Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

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Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Samanna » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:53 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7509182.stm

Blizzard has won the first round of a legal battle against the maker of software that automates game play in World of Warcraft.

It brought the case against MDY Industries claiming its WowGlider program infringed its copyright.

An Arizona district court has ruled MDY does infringe Blizzard's copyright but not in the way the game maker claimed.

WowGlider controls characters in Warcraft so they kill enemies and loot them automatically.

Damage claim

The summary judgement by US District Court Judge David Campbell says that MMOGlider, as the software is now called, breaks the terms of the license players agree to abide by when they run World of Warcraft (WoW).

Despite this decision Justice Campbell did not side with Blizzard in its claim that MMOGlider broke the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

MMOGlider is the creation of MDY founder Michael Donnelly and more than 100,000 copies of the $25 (£12.47) tool are thought to have been sold.

It has proved popular as it helps players overcome the "grind" involved in turning low level WoW characters into more powerful ones.

Blizzard launched the case in 2006 via a lawyer from Vivendi, which publish WoW, who visited Mr Donnelly at home accompanied by a private investigator who told him to stop selling the software and hand over profits from it to Blizzard.

"Offended" by these threats Mr Donnelly decided to take Blizzard on in the courts.

Unless Blizzard and MDY settle out of court the case looks set to go before a jury in September. This court case will decide some of the issues the Judge did not pronounce on and address the question of whether Blizzard is due damages.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Methica » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:31 pm

This is pretty interesting. During my WoW career I knew people who used this. I benefited from the use of this, although indirectly I acknowledge it. I never used the glider myself even though I was offered the software, but I simply didn't want to jeopardize my account.

I found that the biggest use of this program within the WoW framework was for the in game fishing. Early on Blizzard set up raid encounters so that if you were on the bleeding edge of content progression that you needed to have several consumables for buffs per attempt. Unfortunately, one of the best sources for these consumables was "food buffs," many of which you could only get from fishing which was very time consuming. Time that the players I knew would rather spend playing their character in a group setting.

People would simply turn the bot on and come back 6 hours later to bags full of fish. So in my mind this was a player solution to a problem Blizzard created. In today's version of the game there is only 1 defensive buff and 1 offensive buff allowed. And better consumables are more readily available through many different means.

Ultimately, I think that the use of this software was in fact an infringement on the EULA and Blizzard is entitled to some kind of compensation. In my mind they should have the right to the intellectual property, meaning the code, which broke the agreement but not the profits. The thing that's grey area is that this was not a hack program. Nothing that the bot did broke the "rules" the devs set up for the game.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby dindaur » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:19 am

the idea of compesation is interesting. while i agree that the software should be disallowed and blocked from use through some means, im not sure blizzard is owed any money. the guy made a profit selling a product he put together himself. there is no law against creating software. there are agreements that are in place that perhaps all players agree to, and perhaps using the disallowed software on the blizzard run servers could constitute an offense. but, money owed, i think not. it kindof is reminicent of the people going after torrent share folks asking for money for the files they shared, which again was bogus, but not quite the same as this. blizzard isnt having some guy sell free copies of wow to people pirated. its not the same. this isnt a product owned by blizzard. its a product that when applied to WoW on a blizzard run server breaks rules perhaps spoils the game in some way, but the product is not theirs, they did not coin it, and because of it they arent owed money i dont believe.

it would basically be handing blizzard free money for no good reason.

now the flipside is perhaps maintaing the rules takes cash and perhaps there could be fines instituted, but then, those fines would be by and for the USG and not for blizzard. a company should not be profiting from the apprehesion of a criminal when no theft has occured. the crime may be applying the software to the game, and distributing software with the specific intent for it to be used on their WoW server.

but, in the end, i don't think this hacker / software designer owes Blizzard money. if he is asked to pay by the courts, it will be a sham.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Jabobtha » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:26 am

If this program lead to the banning of accounts using it then Blizzard could claim that because the program caused players to break the EULA and get banned because of it they are losing revenue from those accounts. It is a stretch but I have a feeling that is the basis in which they are saying they are owed compensation.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Samanna » Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:40 pm

Jabobtha wrote:If this program lead to the banning of accounts using it then Blizzard could claim that because the program caused players to break the EULA and get banned because of it they are losing revenue from those accounts. It is a stretch but I have a feeling that is the basis in which they are saying they are owed compensation.


That's crap. What if i told people to do something to violate their EULA - would that mean that, because individuals weighed the options and decided to do it, that i owed Blizzard money for the absent subscriptions?

I tell you all RIGHT NOW to cancel your Blizzard accounts. Hi, Blizzard, bring on the suit.

Who's to say that these users wouldn't have canceled their accounts anyway?
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Methica » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:46 pm

...or that some were running a second account to do this because they knew the risk involved and that there was a limited window where this would be allowed.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Vasei » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:25 am

For the analogy-addicted among us...

Blizzard is a movie theater. This software is some guy sneaking into the theater and selling hot dogs.

Blizzard built the theater. They spend the money to attract viewers. They pay for the AC. The hot dog guy's entire business model involves feeding off the environment Blizzard has set up to make a profit.

Just like the hot dogs in the theaters are destroying the perceived value of the hot dogs sold at the concession stand (priced to make up for the loss the theater is taking on the actual movie tickets) - this program changes the value of the environment Blizzard has created for WoW. Instead of paying the monthly fee for the time it takes to fish, or level up, etc to Blizzard, they're paying for this software. There's definitely a transfer of money from Blizzard's pocket to this guy's.

Normally, that'd just be competition. You snooze, you lose. But the guy is using Blizzard's infrastructure (without their permission) to make a profit.

In slightly more clear terms...

If you set up a lemonade stand, and then I set up a lemonade stand next door to you, that's fair competition. If I set up my stand IN YOUR FRONT YARD, I'm in the wrong, and you should have every right to beat me up and take my profits.

Now, before someone chimes in with the "Blizzard has plenty of money, they don't need to take this guy down" stop and think about legal precedent. If this guy gets away with it, the precedent will go both ways. That will entitle any monolithic company to stomp all over a small software shop (which happens to make up 100% of my household income) by putting up a lemonade stand in their front yard.

Yeah, what Blizzard did to create this situation was stupid, from a game perspective. But maintaining the right of a software company to keep some of the parasites off their lawn is FAR more important, in my book.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Ughbash » Mon May 04, 2009 8:07 am

Vasei wrote:For the analogy-addicted among us...

Blizzard is a movie theater. This software is some guy sneaking into the theater and selling hot dogs.

Blizzard built the theater. They spend the money to attract viewers. They pay for the AC. The hot dog guy's entire business model involves feeding off the environment Blizzard has set up to make a profit.

Just like the hot dogs in the theaters are destroying the perceived value of the hot dogs sold at the concession stand (priced to make up for the loss the theater is taking on the actual movie tickets) - this program changes the value of the environment Blizzard has created for WoW. Instead of paying the monthly fee for the time it takes to fish, or level up, etc to Blizzard, they're paying for this software. There's definitely a transfer of money from Blizzard's pocket to this guy's.

Normally, that'd just be competition. You snooze, you lose. But the guy is using Blizzard's infrastructure (without their permission) to make a profit.

In slightly more clear terms...

If you set up a lemonade stand, and then I set up a lemonade stand next door to you, that's fair competition. If I set up my stand IN YOUR FRONT YARD, I'm in the wrong, and you should have every right to beat me up and take my profits.

Now, before someone chimes in with the "Blizzard has plenty of money, they don't need to take this guy down" stop and think about legal precedent. If this guy gets away with it, the precedent will go both ways. That will entitle any monolithic company to stomp all over a small software shop (which happens to make up 100% of my household income) by putting up a lemonade stand in their front yard.

Yeah, what Blizzard did to create this situation was stupid, from a game perspective. But maintaining the right of a software company to keep some of the parasites off their lawn is FAR more important, in my book.


Good analogy, but I will modify it slightly.

A better example is a person setting up outside the theatre, and selling to people going in. Now since Blizzard does not have a similar porgram we would have to assume that the tehatre did not sell its own food.

This vendor would not make any money wihtout the Theatre being there, yet he is not DIRECTLY costing the Theatre any money. The theatre could claim that since he was selling pork hot dogs that it was keepign some moslem and jewish customers away, but it would be a much harder case to show for compensation.

A judge might give validity to a cease and desist order, but Blizzard is not due any compensation as it did not affect their profits in any manner.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Samanna » Mon May 04, 2009 7:38 pm

Ughbash wrote:The theatre could claim ... that it was keepign some ... customers away,...

...it did not affect their profits in any manner.


Uh, which is it again?
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Ughbash » Fri May 08, 2009 12:25 pm

Samanna wrote:
Ughbash wrote:The theatre could claim ... that it was keepign some ... customers away,...

...it did not affect their profits in any manner.


Uh, which is it again?


Well the part that was cut out is he was not DIRECTLY affecting their profits. They would have to argue that they might have stood to make mroe profits if he had not been selling his product. He could argue that by making it easier to bot a character he had INCREASED their customer base as people were more likley to have multiple accounts.

They coule CLAIM he had cost them money but it would be difficult to prove.

Damages are unlikely to be awarded any more then they would award damages to Walmart if I picketed (legally) outside their store causing them to loose profit.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Brohg » Thu May 14, 2009 7:37 pm

Picketting is totally different from collecting profits that would otherwise be theirs.
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Re: Blizzard wins Warcraft bot battle

Postby Ughbash » Tue May 19, 2009 10:57 am

Brohg wrote:Picketting is totally different from collecting profits that would otherwise be theirs.


Profits would only be theirs if they had a similar program that did what the botting program does that they charged for. The fact that whoever wrote the botting program made profit from it does not prove that they lost profit because of it. It would be difficult to prove they lost money off what is essentially a non-competing program.

Now if the program allowed people to pay them rather then warcraft they would have lost profits, but what it does should not effect Warcrafts profits in any manner.
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