Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Blizzard Wins Major Lawsuit Against Bot Developers

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the gliding-off-into-the-sunset dept.

The Courts 838

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."

cancel ×

838 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wow... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189495)

The problem with this, is the game isn't 100% loaded into RAM (as far as I know) meaning that only part of it is. This could have a much larger impact by calling this small piece of the game the game itself, perhaps leading to smaller sample times of songs, etc.

Re:Wow... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189699)

Meh. No problem. Clearly my feeble attempts to play WoW are covered as parody.

Re:Wow... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189767)

I'm pretty sure that the reason that portion of the game is loaded into RAM is to bypass protection mechanisms that are designed to prevent cheating. This is closer to circumventing DRM than it is to sampling songs.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wow... (2, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189861)

Granted, but that's not what the lawsuit was about. It was about anti-cheating mechanisms being circumvented and the game being run subordinately to another process.

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wow... (0, Troll)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189965)

By the ruling handed down inferring that coping a game into RAM is an illegal copy, does this imply that WOW uses only Peripherals, and CPU only? The graphics alone are copied to the RAM on the Video Card. There is a decrease in available RAM when the game is "Loaded". There has got to be to the ruling than this "Copying the game into RAM". What is the outcome of we WOW users when we start using Solid State Disk Drives?

Re:Wow... (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189973)

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).

Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (4, Insightful)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189497)

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.

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (4, Interesting)

KookyMan (850095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189529)

Wow.

I guess now the *AA can now start telling us what hardware we're allowed to play movies/music on, and simply loading it into RAM on a non-approved device constitutes copyright infringement, as a copy is being made in a way not granted under the license.

Lets here it for vinyl. Nothing is ever removed, just vibrations sent down the needle to the speaker. (Talking about the old phonographs.)

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189567)

Lets here it for vinyl. Nothing is ever removed, just vibrations sent down the needle to the speaker. (Talking about the old phonographs.)

Nothing is removed for data either (unless you're using read-once memory (tm the CIA)

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (2, Insightful)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189637)

Shut up! The RIAA might be reading this and getting ideas!

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (2, Interesting)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189643)

And that's why I don't understand how bliz won this case. You get fair use over you music and, despite their best efforts, the MAFIAA hasn't been able to stop you from ripping CDs to your computer and MP3 player.

How is it that software can be treated so differently? I don't buy into the click-thru EULA's as 1) there's no proof that the individual in question was the one to accept it and 2) existing laws supercede an arguably invalid contract.

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189845)

You're screwed even with vinyl records. An unauthorized copy is stored in your brain, from which it may be illegally distributed by such devious pirating methods as humming and whistling!

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (5, Informative)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189583)

If anyone is interested, you can find a copy of the actual decision via the glider forums ---> link (27 page PDF) [mmoglider.com] .

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (4, Informative)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189885)

OK, let me break this down for everyone (I am a law student).

What the decision is saying is that, under 9th Circuit law, it is "copying" to move a program from storage to RAM. So, any time you load a game, you are copying it. If you do this in violation of the EULA and TOU, which in this case prohibit you from loading the game in to RAM at the same time as running the Glider software, you are not authorized to copy the game. This is a copyright infringement. The reason Blizzard chose this method was to have some cause of action directly against MDY, because otherwise it would be a breach of contract suit against the users (who are judgment-proof) for breach of contract damages alone, which are so small as to be non-existent.

The decision is relevant in the 9th Cir. only, but the reasoning appears substantially correct. The rule that copying in to RAM is copying under the terms of the Copyright Act is not unique to this case: it is in fact cited under previous authority. This case rather simply applies this standard and says that it is a violation of the EULA to use a bot like Glider, and that copying in violation of the EULA/TOU is sufficient to constitute a copyright infringement.

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

The decision is about EULAs (4, Interesting)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189747)

The RIAA? What about software companies? Ever hear of the BSA? If any of them can selectively prosecute anyone who runs their programs even if it was legally paid for, then we are all in trouble.

