Bots that enable cheating in games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch are violating copyright law in the United States.
A court has ordered German developer Bossland to pay $8.5 million to Blizzard Entertainment in damages for selling products that infringe the publisher’s copyrighted material. The Germany-based Bossland is also no longer permitted to sell or market its game-cheating products in the U.S. market. This is the latest win for Blizzard in its ongoing battle against apps that enable cheating in nearly all of its games — although the publisher’s legal fight against Bossland is still open in Germany.
I’ve reached out to Blizzard and Bossland for a comment and will update this post with new information.
Bossland did not defend itself in court after unsuccessfully attempting to get the case dismissed (as first reported by TorrentFreak). That led to an easy victory for Blizzard.
“Bossland materially contributes to infringement by creating the Bossland Hacks, making the Bossland Hacks available to the public, instructing users how to install and operate the Bossland Hacks, and enabling users to use the software to create derivative works,” the California District Court explained in a written decision. “Blizzard has established a showing of resulting damage or harm because Blizzard expends a substantial amount of money combating the use of the Bossland Hacks to ensure fair game play.”
Essentially, the court agreed with Blizzard that the cheating apps required an illegal violation of copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And because Bossland’s hacks also cost Blizzard money in terms of developing countermeasures and anti-cheating tools, the court found that those copyright violations were especially damaging.
“Additionally, players of the Blizzard Games lodge complaints against cheating players, which has caused users to grow dissatisfied with the Blizzard Games and cease playing,” the court explained. “Accordingly, the in-game cheating also harms Blizzard’s goodwill and reputation.”
This likely doesn’t mean we’ve seen the end of cheating in Blizzard games. Life finds a way, but this will at least force Bossland to go underground in the United States.
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