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The Courts Government Role Playing (Games) News Entertainment Games

Blizzard Wins Major Lawsuit Against Bot Developers 838

Posted by kdawson
from the gliding-off-into-the-sunset dept.
Captain Kirk writes "World of Warcraft owners Blizzard have won their case against the programmer who wrote Glider, Michael Donnelly. (We discussed the case here when it was filed.) Blizzard won on two arguments: first, that if a game is loaded into RAM, that can be considered an unauthorized copy of the game and as such a breach of copyright; second, that selling Glider was interfering with Blizzard's contractual relationship with its customers. The net effect? If you buy a game, you transfer rights to the game developer that they can sue you for."
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Blizzard Wins Major Lawsuit Against Bot Developers

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  • While I can certainly understand blizzard's desire to control the bots, I really wish they hadn't won this case on copyright law. I'm afraid of the consequences if the RIAA get's their hands on this decision and can use it as a precedent.
  • wait...RAM? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by notgm (1069012) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:04PM (#24189521)

    doesn't every program get "loaded into RAM" at least partially at some point?

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:05PM (#24189525) Journal

    if a game is loaded into RAM, that can be considered an unauthorized copy of the game and as such a breach of copyright

    Since the game must be loaded into RAM in order to play, how is it determined that this particular copy is unauthorized?

    selling Glider was interfering with Blizzard's contractual relationship with its customers.

    This one I could buy, but honestly, isn't that between the customers and Blizzard?

    Ah, well. Expect a "Generic MMO Glider" in the near future, that will in theory work with any MMO, but just so happens to be perfectly matched to WoW. Just like the "Generic MMO Servers", which, when given a particular (contraband!) MySQL dump, and a few files off the install disks, just so happen to make an excellent WoW server.

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:10PM (#24189589)
    I like Blizzard's games, I hate Blizzard's legal decisions. Everytime I hear their name in regards to a legal dispute, they have the most assine way of looking at the matter and win decisions that completely screw over the rest of us regardless of whether the company had a good leg to stand on or not.
  • Ugh. Subject line. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:11PM (#24189619) Homepage Journal

    I'm worried someone will use this to attack reverse-engineered servers for MMO's, trainers (the legitimate ones, that is, the ones for games you play by yourself or cheat consensually with friends), cracks or many other technically useful ways of manipulating existing software.

    I don't see the meaning to their 'copyright infringement' by being loaded into memory. Routers don't infringe copyrights when they buffer packets, people don't infringe copyrights by remembering what happened in a story (even reading the story in a bookstore).

    I hate bots as much as anyone else, but this is a bullshit way to deal with the problem.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:12PM (#24189629) Journal

    I was under the impression that loading a program into RAM in order to execute it was fair use, or otherwise a legal copy (since the program needs to be loaded into RAM to run).

    Is the argument that the loading into RAM is not playing the game, and thus not authorized, when it's a bot, not a human, that's "playing the game"?

    I get the impression that this case is sufficiently at odds with other decisions that there is plenty of ground for appeal.

  • by DamienNightbane (768702) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:13PM (#24189637)
    Shut up! The RIAA might be reading this and getting ideas!
  • Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:16PM (#24189655)

    selling Glider was interfering with Blizzard's contractual relationship with its customers.

    That's actually a reasonable position. I am not sure if it is a correct one, but it is reasonable. WoW is a subscription game with a contract and 3rd parties who interfere with that service could be sued with that position. I am not sure what damages are really done to Blizzard however. Regardless of said interference, what damages occur to Blizzard if any or to the consumer? I dunno.

    that if a game is loaded into RAM, that can be considered an unauthorized copy of the game and as such a breach of copyright

    Now here is where it gets ridiculous. Ludicrous. They have gone PLAID . Technically if I took my music CD, put it into a player and "copied" the information off it into "memory" I have infringed upon somebody's copyrights? Has the player, and indirectly, the manufacturer infringed upon somebody's copyrights?

    To anybody that has even the most basic understanding of how technology works, that sounds downright RETARDED.