Though, I finally got through to the site, and it may not be quite as bad. It looks as though the court found you have to obey the EULA. I'm not sure I like that either. After all, you often don't get to see the EULA until after you buy the software and open the box. Even more so, because the stores claim some "copyright law" requires it, they won't take back opened software. Certainly sounds like they are making people sign a blank contract to me...

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189949)

Remember the bot provider did this for profit. Most of the users involved with the RIAA and the MPAA are strictly non-profit. Unfortunately in the long term, this precedence will put more heat on industry more than anything.

Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189983)

And for this, Blizzard deserve ALL cracking they can get. Congratulations, Blizzard. You've just won another declared enemy.

(Legal disclaimer designed to save my arse from stupid legal prosecutions: I do not know how to hack into systems, nor I endorse any crack against Blizzard and associated greedy bastards no matter how much they deserve it.)

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189515)

first post

Copyright? (0, Redundant)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189517)

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

Oh god, don't let the RIAA find out about this.

Re:Copyright? (2, Funny)

rjshirts (567179) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189533)

Better go through and rewrite my OS so I can make sure that nothing goes into RAM...
Guess where I'll be for the next 10 years?
My wife is going to kill me...

Re:Copyright? (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189771)

My mom is going to kill me...

Fixed.

Re:Copyright? (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189995)

Better go through and rewrite my OS so I can make sure that nothing goes into RAM...

Guess where I'll be for the next 10 years?
  My wife is going to kill me...

Hans in an alternate universe? Is that you?

Re:Copyright? (3, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189565)

My thoughts exactly. the RIAA would have a FIELD DAY with this ruling. It basically says that you can't play ANY song in digital format on a PC since it's necessary to load it into RAM in order to get it to play. GAH!

Thankfully, this IS the Ninth "Circus" Court, the single most overturned federal bench in all of American Jurisprudence. I expect there will be an appeal and a smarter outcome in a smarter court.

I hope so, anyway.

Most overturned by number or percent? (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24190009)

Thankfully, this IS the Ninth "Circus" Court, the single most overturned federal bench in all of American Jurisprudence.

Most overturned by number of cases, or by percent of cases? If by number of cases, please consider that the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over a far larger population than any other court of appeals in the United States. In fact, it covers over 19 percent of the U.S. population.

wait...RAM? (2, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189521)

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

Re:wait...RAM? (5, Funny)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189535)

Not WoW. WoW, like Diablo II and Starcraft before it, runs from your soul itself, slowly filling your life until there is nothing but the game.

Re:wait...RAM? (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189775)

You sound... like an unbeliever. Like one of the washed masses. Impure infidel! We will get to you soon enough.

Re:wait...RAM? (3, Funny)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189809)

...Tom Cruise? Is that you?

Yes... (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Tell me the summary is wrong... (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189525)

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.

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189695)

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

Even more strange, how is making a copy of something illegal? I thought only distributing copies was illegal. Personal copies should be legal.

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (3, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189793)

Even more strange, how is making a copy of something illegal? I thought only distributing copies was illegal. Personal copies should be legal.

No, lots of things are illegal. The main exclusive rights that comprise copyright are at 17 USC 106. Not all are applicable to every kind of work, but basically they are: reproduction (i.e. making a copy), preparing derivatives, distribution, public performance, public display. The reproduction right has always been part of copyright.

As for personal copies, there's not an exception that applies to all personal copies, all the time, in every situation. Sometimes they're allowed, but usually not.

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (2, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#24190013)

But doesn't 17 USC 117 protect ordinary operation of the program?

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:
(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner

I'd hope that copying the program into RAM is an "essential step in the utilization of the computer program". Am I missing something here?

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189855)

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?

Concidering the fact I bought their game to play and load in RAM, I sure as hell better be authorized, or else this lawsuit only proves that anyone who purchases or uses software is instantly guilty of copyright infringement (aka Everyone whom isn't a hermit or living a pre-1910 lifestyle or something.)

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189875)

According to the court opinion, you bought a license to use the software in accordance with the terms of the EULA/TOS. You therefore don't own the copy of the software in your possession, and therefore aren't entitled to load a copy of the software into RAM except in accordance with the EULA/TOS.

