING*

Ranorak:

Valderis:
Oh look Blizzard is throwing a hissy fit.

You know this wouldn't be that big of a problem if we could just cheat in the first place.

You do realize there are actually perfectly legit cheats for the single player parts, right?
You can cheat, just not in multiplayer.

If your argument is that cheating in multiplayer games should be allowed, I am afraid that you might have a very egocentric view on the world then.

Of course cheating in multiplayer should be allowed, as long as both parties agree to allow it. It can be a lot of fun.

Valderis:

Ranorak:

Valderis:
Oh look Blizzard is throwing a hissy fit.

You know this wouldn't be that big of a problem if we could just cheat in the first place.

You do realize there are actually perfectly legit cheats for the single player parts, right?
You can cheat, just not in multiplayer.

If your argument is that cheating in multiplayer games should be allowed, I am afraid that you might have a very egocentric view on the world then.

Of course cheating in multiplayer should be allowed, as long as both parties agree to allow it. It can be a lot of fun.

What you're describing is custom games, and they exist already. This isn't talking about "mods", this is talking about taking the competetive experience on the ladder which is extremely rigid in its format, not "for funsies played with a friend" scenario. Blizzard doesn't sue people who just make stuff like in-editor maps (except that one thing that one time because of legit copyright concerns, but whatever).

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