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The Almighty Buck The Courts Games

Blizzard Sues Private Server Company, Awarded $88M 356

Cali Thalen writes "A private server company, Scapegaming (aka Alyson Reeves), was ordered to pay Blizzard Entertainment over $88 million in damages after losing a lawsuit that was concluded last week. Scapegaming was operating unauthorized World of Warcraft servers and using a micropayment system to collect money from the servers' user base, which according to the lawsuit amounted to just over $3 million. $85 million of that settlement was for statutory damages, and surprisingly only $63,000 in attorney's fees."
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Blizzard Sues Private Server Company, Awarded $88M

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  • Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:44AM (#33255216)

    and the rich get richer

  • Re:Blizzard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:47AM (#33255230)

    God knows Blizzard did not mind private servers before this (because they sucked).

    What? Remember Blizzard v. bnetd?

  • Re:Blizzard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScytheBlade1 ( 772156 ) <scytheblade1.averageurl@com> on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:51AM (#33255248) Homepage Journal
    Oh they cared before. Remember BnetD?

    That was WAY before Activision. They report their income on different balance sheets; the only effective change in Blizzard mindset was the part where they went public.

    Activision has nothing to do with anything they've done recently, and anyone who says otherwise is blaming something they don't like on a company of convinence.
  • Re:Blizzard? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aliotroph ( 1297659 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:52AM (#33255252)

    Oh they did indeed mind them. There were the guys who got shut down for cloning (for either Starcraft or Diablo II purposes iirc) and they made sure to shut down the server being run by my brother and his friends. Vivendi Universal isn't a nicer company than Activision.

  • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:54AM (#33255262)

    Somewhere along the chain, you have to pay for the hosting. Plus if you're getting money, there's another paper trail.

  • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:00AM (#33255292)

    Erm, yes, actually. And this is exactly the sort of thing the law is intended to defend against.

    Here we have a case of someone infringing Blizzard's work for the explicit case of making money off it without getting Blizzard's permission. You don't get a more clear cut case than that.

    One can argue the statuatory damage claim is outlandish, and it'll likely be reduced on appeal (it always is...), but Alyson here is still going to be on the hook for a decent chunk if $3 mil was brought in.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:10AM (#33255342)

    I thought that sum was rather modest. Remember all the RIAA cases? THOSE were excessive.

  • cheap lawyer! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:15AM (#33255352)
    WOW! I know it's an open and shut case from the get go but with a company that big, usually $60,000 will barely get you a random word generator with text to speech representing you. For a quarter mil, you might even be able to get the disembodied voice that lives in my GPS to represent you. Somehow it always costs about a million for a supposedly "respectable" lawyer to even show up in court. What a joke. Oh well, at least they got around that this time somehow.
  • by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:37AM (#33255436) Homepage

    Yes, they were using actual WoW data files, including player and enemy models, sound effects and all that

    server executable doesnt use sound files, wow is so simple (no collision detection) that server side executable also doesnt use player models. Its all a chessboard from server executables perspective.

  • by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:59AM (#33255492) Homepage Journal
    "Since then, all of us left. Scapegaming brought Blizzard a lot of business, but The Wrath of the Lich King ran them off. Only way I can tolerate WoW anymore is if I find an old TBC server now. Lasted till just before ICC was released on retail, but I just can't stand it anymore, it just isn't fun. Was fun back in the day raiding Kara, SSC, and the Eye just playing around, talking shit in Vent and having fun while half of them were wasted and still able to hold their own. Then 3.0 had to come and ruin it."

    All my friends are leaving WoW. Cataclysm is running them off. Only way I can tolerate WoW anymore is if I don't pay attention to the Cataclysm stuff. It just isn't fun anymore. Was fun back in the day raiding Naxx, Ulduar, and ToC just playing around, talking shit in Vent and having fun while half of them were wasted still able to hold their own. Now this Cataclysm is gonna come along and ruin it.

    Or maybe I'm just tired of playing WoW, yeah that could be it...
  • REALMLIST (Score:1, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex@nOs ...> on Sunday August 15, 2010 @03:29AM (#33255568)

    .WTF !?

    You just edit this text file and it points WoW at a different server.