    We desperately need some judges in this country that have an understanding of technology to prevent software companies like Blizzard from abusing their "intelligence". This is no different than fooling Corky out of his candy bar. Blizzard should be ashamed of themselves for espousing a position they clearly know is wrong. They are software developers for CHRIST'S SAKE!

    You cannot possibly enjoy a peice of software WITHOUT loading it into memory in the first place. That is an intrinsic property of running code or "software".

    Is playing some sheet music, that was legally purchased, copyright infringment by the mere act of strumming the guitar?

    The whole argument is just plain lunacy. The WoW subscribers paid for the software, they pay for their subscription. They pay for Glider (or it's free, I dunno) as well. The developer of Glider is not performing copyright infringment. That is just ridiculous.

    There is no legal, ethical, moral, or intelligent argument against somebody loading up multiple copies of the game inside their computer's memory.

    Pathetic.

  • Say what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:17PM (#24189671) Journal
    "if a game is loaded into RAM, that can be considered an unauthorized copy of the game and as such a breach of copyright"

    This assertion, if true, means that every single user of the software commits copyright infringement, as it _MUST_ be loaded into ram to simply execute normally.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:23PM (#24189729) Journal

    "the loaded-into-RAM-equals-copy argument is absolutely dumb"

    Actually, there's no doubt whatsoever that being loaded into RAM would constitute a copy, but it's ludicrous to call such a copy unauthorized as it is _required_ even to just utilize the software as it was intended.

  • by ibanezist00 (1306467) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:24PM (#24189753)
    That any time you load up a website viewing pictures that you don't hold a license to, you're "copying illegal content into your RAM", right?

    This handcuff-like licensing bullshit has to stop. And stop soon. Pretty soon it's going to be illegal to look at or listen to anything, anywhere, at any time, with the way things are going...
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:26PM (#24189765)

    No, most of the time, copies that you make of the program aren't "...in excess of a license."

    Agree or disagree, fine - but the meat of this discussion isn't "programs are copied on execution," but "...in excess of license."

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:36PM (#24189835)
    Or it could be that whenever you play the game you load at least part of it into RAM. And if you want a super-fast gaming rig, you use RAM as HD space, loading WoW fully onto there would give you a massive speed boost.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:45PM (#24189905)

    Then talk to MDY's counsel.

    To me, this is the smoking gun.

    If A grants a software license to B on the express
    condition that the license will remain in effect only so long as B makes monthly payments
    to A, and B then stops making payments to A, any subsequent copying of the software to
    RAM by B would constitute copyright infringement â" a conclusion with which MDYâ(TM)s
    counsel agreed during oral argument.

    Here, MDY's counsel is agreeing that "Copying to RAM" is copying, an act that it reserved and controlled by the copyright holder. They agree that if you are no longer in compliance with whatever license you agreed to in order to access the content, then you are no longer entitled to the content -- since the license controls that access on behalf of the copyright holder.

    Regardless of how you may feel, this is what MDY's counsel agreed to. He basically said "Yes, this it true".

    The case then proceeded to prove that Glider is, in fact, a breach of the license.

    The judge made no law here, nothing new here. It's all been done before in other cases. He's simply applying it.

  • Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:46PM (#24189911)
    and since a program's sole ultimate purpose is to "be run," and it must be in RAM to do so, it's a severe indictment of the judicial system that putting a (legitimate copy) of a program into RAM isn't a very simple case of "fair use."

    In point of fact, as far as copyright, it is the only use.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Firehed (942385) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:53PM (#24189973) Homepage

    Much more importantly, you're guilty of copyright infringement simply by using the product that you paid to use. Quite the precedent. It's all this nonsense about per-device licensing, except in some sort of insane micromanagement level (which I suppose is to be expected from a company that's developed as many RTS games as Blizzard). This could very well outdo the RIAA in their quest to banish everyone from listening to music while simultaneously charging everyone for every song a dozen times.

    This kind of bullshit really makes me want to avoid D3 (as if not losing four years of my life wasn't reason enough).

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:53PM (#24189977)
    But that's how it will be interpreted. It doesn't matter anymore on what a court case means, but rather what it says. The USA has had a long history of interpreting various court rulings different ways to prosecute/defend and to push an agenda.
  • by galimore (461274) on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:54PM (#24189991)

    For point #2... In a way, Blizzard is defending their customers whom are negatively affected by Glider. "Your rights end where mine begin." So I am torn here, because I agree with many of you that this may set a bad precedent, but nothing irks me more than a 13 year old LOLn00b script kiddie running mods cheating in games. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @08:57PM (#24190019)

    That sounds like some serious restraint of trade.

    "You can't load up (product) if your computer's memory contains a copy of (insert competing product here)."

    I mean, what's next? Making cars require keys with the car company's logo to start so they can enforce "you're not going to transport Toyota parts with our Dodge truck"?

    Thank God I don't live in the US of Insanity.

  • by shystershep (643874) * <bdshepherd@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:03PM (#24190085) Homepage Journal

    You're misapprehending what the EULA is: by definition, it is a license to use the software (EULA = End User License Agreement). If you conform with the EULA, the 'copying into RAM' is allowed because you are doing it with permission. If you violate the EULA, the copying is not allowed and is therefore a violation of copyright.

    I can't think of a very good analogy off the top of my head, but it's something like hiring someone to build a fence on your property. As long as they come on your property to build the fence, they're not trespassing. If they invite all their friends over and throw a wild kegger, they've exceeded the limited license you granted them and are now trespassing.

    Not saying I agree with the court's decision -- in fact, I think allowing software companies to claim that you only purchase a 'license' as opposed to the software itself is a crock of shit -- but it does make sense if you look at it in the proper context.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:04PM (#24190089)

    exactly now it is possible to site this case and say anyone who runs your program by loading it into ram is violating copyright, and thus should pay you extra.

    Given how long the RIAA extortion scheme has been going on by the time the mess is cleaned up it will be too late.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:07PM (#24190119)

    Did ya bother to read the ruling? Of course not. I can tell by how strong your opinion is.

    The judge said there is a distinction between copying while adhering to a license and copying that is not protected because the purpose was not within the terms of the license.

    The license says the end user playing the game is licensed. The license does not grant copying rights to some game mod toolkit, according to the court. The user is not just loading the game and playing it in this circumstance.

    Sure, there are a lot of complexities to copyright and contract law that raise all kinds of questions about this ruling, and frankly, I expect it will be heavily modified or perhaps rejected by other courts. But calling the judge retarded and the ruling lunacy says more about you than anything. You would be a lot more credible if you made some kind of intelligent argument related to the specific issues in the case. Perhaps you could quote specific excerpts from the ruling you disagreed with.

    But since this is Slashdot, a place for drive-by commentary by pseudo intellectuals who shoot from the hip to support the group think agenda, I suspect you wont.

  • Re:wait...RAM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shystershep (643874) * <bdshepherd@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:08PM (#24190133) Homepage Journal

    Yes. The EULA is a license that gives you permission to load it into RAM. If you violate the EULA, you don't have that permission, and therefore copying into RAM is not allowed.

    I don't think the whole 'license' model for software should be considered valid, but given that it is, the court's decision makes sense. The submitter either doesn't know what he is talking about and/or is trying to make it sound as bad as possible (gasp!). The court didn't do anything crazy or new here.

  • by The_Quinn (748261) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:14PM (#24190185) Homepage
    If you are not smart enough to understand what might constitute "cheating" in Blizzard's eyes, then you are probably not smart enough to get/use the cheats in the first place.

    If, for example, there is a cheat to get free gold while you are not logged on - that is obviously a cheat, and you don't really have a leg to stand on.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:18PM (#24190227) Homepage
    What if you have more than one license?
  • GPL like infact (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ZeroHero0H (454423) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:22PM (#24190259)
    In point of fact, this is basically the same principle the GPL is founded on -- violate the terms of the license and you're committing copyright infringement. Not exact, but similar.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:31PM (#24190341) Journal

    The key word here is an "unauthorized" copy, not any copy in RAM.

    The judgment says that a copy to RAM is "unauthorized" when it is loaded alongside other code that creates an experience outside the scope of the World of Warcraft license (EULA and TOU). You're creating an unlicensed derivative work when you use such code. If you're running bots, turning WoW into nothing more than a fancy screensaver that farms resources, you're outside the scope of the TOU. Period.

    This is breach of license, folks. It's explicitly forbidden in the TOU and EULA.

    The court has simply ruled that if you are running a bot program, the limited license granted to the user by Blizzard forbids you to load or keep the program in RAM.

    This is not the same as forbidding any copyrighted work to be loaded into RAM for licensed uses. You already have purchased a license to play your music, so if you load it into RAM to do so, you're legal. All the common legal precedents and arguments in favor of transferring it to a different device to listen to it also apply. You are allowed to listen to your music.

    This ruling regarding "copy to RAM" is very narrow in scope, and was made in order to determine that WoWGlider itself is illegal to sell because it has no purpose other than to abet license violation, i.e.: It's only useful purpose is to violate the TOU, and there is no way to keep it from violating the TOU when used.

    Therefore, it had to be established that loading the program with the express intent to violate the TOU or license agreement is an infringement.

    I think it is, and I think it even makes sense. If you're violating your agreement, you're violating your agreement. No one should be able to sell a program whose sole purpose is breach of contract, or infringement!

    So no one's going to be sued for loading WoW into RAM for any licensed purpose, but it's a necessary step towards the determination that the bot software cannot be sold.

    The guy deserved what he got. He'll be lucky if damages aren't awarded, but at the very least the injunction against the sale of the program seems completely grounded in common sense and law.

    There's really nothing to see here. Just people who read "copy into RAM violates copyright" and either a) misunderstood, or b) have an agenda against copyright law in general, and are being sensational and more than a bit dishonest.

    --
    Toro

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:31PM (#24190343)
    Abusing the law to stop cheaters in your little virtual world because it's irritating you is not acceptable to me. I don't play it, so I don't care about the problem like you obviously do. I only care about how this will affect things that matter.
  • My theory (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markov_chain (202465) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:37PM (#24190387) Homepage

    They ran into a judge who happened to be a casual WoW player.

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:38PM (#24190397)

    (I am a law student) ...this section of copyright law [cornell.edu] which says that it is not an infringement for you to make a copy of a legally acquired program provided "that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program ...

    Loading a copy of WoW using Glider is not an essential step, Windows will load up WoW for you just fine.

  • Except (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:45PM (#24190467) Homepage

    The enforcement of the GPL is not predicated on the idea that executing a program is the defacto creation of a copy.

    This ruling is stupid, because it could lead to all sorts of infringements based on technicalities - and "technical" belongs in that word.

    We now have an entire can of worms open - for example, when the program is executing and makes a copy of the stack, I now have 2 copies of certain parts, both in RAM. I quite possibly have one copy in main memory, and another copy in a disk buffer RAM cache. I may have those two copies, and a third copy of part loaded into the processor's cache. The code from RAM is being copied into the cpu for execution. When I run low on RAM, part of the program is moved back onto ANOTHER copy on the disk in the form of virtual memory. How many copies are we up to now?

    This "convict you of copyright infringement using some nuance about how computers work" is insane.

    Anything your computer does in the process of executing anything you get as a program should be considered fair use, as it is clearly for your personal enjoyment.

    I completely sympathize with Blizzard's motives; the desire to keep WoW "clean" is a great one, and I think virtual/mmo gaming has a huge future, and some day, we'll all be joking about how ridiculously small WoW was as a game. That having been said, these things seem to have a way of snowballing. First it was shrink wrap licenses, and before long, there were shrink-wrapped textbooks showing up. First, Blizzard sues over this... the next thing you know, the RIAA is successfully proving in court that ripping a CD is copyright infringement, because format-shifting is legal, sure, but a computer putting the bits into RAM in order to format-shift them is illegal.

  • by zavyman (32136) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:02PM (#24190597)

    You have to have a historical perspective to understand how the first sale doctrine plays into everything. The concept of first sale was created to prevent copyright owners from prohibiting resale of books in certain circumstances. Another case summarized it as follows [wikipedia.org]:

    In that case, the publisher, Bobbs-Merrill, had inserted a notice in its books that any retail sale at a price under $1.00 would constitute an infringement of its copyright. The defendants, who owned Macy's department store, disregarded the notice and sold the books at a lower price without Bobbs-Merrill's consent. We held that the exclusive statutory right to "vend" applied only to the first sale of the copyrighted work...

    Sounds like an EULA right? The court has a role to play in ensuring fairness and upholding the expectations of consumers, and I think the court in MDY dropped the ball on this one. But as to your question about lawmakers and whether they wanted "licensees" of a copy to have 117 rights -- I think they clearly did not, and for good reason. Parties are allowed to modify the legal rights between themselves by contract, but, and this is important, at the bare minimum it has to be fairly acknowledged at the time of acceptance. You don't get that when you attach conditions to the sale of physical goods by a slip of paper.

  • by gnutoo (1154137) * on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:04PM (#24190611) Journal

    The breadth of this is stunning. Do Firefox or ad blockers and other privacy protecting, free software also interfere with a user's M$ contract (EULA)? How about software that replaces software when you buy a new computer? This can be interpreted in a way that threatens your control over your computer and other's ability to help you do that.

  • Re:Oh, oh, idea! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlexMax2742 (602517) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:22PM (#24190731)

    That's not quite how the ruling worked. Making a copy of something to RAM in and of itself is not considered copyright infringement. Doing so without agreeing to the terms of the End User License Agreement is.

    In order for your plan to work, you would have to create an EULA that stated that making any sort of copy of the program is illegal, including copies in RAM. However, since by default YOUR program is the one doing the copying, even something like that wouldn't work. You have to rely on users making their own copy in RAM using their own tools, and the average user would not know how to do so. Sorry, but your 'worst case scenario' predatory loophole is pretty short sighted.

  • by Hydian (904114) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:27PM (#24190783)
    The bot (glider) is *NOT* a copy of WoW, so you are still only running one copy of Blizzard's software at a time. Not that there is a restriction on running multiple copies in any case as it is perfectly acceptable to run multiple accounts in seperate windows.

    Likewise, there are *NOT* multiple players logged into the account. The bot is essentially a sophisticated macro. It is just running the keyboard and mouse so you don't have to.

    Running bots is against the EULA, but that is not inherently illegal any more than running IRC scripts is illegal.

    As a disclaimer, I don't play WoW, let alone go through the trouble to set up programs to help me not play it.
  • Two wrongs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ancientt (569920) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:30PM (#24190821) Homepage Journal

    If you purchase something, you own it and as an owner you can do what you like with it. This is a natural freedom that exists so long as property and ownership have meaning. When someone purchases a copy of software, they may not have the legal right to redistribute it in any form, but if they purchase property, they own property. Services are not the same thing, and the right to use a service in a way that is not agreed upon is an abuse against the person providing the service.

    In the case of a EULA, or at least some EULAs, the terminology is intentionally abused to imply that a purchase of property, regardless of service provided, does not give actual ownership. The intent of the EULA in this case is to provide something that is purchased (as property) but treated as a service.

    It is wrong to sell property and then try to enforce its use as if it were a service and it is also wrong to agree to purchase a product with the understanding that it will be treated as a service then disregard that understanding, particularly when it is explicitly stated that you must agree to it in order to use the product.

    When both parties have done something that they should not have done, the first being the seller of the software and the second being the purchaser of the software, then nobody can be said to be morally right. When both parties are morally wrong, the case should be dismissed or both parties should be punished.

    The injustice of the enforcement in this case is highlighted by the lack of the court to provide a reasonable identification of exactly what wrong had been committed. I read the article and it is clear to me that the court decided to hold the buyer and user of the software to be infringing on the rights of the seller, but calling a copy of software in RAM to be improper use clearly crosses the line into using words rather than the merit of an idea as the basis of the decision. Perhaps a clear minded judge will be called upon to reconsider this judgment and clarify that while a copy of the software was being misused according to previous agreements, it is the breaking of an agreement by the people involved rather than the method of using a computer which is wrong. If such a judge were to choose to rule that "the use by Guilder was in violation of the clear intent of the agreement made between Guilder and Blizzard" then I will still believe it is ultimately unjust, but at least believe it is a reasonable application of contract law. As the current judgment stands, words, and therefore the moral codes of the laws they represent, are misapplied.

    I use the terms "person" and "you" for clarity, feel free to substitute person/entity/persons/entities as you feel the need.

  • by gnuASM (825066) <gnuASM@bresnan.net> on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:31PM (#24190847)

    You already have purchased a license to play your music,

    What kind of crap nonsense are you talking about? I have NEVER "purchased a license" to play my music. I PURCHASED the media that the music was stored on and I have every right to listen to it any damned way I feel, even through my computer, which incidentally places it into RAM to play. I do not ask for nor do I require someone's permission to ever play what I bought for my own personal pleasure.

    Copyright has NOTHING to do with restriction of USE...EVER! Copyright deals with restriction of DISTRIBUTION. It is the constant and widespread spewing of nonsense like "purchasing a license to listen" over the past decades that has made people forget what copyright is all about.

    You are allowed to listen to your music.

    Damned right I am...WITHOUT any need to seek anyone's consent, so long as it is not being distributed. I do not ever need anybody's authorization to personally listen to what I have purchased.

    The rest of the comment was pretty straight forward and on the spot. But, be very wary of misinforming of the true purpose of copyright. The misinformed masses who eventually end up on jury duty may very well find you guilty of a crime in the future where no true crime exists.

  • by Jaime2 (824950) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:34PM (#24190865)
    It is perfectly reasonable that the TOS has been violated by doing this. That would be a contract violation that would entitle Blizzard to actual damages, but no statutory damages. But as far as I know, a TOS has never been able to narrow down the types of derivitive works you can create under copyright law. This ruling seems to imply that as long as my next CD comes with a statement saying that I cannot copy the music to my iPod, I lose all of my fair use rights.

    By transforming a contract violation into a copyright violation, this ruling crosses the line and will have serious unintended consequences. What's next, a EULA that grants the software company my indentured servitude?
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:58PM (#24191081) Homepage Journal

    Did you even read your own quote?

    and that it is used in no other manner

    That's the crux of it, right there.

  • by kjots (64798) * on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @12:20AM (#24191697)

    What's next, a EULA that grants the software company my indentured servitude?

    You do understand that you don't have to agree to an EULA, don't you?

    Too many people these days have an unwarranted sense of entitlement. It really is very simple: If you wrote the software, you can do whatever you want with it. If you didn't write the software, you have to abide by the wishes of the person who did. If you don't want to, don't use the software. Period.

    Oh, and in case you think that you are forced to agree to a license by reading it, or opening a box, or downloading a link, you're not. You have to knowingly agree to the license to be bound by it's terms - in other words, you have to know it's a license and you have to know you are agreeing to it.

    I'm sure there are plenty of websites, forums or blogs that can clue you into the implications of accepting a particular license well before you make a purchase. Try making an informed decision sometime - true, you'll have a lot less to complain about, but when you do there's a better chance that someone might actually give a shit.

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @12:55AM (#24191929)
    What do you mean by 'an unfair EULA'? What may be unfair under your definition can (and often is) perfectly valid and legal under the law.

    What's unfair in the eyes of the law is illegal in the eyes of the law.

