Focused on the release of EA’s Battlefield 2142 and its inclusion of Gamespy Comrade, Viacom owned Xfire is suing Gamespy parent company IGN for copyright infringement.
Xfire claims in its complaint that the Buddy Sync feature of Gamespy Comrade infringes on Xfire’s copyrights by retrieving a user’s friends list from instant messaging services such as Xfire and giving players the option of automatically inviting those friends that have Gamespy accounts onto the user’s Comrade friends list.
Gamespy’s Comrade was launched in conjunction with Battlefield 2142 and gives users specialized in-game messaging and joining options. According to reports from Gamespot’s news service, Xfire CEO Michael Cassidy indicated how he believes the system works. “First, Cassidy said it reads the user’s Xfire handle from the XfireUser.ini file, then visits a formulaic URL on the Xfire site to get a list of the user’s friends (for instance, to find the friends list of Xfire user Aragorn, Comrade would go to http://www.xfire.com/friends/aragorn). The names on that friends list are then compared with a central IGN database of Comrade users’ Xfire handles, and if any matches turn up, the user is asked if they want to invite those people to their Comrade buddy lists.”
IGN argues that Xfire has no copyright claim on the user’s name or list of friends since they were created by the user. Though District Court Judge Susan Illston refused a Xfire’s request to halt the release of Battlefield 2142, the judge did state that Xfire had “raised serious questions as to the merits of at least some of its claims.”