    Just happens that WoW net traffic isn't encrypted and therefore people have reverse engineered the protocol and created their own servers.

    Not really any different than any other reverse engineering I've heard of.
    Is it copyright infringing if they made their own server software that mimics the client / server protocol?

    Is it legal to ask for payment to connect to my web server?
    Is it still legal if my server can speak the reverse engineered WoW protocol?
    Is it common knowledge that Judges are ignorant of the technology they are asked to provide judgment over?

    If you answered "no" to one of these questions you have been qualified as next in line for judicial appointment.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @04:28AM (#33255714)

    It's more like they've bought a legitimate copy of a Hollywood movie, duped it (so what?), and sold tickets to see it in their back yard.

    Surely it's more like they watched a Hollywood movie, then charged people to watch them reenact it in their back yard with their mates?

  • Re:Blizzard? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vaphell ( 1489021 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @04:29AM (#33255720)

    with frivolous lawsuits of course :)

  • by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @04:42AM (#33255760)
    Interesting viewpoint. It appears as though you may not be happy with most things, and I would suggest you disconnect your computer from the rest of the world immediately. At the very least, hire a psychiatrist.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:42AM (#33256224) Journal

    "There is zero question that this copyright violation:"

    Only in your world. You do realize that reverse engineering for interoperability is actually a textbook case case of fair use? They can replicate anything they can sniff off the wire, including locs for the purpose of inter-operation with the client. This is no different than what is done with wine and samba.

    To use a better analogy, this is like building your own theater from scratch (the server), buying a movie and watching it (their client used for reverse engineering), then re-enacting the movie as a play in their theater while requiring everyone to bring a voided ticket from an authorized distributor for said movie (the game client the end user is required to legally purchase before they can play on any server), and then selling popcorn at the performance (the micro-payments).

    People mention the EULA forbids reverse engineering even if copyright allows it. That can be bypassed by installing sniffing software on another PC where your friend installs his game copy, agrees to the EULA, and plays it while you monitor the traffic from another PC or review the capture file after he is done. You haven't agreed to the EULA and he isn't reverse engineering. Problem solved and nobody broke the EULA or copyright.

  • by carigis ( 1878910 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:45AM (#33256230)
    process servers are a dime a dozen.. they are known to frequently use the throw in the gutter in the front of the house and check the box that the person was served method.. A judge will generally side with the person who did not get to have there case heard if they dispute it and say they do not live at the address an had moved..and the process server "served" the wrong person...or some other lame excuse default judgments are pretty easy to get vacated,
  • Re:Interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:21AM (#33256454)
    but you already bought WoW, you just aren't choosing to keep a subscription to blizzards servers going.

    i see where it monkey wrenches their very profitable business model but a business model is not a civil right and expecting the US government to enforce your business model at gunpoint is unethical and downright evil.

    fuck blizzard
  • by spaanoft ( 153535 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @10:45AM (#33256770)


    so... Johnny is supposed to be giving the toy back... but it's Billy who wants a smack to his head?

  • Re:Blizzard? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @12:01PM (#33257058)
    Maybe if you used your brain and read the rest of the comment, you could piece an answer together.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:20PM (#33257456)

    Nothing wrong with that, I've gotten tired of it several times. Just stop playing it. If you feel like playing again later, come back. It doesn't have to be some epic decision or involve drama, just shut down your account, and if you want turn it back on later. Interest in games can wax and wane, in particular if you've played for a long time.

    Generally the people I see who complain about a new expansion just need a break. Things are going to change and many people don't like change. So they get angry about it, rather than considering if actually it might be fun. Just take a break. Also one problem Blizzard does have for sure given their long expansion cycles and ridiculous gear scaling rates is that there isn't a tons to do before a new expansion comes out. No problem, just stop playing then. Cancel your account and wait until the expansion hits and then reactive. Or don't, if you've found another game you like better.

    It needn't be a big deal.

  • by Raineer ( 1002750 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @06:14PM (#33259060)

    Only in your world. You do realize that reverse engineering for interoperability is actually a textbook case case of fair use?

    I didn't know "fair use" included charging people monetarily to view the portion you are supposedly "fairly using". Also fair use does not stipulate you can use 100% of the source.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan