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Blizzard Awarded $6M Damages From MMOGlider 460

dw604 writes "The makers of MMOGlider have been found in breach of the World of Warcraft terms of service and are forced to pay Blizzard $6M in damages." There's a lot of sticky issues on this one. Mostly I'm amazed that MMOGlider had that kind of cash.
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Blizzard Awarded $6M Damages From MMOGlider

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  • by gmezero ( 4448 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @10:10AM (#25218093) Homepage

    They might not have a penny to them. That has no relation to the award made by the court.

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @10:21AM (#25218255) Journal

    You know that, even though the game is online, there has to be a player right? Glider is a computerized "player" that plays the game for you, doing mindless killing to level the character up.

  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @10:27AM (#25218351)

    Why are players bothering with online games that can be manipulated by manipulating the local client's RAM? Isn't the whole point of "Online" supposed to make client side vulnerabilities moot?

    That would work for most online games where the character interaction is limited to 10-30 people at once. However with a MMORPG like WoW that, while partially instanced, definately places the emphasis on 'massive-multiplayer'. The computing power required to perform all of the positioning, calculation, and then the bandwidth to report that information to several thousand clients at once would be astronomical.

    In the end, especially with PC and not console based gaming, there will always be a security gap that can be exploited. If you are giving a person the information necessary to draw their enemies position, their own position, there will always be some amount of that which can be exploited. Especially when the exploitation is something as simple as 'bot software'. Given Point A, Point B and a method to input ways to interact or travel between those two points, you will never be able to lock it down without completely locking down the client computer.

  • by The Empiricist ( 854346 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @10:32AM (#25218433)

    And there's your sticky issue, what exactly are the damages.

    From the court order [] itself (which you can download for about $0.40) there were a set of undisputed facts:

    1. MDY began selling Glider on June 14, 2005. Through September 10, 2008, MDY has sold approximately 120,000 licenses for Glider. The amount of gross revenues received by MDY from the sale of Glider from June 14, 2005 through September 10, 2008 is approximately $3.5 million dollars.
    2. Blizzard spends at least $942,614.57 per year responding to customer complaints as to bots generally and implementing a bot enforcement program to decrease the number of bots in the game. Glider represents the large majority of bots used in connection with World of Warcraft.
    3. Between December 22, 2004 and March 18, 2008, Blizzard received more than 465,000 in-game petitions from users complaining about bots. Several thousand of these petitions mention Glider by name. Blizzard has continued to receive complaints about bots generally, and Glider specifically, after March 18, 2008.

    There were also a set of disputed facts and legal conclusions:

    1. That MDY and/or Donnelly's conduct caused harm to Blizzard both in the form of the direct expenses used to combat Glider use and infringement, as well as in the form of lost subscription revenue, lost profits, and harm to Blizzard's goodwill and reputation.
    2. That Blizzard's damages expert would testify that the lost subscription revenue and harm to Blizzard's goodwill and reputation can be quantified to exceed $20 million dollars.
    3. That MDY and/or Donnelly's conduct was willful and wanton and an award of the highest amount of statutory damages--$2,500 per sale of the Glider software--would be appropriate.
    4. That Blizzard is entitled to an award of punitive damages against MDY and Donnelly for their intent to cause injury to Blizzard or because they were motivated by spite or ill will or because MDY and Donnelly acted to serve their own interests, having reason to know and consciously disregarding a substantial risk that their conduct might significantly injure Blizzard.

    It looks like the $6M are actually stipulated damages. That is, both parties have agreed that if there are to be any damages, they will be $6M exactly. Issues of liability can still be appealed. But, issues of what the damages should be are no longer in dispute. This means that Blizzard and MDY can both keep their legal costs down. Instead of sniping about damages (spending $10 to prove $1 in damages), they can keep their lawyers arguing a handful of core legal issues.

  • Re:conversion help (Score:3, Informative)

    by atomic-penguin ( 100835 ) <wolfe21.marshall@edu> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @10:53AM (#25218785) Homepage Journal

    Today that would be 567.98 troy pounds

  • appeal pending (Score:3, Informative)

    by janopdm ( 1292860 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:17AM (#25219179)

    virtuallyblind [] does the best coverage of the case. MDY itself keeps virtuallyblind up to date on their case.

    There will be an appeal that MDY has to win on all counts to negate the damage judgement.

    2. Blizzard shall not be entitled to double or triple recovery for counts I, II and III. That is, Blizzard shall be entitled to receive a total of $6,000,000 in damages for counts I, II and III. However, should liability on any one or two of the counts be reversed on appeal, any one of these counts independently supports the $6,000,000 award.

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:29AM (#25219427) Homepage

    Actually, it does constitute a civil offense. Thats how Blizzard won the case.

    Look up here for the details on what damages Blizzard suffered []. They get a lot of complaints about bots. They have a lot of customers who have problems because of bots. They incur a lot of expense paying GMs to deal with bots. These are all quantifiable losses due to Glider.

    The bottom line is that Glider's only purpose is to allow people to break Blizzard's terms of service. The courts got this case right.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:36AM (#25219603)

    While leveling my priest alt, I ran several instances with players (amazingly mostly hunters...guess the "huntard" term is more appropriate than I had expected) that I would argue are worse than bots.

    I think it's mostly just a matter of frequency. Hunters, for various reasons, are EXTREMELY common. For one, it's a very easy class to solo level with (I mean you've got ranged DPS, a personal tank, and your own healing spell to cast on that tank - you're basically a 3 man group rolled into a single player :)). Second, there was a certain movie that came out a few years ago that featured a really badass elf with a bow, so a lot of adolescents want to play the badass elf with the bow . . . (I wonder if the Horde are now getting more of these now since a Blood Elf looks a lot more Tolkein than a Night Elf :)).

    So, lots of players, plus lots of ADOLESCENT players, means that the number of bad attitudes and inept players is going to be very high. Just let me assure you that a hunter, even the night elf ones (I promise ;)), when played right is a tremendously valuable class. Workable CC through traps, some of the best DPS in game (I do BT weekly and the top DPS spots are always occupied by a mixture of Hunters and Warlocks), and with their armor and often high health, they tend to be pretty durable in a raid. We just get a bad rep due to a very bad minority (or hell they might even be a majority, but in any case the problem is with the players and not the class itself :)).

  • by milkmage ( 795746 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:40AM (#25219663)
    MMOGlider sits on top of the game and manipulates your character. it simulates human activity. watch the farmers in game, they do the same tasks over and over. move from point a to point b, kill mobs, loot 'em, back to point a, rinse and repeat.
  • by The Empiricist ( 854346 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:09PM (#25223069)

    It's either have your taxes pay for it or you pay for it, but money is required for the service. As taxes aren't going towards it right now (or at most subsidizing it), they need to have you pay it. It is however, not-for-profit.

    It's actually a pretty reasonable fee. Public records that are available for inspection on-site typically cost $0.25 per page to copy. With PACER, opinions are often provided for free. You don't pay unless you accumulate at least $10 worth of charges / year. Charges are capped at $2.40 per document (that is, you can get a 100 page document for the price of a 30 page document). You can also apply for an exemption in certain situations where an "exemption is necessary in order to avoid unreasonable burdens and to promote public access to information." And its all DRM-free, for those inclined to share digital court records with others.

  • Re:It makes no sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @06:08PM (#25225575)

    To bash only one of them is hypocritical.

    Welcome to the world of Blizzard.

    People, if you have an principles at all, don't support an outfit like Blizzard that absolutely has to have everything their way. Hell, bad as Microsoft is, they're nowhere near as litigious as these assholes have proven to be. Furthermore, Blizzard is setting a lot of bad legal precedent in the software realm, and I won't give them a penny.

    I feel pretty much the same way about Apple, for that matter, another jackass corporation that uses lawyers as anticompetitive tools.

  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @06:24PM (#25225735)

    The court order is not protected by copyright or anything, so anyone is free to download it and make it publicly available. However, there is a nominal fee to cover the access costs to obtain a copy of the court order from PACER.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll