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Blizzard Sues Overwatch 'Cheat' Maker For Copyright Infringement (torrentfreak.com) 250

From a TorrentFreak report: Blizzard Entertainment is suing Bossland, the maker of the popular Overwatch cheat tool "Watchover Tyrant" and several other game cheats. Among other things, the developer accuses the German company of various forms of copyright infringement and unfair competition. Blizzard is not happy with the Overwatch cheat and has filed a lawsuit against the German maker, Bossland GMBH, at a federal court in California. Bossland also sells cheats for various other titles such as World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm, which are mentioned in the complaint as well. The game developer accuses the cheat maker of various forms of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and violating the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. According to Blizzard these bots and cheats also cause millions of dollars in lost sales, as they ruin the games for many legitimate players. "Moreover, by releasing 'Overwatch Cheat' just days after the release of 'Overwatch,' Defendants are attempting to destroy or irreparably harm that game before it even has had a chance to fully flourish."
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Blizzard Sues Overwatch 'Cheat' Maker For Copyright Infringement

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Titan fall was (may be it's yet) impossible to play on Brazilian servers cause of cheaters, good to see someone cares about their business.

    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Monday July 04, 2016 @06:15PM (#52445097)
      Blizzard certainly takes money seriously. You're applauding this, so I'm going to assume that you're not familiar with the history here. This is not the first time Blizzard has abused copyright to sue people for over something which has nothing to do with copyright, and won: link [slashdot.org]

      Among the consequences of twisting around an inapplicable law in this way is that any time you use a piece of software without permission from the copyright holder, including just using it in a way that the copyright holder did not intend, you are committing copyright infringement. Regardless of whether you've paid for that software, regardless of whether you have a license to use that software for another purpose. If, for example, you install a mod for a game and that game does not give explicit permission to use mods? Or to use that mod? Copyright infringement. A macro for a word processor for a word processor which doesn't want you to use macros? Or doesn't want you to use anyone else's macros? Copyright infringement.

      How about if that word processor is only licensed to write letters, and you use it to make a sign? What if you use some politician's campaign app in a way which doesn't support that politician? Copyright infringement. You get the idea. Blizzard is abusing the law in a way which wasn't intended.
    • While I'm glad a game company is doing something about cheating, I don't think their logic is quite sound here. Unfair competition? Anti-circumvention? Gimme a break, it sounds like they're just throwing a bunch of charges around and seeing what sticks. "Defendants are attempting to destroy or irreparably harm that game before it even has had a chance to fully flourish" Really? Weren't they just bragging about how it already sold 10 million copies or some other huge number?
  • Germany + DMCA = ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    German maker, Bossland GMBH....violating the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision

    How would that work? Germans are not subject to the DMCA, which is an American law.

    • by Vapula ( 14703 )

      Basically : if the people from that German company don't go to USA, if they don't own anything in USA and if they don't use an US financial company (including Paypal), Blizzard can't do anything...

      They can't force that in a californian court, they'd have to go to a German court and have the case judged against german laws... which don't include DCMA...

      All that they can get in USA is a "by default" judgement which could not be enforced... hard luck...

      • they'd have to go to a German court and have the case judged against german laws... which don't include DCMA...

        The EU signed WIPO, which bundles the DMCA. Germany is part of the EU. Try again.

  • by brwski ( 622056 ) on Monday July 04, 2016 @03:25PM (#52444277)
    ...playing TF2 for free. Later, Blizz!
  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Monday July 04, 2016 @03:27PM (#52444293)
    Maybe they should work harder at cheat-proofing their games. If cheaters can so easily ruin the game for others, then they should perhaps design their games more robustly. Imagine if banking systems worked this way: they only way your bank can protect money in your account is to launch lawsuits at "cheat sites" which tell people how to steal money from other people's accounts. If their systems were designed that poorly, no one would have any money left in their bank accounts. Perhaps similar security practices should be applied to game design.
    • Or maybe anti social dorks shouldn't make it so that entertainment requires banking level security to keep these losers from ruining the fun for everyone else. The fault lies with the cheats not the manufacturers.

      • Or maybe anti social dorks shouldn't make it so that entertainment requires banking level security to keep these losers from ruining the fun for everyone else. The fault lies with the cheats not the manufacturers.

        That would be a perfectly valid philosophy in a situation with a small population of people that know each other. Most people are honest, and most people don't want to be the jerk that screws things up for everybody. But that kind of thinking doesn't scale to large populations, especially where the "anonymity" of the Internet is concerned. There are people in the world, admittedly a small minority, that actually enjoy making life miserable for others. And if you have a sufficiently large population, it

      • by Aereus ( 1042228 )
        This is the new normal in multiplayer gaming though—a rapidly growing portion don't see past their own personal enjoyment... which also coincidentally happens to be ruining the game for others.
        • I think those guys...and yes they are almost ALL young men, should lose their internet connections.

          Or failing that, their IP (and voice chat) should be logged, the ISP contacted, and a call made to their location.

          "Hello, Smith residence? This is Blizzard, one of the computers at your location was logged as cheating and being a general Internet Fuckwad in our game Overwatch. Here's some of the voice chat"

          Blizzard plays bit of homophobic "shitcock" style speech.

          "Oh, that's your son? Well doing what your s

    • You really can't build games like you build bank systems.

      Banks don't care about things like smooth game play in the face of latency, dropped packets, server main loop update bottlenecks, etc.
      Yes, a bank can implement a proper client-server architecture that never trusts the clients.

      Given the limitations of the speed of light and modern computers you really can't do that for games and have an enjoyable entertainment experience.
      In my experience, multiplayer games have to trust the client to some degree and ar

    • Imagine if banking systems worked this way: they only way your bank can protect money in your account is to launch lawsuits at "cheat sites" which tell people how to steal money from other people's accounts.

      According to what I've heard, American banks are pretty notorious for constantly stealing from their customers through overdraft fees and overdraft protection racket. So arguably they'd have a legitimate case of IP infringement against other thieves.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Banking does work that way. These cheats are the equivalent of a locally compromised machine. If your machine is running malware and you log in to your online banking, it can steal your money. In the UK customers are required to take reasonable steps to protect themselves from this kind of fraud (such as using anti-virus software), because there is just no way to do online banking without trusting the client to some extent.

      Blizzard is faced with players who voluntarily install this software. All they can do

  • don't set a bad precedent that car manufacturers can use the same line in locking out 3rd party shops.

    They can say that 3rd party parts and shops are hurting our income.

    • Hurting revenue is not the basis in law for the suit, it is the basis of restitution and harm proving merit of the suit for standing. Although copyright has statutory damages and statutory rights to sue, most other cases need to show standing. These lawyers are throwing everything possible out to ensure something sticks.

  • Bliz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 )

    They have a right to police their servers. They have a right to prevent cheats from functioning. They have a right to ban players for using cheat systems.

    They do NOT have a right to sue because it's their own responsibility to build software checks and balances that would prevent cheating but THEY ARE TOO TIGHTFISTED to do so. That would cost money. That would require hiring enough competent coders and paying beta testers a living wage.

    Blizzard "Entertainment" lost my faith completely, long ago, since the W

    • Re:Bliz (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xlsior ( 524145 ) on Monday July 04, 2016 @04:17PM (#52444563) Homepage
      They do NOT have a right to sue because it's their own responsibility to build software checks and balances that would prevent cheating but THEY ARE TOO TIGHTFISTED to do so

      They DO have a right to sue. Anyone can sue pretty much anyone. That doesn't automatically mean they stand a chance of winning of course.
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        It is generally taken to mean that "having the right to sue" means that one can "rightfully sue", which is to say that their case has legitimate merit, and they are objectively and justly deserving of either compensation for it, or some legal action on their behalf against who they are suing in consideration of such merit.
      • by mfh ( 56 )

        >Anyone can sue pretty much anyone.

        This is true for American courts, but other countries won't allow bogus suits. This is a bogus suit.

    • be violating the EULA in the process of making their software work? Is it even possible to do a 'clean room' implementation of something like this? If nothing else the crazy broad anti-hacking laws can be invoked. But I suspect Blizzard would prefer not to do that since it makes it a criminal matter. That's not just bad press. I honestly think nobody wants that.
    • They do NOT have a right to sue because it's their own responsibility to build software checks and balances that would prevent cheating...

      This is not a good argument. It's similar (similar, mind you) to arguing that you just need to suck it up when someone breaks into your house, because clearly you didn't do enough to keep them out.

      The simple fact that someone was able to bypass your security does not necessarily prove you negligent, nor does it absolve the perpetrator of all responsibility for any harm caused by their actions.

      • by mfh ( 56 )

        I won't go too much further into this except to beg you to reconsider your argument. It's bad for video games overall because if what you argue is upheld, then all the gaming companies will code their games without any security at all. Why should they?

        I mean, they can make more money later on suing, and keep a large portion of the community happy at one point or another, while generating all kinds of free press in the process.

        Because the way Bliz does security these days is not anywhere near as strong as it

  • So put some servers in Germany and let them do as they will. Ban German networks from hitting any other servers and done.

    The problem will solve itself, no lawyers needed.

    -Don't even say VPN. Works great for Netflix and the like, not so much for low latency requirements.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      The problem with separate "cheater" servers is that it would give the cheat makers a fully functional and risk-free testing ground to improve the cheating tools upto a point where they become indistinguishable from a really good human player. When they get to that point, there is nothing stopping the grievers from cheating on the normal servers too. Having servers where cheat makers are allowed effectively accelerates cheating on normal servers in exchange for a very short and only marginally improved situa

  • then you shouldn't have released the game. -_-

  • They are now services. One that the publisher regulates, and may discontinue at any time. The EULA might as well be called the "terms of service".
  • The problem is that no matter how many people Blizzard sues, the cheat still exists, and more cheats will come.

    Blizzards solution has to be to find and eliminate the exploits.

    That said, I don't have much sympathy for Blizzard "losing sales". Even with the Field of View slider they implemented, they have the FOV maximum locked low enough that people with motion sickness can't play the game. Reading through forums on Overwatch, it seems that the FOV settings might even be over-exagerated, with 103 bei
  • At the very least, the cheat makers are guilty of the "unfair competition" claim; it's their main selling point ;)

  • I have always been puzzled by people subscribing to a game, then cheating. I can understand the temptation to cheat a little to get over a hurdle that seems impossible, surely the pleasure of playing a game lies in knowing that you have achieved it all, or most of it, simply by your own effort? How much fun would it be to get a professional chess player to play for you right up to the last move, just before you say 'check mate'?

    • Sorry for replying to my own post - I just had a thought, and it happens so rarely these days. Perhaps some players are not so much interested in doing the hard work of gaming, but still enjoy watching, seeing the landscape, exploring or whatever. Game makers could cater for them by allowing a "tourist mode", where you can travel around everywhere and won't get killed, but can't take part in the action; perhaps this already exists - I don't play games much. Or at all - there always seems to be more importan

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Divinity: Original Sin has a tourist mode, and many games have mods that let you enable 'god mode' (can't die) or other tweaks/cheats to allow exploration.

        Overwatch however is an online player vs player game. I haven't played it but I suspect you could explore it offline without cheating, or online by ignoring the mayhem around you.

        The people cheating will be motivated by different reasons, although some of them boil down to 'Player is a twat'.

        Some people legitimately have disabilities that prevent them com

    • by abies ( 607076 )

      It is a tool for griefers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer) to harrass other players. Plus, a tool for achievers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_taxonomy_of_player_types#Multi-player_appeal_to_the_Achiever) to show that they are better then others (which are losers because of not using cheats, playing unfair is not an issue for some of achievers).

  • Forget Blizzard getting off their lazy asses and fixing these problems, let's just go after those who find and exploit Blizzard's sloppy work....

  • Allow us to run dedicated servers and moderate them our self, like in the old days.

    Then cheating software will be less effective for the general public as active servers will moderate them self and the players will be less bothered by them.

  • Whatever overwatch tyrant is doing, it is merely exploiting design weaknesses in the published interface for third party devs. It is not an MMO Gider; [wikipedia.org] Blizz can't leverage the DCMA, but Blizz could and did claim tortious interference against MDY (the company the created and sold MMO Glider to hundreds of thousands of WoW players.) Blizz extracted $6M in damages after its claims of tortious interference against MDY were upheld, and I won't be surprised if Blizz makes the same claim against the makers of ove

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