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Blizzard Rains on Bnetd Project 771

Posted by michael
from the yellow-rain dept.
Sir Homer writes: "Blizzard Entertainment has shut down the bnetd project using the DMCA, as declared in their site. The bnetd project is a battle.net server emulator licenced under the GNU/GPL originally for Linux and also works on most Unix variants. Project details can be found on this freshmeat.net page." As I understood it, bnetd was a complete re-implementation of battle.net, so it isn't clear what copyright violation Blizzard alleges occurred. Note to bnetd: under the DMCA, you can file a counter-notice with the hosting provider asserting that Blizzard was wrong.
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Blizzard Rains on Bnetd Project

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  • by Rev. Null (127972) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:30PM (#3041634)
    You guys make some great games. I've had countless hours of fun with the Diablos, the Warcrafts, and Starcraft. Now I'll never buy any of your products again. Bye.
    • by i_am_nitrogen (524475) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:54PM (#3041770) Homepage Journal
      Don't be too hard on Blizzard themselves. It's all Vivendi's fault. Remember? The people who took MP3.com and turned it into an (even worse) annoyingly commercial craphole? The people who bought Sierra and Valve and Blizzard and made the policies on their games suck? Vivendi is evil, not Blizzard.
    • I've purchased virtually every game Blizzard has ever put out, and was really looking forward to Warcraft III. I won't be buying it now.

      Y'all might think about sending a nasty letter to Blizzard telling them what you think of them (include root@ and sales@; piracy@ might just be a dumping ground for vents), as I did. I doubt they give a shit if one pissed-off customer tells them to go to hell, but if five or ten thousand did that's a fair chunk of change....

      Max
      • What I'm hoping, is this was the work of some late night lawyer working there.
        Wishful scene.
        Blizzard guys come to work in the morning, read all the emails. Fire lawyer, say WOW this BNET thing, thats great, now we can release a public beta intended to run on servers other than battle.net and we don't have to worry about overloading the server. Yay! Call up the presses!

        Sorry just a dream! (I'd have to buy 5 copies of WC3 then, just on principle)
    • Wait a minute! The DMCA shouldn't apply at all in this case!

      They claim that bnetd is a copy protection circumvention device. Namely, that it allows you to play without a unique CD-key, i.e., a pirated copy. Problem is, the only thing the copy protection does is prohibit access to Blizzard's Battlenet. It doesn't keep you from playing single or multiplayer games at all. Bnetd is only a circumvention device if the people using it gain access to Battlenet where they otherwise wouldn't. That is not the case.

      It's like claiming a left-handed catcher's mitt is a circumvention device because people who use it won't be using the right-handed version to play baseball, ignoring the fact that you can still play without either.

  • Down with the DMCA! (Score:3, Informative)

    by I Want GNU! (556631) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:30PM (#3041639) Homepage
    We all know that the DMCA sucks, so how about we do something about it? Sign the "Abolish the Digital Millenium Copyright Act" petition! [petitiononline.com]. Oh yeah, and donate to the Free Software Foundation [fsf.org], those goes have been working pretty hard to stop this nonsense from taking place.

    It's time the politicians got some sense knocked into them.
  • Boycott (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qslack (239825) <qslack&pobox,com> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:31PM (#3041645) Homepage Journal
    bnetd was a lifesaver for me. Battle.net wouldn't work with my LAN setups so when I wanted to play with friends, one of them set up a bnetd. Thank you for all you've done, whoever wrote it.

    But on to the topic of Blizzard. They're soon to be releasing Warcraft III, and the Slashdot audience is going to be a major market for them. I think we should steer away from any of their products until they withdraw this complaint and compensate/apologize.

    So: when you see Warcraft III on the shelves, don't buy it. Buy Castle Wolfenstein or whatever, just don't buy products from a company who is against our rights on the net.
    • Re:Boycott (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cruciform (42896)
      Would sniffing packets be counter to the DMCA?
      I'm no coder, but I would assume that you could find most of the information you need to send and receive in the packets if you analyze it long enough. Can someone in the know elaborate on how they did it, and why it's counter to the DMCA?

      It's nice that we don't have that dumbass law up here (Canuck land), but then US lawmakers have no problems foisting such laws against friendly countries, so really none of us are safe.
      • Packet Dumps (Score:2, Interesting)

        by protektor (63514)
        Packet dumps of what is going on between the client and the server were exactly how the protocols for connecting to the servers were done I believe. I have several of the packet dump files here that people sent in to various of the developers to help fix bugs and figure out how things were suppose to be done.
    • Re:Boycott (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chasuk (62477)
      This all ignores one simple fact:

      If you buy a product from me on the condition that you only use it while wearing your grandmother's dress and masturbating into a jar of peanut butter, and you can't abide by those conditions, then don't buy the product.

      Now, if Blizzard doesn't have any legalese in their purchase agreement restricting services such as bnetd, then Blizzard can fuck themselves and you can do whatever you want with your game.

      Note that I care not one iota for the legal aspects of anything. The moral and the ethical aspects are my only concerns, and those are sometimes at odds with the legal framework. I won't live long enough even if I reach extreme old age to change unjust laws in the courts, but i do honor any and all contracts that I have assented to, and if Blizzard wants me in grannie's nightdress with peanut butter on my cock and I want to play Warcraft III bad enough, move over granny and hello, Jif.

      You can't get any simpler than that.

      Yes, I know that Blizzard are trying to prevent ther use/programming of a server product, but the same idea applies. Presuumably the programmers of bnetd had to obtain a legal copy in order to program their server. Therefore, if such a restriction exists in the Blizzard EULA, then I feel that the bnetd people are morally obligated to honor it. If not, well, as I said before, Blizzard can fuck thmselves.

      Does the restriction exist or not?
  • Overseas! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by starduste (550437) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:31PM (#3041647)
    What about hosting the site overseas? That way, the DMCA copyright law would not apply...
  • by Commienst (102745) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:32PM (#3041651) Homepage
    Sorry, ...

    ... we are down right now. However, this time it isn't because of technical reasons but for legal issues.

    This site has been disabled as requested by Blizzard Entertainment and it will remain closed as we have no legal recourse other than to file a lawsuit against a large corporation. This is due to 17 USC Section 512(c)(1)(C) (AKA DMCA, supposedly required to be passed by WIPO treaties). Blizzard claims bnetd is in violation of 17 USC Section 1201(b), though we do not agree with their interpretation. Blizzard refused to specify a specific list of files on this site so the whole thing must be blocked. We are very sorry for the inconvenience but there is nothing we can do.

    Text of original message follows:

    February 19, 2002

    Internet Gateway Inc.
    tjung@igateway.net
    noc@igateway.net
    hostmaster@igateway.net

    Dear Sir or Madam:
    This letter is to notify you, pursuant to the provisions of the Digital
    Millennium Copyright Act, that we believe one of your customers is
    infringing Blizzard Entertainment's, a division of Vivendi Universal Games,
    Inc. ("VUG"), copyrighted materials. Specifically, Blizzard Entertainment is
    the owner of the copyright for the computer games Diablo(r) II and StarCraft(r)
    and the multi-player server software run by Blizzard Entertainment on its
    Battle.net(r) site. The following site hosts and/or distributes software that
    violates Blizzard Entertainment's copyright:
    http://www.bnetd.org/
    The aforementioned site either hosts or distributes software which illegally
    modifies and/or alters Blizzard Entertainment copyrighted software or
    bypasses anti-circumvention technology, thereby infringing upon Blizzard
    Entertainment copyrights. Accordingly, Blizzard Entertainment demands that
    you act expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the web page listed
    above in order for you to claim a safe harbor under the DMCA from liability
    for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Please immediately
    delete or disable access to this web page and remove its contents from view.
    Should you have any questions, please contact the undersigned at
    piracy@blizzard.com or 949-955-1380 extension
    1616.
    I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained
    of is not authorized by Blizzard Entertainment, VUG, its agents or the law,
    and that the information in this notice is accurate. I declare under penalty
    of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that I am
    authorized to act on behalf of all of the aforementioned entities.

    Sincerely,
    Rod Rigole
    Corporate Counsel

    End of original message.

    We would like to thank our users for all the support and feedback over the years.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here we go, while it lasts:

    http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/~rocombs/sc/ [nmsu.edu]
  • While it's not GPLed, the battle net server that everyone actually uses is still available.

    There's no sign on their homepage that they have received nasty letters.

    http://www.fsgs.com
    • 1.5) What is the history of bnetd?

      The project started around the time Starcraft was released. It was created for hack value and as a solution for the problems mentioned in the reply to question 1.4.

      The original work was done by Mark, who maintained releases on http://www.starhack.ml.org/ through version 0.3. That version spawned several ports to MS-Windows, most notably FSGS. (...)
  • I think Blizzard may have the best reputation among gamers of any development company. They've never put out anything but great games. I guess they don't mind blowing all that goodwill away.

    It's obvious why Blizzard wishes this project didn't exist: they're trying to make money with Battle.net, and here these guys come along to potentially wipe out the market. So I might even have some degree of sympathy for them. But using the DMCA is just so obviously Wrong... it's practically immoral.

    There's business, there's even "playing rough", and then there's just plain being assholes. Blizzard has crossed the line, and I don't think I'll ever think of them as highly again.
    • Blizzard is the same company that incorporated SPY-WARE into StarCraft, and when called on it their response was akin to "Oh, you caught us... we'll take it out now, honest."

      That didn't stop me buying Diablo II a while later, but after this I sure as sh!t won't be buying anything from them again...
    • by alsta (9424) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:46PM (#3041736)
      Please excuse me, but:

      "But using the DMCA is just so obviously Wrong... it's practically immoral."

      I thought that the DMCA was immoral to start with. IANAL, but they could very well pull this off. And it could be worse than you might think.

      The battle.net servers store CD keys in some fashion to prevent multiple uses of the same key. In doing so, they can and probably will, claim that it is a copy protection device. You know, the kind that is illegal to circumvent, or provide means of circumvention to others, under the DMCA.

      Enter bnetd. This is a GPL project which can be run by anybody, anywhere. Now these CD keys don't have to be checked, because the server might not require that. Hence paving way for your local lan party, using one CD key. Very much a circumvention of a protective device, if their device is what I described earlier.

      Now, the real motive is why Blizzard may be trying to do this. Sales may be one issue, but it is still going to be fairely limited to people who know what they're doing. The more feasible version is probably that they're looking to charge an access fee for battle.net. The bnetd project would make a huge dent in such efforts, if not strike it down.

      Here's the good part about that. If the bnetd people can reasonably prove that Blizzard acted in bad faith, the case may be dismissed.

      But then again, IANAL.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        This is exactly what they are claiming. But it doesn't make sense for a few reasons:

        1) The game could check for duped keys itself since it has to talk to the other clients. It does not.
        2) The user could play over TCP/IP with Diablo II and older games allowed playing with IPX
        3) The CDKEY check can not be implemented in third-party servers because it is encrypted! The number is different every time - even for the same key!

        The bnetd project has been very careful to stay away from cracks, serial numbers, ISOs, etc. They were removing items like those from the message boards. It sure didn't seem to help them in the end!


        • perfect example of how the dmca is a tool to eliminate competition, not fight piracy.

          But the problem is, all of those points are just moot unless the bnetd folks can come up with the cash for a prolonged legal fight.

  • The only solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Prop (4645) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:36PM (#3041682) Homepage

    People bitch about the DMCA but if Blizzard comes out with a must have game, will you go out and buy it anyway ?

    Time to show you intend to punish companies that wield the DMCA to clobber the little guys.

    Boycott Blizzard.

    • Blizzard is a big player in the PC videogame industry, but Slashdots million (?) readers are still an important slice of market pie for blizzard. Those half a million copies of Diablo II we bought (you know you did, even though Lord British's disembodied head came to you in a dream and told you not to; that the game was stupid and had no plot) brought them over 10 million dollars of pure profit - cash money to swim in, through up in the air and let it rain down on their heads.

      So, that's 2 for a boycott. No more blizzard games for me, until they disavow this bullshit in writing. Also, I need to knock off the red wine and sharp cheddar before going to sleep.
    • by zerocool^ (112121) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:30PM (#3041939) Homepage Journal
      It won't do anything.

      I hate to burst the /. reader's bubble, but the collective group of us boycotting a game will do *nothing* to hurt blizard.
      Let's think about this: Slashdot has about a quarter million users. Of these, about 1/3 are zealots who don't run windows, not even for the little pleasures. Of the remaining, i would suspect fewer than 1/5 of them *EVER* buy software because they feel damnit it should be free (beer). And after that, I would say that 10% of the remaining windows users who don't pirate software actually play blizard games but would be still willing to participate in a boycot. The rest will go on buying the game anyway because it's going to be a good game.

      So we're left with 3000 people that will take part in a boycot against the DCMA and Blizzard simultaneously. Oh Ouch. How many copies of diablo II have sold? [blizzard.com]
      Well here's a guess. 2.75 Million copies. And again, [blizzard.com]
      how about the expansion? Another million copies. Boycotting them will do no good.

      Now, I was trying to figure out why they did this, and I was thinking "oh this is easy, there's a charge for playing on battle.net, that's their revenue model. But on battle.net [battle.net] i found this:
      Battle.net provides an arena for Blizzard customers to chat, challenge opponents and initiate multiplayer games, at no cost to the user. There is no hourly or monthly fee to use Battle.net, and there is no startup charge. To play a supported game over the Internet with other players worldwide, simply select the Battle.net option from within the game.

      So what gives, blizard? How is this helping you? Are there ads in battle.net? Do you use it for free market research somehow? Do you simply want to track ALL of the online blizard games going on? Throw me a bone here.

      But let's be serious: I'm not going to boycott blizzard. They've only released 5 games in their history, yet they've ALL been fantastic smash hits that i've loved. So I'm just going to go do the exact same thing that every other casual windows user on slashdot is going to do. I'm going to wait for a copy of it to hit kopykatz or morpheus and download it.

      Boo fucking hoo, boycot.

      ~z
      • Re:The only solution (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rbeattie (43187) <russ@russellbeattie.com> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:46PM (#3042453) Homepage
        You're an idiot.

        You boycott something by not buying the product and then actively telling your friends and relatives not to buy it either. Whenever you hear people mention the name, you go into litanies about the company and don't shut up until whoever is listening to you agrees not to buy the product either. You post to message boards, you bug your local merchant, you do what you need to do to get your message across. Maybe you'll be lucky and get someone in the press to notice and then the word will spread even more.

        3000 people know a lot of people. It's a networking effect.

        -Russ
    • Boycott Blizzard ? No no.. boycott Vivendi! (if that is at all possible).

      We need to (at least try to) kick the shiznit out of these media monstrosities. They are the ones who use bribery to turn their fascist ideals into federal laws. They are the ones who squelch out free speech with the megaphone that is capitalism. They are the ones who will ultimately turn everything into a 1984 nightmare, and it's going to be much sooner than we all think unless we wake the fuck up and start defending ourselves against this absolute corruption.
  • by Baca (7658) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:38PM (#3041695)
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/bnetd

    CVS, and the downloadable files are still there for now.
    • "This Project Has Not Released Any Files" ...

      ... Nothing there to be shut down.
      • "This Project Has Not Released Any Files"

        When you see this on SourceForge, it generally means that everything the project has done up to that point is considered beta quality at best. There is no official "release" of the project yet. However, there is often a CVS repository that can be used to slurp up the current state of the project. The parent poster was attempting to point out that you can still use CVS to download this from SourceForge. I hope Blizzard misses this point long enough for a ton of people to get the files.

        In addition to the boycotts being called for, I thought of a way for development to start back up. Use anonymous remailers to post signed tarballs and patches to USENET. That's awkward but would allow development to start back up unimpeded by Blizzards lawyerbots. Serve 'em right too.

        This could be a killer app for Freenet if someone could think of a way to host a project inside it's cloud.
  • by crisco (4669) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:39PM (#3041702) Homepage
    to YRO, any bets whether it gets double posted to /. twice?

    Seriously though, this only happened when someone warezed the WarcraftIII beta and modified it to work with BNetD, creating an 'open' beta test. This obviously infuriated Blizzard into having the BNetD project shut down. A shame too, since it doesn't cost them anything to have quite a few more of their fans playing the beta.

    • by crisco (4669)
      double posted to /. twice?

      shame I didn't notice the 'double twice' when I previewed...

  • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:39PM (#3041705) Homepage Journal
    Digital Millenium Copyright Act: (layman's definition) A piece of legislature which prevents people from thieving digital ideas or products and publishing them as their own.

    BNETD: A program that emulates a battle.net server.

    Notice how it says "server"? Blizzard doesn't sell their server software, and nor does BNETD allow people to play the Blizzard games. I've never heard of a company shutting down a utility on the grounds that it enables more people to use their product. That'd be like a bucket company suing a mop company for making mops designed to fit in their buckets.

    DMCA all over again...
    • Your analysis is wrong. The relevant section of the DMCA prohibits the trafficking of devices that circumvent access controls for a copyrighted work.