    If the rules were as 'unfair' as you're implying they are, they wouldn't be as successful as they are today.

    If fair was synonymous with successful, how do you explain politics? Neither party is fair, but the most successful one is the one that convinces the most people they are unfair in their favor. You talk about fair like I have no idea what it is and you are the sole arbiter of fair. I think that's unfair.
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @01:04AM (#24191995) Homepage
    None of that matters. It's not the extra copy in RAM that's the problem. It's the fact that according to the express terms of the contract players sign with Blizzard, they're not supposed to run anything like Glider. Doing so is a prima facie breach of contract. Breaching a contract + loading the game in to RAM = copying for the purposes of the statute, and that means a violation and civil damages result to the party that creates the program that is used to violate the EULA... hence, Blizzard can sue MDY, who profits off of encouraging gamers to breach a contract.
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @01:14AM (#24192057) Homepage
    My analysis came from the section of the opinion applying the case of MAI Sys. Corp., page 6, line 6 et seq. of the opinion, prior to the discussion of Title 17 Â 117. That, as I read the case, was a defensive issue raised by MDY to avoid summary judgment. But, as you point out, it wasn't sufficient to raise a fact issue because the statute is not on point.

    The main holding of the case, and the one that does fall within the ratio decidendii of the court, was whether this is "copying" within the sense of MAI Sys. Corp., which the court discusses supra.

    First sale is similarly off point, I would think, because of the EULA. What you buy in the store is the game disc itself, the physical thing. Playing the game, however, requires that you accept the "License Agreement." I know that forms and captions don't control substance, but what you're getting out of the deal is really the license to create an account, log in to a computer not owned by you, manipulate data largely not stored on your own machine, and interact in a virtual world. It's like saying you should be able to disregard amusement park policy because you bought a ticket and possess the physical ticket still.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @01:46AM (#24192215) Homepage Journal
    So people can stop saying "EULAs have never been held up in court?"
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:15AM (#24192377)

    You are allowed by the license to use one copy at a time.

    Yeah, but which copy goes in RAM, which copy goes in the L2 cache, which copy goes in the L1 cache, and which copy gets loaded into the microcode decode logic?

    Not to mention the game is probably copied onto the hard disk in a couple places (install and swap).

    I thought other courts have said that "loading software into RAM" is an essential part of using it (not even an affirmative fair use defense, but simply a normal use).

  • by Jarnis (266190) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:09AM (#24192607)

    In this case, I think they are (mis)using the law for the purpose of protecting the game play of their multiplayer online game from miscreants who think it's their god given right to cheat.

    Their methods may be under dispute, but their aim in this case is not evil. Anyone who values a fair game and has played WoW during the widespread Glider bot epidemic would agree with that.

  • by Draek (916851) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:00AM (#24192885)
    As the saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:28AM (#24192979) Homepage
    The reason they chose copyright law was to get at the big money damages. Contract law doesn't provide much in the way of damages, especially for a party foreign to the contract like MDY. So they chose to find a legal strategy that would allow them to assess monetary penalties against MDY, hopefully (thereby) putting them out of business.
  • essentially, good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:43AM (#24193057) Homepage Journal

    I have karma to burn, so here's for a counterpoint:

    I like it that they fight bots. As a player, bots make the game less enjoyable for me. While I think games should be built without grinding, bots provide other players with an unfair advantage, in a competitive sense. I've seen many games in which bots have destroyed the in-game economy. Where, for example, you can forget about crafting the way it was intended, because only the top 1% of craftable items sell at all, since there are so many on the market that nobody would buy anything less.

    You could argue that if everyone would use bots, the playing field would be level as well. Yes, it would. It would also remove the main reason for actually playing the game, when most of it is automated. You see, maybe I would like to enjoy being just a mid-level crafter and still be able to sell my stuff? Lots of us who have jobs and wives and a real life don't have any ambitions of slugging it out with the 16-hours-a-day gamers in the top-tier PvP areas. We're quite happy with the game below level 50 (or whatever the max is), as weird as that concept might appear to some hardcore gamers who apparently consider the first 49 levels to be some kind of tutorial and a challenge to get through as quickly as possible.