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189915)

Blizzard authorizes you to load it into ram using the standard operating system methods only. Not glider. Hence, not authorized.

I think you'll find (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189937)

That a copy loaded into RAM for use in relation to a valid license issued by Blizzard and consistent with the terms of that license would be non-infringing.

A copy loaded into RAM for use in some way which is inconsistent with the license issued by Blizzard would be infringing.

It's a silly decision, but that part of it does make logical, if not practical, sense.

Re:Tell me the summary is wrong... (3, Insightful)

galimore (461274) | more than 6 years ago | (#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. ;)

Dumb, dumb, dumb (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189527)

If the summary is correct (over-under at 38%), the loaded-into-RAM-equals-copy argument is absolutely dumb.

I wouldn't worry about precedent though. If a case ever comes up explicitly claiming this "infringement" (Microsoft suing you for loading Windows into memory), it will be struck down in an instant.

Re:Dumb, dumb, dumb (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189573)

If a case ever comes up explicitly claiming this "infringement" (Microsoft suing you for loading Windows into memory), it will be struck down in an instant.

I'm more worried about the precedent for, say, music or movies. If copying into RAM can be an unauthorized copy, what about copying to a portable media device? Could an artist insist that a particular song only work on the iPod, or only on the Zune?

Re:Dumb, dumb, dumb (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189615)

What are you talking about? A case has already come up explicitly claiming this infringement, this case. And precedent from an earlier 9th circuit court decision was applied, not struck down.

Re:Dumb, dumb, dumb (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189729)

"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.

Re:Dumb, dumb, dumb (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189961)


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.

Yes, and I've always thought that Chap. 1, paragraph 117-a-1 of the U.S. Copyright Act [cornell.edu] made it quite clear that such copies cannot be considered infringing.

I haven't read anything of the details of the ruling, so I don't know how it went. I just always thought that this section would be a slam-dunk defense against accusations of copyright infringement for either installing or running a legally acquired program. My guess is that it comes down to the phrase "and that [the necessary copy] is used in no other manner", which I don't think would apply to bots that read the memory image.

Frankly, I would much rather that the precedent be based on the bot using a 'copy' of the program in a non-essential manner, than it be based on violating the EULA meaning your copyright is revoked and copying the game into memory counts as a possibly infringing copy.

The first precedent wouldn't really restrict us any more than we are now -- we don't have the right to modify arbitrary copyrighted programs. The second would be even more weight behind EULAs, meaning copyright owners could enforce completely arbitrary restrictions, ultimately costing us much more. If that was the case, we would probably lose the right to make backups (as currently allowed by a-2 of the same paragraph above) just because the company said you couldn't.

I could RTFA or even RTFRuling, but I think I'll just go the lazy "Ask Slashdot" way and say does anyone know which was the basis for the ruling?

Re:Dumb, dumb, dumb (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189969)

Blizzard can authorize you as specifically as they'd like. Have a Microsoft OS load the copy into ram as part of a standard program loading operation? Authorized. Have exact same program loaded into exact same memory by Glider? Unauthorized. This is very simple to understand.

Poor sentence construction (1)

Sun Chi (680938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189543)

If you buy a game, you transfer rights to the game developer that they can sue you for.

Shouldn't that be something like, "developers have rights under software licenses"? Wasn't that already the case with shrink-wrap and click-through terms of service? Is this somehow stronger than it was before the ruling?

In Soviet Warcraft.... (1)

GamEmpire (1099027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189547)

In Soviet Warcraft, world own you!

Slashdotted already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189551)

Not even 5 minutes on the main page and it's already slashdotted? Must be a new record.

Re:Slashdotted already? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189933)

you must be new here

Contracts now re-write law? (0)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189559)

Since when does a contract allow you to essentially re-write law? Bliz went looking for obscure loopholes and apparantly found one. Sad sad day when you no longer have the right to use a product as you wish. This whole licensing nonsense has got to end somewhere. Could bliz deny access to the online community to 'hackers' - sure. But there's so many twists to the logic here that it amazes me they actually got a judge to understand it all.

