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The Courts Government Entertainment Games News

Judge Rules WoW Bot Violates DMCA 498

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bot-having-trouble-climbing-the-slippery-slope dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Blizzard has added another victory in their campaign against World of Warcraft bots. A federal judge has ruled that not only did the Glider bot break the EULA, it can be classified as a circumvention device under the DMCA. "As we've noted before, Blizzard's legal arguments, which Judge David G. Campbell largely accepted, could have far-reaching and troubling implications for the software industry. Donnelly is not the most sympathetic defendant, and some users may cheer the demise of a software vendor that helps users break the rules of Blizzard's wildly popular role playing game. But the sweeping language of Judge Campbell's decision, combined with his equally troubling decision last summer, creates a lot of new uncertainty for software vendors seeking to enter software markets dominated by entrenched incumbents and achieve interoperability with legacy platforms."
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Judge Rules WoW Bot Violates DMCA

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  • That will allow them to use the same thing to prosecute gold spammers and the like who keep bugging the shit out of WoW players.
    • by kcbanner (929309) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:56PM (#26671887) Homepage Journal
      They paid for their accounts.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jerep (794296)

        I think he meant the in-game spamming more than the gold sellers themselves.

        It's getting as bad as the spam folder in my gmail, with one small difference: there's no spam folder in WoW, only an easily bypassed filter.

        • by JTorres176 (842422) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:36PM (#26672357) Homepage

          Glider was a bot that would farm for you. It would move to areas, kill things, collect things off the body for you, even fish.

          It's not just a spam bot, it's a full script that would play the game for you. Whether it's farming something, fishing to get your levels up, or mining, it was able to do it without your interaction.

          • Is there even any point to the game if you can't even be buggered to play it yourself?

            • by Alyred (667815) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:59PM (#26672645)
              Yes, to farm gold and then sell it for real money (against the ToS) and to level characters and then sell them on eBay (also against the ToS).
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by raitchison (734047)

              Never played WoW or any other MMORPG for that matter, but I thought the point of these kinds of bots was to grind for you, to do the tedious things that have to be done to level up (something I am familiar with as I recently started playing Oblivion) so you can spend your game time doing the more interesting things.

              Obviously Blizzard doesn't like this because they want you to pay for your monthly account for several months while you grind and occasionally do interesting things, rather than level up quickly

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by SL Baur (19540)

                Never played WoW

                Oh good, an expert opinion coming up here ...

                Obviously Blizzard doesn't like this because they want you to pay for your monthly account for several months while you grind and occasionally do interesting things, rather than level up quickly (from a real life time line perspective) and spend less time doing more fun things.

                Considering that the number of active accounts has passed 12 million, I would say there are a fair amount of people who find the game interesting.

                I mouse clicked for every point of my maxed fishing skill, I mouse clicked for every bit of stuff I've looted off corpses. Doing that sort of stuff by 'bot degrades the things I earned by playing. It's not as if it is a difficult game and it's getting easier all the time.

                I'm happy that Blizzard is actively going after

            • Is there even any point to the game if you can't even be buggered to play it yourself?

              Is porn worth it if you fast-forward through the story and dialogues?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by JTorres176 (842422)

              Well, in WoW, you need a lot of gold to buy things like very fast mounts, land and air mounts. It takes months of farming and doing quests, or you can have a bot play for you 8 hours a day while you sleep.

              For the people who can only play 2 or 3 hours a day at most, having your computer play for an additional 8 hours would be a huge help. Instead of farming, I spent most of my time in auction halls trying to buy low and sell high, but that really cut into the couple hours of play time I could put in every

            • by Sj0 (472011) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:52PM (#26679653) Homepage Journal

              WoW is a painfully boring game.

              Think about how boring this game is: It's so boring that an entire economy of real money has sprung up based on paying people or machines to do the horribly boring task of playing the game.

              This is why I tried it for a weekend then quit right away: I have a job that pays me about 70k/yr to do incredibly boring things. Why would I come home and pay Blizzard $120/yr plus expansion packs for the privilege of doing incredibly boring things?

              If it was because I want to keep up with my friends who are also playing, it makes sense to hire a Chinese kid to play the game for me, so I can have the L70 character so I can play with my friends without having to go through the boring, months long process of levelling up a character.

          • by hdon (1104251) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:54PM (#26672583)
            Am I the only one who is pretty disgusted at the trend of games where the primary skill function is just how much time your character spends doing stuff? It might as well just be an online store where you buy virtual skills and pay with your blood over firewire. Sacrifice your lives to something worthy, chumps! Develop some actual talents while you're at it!
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by triffid_98 (899609) *
              Wow, this certainly takes me back to my days getting "red status" in Ultima Online ambushing PKs on Sonoma. The only way around this was for my guild to use tools to keep our characters walking around our compound until the kill timers ran out. Skill points are great, but real skills aren't something you'll see in your profile screen.

              Am I the only one who is pretty disgusted at the trend of games where the primary skill function is just how much time your character spends doing stuff? It might as well just

            • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:34PM (#26673599)

              Am I the only one who is pretty disgusted at the trend of games where the primary skill function is just how much time your character spends doing stuff?

              Go play a FPS and you'll find autoaim bots, wallhacks, and other assorted cheating tools. Corner a cheater and they'll complain about how they have a "real life" and can't spend all their time playing the game to get the skills to compete with other players. This is simply more of the same.

              There are thousands of folks who want instant gratification. Twitch monkeys who can't stand not being at the top of whatever hill they see but don't want to invest the time it takes to get there (nevermind that being at the top of the hill doesn't HAVE to be the point of a lot of these games). So they go for the short-cut.

              Yeah, treadmills and grinds aren't for everyone. But that doesn't mean you get to ditch the rules because they're inconvenient for you. Play the game... or don't play at all.

              • by hdon (1104251) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @01:32PM (#26678689)

                Am I the only one who is pretty disgusted at the trend of games where the primary skill function is just how much time your character spends doing stuff?

                Go play a FPS and you'll find autoaim bots, wallhacks, and other assorted cheating tools. Corner a cheater and they'll complain about how they have a "real life" and can't spend all their time playing the game to get the skills to compete with other players. This is simply more of the same.

                You seem to have mistaken my complaint to be one about cheaters. It isn't.

                There are thousands of folks who want instant gratification. Twitch monkeys who can't stand not being at the top of whatever hill they see but don't want to invest the time it takes to get there (nevermind that being at the top of the hill doesn't HAVE to be the point of a lot of these games). So they go for the short-cut.

                I think that's precisely what I find so wrong with games that reward sacrificed time rather than enhancing aptitudes. Because those "twitch monkeys" aren't at the top of any hill, are they? The gratification they get doesn't come from being the best, so what is it? Do they just like putting virtual bullets into virtual heads controlled by other players?

                IMO this isn't healthy, and parallels games that reward time sacrifice: what exactly do these players enjoy doing? It isn't getting better at something, or being the best, because they aren't getting better or becoming the best, their characters are. I think if you set aside the morals and/or social contracts that affect how people feel about cheating, the role of cheat software to a cheater is identical to the role of the items/spells/powers your characters can accumulate: advancing your in-game advantage without advancing your own aptitudes.

                It seems to me that games like World of Warcraft and Pokemon have stumbled onto something that Final Fantasy was only beginning to uncover in the 1990s. People crave foraging for items, hunting, exhausting supplies of hiding places for things to collect and hunt, and upgrading their tools. Seems to me like this taps into some very deep-seated primal instincts that are very useful if you do not live in the first world (although I'd bet plenty of the monkeys on wall street eye their investment portfolios with a similar fascination that MMORPG players consider their characters.)

                Yeah, treadmills and grinds aren't for everyone. But that doesn't mean you get to ditch the rules because they're inconvenient for you. Play the game... or don't play at all.

                As it seems ambiguous, I'll make it clear: I was advocating the latter option: Don't play at all. Games that make wasting your time part of the experience are ridiculous. Real life contains enough of that.

        • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:30PM (#26673025) Homepage Journal

          Blame that on Blizzard. A single employee could monitor, detect, and ban thousands of gold spammers in a single day. Making a million subscribers' days less spammy is not worth $15k/yr to Blizzard.

      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:02PM (#26671963) Homepage
        I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by j00r0m4nc3r (959816)
          You are absolutely free to harass others in the theater. The movie theater can ask you to leave, and you have to do it or else get arrested for trespassing, but you are free to exercise free speech in the theater. As long as you're not endangering people (yelling "fire" for instance)... So you have the right to harass people, but the theater also has the right to ask you to leave.
          • by kcbanner (929309)
            Exactly my point good sir.
          • by Main Gauche (881147) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:21PM (#26672179)

            You are absolutely free to harass others in the theater.

            Good thing there's no law against harassment. If there were, I wonder what they'd call it.

          • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:53PM (#26673277) Homepage
            You're not really free to do it. Otherwise you could stay there (as you would like to) but you can't. As you said they will throw you out.

            Freedom isn't about doing whatever you want with no repercussions. There are always repercussions which is the way it should be in a lot of instances.

            It's all well in good to say that you're free to say nigger and people are free to react in whatever way but the fact is the way they will react makes it more or less impossible to use the word in most cases. Secondly if you are free to do something wrong and people are free to retaliate then even if you have the freedom to use a WoW bot then Blizzard should have the freedom to stop you and protect the majority of their paying customers that dislike it.

            If it were a single player game where you only affected yourself then go nuts and do whatever you want but it's a multi-player game where people have to pay a monthly fee and if most people don't want it then the majority win. As I said Blizzard has the right to retain as many customers as possible.

            Whether or not the DCMA route was the right way to go about it may be debatable. Part of me does say they're not circumventing copyright protection but another part of me says that bot users in any game are scum so fuck 'em.
        • I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.

          You are not allowed to discuss your personal opinion of the movie to anyone inside or outside the theatre for a period of one (1) year after its theatrical release date in your locality without the prior written consent of the copyright owner. If you fail to comply, you may be fined not less than $1,000, and/or jailed for a period of up to three (3) years. Enjoy the show, and buy our overpriced popcorn.

        • by causality (777677) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:19PM (#26672167)

          I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.

          I wish more people felt that way.

          I have multiple reasons why I have rarely or never been inside of a movie theater for the last five years or so, but the inconsiderate actions of the other customers is one of the biggest. I should preface this by saying that I am talking about R-rated movies that do not permit children, so the people I am describing are supposedly adults. From the "restless leg syndrome" individual who won't stop tapping the back of your seat, to the cellphone users who refuse to go outside if they absolutely must take a call, to the fact that I've never seen an establishment that had the balls to eject the small minority who have no respect for everyone else, I feel like they should pay me for the experience, not the other way around. Considering how many other methods there are to enjoy whatever movies I want in an environment that I can control, movie theaters have completely lost their appeal for me.

          It's not really the movie theater and I realize that. It's just that theaters are enclosed environments which demand that you pay attention, and the immature, inconsiderate, ADD, "I'm the only person who exists" chronological adults who are really just overgrown children aren't terribly compatible with that atmosphere. I think these are the same folks who would only care about the immediate convenience of having more gold in WoW and would not care about the principle of never buying anything from a spammer for any reason.

          • by Anpheus (908711) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:44PM (#26672461)

            Get up, walk out of the theatre, tell the manager, tell an usher, tell someone who looks important.

            At the theatre I work at, we love to kick out the unruly lot that make the movies worse for everyone. Every time we walk in, they hush down, it's hard for us to know where the problems are. It's also a multiplex, with only one usher for many theatres, doing double duty, cleaning and checking the facilities.

            So, do something about it. Honestly, having the balls to fix the problem is probably not their problem, more likely, they don't have anything substantive and don't want to interrupt the movie more severely than it already has been. Nothing distracts everyone in the theatre more than an argument in the seats. Make the theatre staff know it's a problem, and it'll probably be taken care of.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by causality (777677)

              Get up, walk out of the theatre, tell the manager, tell an usher, tell someone who looks important.

              At the theatre I work at, we love to kick out the unruly lot that make the movies worse for everyone. Every time we walk in, they hush down, it's hard for us to know where the problems are. It's also a multiplex, with only one usher for many theatres, doing double duty, cleaning and checking the facilities.

              So, do something about it. Honestly, having the balls to fix the problem is probably not their problem, more likely, they don't have anything substantive and don't want to interrupt the movie more severely than it already has been. Nothing distracts everyone in the theatre more than an argument in the seats. Make the theatre staff know it's a problem, and it'll probably be taken care of.

              Why should I do their job for them? They make money by providing a place that people want to visit badly enough that they are willing to pay for doing so. I'll use one of the many other ways to see the movies of my choice and enjoy it with no such problems before I'll help the them do their jobs while paying for the privilege.

              Now if you or any other staff are "doing double duty" or are otherwise overworked and cannot take care of these things, that's really between yourself and management. I am not in

            • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:52PM (#26673265)

              Get up, walk out of the theatre, tell the manager, tell an usher, tell someone who looks important.

              At the theatre I work at, we love to kick out the unruly lot that make the movies worse for everyone. Every time we walk in, they hush down, it's hard for us to know where the problems are. It's also a multiplex, with only one usher for many theatres, doing double duty, cleaning and checking the facilities.

              So, do something about it. Honestly, having the balls to fix the problem is probably not their problem, more likely, they don't have anything substantive and don't want to interrupt the movie more severely than it already has been. Nothing distracts everyone in the theatre more than an argument in the seats. Make the theatre staff know it's a problem, and it'll probably be taken care of.

              When I get torqued off by said "unruly lot", I'll ask them myself to shut the fuck up. Heck, I had a couple of Arab characters talking in loud tones in their own language while I was trying to enjoy a good movie. I was irritated but not enough to say anything. Then, one of them sent a goddamn beer can spinning over my head. He wasn't aiming at me, true, I think he was just in high spirits ... but I stood up and told them both that "I DIDN'T APPRECIATE THE SHOWER." They got all wide-eyed and actually apologized, and wonder of wonders were quiet for the rest of the film.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Why would Blizzard want to cut out 30% of the paid accounts?

      • by Zironic (1112127) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:10PM (#26672041)

        Because they want to keep the other 70%?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nschubach (922175)

          It just tells me they might have a market to allow bot creators an interface for making mob AI! Then the players can fight against the botters according to the game rules and those that want to make game bots can improve the game by offering a challenge to players.

          In order to keep unmanned botting popular, reward the bots for every player killed. If a bot manages to spawn, kill someone, collect a random item on the corpse and make it back to a "home base" then the bot can put the item on the global auctio

  • Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBry (1242668) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:56PM (#26671893)
    This will just be appealed, this was just a judge not understanding the difference between breaking a contract (EULA) and breaking a copyright.
    • The specific gripe the bot company appeals on doesn't matter much to me, they would appeal any decision that told them they couldn't sell their product, that's what companies do.

    • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chabo (880571) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:09PM (#26672033) Homepage Journal

      That was several months ago. This is about a judge not understanding the difference between breaking a contract and breaking access-control mechanisms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Snaller (147050)

        I haven't read this new ruling, but I read the last one - and he clearly understood everything perfectly well.

    • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Informative)

      by IthnkImParanoid (410494) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:18PM (#26672151)
      He understands the difference, and his findings don't rely on Glider breaking the EULA. Basically he said that since Warden controls access to certain parts of the game by checking for software that accesses these parts in an unapproved manner, and Glider attempts to bypass these checks, the DMCA applies.

      In other words, a tool that a) accesses elements of a copyrighted work b) evades protection mechanisms to do so violates the DMCA. Maybe the issue isn't with the judge, but with the law he's interpreting.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916)

        But Warden is an anti-cheat measure, not a copy protection measure. Does this mean that circumventing ANY measure, no matter what it's for, is illegal now? Does that include nonsense like "rightclick blocker" Javascript?

        • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:36PM (#26672359)

          DMCA, Wikipedia: "It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as Digital Rights Management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works and it also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself."

        • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sloppy (14984) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:58PM (#26672631) Homepage Journal

          But Warden is an anti-cheat measure, not a copy protection measure.

          To this judge, that line isn't so clear. The judge's radical invention (for which he deserves a patent ;-) is this: "dynamic nonliteral elements" (fancy talk for the whole experience of the game, consisting of not just Blizzard's code and Blizzard's game data, but also Blizzard's server responses, and the users' actions) has copyright protection. And since Warden limits access to Blizzard's server's responses, then Warden limits access to the "dynamic nonliteral elements" and bypassing Warden is a DMCA violation.

          The WoW code is copyrighted: reasonable.

          The game data (e.g. graphics and sound) is copyrighted: reasonable.

          The user-generated events are copyrighted (and by Blizzard?): wacked out.

          The server responses are copyrighted: iffy, as they are not creative works (and you don't even want to think about whether those responses are also shaped by the users' collective inputs -- which noncreative but copyrightable work is a derived work of which?).

          The sum of all the previous things run through a function (the Wow code) to become an overall experience, is copyrighted (and by Blizzard): wow!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Alyred (667815)

            The user-generated events are copyrighted (and by Blizzard?): wacked out.

            I read through the legal briefing. While the line isn't clear on the "user experience" portion being copyrightable, I think that it mainly was alluding to the things that the server generates to interact with the players: Things such as gold amount given/collected, items dropped by monsters, etc. This was one of Blizzard's points in the claim (specifically); whether that will hold up in court as a "copyrightable" element remains to be seen by the 9th circuit court, apparently.

            It might be along the lin

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Tuoqui (1091447)

            The server responses are copyrighted: iffy, as they are not creative works (and you don't even want to think about whether those responses are also shaped by the users' collective inputs -- which noncreative but copyrightable work is a derived work of which?).

            Actually you could say that as a result of the copyrighted code that the resultant output is copyrighted as well as the output is the primary function of the code. The initial creation of the code is a creative (debatable, but we'll go with what the courts have been ruling for lately) work.

      • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Samalie (1016193) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:40PM (#26672415)

        I'm sorry, but you have this incorrect (at least, in my opinion)

        Glider does not bypass warden. Glider is stealthy and is not detected by Warden. Warden still runs. Blizzard updates Warden to detect Glider and hauls out the banstick.

        But either way, Glider is not a tool that "accesses elements of a copyrighted work". It is a tool which accesses elements of a copyrighted work that you, as the user/developer, have a legal license to access until such time that Blizzard revokes said license for violation of their terms of use.

        In other words, Glider does not bypass protection mechanisms granting you the ability to access copyrighted work without a license. Glider breaks a civil contract, which upon discovery will cause the licensor (Blizzard) to revoke the license of the licensee (you). After that, you can no longer access elements of the copyrighted work.

        • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dachannien (617929) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:02PM (#26672699)

          17 USC 1201
          (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--
          (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;
          (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or
          (C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

          Warden controls access to the online portion of WoW (a copyrighted work) by checking to see if cheat programs are running and refusing access to WoW if it detects any. Glider is such a program that has, in the past, been blocked by Warden. Glider was updated to circumvent this access control.

          The ruling, if you bother to take the time to read it, explains all of this stuff. Maybe you don't like the law, but it was at least properly applied here.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LackThereof (916566)

          Glider does not bypass protection mechanisms granting you the ability to access copyrighted work without a license.

          That depends on if you are considering the World of Warcraft client installed on the user's PC as the copyrighted work in question, then you might be correct.

          If you consider WoW, the online game/service as the copyrighted work, however, and the WoW client (or more specifically, Warden) as the protection mechanism, though, things turn around rather quickly.

          WoW as a whole is the product that Blizzard is selling. They do NOT sell a standalone client - they license you a client when you sign up for their onlin

    • by kjart (941720) on Friday January 30, 2009 @07:20PM (#26673511)
      They are private, so I can't link, but here's a copy and paste:

      The judge just ruled and, unfortunately, it did not go much our way. He pretty much awarded everything to Blizzard again.

      Here's a link to the order: http://www.mmoglider.com/Legal/trialorder_jan28.pdf [mmoglider.com]

      What this means for Glider customers The judge asked us to file a memo by February 13th on why we should be allowed to continue to sell Glider through the appeal process.

      I'm not sure why he asked for that, since I don't think he's going to start listening to us now. So we'll file it and see, but it seems very likely that he will rule against us. Then we'll go up to the 9th circuit and try to get a stay, similar to how the Napster case went.

      If all goes badly, Glider could be shut down as early as mid-February. So keep your fingers crossed.

      That's from 01/28/2009

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by duckInferno (1275100)
        That seems pretty eloquent, considering he's addressing the kind of person that pays money for this shit. If you visit glider's forums you'll see such intellectual gems as "dam i got banned lol blizzard sux cock lol".
  • by jerep (794296) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:57PM (#26671903)

    Judge Campbell has distinguished between the actual bits stored on the World of Warcraft disk (which he called the "literal elements" of the game) and the interface elements the user encounters as he's actually playing the game (which he dubbed "non-literal elements").

    It's fun how after playing that game for a while I get called a "non-literal", good thing I stopped playing last year!

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:00PM (#26671931) Journal

    It seems like each and every time Blizzard has filed a suit over something related to "violating the terms of their EULA", they've been handed a victory.

    I've been troubled by ALL of these rulings over the years, and this just adds to the total.

    As far as I'm concerned, people who pay for a copy of their game software have *every* right to opt to use said software with other, alternate servers, if they so desire. They also have every right to run any manner of automated script or "bot" in lieu of physically sitting in front of their screen and hand-manipulating the character they've paid for the subscription to use on Blizzard's servers!

    It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline. Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

    Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends? Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:08PM (#26672023) Homepage

      Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

      If both of them did it, then I'm imagining The Year of Linux on the Desktop finally coming to pass! =D

      • by Viewsonic (584922)
        Apple already forces you to use their hardware as it is. Microsoft also forces a lot of licenses to only be used by specific machines as well. That Vista you got on your new Dell probably wont work when you swap in a new system board or buy an HP system.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That's why MS sells Retail licenses...

          Part of the price break of the OEM license cost comes from the fact that it is non-transferable.

    • by OglinTatas (710589) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:10PM (#26672045)

      if 10 million people play WoW, do you think a few of them might be judges?

    • Even if they did, couldn't you vote with your wallet? You won't die if you don't have that latest "Call of Duty" game.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418)

      So Blizzard shouldn't be able to set the terms of use for a _service_ they provide?

      Just think how viable xbox live would be if MS couldn't stop people from running hacks and mods.

      And I'm sure everyone sitting in a queue waiting to get on their primary server will just love you and your afkave bot.

      • The problems are:

        1) They sell software as well as the service. Their terms say you can only use their software with their service. The legal enforcement of this could have far reaching consequences.

        2) Their enforcement of those terms is through the courts, where the arguments of their lawyers stretch laws like the DMCA or the validity of EULA's to cover more and more ground. Once there's precedent it affects everyone, not just WOW players or gold farmers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Walkingshark (711886)

          Once there's precedent it affects everyone, not just WOW players or gold farmers.

          This really depends on what court made the decision. Usually appelate decisions have more weight. If this guy appeals it up to a US district court or (shudder) the US Supreme court, it could have a wide ranging impact. Otherwise, it's just going to put Glider out of buisiness.

      • Sure. So kick off the people abusing their terms of service. Suing the company making the bot is a completely different issue, and has (rather, SHOULD have) no legal grounds.
      • by Artraze (600366) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:36PM (#26673107)

        > So Blizzard shouldn't be able to set the terms of use for a _service_ they provide?

        They have every right to. The problem with these cases is just how obscenely far the laws are being stretched. It's setting precedents that could potentially have devastating consequences.

        If Blizzard says "thou shall now use a bot", then fine. If a person uses a bot then they have violated Blizzard's terms of service, allowing Blizzard to do what the terms allow. This usually means disconnecting them, but could, in principal, include a fine of $1 million. (Of course, if that were the case they'd almost certainly require a notarized signature, not just a "I Agree" checkbox.)

        In this case, Blizzard was unable to detect Glider, and was therefore unable to take recourse against it's users. That's where the road should end. They should either update their cheat detection or give up.

        HOWEVER, they went to the courts. They said that because Glider breaks their ToS, the _company_ should be held liable. And because the ToS/EULA is broken, the copying of the program into RAM to operate is a violation of copyright. AND that the people behind Glider should be held responsible for this infringement. They won. As a result, we have the precedents:
        1) Copying a program into RAM is not fair use.
        2) A company can be held liable if someone breaches a contract with your product.

        And now, we get the following:
        3) A program which reads/interoperates a with another outside the ToS/EULA is considered a DMCA circumvention device, and the author is _CRIMINALLY_ liable.

        All three of these rulings are beyond ridiculous. This one, however, takes the cake as now it's a criminal offense. It's essentially saying that writing an unauthorized plugin, addon, or even operating system can get you thrown in jail.

        To highlight:
            Windows Vista Home (or any that aren't Ultimate) state in their EULA that they may not be run under a VM. If I were to install it under VMWare server, by these points above, VMWare could be sued out of business and the CEO should go to jail.

        Thanks, Blizzard.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline.

      Yeah, about that. There are these things called license agreements, they're kind of like contracts, which are a sort of legal instrument, that is maybe, like, thousands of years old.

      If you don't like the license, don't buy the software.

      • by centuren (106470) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:39PM (#26672397) Homepage Journal

        It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline.

        Yeah, about that. There are these things called license agreements, they're kind of like contracts, which are a sort of legal instrument, that is maybe, like, thousands of years old.

        If you don't like the license, don't buy the software.

        That makes a lot of sense. However, Blizzard can change the license agreement required to play, and you can't keep playing unless you upgrade to the latest patch and accept the new terms. Since the game is based on accumulative success, do we get reimbursed for what we paid for if the license changes to something we no longer agree with?

        Or, in this hypothetical scenario, perhaps we could use the product we bought months ago on an alternate server to continue to enjoy our purchase.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:25PM (#26672237) Homepage

      They also have every right to run any manner of automated script or "bot" in lieu of physically sitting in front of their screen and hand-manipulating the character they've paid for the subscription to use on Blizzard's servers!

      Not as long as you share a game world. Though it's not physical, whenever people meet there are rules to follow. Even if you paid membership to a sports club, they could deny you access if you came there shirtless. They could throw you out if you're breaking the rules and being an ass. You can't wave your membership card in their face and say "You can't touch me, I've paid to be here!". Client software and bots are exactly the same as dress code and club rules. With single player games you can do whatever the fuck you want, just as you can in the privacy of your own home. WoW is not your home (or if it is, seek professional help).

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      "Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!"

      And this is a new development? EULAs are full of insane stuff. Blizzard isn't even the worst of the bunch, they just get villified by those who want the rules to be what *THEY* want them to be.

      And how does my little (49oy) brother feel when he plays WoW 'by hand', building and accumulating by the rules? He's beyond offended by those that use resources merely to profi

    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:34PM (#26672325)
      it seems like each and every time Blizzard has filed a suit over something related to "violating the terms of their EULA", they've been handed a victory.

      You, know, this could just be a coincidence, but a couple of weeks ago I was in Northrend and I ran into an orc named "JudgeCampbell". He had some pretty sweet weapons and armor he was showing off, including a Judicial Robe of Invicibility and a Judge's Battle Gavel of The Dragon, which did an unreal amount of damage. Also, he had all these really powerful spells I'd never even heard of before, such as "Contempt of Court" and "Summon Bailiff". To top it all off, he had like 200,000 gold. I asked where he'd gotten all this stuff and he said he'd just "found it all in some dungeon". It sounded kind of fishy to me, but I didn't think anything much of it at the time.

    • by centuren (106470)

      It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline. Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

      Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends? Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!

      Or if you bought Gear of War for Windows and discovered that you could only play it before a certain date, after which it would no longer function, and that date has already passed.

  • by RockMFR (1022315) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:01PM (#26671943)
    Maybe they can use the DMCA to outlaw abortion! And create world peace! And make me dinner!
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:01PM (#26671955) Homepage Journal

    don't install the game you're writing the bot for.

    • You mean: don't live in a country with a law like the DMCA.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ep32g79 (538056)
      Donnelly, et.al. are not being tried for their personal violation of copyright, or contract infringement.
      But Donnelly is on the stand for, among other things, willfully allowing others to break their contractual agreement with Blizzard, Vivendi Games, Inc.

      The courts could care less about whether or not Donnelly himself violated his contractual obligation with Blizzard/Vivendi, Nor whether Donnelly had actually installed Blizzards software at all.
  • Interesting tidbit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:11PM (#26672059) Homepage Journal

    ...he also found that MDY's founder, Michael Donnelly, was personally liable for the actions of his firm.

    Strangely, though, those who perpetrated the recent Mortgage fiasco which resulted in the current recession are not personally responsible for the actions of their firms. I find it strange that CEOs incur personal liability for their firm's actions only when the victim is another corporation.

    • with Congress and those two quasi-private but really federally run groups called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Better yet, all those Congressmen who got sweetheart mortgage deals suddenly no longer need to come clean because they bought off the companies adversely affected by their actions with our tax dollars.

      On topic:

      I really dislike the summary which wants to relate what this guy did with interoperability. Since when is promoting cheating, breaking the EULA, and profiting off of it, interoperability?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rahvin112 (446269)

        None of the mortgages Freddie and Fannie cut were subprime. Freddie and Fannie are suffering because of what the big banks did in destabilizing the housing market. Freddie and Fannie would in all likely hood have been OK had it not been for the Subprime lending.

        Subprime was all through the major banks cutting their own mortgages and avoiding the government system and it's rules. Subprime is what destroyed the economy, the idea that you can lend that much money to someone that under no circumstance can they

  • Bot if You Want (Score:2, Interesting)

    In my opinion, You can Bot if you want, but do it on a private server.

    This case isn't about how someone changed the game on a personal server, but how a person's actions unfairly impacted the game play experience for thousands (or millions) others.

    To that extent, enforcing a EULA in a reasonable manner is a different story than enforcing an unreasonable EULA. So those of you worrying about judgments that hinder society and technology should look instead at the recent copyright awarded to apple.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:26PM (#26672245) Journal

    For anyone who was wondering whether the DMCA, or DRM, had anything to do with piracy, look here:

    Glider violates the provision of the DMCA that prohibits "trafficking" in software that is "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work" protected by copyright.

    Sounds pretty open and shut for Glider...

    But unless I'm missing something, that's a valid interpretation of that language -- any technological measure which controls access to a work.

    Not "prevents piracy", or "prevents duplication", or even "prevents already-illegal stuff that we didn't need a new law for anyway."

    No, it's all about control. It's about preventing you from using stuff you legitimately bought in new and interesting ways, so they can sell it to you again in those new and interesting ways. Or it's about preventing you from doing something that damages them in a completely unrelated way, if they can.

    It's about taking control away from the consumer, and putting it back in the hands of the publisher.

    If it stops piracy, great. But I don't think that they could've come up with something this devious by accident, especially when it's clear how ineffective the stuff is at its supposed purpose (preventing piracy).

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      next case: Microsoft v Andrew Tridgell.

  • by Cookie3 (82257) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:26PM (#26672247) Homepage

    FTA:

    Siy and Pearlman also expressed skepticism at the notion that these "dynamic, non-literal elements" constitute a distinct copyrighted work.

    If I'm reading the trial order [mmoglider.com] correctly (IANAL), it seems to cite the following cases in support of "non-literal elements" being copyrighted:

    See Atari Games Corp. v. Oman, 888 F.2d 878, 884-85 (D.C. Cir. 1989); Midway Mfg. Co. v. Arctic Int'l, Inc., 704 F.2d 1009, 1011-12 (7th Cir. 1983); Williams Elec., Inc. v. Arctic Int'l, Inc., 685 F.2d 870, 874 (3d Cir. 1982); Stern Elecs., Inc. v. Kaufman, 669 F.2d 852, 855-56 (2d Cir. 1982)

    What I'd like to see from Siy and Pearlman is a description of what these cases are, and why their citation is somehow irrelevant with regards to non-literal elements and copyright enforceability. The judge certainly seemed to think they applied. (Again, if I'm reading the order correctly. I might be wrong. Who knows.)

  • The hilarious part (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thebroken (761356) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:31PM (#26673041) Journal
    The hilarious part is that this will do nothing for the hardcore botters and gold farming/char leveling firms. The WoW hacking community is quite large, and detailed information is available freely on the internet about many of its mechanisms. This has led to the creation of countless private bots that are not released for mass consumption like Glider, and hardcore firms usually end up using such bots (which, by the way, run below the radar of Blizz counter-measures like Warden). Go Google it yourself. Creating such a bot is not difficult for a good programmer.They are often not nearly as sophisticated as Glider, but they don't need to be since they're customized from the ground up for the firms on demands (and lack a lot of options that Glider has, but again this doesn't matter as these private bots aren't released for the masses). So a small victory for Blizzard in the end imo. This won't change any of WoW's messed up economy on some servers, nor will it even remotely make a dent in the farming/power-leveling community.

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