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MDY vs Blizzard Appeal
Post by trog @ 03:48pm 03/06/10 | Comments
You paid for it, you have the DVD in your drive and the box on the floor next to your desk, but do you own the game? That is the question that the 9th Circuit Court in the US will rule on next week in the case between Blizzard, publisher of World of Warcraft, and MDY, publisher of the Glider bot.

Glider plays World of Warcraft for you. Rather than paying someone real money to earn experience or send you gold, you could pay real money for a program that would earn experience and gold. Blizzard say that you don't own WOW - you only have a licence to use it and if you use a "bot" like Glider your licence ends. The next time you start the game you are as much a pirate as someone who downloaded the game illegally.

Blizzard detected and banned a lot of players who used Glider. They then sued MDY for all the subscription fees they lost from the banned player (plus a ton of other cash). In 2008 a judge held MDY liable for contributing to the banned player's infringment of Blizzard's copyright in WoW. The judge also held MDY liable for the lost subscription fees because MDY encouraged players to do something that was a breach of their contract with Blizzard.


What the world would look like without lawyers

Both sides appealed. Blizzard want the founder of MDY to pay them the US$6,000,000 judgement since the MDY company itself can't pay. MDY say that Blizzard's licence agreement is garbage - if you buy the game you own it and can use it however you like; that includes running WoW and Glider at the same time. MDY have 100 years of precedent and the EFF on their side. Blizzard have the copyright industry lobby on theirs.

I'm personally conflicted. I don't like overreaching use of law to deny rights to citizens so that big business can profit, but if Blizzard wins EA could sue the people who make cheats for Bad Company 2.

This case will be heard on Monday 7 June. We'll keep you up to date on the case as further developments occur. You can read some more discussion on this blog or on the EFF site. I'll also answer questions in the comments...



Latest Comments
NoLogic
Posted 04:03pm 03/6/10
Botting is fail ... I am 100% against the use of bots in WoW or any other game if they are used on a public server that is pay to play.

On private servers I don't care.
greazy
Posted 04:31pm 03/6/10
I find it hilarious that blizzard is suing for lost revenue when it was their decision (and therefore fault) for banning all those people who were using the program.
DM
Posted 04:44pm 03/6/10
It says right there in the ELUA or whatever it's called that you don't own your own account, blizzard can do what they want with it when they want to do it, and that if you cheat/haxor you get banhammered. I don't get sueing bot makers though. Just buy the bot yourself, reverse engineer the bastard and update your warden tools with detection methods.
deadlyf
Posted 05:15pm 03/6/10
It says right there in the ELUA or whatever it's called that you don't own your own account, blizzard can do what they want with it when they want to do it, and that if you cheat/haxor you get banhammered.
I think the point is that this is actually being tested in court since just because Blizzard claim something does not make it legal.
Basket
Posted 05:15pm 03/6/10
YAY GLIDER YAY PIROX YAYAYAYAYAY!
Clubby
Posted 05:27pm 03/6/10
Wasn't the original issue that Blizzard was sueing for because Glider copied some of Blizzards code into memory thus claiming copyright? I remember a big thing going on about this like a year ago.
skythra
Posted 05:32pm 03/6/10
Wasn't the original issue that Blizzard was sueing for because Glider copied some of Blizzards code into memory thus claiming copyright? I remember a big thing going on about this like a year ago.
I think i remember something like that. I don't know if it was glide though. Sounded like blizzard were making new copyright law which made no sense.
Malthius
Posted 08:50pm 03/6/10
I find it hilarious that blizzard is suing for lost revenue when it was their decision (and therefore fault) for banning all those people who were using the program.

There is even an argument that most of the people who were banned would have simply purchased another copy and subscription, so Blizzard may have actually made money on the banning. They've admitted though that they have no way of tracking or quantifying that sort of statistic.
Malthius
Posted 09:16pm 03/6/10
It says right there in the ELUA or whatever it's called that you don't own your own account, blizzard can do what they want with it when they want to do it, and that if you cheat/haxor you get banhammered.
I think the point is that this is actually being tested in court since just because Blizzard claim something does not make it legal.

Deadlyf is correct. There is a rule in the US called the 'first-sale doctrine' that makes it legal for you to sell a second-hand book (etc) without the permission of the original owner of the copyright, as long as you don't make a copy before you sell it. MDY want the court to rule that when you spend your hard earned on a copy of WoW, you actually own it, no matter what Blizzard make you click on before you can start the game.

Until now, courts around the world haven't applied this "first-sale" rule to computer programs. They've accepted that when you "buy" a copy of World of Warcraft all you actually have done is entered into a licence contract, and that if you break one of the terms of the contract your licence is no longer valid. You never actually owned anything, there was never a 'first sale', and you do not have the right to sell it on to someone else.

These sort of "shrink wrap" licence agreements have been upheld time and time again around the world. On the face of it, MDY are up against a very long line of courts who have said "there are very good business reasons for allowing the software industry to work like this."
Sover
Posted 09:07pm 03/6/10
Yes botting can give people an unfair advantage over other players but if you look at it most people who bot is mainly to get to level 80, then start end game content or pvp how exactly does it gain an unfair advantage?

It take longer to Bot from 1-80 then it does doing quests mannualy, level 70-80 takes about 1 week in solid questing where as grinding mobs say 12 hours a day with a bot it takes 2 and a half weeks which really could give blizzard more money as people have to keep paying for subscriptions to keep playing the game so they can keep botting.

On my server I have probably seen about 2-3 botters and they don't seem to interfere with gameplay when I was leveling up and if the botter hasn't got a clue they spend a good time dead and running back to their corpse.

I tried botting back in BC and if anything it gives a massive disadvantage in PvP and a slight disadvantage in PvE.

Blizzard want the founder of MDY to pay them the US$6,000,000


IMO it's blizzards fault if they have lost any sort of income due to there banwaves, but in alot of cases people getting banned have say farmed up a good 20 stacks of cloth sold on AH and copped a 72 hour or perma banned for "Abuse of the Economy" If the person was botting they even get banned for "Abuse of the Economy" because they couldnt be proved they were botting.

Blizzard should do it the same way VAC and IW.Net do it send in a video of the obvious hacks/bots investigate ban the account.

If players cant be bothered sending in video then clearly it's not a big deal.

tl:dr Get over it blizzard.
Malthius
Posted 09:15pm 03/6/10
Wasn't the original issue that Blizzard was sueing for because Glider copied some of Blizzards code into memory thus claiming copyright? I remember a big thing going on about this like a year ago.

That is part of the actual "copyright infringement" committed by each person who runs Glider (according to Blizzard). Since they didn't want to sue every banned person for copyright infringement (PR disaster anyone?) they went after MDY for encouraging and profiting from that infringement. This is one of the grounds that Blizzard won the original case on.

This sort of thing is called 'third party liability'; its the same principle that the film industry attempted to rely on to make iiNet liable for iiNet's users illegal file sharing. Its partly about suing someone who has the money to pay; but its more about forcing the third party to change their behaviour because you can't change the way end users behave. The film industry wanted money from iiNet, but the real outcome they wanted was for iiNet to act as unpaid copyright police and start disconnecting or reporting users who were downloading and sharing films online. When they didn't get that, they immediately lobbied the Government to change the laws to force iiNet to do it.

Blizzard really don't need the drop in the bucket that $6M is (and they know they'd never get anything like that anyway, the guy isn't that rich). What they want to do is stop other people from making these programs.
Sover
Posted 09:33pm 03/6/10
The judge also held MDY liable for the lost subscription fees because MDY encouraged players to do something that was a breach of their contract with Blizzard.


How are they encouraging players. It's not like we see adverts for the Bot's on website people have to go looking for these programs.
Tetsuo
Posted 01:22am 04/6/10
Actually a large number of wow based sites havee generic pop ups that directly LINK back to bot sites, gold buying groups (Or retards who click on them and wonder where there account went).

TBH botting is against the rules and it does give unfair advantages to players who use it over the ones who don't but only in a PVE aspect. I do agree with them banning the retards who tank the WHOLE servers economy as i was a victim of that back at lvl 60 on Draenor when the whole server was screwed for almost a year from gold selling screwing the prices up on the AH.

As for the law suit. Well. Dunno really i want to see more before i pass wind on that one.
casa
Posted 08:43am 04/6/10
I am a full wow nerd, and even I think it would just be damn awkward being in that court room during proceedings.
fuzz_3o
Posted 11:34am 04/6/10
what a greedy bunch blizzard are. I wonder if the people who used the glider bot would have kept subbing anyways if they couldn't use the bot to being with.. maybe they had time restraints like MOST NORMAL people who do anything apart from play video games.
Methz
Posted 11:46am 04/6/10
Thing is fuzz. its breaking the f*****g RULES.
play properly or dont f*****g bother.
fuzz_3o
Posted 12:34pm 04/6/10
i stopped bothering a long time ago lol... much better games to play
konstie
Posted 01:13pm 04/6/10
sweet jesus, i couldn't think of anything worse grinding a f*****g character to level 80./
Sc00bs
Posted 01:14pm 04/6/10
its not 2 bad if u go to the right spots... get heaps of cash aswell
`ViPER`
Posted 01:18pm 04/6/10
The whole thing is just crazy, I mean blizzard can make whatever rules they want in the "game world" and then ban people for breaking those rules, but those rules dont mean anything in the real world.

If someone makes a program that breaks those pretend "game world" rules, what does it matter?

I can just imagine the judge sitting there going, ok, ok, so this is all about breaking rules in a game? Get out of my court.

skythra
Posted 01:43pm 04/6/10
When i was a kid, and i shot people down with my finger gun, I'd all be yelling "I SHOT YOU!!" and they'd be lying at me saying "NUH YOU DIDN'T YOU MISSED" and i'd be all wishing there was a court that would have taken me serious.

Turns out when you get old enough, you can take them to court for reals.
WirlWind
Posted 03:49pm 04/6/10
fuzz_3o: Just because people have a life, doesn't mean they are ENTITLED to get to play as much as everyone else.

People make choices in their life and deal with the consequences. If you choose to work 24/7, then don't expect to get as much done in WoW as someone with no job. The problem is people just want stuff without having to put much effort in, then say "But I work" to cover that up.

I know plenty of people who play and still work 40+ hours a week. Alot of them are in ICC25 and progressing forwards. Learn to manage your time, 2-4 hours of play a week to raid isn't hard, so stop making excuses and deal with it.
gamer
Posted 04:05pm 04/6/10
You've all got this argument backwards.

Blizzard make wow so your forced to spend more time in it, by filling the exciting and awsome parts with horrible grind filler.

People use bots for the filler now so they can enjoy the awsome/fun parts and save their time for those fun parts.

This is about 'sticking it to the man' and getting your moneys worth and actually being able to have your cake and eat it to.

Bots get my endorsment.
konstie
Posted 04:06pm 04/6/10
play hon. it takes 40 minutes to max your character!
rrrocket
Posted 04:28pm 04/6/10
no one does because I've never played it :)
Raven
Posted 07:19pm 04/6/10
The concept of 'licensing' software you've paid for is BS. I know that's the generally viewed way it works with intellectual property compared to physical property, but that doesn't make it any less BS.
skythra
Posted 07:45pm 04/6/10
This is about 'sticking it to the man' and getting your moneys worth and actually being able to have your cake and eat it to.

No its about somoene making money from doing something that contravenes the eula and whether or not that's "legal".

They're fighting it because its worth MONEY to the person. Not because its a noble cause.

If you don't like grinding you would have chosen a different game.
defi
Posted 09:43pm 04/6/10
Blizzard owns all the botting companies and sells the gold to make extra profit to take over the world.

This law suit is just a cover up...
skythra
Posted 10:00pm 04/6/10
^
disciple of faceman?

guess you gotta start with the small stuff.
grazer
Posted 01:17am 05/6/10
I shudder to think what would become of small developers everywhere if Blizzard lose. Every software development company I've previously worked at (not sure about the current) have used a licensing model where the user licenses the software for use and not to own. We build software and we permit you to use it. You don't own the software. You don't own the IP. The customer can own the media the software came on and can freely use the DVD's as coasters if they want, but they're not free to use and misuse the software how they see fit. Nor are they free to create add-ins or interface to the software. How else would we make money from selling SDK's and interfaces :)
MatchFixah
Posted 01:55am 05/6/10
I really don't get this whole bot thing with gaming to be honest.

If you really like a game and you spent your hard earned cash on it then you'll play the game in its entirety. That includes both the good parts and the s*** parts of the game. Surely the good parts must outweigh the bad parts otherwise you wouldn't have purchased the game in the first place.

As far as i'm concerned getting a bot to do all the dirty work for you is cheating because it's providing players that use it with an advantage over those who don't. It also alters the way the game is designed to be played. If anything it takes away the sense of accomplishment that is associated with playing a game to its full potential. Why would you want to waste your money by not actually playing every part of the game? then again some would argue that paying for games is a waste of money and time all together...

Either way maybe i'm not seeing the other side of the picture because i'm just not into never ending games like wow. I haven't really experienced what it's like to 'grind' in gathering resources and thank god i'm not into such life wasting games. I spend enough time on arcade type games as it is let alone a time sink like wow. *Shudders*
Shaexen
Posted 01:08pm 05/6/10
I work 50 hours a week and when I played WoW I used to buy gold.

Sure it's against the rules and screws up the in game economy but that's not my f*****g problem.
`ViPER`
Posted 03:13pm 05/6/10
We build software and we permit you to use it. You don't own the software. You don't own the IP.


Yeah thats right, I dont think this lawsuit is about software copyright? They werent selling bogus subscriptions or software that somehow alowwed you to play WoW for free, even though that wouldnt be possible, but you get what i mean.

but they're not free to use and misuse the software how they see fit. Nor are they free to create add-ins or interface to the software. How else would we make money from selling SDK's and interfaces :)


See thats Bulls***, as long as the add-in isnt something that makes a single user licence become a 20 user licence or something, people can do whatever they want with the software.

Your free to say, I dont want you doing that with my software, im not going to sell it to you again. Just because you put something in the EULA, doesnt make it the law, unless its something that a law already exists for like copyright law.

Say someone makes an add-in for your program that alot of people find useful, and alot of people start buying, you cant stop them. Nor should you, the smarter thing would be to add the functionality into the your software, and people wouldnt need to buy the program.

The WoW case is a bit different to software used in a commercial environment, because the add-in helps people do something they dont want people doing. Where as an add-in to a commercial piece of software that automated things and made peoples jobs easier, wouldnt be something that the original software maker would want to stop.

Unless your Apple.
Rukh
Posted 03:54pm 05/6/10
I think this might be one of the most important court cases in the entire world....of warcraft.
gamer
Posted 05:14pm 05/6/10
by the way, anyone thinking these bots need to touch the memory of wow are completely wrong. All the bots to is look at pixel colors and interpret the screen.

Some people even run two computers, so they dont get their account banned if wow somehow works out a way to detect the commercial bots. one computer that runs wow and uses a vnc type program etc to send the screen to another computer that is running the bot software.
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