    Yet another case of a company failing to adequatly protect their product and sueing over nonsense to get their way. Could glider have destroyed warcraft? ...perhaps... but that's survival of the fittest. If the WoW community turned to crap it woudln't be the first time a product ran it's popular life and died out. They're no better than the MAFIAA in some regards.

IMHO the only reason they won this case is because they threw so much money at it they were bound to win. Why? Simple - WoW is such a huge cash cow they'd be stupid not to spend every dollar they had to keep it alive. Simply because next month the subs would put back a few gazillion bucks into their coffers.

Re:Contracts now re-write law? (3, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189675)

I have known many people to play WoW, I mean, it's insane.

The judge probably plays WoW.

The plaintiff's lawyers probably play WoW.

The defendant's lawyers probably play WoW.

Re:Contracts now re-write law? (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189799)

But there's so many twists to the logic here that it amazes me they actually got a judge to understand it all.

I think the fact Blizzard won this one means the judge didn't understand it, or at least, understand it properly.

Oh, oh, idea! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189561)

New business plan:

1. Write a game that loads itself into RAM.
2. Give it away for free.
3. Sue everybody who plays it for copyright infringement.
4. Profit!

Good news for Microsoft. (1)

Ryzzen (1078135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189569)

If they ever feel short of cash, all they have to do is sue their entire customer base. I'm sure most of us have "illegal copies" of Windows running in our RAM.

Great, now I have to invent a RAM-free computer...

Performance of WoW is gonna suck (3, Funny)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189571)

Performance of WoW is gonna suck now that everyone has to disable their cache before starting the game.

Re:Performance of WoW is gonna suck (2, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189701)

I'm sure people could get around the problem by just taking the RAM out of their computer.

Sad day (1)

RorinRune (1116387) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189579)

This proves that the courts dont know anyting about technology. At somepoint during a program's life time some part of it is going to be loaded in to RAM to be used. The very fact that they say just having a copied of it in RAM is infringement means that I have infinged on Microsoft Copyright by using IE to post this.

I'd love to see... (2, Interesting)

dahitokiri (1113461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189581)

someone make copyrighted spyware/adware and spread it about and then start suing people just so this BS precedent can be struck down before the MAFIAA has a chance to use it to their advantage.

Does anyone know how glider works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189611)

Unlike wowsharp.net which injected the .dll. I always wondered how glider worked. It was suppose to be not-detectable via warden, I wonder if it simply read log files.

Ugh. Subject line. (2, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189619)

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.

Re:Ugh. Subject line. (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189761)

cheat consensually with friends

Keep doing that and you'll go blind!

I thought loading into RAM was "fair use" (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189629)

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.

Re:I thought loading into RAM was "fair use" (2, Interesting)

witekr (971989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189981)

Interesting. I've always thought that the best game bot would be a piece of hardware that connects to the monitor output of the graphics card and into a USB port, acting as a mouse/keyboard. It could send the image data to some AI-like software which basically plays the game for you as any human would.. Opens a whole other can of worms. Robot AI's should be able to enjoy playing games too !!

Here come the cheating EULA-breaking whiners... (-1, Flamebait)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189635)

"The net effect? If you buy a game, you transfer rights to the game developer that they can sue you for."

Hahah, moron. I guess you'd better not play games anymore.

Mitigated opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189649)

I have some mixed filling about that.
  - Redefining the copyright law in a restrictive way for the consumer (some people on /. only notice this part).
  - having some company building some real money economy about ways to cheat in a game.
  - Suing instead of having a game design that promote boting instead of actively playing some large part of the time (boring and unintelligent grind and farming)
  - Suing instead of getting technical abilities to detect and prevent this kind of cheating

Re:Mitigated opinion (2, Funny)

erayd (1131355) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189947)

I have some mixed filling about that.

Congratulations, you are now officially a sandwich!

Pathetic (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Pathetic (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189769)

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

I certainly accept and agree with your rant, but I feel I must share my opinion that anyone who uses 'technology' loosely enough to interchange it with, perhaps, 'computers' and thinks retardation is something you can hear needs their gigabytes RAMmed with a CPU degausser.