      Copyright already prohibits the thieving of digital products, and patent law protects ideas.

      However, I do agree that the DMCA is inapplicable to bnetd. That's because there is no circumvention of access controls going on, and because there is a specific exception to the anti-circumvention clause for the purpose of developing interoperable software. (See my post "sound like bullshit" for more detail.)
  • Anyone have a download link to another source archive so we can all get it before it goes away?
  • I went to the project's home page, and noticed everything was double rot13 encrypted.

    How to Blizzard know what the page was about unless they cracked the encryption? Time to send our lawyers out.
  • by csen (41241) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:41PM (#3041715) Homepage
    I'm willing to bet some Warcraft III ladder points that the timing of bnetd being shut down was due to the Warcraft III beta. People (myself included) are using it to play the beta illegally, which maybe made them think that we'd simply use the cracked beta instead of buying the game at a later date. I still don't understand what's so bad about a few thousand extra beta testers, but hey, it's their product, they have the right to do whatever they want with it.
    • and they don't have the right to do whatever they want with it.
    • by TrIaX (59440) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:08PM (#3042224)

      The BNetD project had NO support for Warcraft 3 in it, and the team was not planning on even starting to add Warcraft3 support to it until it was officially released by Blizzard.

      What you had was a group of people downloading the source code and modifying the source code to work with Warcraft 3, OUTSIDE of the BNetD tree. The BNetD project had nothing to do with the leaking of the Warcraft 3 beta, nor the support for the non-blizzard bnet servers for War3.

      What you basically have is somebody getting ahold of an Open Source program, changing the source to violate license agreements with Blizzard (beta testers, read the agreement over) or enabling people to play pirated beta copies of the software, and the original open source project getting busted for it. This would be like somebody downloading the source for grep, changing it to automatically break out copy protection in some program, distributing it back out on the net and then the companies going after grep as being the issue.

      This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I also just cancelled my pre-order of Warcraft 3.

  • by dbrown (29388) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:45PM (#3041732) Homepage
    If I remember correctly, Battle.net is a completely free service. It's not like bnetd was taking revenue away from some online service Blizzard has. However, Battle.net does serial number verification. You cannot create a battle.net account without a unique serial number which is only obtained by buying a legit copy of the game.

    I don't know enough about bnetd, but I would bet that bnetd doesn't do serial number verification. This basically allows everybody to use the same warez copy of a particular game and enjoy the benefits of Battle.net. I'm sure this is the largest reason why Blizzard wants to shut them down. Blizzard doesn't make any money off its free Battle.net service, but it does enforce that people actually buy the game.

    - d
  • Blizzard's Lawyers (Score:5, Informative)

    by protektor (63514) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:48PM (#3041744)
    Well I talked with Blizzards lawyers about this. They claim the problem is that bnetd doesn't have the CD-KEY anti-piracy that their servers have. Thus anyone with pirated copy can play online with bnetd but not on battle.net, thus we are encouraging piracy by providing a place for people with pirate copies to play online.

    I suspect the real reason is the Warcraft 3 BETA mess. Combine this with the issue of other groups (http://www.madgrfx.com/warforge.html, http://www.clan519.com/, and a group on DALnet #bnetd) trying to say that they were the bnetd group and began working to support the Warcraft 3 BETA being pirated everywhere. Well I am sure that didn't help things at all.
    • > They claim the problem is that bnetd doesn't have the CD-KEY anti-piracy that their servers have.

      This raises some obvious questions:

      a) If bnetd did have the cd-key anti-piracy implimented, would Blizzard allow bnetd to exist?

      b) Would Blizzard offerer any source, or binaries (.lib, .dll) to authenticate CD-KEYs ?
  • by mrAgreeable (47829) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:50PM (#3041751)
    They implement copy protection via a serial number, which is verified online through the battle.net servers. If you have your own server, and modify your hosts file or whatever so that it goes to this new server instead of the battle.net server, their copy protection is circumvented. The DMCA says you can't make a device ("device" having been interpreted to mean software) that bypasses copy protection.

    It's a terrible law, which copyright holders can apply in far too broad a scope, but terrible or not, it's on the books. Write your legislator, or hope the supreme court finally stops it.
    • I didn't modify my hosts file, I modified my DNS server. So, if you "accidentally" happen to point your DNS to .. oh, say ... [number ommitted to prevent slashdot effect], and try to connect to US West battle.net, it will go to US West battle.net. Try to connect to ASIA battle.net, and what's this? A bnetd server!
  • Perhaps the _REAL_ reason they did this was because of Warcraft III Beta.... Since W3 is Battle.net only, It doesn't make sense to give copies to all your friends... they can use up your cd key (and since there's only 5000 copies, Blizzard likely has a list of all valid keys making a keygen futile)

    Now with this bnetd, you can copy your Warcraft III Beta CD over and over again and simply play on your LAN or any bnetd server

    With that in mind, Blizzard probably should have gone a different route then using the DMCA
  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbridge21 (90597) <jeffrey+slashdot@@@firehead...org> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:53PM (#3041767) Journal
    http://censored.firehead.org:1984/bnetd/

    I expect to get the CVS version of the project up there soon as well.
  • Bye Blizzard. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Restil (31903) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:54PM (#3041773) Homepage
    You've fallen. Starcraft was one of my favorite games. In fact, its the last game I ever bought, as I'm no longer much of a gamer. Me sitting here vowing to never purchase another of your games will no doubt fall on deaf ears, and it would be a pointless guesture since I'm not buying them anyways.

    But consider something. bnetd costs you nothing. If anything, it saves you bandwidth costs. You still sell the games. Oh, sure, you might complain that there's no cd key verification in bnetd and people can play cracked copies online with others now. Is this your reason? Perhaps it makes sense. Perhaps it doesn't. Maybe this gives cheaters the upper hand, maybe it doesn't. Maybe nobody really cares anyways.

    What have you accomplished? Did the DMCA stop the proliferation of decss? No, it just moved it underground. You've taken a legal product and forced them to become outlaws. Now they have NO desire to cooperate with you, nor should they. Here is a group of people, who for NO MONEY WHATSOEVER have taken it upon themselves to provide services in your honor, to promote your products. And how do you respond?

    What could these people have done for you? Its these same dedicated individuals who spend countless hours creating maps, who create all the fan sites. Creating for years on end an almost insatiable market of gamers who drool in anticipation of your next quality release, so they can start all over again starting with a purchase that puts money in your pocket and funds your next game. They're your customers. They're people who have a vested entertainment interest in prolonging the life and creative talents of your fine establishment. Without these people, your games would have no community. They would be played for a few months then forgotten. Your sales would never reach the levels you're used to seeing. These people are the reason you exist as you do today.

    And you've just gone and pissed them all off. Great job. I truely admire your lack of vision.

    -Restil
    • please see: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CTho9305 (264265)
      if this [slashdot.org] is in fact the case, I musta gree with blizzard. Even though the DMCA has many bad uses, this would be a good use IMHO. Unfortunately, the RIAA could cite a good use like this as evidence of its "good"-ness
    • I'll still buy Blizzard games, assuming I can find them for under $10.

      I hope if you're really concerned, you sent an email to Blizzard's marketing department containing the above text. It's not like all the people at Blizzard are going to be browsing Slashdot and happen to see this post.
    • Re:Bye Blizzard. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Soko (17987) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:38PM (#3041986) Homepage
      Your answer is in the letter sent to the bnetd folks, as posted here [slashdot.org]:

      Blizzard Entertainment's, a division of Vivendi Universal Games,
      Inc. ("VUG"), copyrighted materials.

      *Subliminal Guy mode on* VU are the same nice people (blood sucking control freaks) that bring you movies (and prosecute the exchange of ideas like DeCSS), music (and squash P2P music exchange) as well as other forms of entertainment (cultural control). *SubGuy mode off*

      Go figure.

      Soko

    • The DMCA threats against DeCSS didn't move it underground, they moved it into the public spotlight!

      I agree with what you're saying, though. There's a certain knee-jerk reaction to these intellectual "property" issues that make companies do dumb stuff sometimes. They should take lessons from id software, who build a very strong user base through active collaboration with their fan developers. (Though I would like to see what would happen if someone made a server for Q3A that didn't check CD keys...)
  • by tsm_sf (545316) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:55PM (#3041777) Journal

    Ok, here's the contact info straight from their web site, if you feel like voicing your opinion. Couldn't really find a "bitch at us" address...

    Blizzard Entertainment
    P.O. Box 18979
    Irvine, CA 92623

    Sales Information/Ordering
    USA: (800) 953-SNOW
    International: (949) 955-0283
    sales@blizzard.com

    Support
    support@blizzard.com or
    macsupport@blizzard.com

  • This is nothing new. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maul (83993) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:07PM (#3041833) Journal
    One of my roomates was responsible for the work (mainly analyzing the packets) that brought bnetd to
    life several years ago. In fact, the news was on Slashdot at the time, IIRC. He gave the project to
    someone else, and no longer has anything to do with
    bnetd.

    Incidentally, he told me he recieved a cease and desist order from Blizzard when the news got out about his work. He also says he ignored it, and
    nothing happened. However, this was before the DMCA existed, IIRC, so now Blizzard has the
    teeth to follow through.

    So Blizzard has been after bnetd before. This is
    nothing new.
    • by markb (6556)
      Actually, it was the SPA that sent me the cease and desist e-mail. I exchanged a few e-mails with the SPA lawyer until he didn't respond any more. The Slashdot story is here:

      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=older/980411091 225 [slashdot.org]

      I imagine the publicity that the Slashdot story generated was what convinced the SPA and Blizzard to back off. Maybe it will work again this time.

      Anyway, I'm somewhat amused to be a certified DMCA criminal! ;)

    • WARNING: IANAL

      Actually, IIRC, the DMCA has statutes/statements in it about how the law isn't retroactive (IOW: if someone started circumventing an access control method prior to the law taking effect, the DMCA couldn't be used against them). If your friend indeed started working on this prior to the enactment of the DMCA, I don't think the BNetD guys have anything to worry about.

      It might be worth looking into, sure, it's a backwards way to avoid the DMCA affecting their work, but it sure beats folding like they have.
  • I can say for a fact I know bnetd was being used to play pirated copies of Warcraft III.

    Yet, Blizard was dumb enough not to put any protections in their software to make it harder to pirate. If they were smart, they would have done something similar to Windows' WPA crap (I hate it, but it does a good job) and catalogued all of the user's hardware as soon as they install the software.
  • Yes, I'll re-open the project in a server here in Brazil! And now I want to know: Who will shut me down? Who will tell me that I can't do a deamon like this because the law in a North American country does not allow?

    I say let's re-open and wait for the evil-axis come and close us.

  • That's two in one day.
    Two companies I actually like(d) (Nintendo being the other), both using the Digital Consumer Molestation Act to be total jerks.

    Wonderful.

    C-X C-S
    To hell with nat^H^H^Hpatriotism. America sucks more every day.
  • by moebius_4d (26199) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:23PM (#3041915) Journal
    Subject: DMCA action => no more customer
    From: [my email address]
    Date: 20 Feb 2002 22:16:13 -0500
    To: Rod Rigole

    Dear Mr. Rigole:

    Blizzard has had good success in parting me from my money. I have half a
    shelf of the fine games your company has produced. However, that era is
    over. Your ridiculous and short-sighted attack on the bnetd project,
    claiming that the creation of a program that interfaces with your
    somehow infringes on your copyright, may successfully stop that
    interesting effort. Regardless of its success, it has cost you my
    business forever, and you may rest assured that I will bring to the
    attention of anyone soliciting my views of what to purchase your
    company's bad behavior.

    In an industry where some companies, like iD and Sierra, find great
    success in opening their flagship products for interoperability with
    customer-designed modifications, and even release old source code as a
    learning resource for the larger community, your company has decided
    that preventing enthusiasts from working with your products somehow
    protects you. What it will protect you from is getting any more of my
    money.

    Sincerely,

    [signature]
    • I'm distressed and disappointed to see the legal action initialized against
      the bnetd project. In fact, it has distressed me to the point at which I
      have decided to try to share what distress I can.

      Until this evening I was really looking forward to playing Warcraft III when
      it was released, in fact, I was expecting it to have a shot at being in the
      running for the the best game of all time. Alas, it appears that my
      enthusiasm will be for naught, because I will not purchase another Blizzard
      product, or any product distributed by Vivendi until a retraction and public
      apology is made. Your vicious attack on this charity software based on
      entirely imagined copyright infringements is disgusting enough to me to
      permanently boycott your company.
  • I've just written a quick letter to sales. I include it here to hopefully inspire a few more to respond to them in a civil and straight-forward manner in the hopes we can get them to reconsider:

    Subject: bnetd.org, please reconsider

    Dear Sirs,

    I am a happy and proud owner of Warcraft II, Warcraft II Expansion, Diablo, Diablo II, Starcraft and Starcraft Brood Wars. I've enjoyed a great many hours playing your excellent games both stand alone and on Battle.net, and occasionally on bnetd when Battle.net was either having some splitting issues, was overloaded, or we were firewall imprisoned.

    I am very disappointed in the legal bullying action that Blizzard has taken towards and open source reverse engineering project that in no way harms Blizzard's core properties or business. People using these systems don't see enough impressions on Battle.net to make a significant difference on ad revenue or impact, and in many cases would simply not be able to enjoy the multi-player aspect of the games without bnetd. This is akin to Blizzard attacking the Wine project that allows many of us to run a great set of games under Linux rather than having to use a less capable and less stable OS from Microsoft. Fortunately you also port to Macintosh, which I wish to thank you as well for a great Starcraft Carbon patch to make it OS X native. That's the best platform I've seen your game on yet.

    I ask you to please rescind you legal action against the bnetd team, as they are only trying to help your business and make your games more accessible to a wider variety of players in a more diverse and distributed set of network scenarios.

    I hope you will reconsider. If you continue the questionable enforcement of a bad law, I will be forced to act in accordance with my conscience and unhappily not purchase the Diablo II expansion, and further not purchase the Warcraft III game due to your company offering no substitutes to take the place of the products you have wrongly and unfairly taken action against. Products done by people on their own time without hope or expectation of compensation of any kind, but only in the interests of being able to play the games of yours that we have paid for.

    sincerely, etcetc...[snip]

    Feel free to use parts or all of the above in your communications if you think it will help.

  • From the bnetd.org site:
    ===>QUOTE
    This site has been disabled as requested by Blizzard Entertainment and it will remain closed as we have no legal recourse other than to fight a long protracted lawsuit against a large corporation. This is due to 17 USC Section 512(c)(1)(C) (AKA DMCA, supposedly required to be passed by WIPO treaties). Blizzard claims bnetd is in violation of 17 USC Section 1201(b), though we do not agree with their interpretation. Blizzard refused to specify a specific list of files on this site so the whole thing must be blocked. We are very sorry for the inconvenience but there is nothing we can do.
    ===>END QUOTE

    Enjoy your victory. I will never again by any product from Vivendi Universal, including games, music, software or television signals. I've canceled my Cable and DTV.

    I intend to make my position clear to my elected officials that my support for their campaign will be subject to a simple litmus test: The DMCA has got to go.

    Yes, Vivendi Universal deserves compensation for works they license from artists. Yes, the artist needs to be paid. No, you don't get to run roughshod over every one in the world in the name of "Intellectual Property". The above example and the fact you did not state the files in question clearly indicate that you have no intention whatever of honestly challenging the content provided, and do not wish to honestly engage in protecting your legitimate interests. This was, in my opinion, strictly a move to shutdown speech you do not like.

    Since this asinine behavior doesn't seem to be limited to Vivendi Universal, I am boycotting all MPAA/RIAA members. Those that can create are few. Those that wish to push off substandard swill and non-confrontational news reporting on a dumbed down populace can watch my tiny trickle of revenue go to other pursuits. I'm voting with my feet and pocketbook. I'm sure you will never miss my tiny trickle of money. It is my hope that with this public letter, others will decide as I have and vote with their feet. May that tiny trickle turn into a tsunami of adverse public opinion and bury you.

    I am challenging my peers to a very simple action: For every dollar they spend on an MPAA or RIAA member's products, donate ten cents to The Electronic Frontier Foundation, join EFF as a dues paying member, and in addition, find one member of the general public each month and explain just how Sony, AOL/TIME WARNER/CNN, Vivendi, and the other MPAA/RIAA members are eroding the rights and privileges of a free society. I urge all to check www.opensecrets.org and see just how much money lobbyist spend to further the causes of the giant IP owners, who gets that money, and call the official on it and make them accountable to those that cast the votes, not those that cast the dollars.

    I sincerely hope that MPAA/RIAA members will re-think their position on the DMCA, and come to realize that the Nazi Copyright Police have no place in a community that wishes to further the free exchange of ideas, and to do otherwise is un-American, anti-freedom, shameful and dishonest.

  • Yawn. (Score:2, Funny)

    by base3 (539820)
    Another day, another dollar. File, Save as, \\xr4ti\downloads\suppressed, OK

    . . .

    Directory of \\charon\downloads\suppressed

    02/20/2002 09:25 PM <DIR> .
    02/20/2002 09:25 PM <DIR> ..
    07/27/2001 01:34 PM 746,194 aebpr22.zip
    01/12/2002 10:57 AM <DIR> ASPI Me (backdate to 1998)
    02/20/2002 09:18 PM <DIR> Blizzard Jackboots
    09/22/2001 04:05 PM <DIR> Broadcast 2000
    01/30/2002 04:22 PM <DIR> eBookReader (old verson)
    06/07/2001 06:50 PM <DIR> PanoTools
    08/25/2001 12:06 PM <DIR> SKIE
    06/08/2001 07:24 PM <DIR> TiVo MPEG
    12/31/2001 08:00 AM <DIR> WMA crack (v7)
    12/31/2001 08:06 AM <DIR> Xolox
    08/25/2001 12:06 PM <DIR> xp-stuff
    1 File(s) 746,194 bytes
    12 Dir(s) 10,921,562,112 bytes free

    Think these intellectual property assmonkeys see a pattern yet? If you want the widest distribution of a file, just try to stamp it out.

    * machine names changed to protect the guilty

  • by Malk-a-mite (134774) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:37PM (#3041975) Journal
    Adjust to your needs and fill in the blanks.
    Was orginally made to deal with Napster issues at the height of the craze.
    --
    Malk-a-mite
    =============

    Dear Internet Service Provider:

    This letter is written in response to your notification to me of a complaint received about my webpage(s). The pages in question are:

    (insert list of URLs here).

    The complainant's claim of copyright violation should be rejected because (please see all checked items):

    The material in question is not copyrighted, or the copyright has expired. It is therefore in the public domain and may be reproduced by anyone.

    The complainant has provided no copyright registration information or other tangible evidence that the material in question is in fact copyrighted, and I have a good faith belief that it is not. The allegation of copyright violation is therefore in dispute, and at present unsupported.

    The complainant does not hold the copyright to the material in question and is not the designated representative of the copyright holder, and therefore lacks standing to assert that my use of the material is a violation of any of the owner's rights.

    My use of the material is legally protected because it falls within the "fair use" provision of the copyright regulations, as defined in 17 USC 107. If the complainant disagrees that this is fair use, he or she is free to take up the matter with me directly, in the courts. You, the ISP, are under no obligation to settle this dispute, or to take any action to restrict my speech at the behest of this complainant. Furthermore, siding with the complainant in a manner that interferes with my lawful use of your facilities could constitute breach of contract on your part.

    The complaint does not follow the prescribed form for notification of an alleged copyright violation as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 USC 512(c)(3).
    Specifically, the complainant has failed to:

    Provide a complaint in written form.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)]

    Include a physical or electronic signature of the complainant.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(i)]

    Identify the specific copyrighted work claimed to be infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single complaint, provide a representative list of such works.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(ii)]

    Provide the URLs for the specific files on my website that are alleged to be infringing.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iii)]

    Provide sufficient information to identify the complainant, including full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iv)]

    Include a written statement that the complainant has a good faith belief that use of the disputed material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(v)]

    Include a written statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
    [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi)]

    This communication to you is a DMCA counter-notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3):

    I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law.

    My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:
    (insert your name, address and phone number here).

    I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside (or, if my address is outside the United States, any judicial district in which you, the ISP, may be found).

    I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.

    My actual or electronic signature follows: ________________________________.

    Having received this counter-notification, you are now obligated under

    17 USC 512(g)(2)(B) to advise the complainant of this notice, and to restore the material in dispute (or not take the material down in the first place), unless the complainant files suit against me within 10 days.


    David S. Touretzky is a principal scientist in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Dear Vendors:

    We really hate the DMCA.

    No. I don't think you understand. We *REALLY* hate the DMCA.

    So if you think you have been wronged, feel free to send out your lawyers. Just do NOT invoke the DMCA, or you are going to have a lot of your potential early adopters start spitting when they see your corporate logo.

    Signed,
    Someone who usually will buy your games

  • This was an incredibly stupid miscalculation. If you run a company that makes a living off the disposable cash of geeks, you don't use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to shut down a SourceForge project! They might as well shrinkwrap their games in flashy packaging that says "Boycott us!" Anybody who uses the DMCA for anything is getting lots of hostile attention. Using such a hated law to attack your own customers is pretty risky for such an easily boycottable company. I hope they've all been polishing their resumes.

    I'm going to stick to the moral high ground, and never play another Blizzard game again unless it's a pirated version.
    • I'm going to stick to the moral high ground, and never play another Blizzard game again unless it's a pirated version.
      Uhm, I don't see how pirating software is sticking to the moral high ground. I can see how boycotting Blizzard products might be the moral high ground, but that doesn't justify you pirating their software. Just cause Blizzard is doing something wrong doesn't mean you can do something wrong back at them. You should probably get off your moral high horse.
  • by Tom7 (102298) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:41PM (#3042006) Homepage Journal

    I'm no lawyer, but this sounds like pure bullshit to me.

    It's common practice for corporate lawyers to send vague threatening (but totally unfounded) e-mails to people when they don't like what they're doing, even if they have no intention to fight a losing legal battle.

    Here's why I think this is stupid:

    - The anti-circumvention clause deals with access to a copyrighted work. There doesn't appear to be a copyrighted work in question here.

    - There is an explicit exception for reverse engineering for the purpose of interoperability, with a sentence like, "... to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs." Which seems to be almost precisely what they are doing.

    FYI, the text of the DMCA is here: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/92chap12.html [loc.gov] .