    But being able to enjoy gameplay at level 10 means that the stuff you can make there has to have value - for you or for others. That works when the level 20 people have better things to do with their time, and would, for example, pay the level 10s for harvesting, farming or crafting the low-level ressources they need for their level 20 stuff. If bots allow them to automatically harvest during their off time, the interplay between various levels vanishes.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:05AM (#24193159)
    Yes how dare those evil bastards go as far as legal action to keep their game free of cheaters so that the other 10 million players can enjoy the game more!
  • The point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:05AM (#24193163)

    I would have thought the point of playing a game is to play the game - in person. I haven't followed this is any detail, but to me it seems that somebody has developed a tool to circumvent the "play" part of the game; if you are playing alone on a computer at home or somewhere, one could say that this is no problem, as the only one that is cheated at the end of the day is yourself. But when you are many players together, having a few players that cheat and thereby dominate the entire thing, ruining the game for everybody else - that is an entirely different matter. For one thing, everybody else will feel they have wasted their money and the company that expected to earn money on hosting the game will lose business on it.

    This, as far as I can see, is the essence of the matter - whether or not laws and contracts reflect this, I don't know, but it is why we are not allowed to cheat in any game. In a way this is also a very good illustration of the collision between "freedom" and "fairness" - I mean why should we not be allowed to cheat? Why is doping illegal in all competition sports? Why can I not, if I play chess, just ram my queen right through five rows of the opponent's defence and knock the king down? Not being allowed these things, having to follow rules, is a limitation of my freedom. In this case the freedom of one company to make money out of helping people cheat in WoW is being limited - and as far as I can see this is entirely appropriate.

    Now, I'm sitting here with a strange feeling, writing this - I mean why on Earth should it be necessary to even put these things into words? But on the other hand, from the comments I see people making, and from the fact that there is even a market for a way to cheat in something as inconsequential as WoW, it seems that this is far from clear to a lot of people. And we wonder why society seems to be falling apart.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tenco (773732) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:39AM (#24193331)
    So what? VM/Wine users will be sued, too?
  • by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:49AM (#24193395) Homepage
    Yes, it appears so. And, as someone insightfully said above, if you let your virus scanner ever scan the WoW binaries, then you're infringing copyright too.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @08:28AM (#24194185) Homepage
    And if it's not against the EULA of MMOGlider to be loaded by Warden, you can bet it will be by tomorrow.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @08:49AM (#24194353) Journal

    But that's still rather worrying - it means that copying something you have bought into RAM or onto an mp3 player is illegal, unless the software/CD does that itself.

  • by srmalloy (263556) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @08:53AM (#24194389) Homepage

    However, unless Blizzard and their lawyers are completely brain-dead, there will be some sort of presentation of the Terms of Service when you connect to their servers that requires you to explicitly agree to abide by the ToS before you can log into the game. Any rights you may have to the physical copy of the software are separate from the license you are granted to use that software connected to Blizzard's servers. The ToS for connecting to the servers would, I expect, also specify what you are and are not permitted to do with the client software when used to connect to the servers, and the use Glider makes of the Warden software would therefore be in violation of the ToS.

    Under the doctrine of first sale, you own the copy of the software that you bought -- but as soon as you use that software to connect to servers operated by the company, they can put clauses in the ToS that you must agree to if you want to play the game. The ToS could specify that the end-user is required to put the software box in a glass case and genuflect toward it three times before logging in, and until the customers actually read the ToS and get sufficiently bent out of shape over it to pressure the company to remove such asshattery, they're agreeing to do so every time they click the 'I Accept' button to get past the ToS and log into the game servers, and can be prosecuted for failing to comply.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Der_Idiot (1215622) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#24201753)

    What if you have more than one license?

    That's called quad-boxing. It's been determined that if you run the copy on a separate box (or virtual machine in some cases), then it's allowed.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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