    Even if you can't afford a lawsuit, please guys, make it expensive (in some sense) for corporations to make these kinds of threats. That can mean fighting back a little and racking up legal fees, that can mean spreading the word on fansites and such and causing an *increase* in popularity (when what they want to do of course is to stifle the project). It can mean starting up your own similar project and making them have to track you down and threaten you, too.

    Personally, I've had a couple of these run-ins myself. For the first one, I got help from the FSF and the lawyers finally backed off. Most recently, I had a run in with some type foundries over my program "embed" ( http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~twm/embed/ [cmu.edu] ); simply letting the lawyer know that I wasn't willing to back down without a fight convinced them to give up.

  • From Blizzard's domain registration, company e-mails appear to be first initial/last name.

    The president of blizzard is Michael Morhaime [mailto] and the vice-president is Frank Pearce [mailto] and the chairman is Allen Adham [mailto]

  • Just a point of clarification. Obviously bnetd is not copyright violation since it is reverse engineered. But this isn't why they are getting shut down...


    The aforementioned site either hosts or distributes software which illegally
    modifies and/or alters Blizzard Entertainment copyrighted software or
    bypasses anti-circumvention technology

    The reason Blizzard is panicked about bnetd is that it bypasses their "anti-circumvention technology". In other words, Blizzard will claim that the BattleNet servers are their method of ensuring that people don't illegally copy their games. It is the only time that they check to make sure that you aren't using somebody else's licence. At least in the past, Blizzard game installations have not checked with centralized servers to make sure you don't install on multiple machines. The only thing that you couldn't do if you installed on multiple machines with the same licence was play on BattleNet. Now that has been taken away from them and there is nothing that a copied version of a Blizzard game lacks.


    It seems like there are few solutions to this (other than legal ones which are costly and only piss people off):


    1. Blizzard could take a Microsoft approach and check a centralized database when you install the game to make sure that licence wasn't installed on somebody else's computer. In other words, they could come up with another method of anti-circumvention technology
    2. The bnetd guys could try to cooperate with them. They could somehow check with BattleNet to make sure that multiple users aren't using the same licence even if they are on a bnetd server. (I think CounterStrike does something like this since I tried to get it to work with a cracked version of Half-Life and it yelled at me saying I had a bad registration code.)
    3. The bnetd guys could build a set of features not offered at all in the regular BattleNet servers. This seems like the most important thing for them to do since if the only difference between their version and the official one is that it allows users to play without legit codes, Blizzard could definitely peg them as "circumvention technology". They may already offer a better feature set, I've never used it. I'm just saying that this will be their strongest point.

    Anyways, I hate to see big companies picking on fan-made tools, but I guess I understand why Blizzard feels threatened. I hope they can come to a mutually satisfying agreement that will let us all have more fun with Blizzard games but still lets Blizzard make money since they work long and hard to make quality games (far better games than any free-software group has ever made IMHO).

  • Ok, I know I'm posting this a bit late, but if anyone sees it mod up! 2 things.

    1 The DMCA/Blizzard thing is not new. They've tried it against many many sites and people that release hacks for their games (such as duping in diablo or maphack in sc)

    2. It's a shame that blizzard pulled a DMCA on bnetd, but the reason for them shutting down it down were legit. Basically right now the beta for warcraftIII is out, but only 5,000 out of 100,000 got it. As a result many many rabid fans have gone to desperate measures to get it. Right now the ways to play it without getting the beta mainly consist of getting the ISO using one a ripped key or else a no key hack and then playing with another single player hack. Blizzard cannot do much about this and the player can't really play against opponents since there is no computer ai in the beta. Recently (friday) Bnetd released their a new underground version that will allow war3 to be played. This is why blizzard doesn't want it. They don't want a public beta for reason that I will not get into here.
  • by tweakt (325224) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:44PM (#3042438) Homepage
    FREE STANDARD GAME SERVER

    Check out FSGS, it's available for windows and linux and works great. I tested it at a lan party, we played 4 or 5 8-player starcraft games with it on the local LAN using TCP/IP!! (NO MORE IPX!!!).

    It works for westwood games too (Red Alert, etc).

    FSGS [fsgs.net]

  • by Tyriel (560688) on Thursday February 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#3046369) Homepage
    Speaking as someone who's been involved in the bnetD project (though not in the center of it), I should probably point out a couple things, on the offchance someone hasn't mentioned them already. Typhoon and Mysticales are working on a legal response (possibly in line with the helpful link [harvard.edu] the original poster made). In any event, the project isn't going anywhere. Some people in these threads support Blizzard or at least think they have a case, so please let me address that. The specific complaints Blizzard lists in their note are:
    The aforementioned site either hosts or distributes software which illegally modifies and/or alters Blizzard Entertainment copyrighted software or bypasses anti-circumvention technology, thereby infringing upon Blizzard Entertainment copyrights.
    Let's run down the list there.
    • Modifies or alters Blizzard software. Nope, it's entirely independent. Users choose to connect of their own accord, by their own means. We only run our own software.
    • Bypasses anti-circumvention technology. What, the CDkey system for Blizzard games? We don't enable users to pirate software, we only provide gaming servers for people who already own the games.
    Something else to consider. If BnetD violates copyrights, then how about the 15,000 average concurrent users on FSGS [fsgs.net]? Anyone remember Kali? Surely if Blizzard let those services exist for years upon years, bnetD is no more harmful a precedent. Last, Blizzard ought to rethink their policy of aggression on anyone who tries to enhance the experience for their users (might I mention UltimateBot [ultimatebot.com]). The thousands of users that FSGS claims are NOT hogging the limited bandwidth (or development resources) of the battle.net staff. FSGS, BnetD and any related projects are really helping Blizzard more than they're hurting them. All fans of the project can rest assured that this isn't the last you've heard about BnetD :) Thanks,

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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