Re:Pathetic (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189823)

You know exactly what I meant. Why don't you just say, "I object to your use of language and grammar" instead of posting a clever (kind of) put down.

I will give you respect for being a Grammar Nazi that had the huevos to not post anonymously. Your being a bit of a jerk, but you are doing it to my face at least.

Ohhh, and that was not a rant. You will know when I am ranting :)

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189777)

This is no different than fooling Corky out of his candy bar.

Haha, I doubt most of the crowd here is old enough to get that quote.

Get off my lawn!

Re:Pathetic (1)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189847)

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?

I think it'd be more accurate to say that you take a classical music CD, put it into your custom-made CD player that has 'filters' that change the music from classical to hip-hop on the fly.
The original writer/producer of the classical CD could then claim that you're infringing on his copyright by using his original classical music for something he never gave you a license for.

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.

See, that's where people are wrong. WoW subscribers are not paying for the software, but the license to use it. The software is Blizzard's property (don't take my word for it, read the EULA).
The subscription is just the fee they collect for the privilege of using their servers, just like your next door neighbor charging you to play in his back yard does not mean you're now part-owner.

You can have as many copies of WoW running on your system and play as much as you want; however, Blizzard wants to drive home the fact that you do not have any rights to modify or 'exploit' what effectively is their software to perform anything it's not supposed to do under normal usage.

Besides, let's face it: Glider users are cheating bastards. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Say what? (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189671)

"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.

Re:Say what? (2, Interesting)

Xylaan (795464) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189713)

Ah, but the theory is you have a license to use the software, so you can copy it into RAM all you want*

Until you break the license. Then it's copyright infringement time.
* Some restrictions apply, all rights reserved.

Re:Say what? (1)

harmony7 (1140759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189895)

I think you have it the other way around.
The license and copyright are two different things.

If you went out and bought a piece of software, you are legally entitled, from the point of view of copyright, to make as many personal copies as you wish.

However, the license may not allow you to do so.

EULA Repurcussions? (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189689)

Blizzard owns a valid copyright in the game client software, Blizzard has granted a limited license for WoW players to use the software, use of the software with Glider falls outside the scope of the license established in section 4 of the TOU, use of Glider includes copying to RAM within the meaning of section 106 of the Copyright Act, users of WoW and Glider are not entitled to a section 117 defense, and Glider users therefore infringe Blizzard's copyright. MDY does not dispute that the other requirements for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement are met, nor has MDY established a misuse defense. The Court accordingly will grant summary judgment in favor of Blizzard with respect to liability on the contributory and vicarious copyright infringement claims in Counts II and III.

I think this means that TOUs/TOSs/EULAs now have the full force of copyright law, if a copyrightable portion of the media reaches your computer.

The section 117 defense is this:

that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner

If you're violating the EULA, it is "used in an other manner".

You know that tiny little link, "terms of use", at the bottom of every web page you visit? Better read that 20 page document behind that link, or you could be infringing copyright without even knowing it.

Re:EULA Repurcussions? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189711)

so you're saying that all software violates the EULA because loading it into RAM is copyright infringement because it's an unauthorized copy?

I got news for ya then. We're all violating the EULA!

Re:EULA Repurcussions? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189791)

so you're saying that all software violates the EULA because loading it into RAM is copyright infringement because it's an unauthorized copy?

Read carefully:

that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner

(emphasis added)

Loading into RAM for the purposes of playback seems to me to be an essential step; the external loading for other purposes would fall under "another manner".

Re:EULA Repurcussions? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189907)

No, what he (and the court decision, also) is saying is that if you violate the license agreement, you are then also in violation of copyright when you run the program. I'm not a lawyer, but this seems rather a big step to me. It's taking things from "When you break the license agreement, you are in violation of the license agreement" which may give certain remedies to the licensor - generally, that you must stop using the softwware - and going all the way to "When you violate the license agreement, you're not only in violation of the license agreement, you're in violation of copyright." This moves it from the area of contract law into the area of copyright law, an area that (IMO) it certainly does not belong.

Sadly, Blizzard will probably bet away with this highhandedness because few WoW players are likely to stop playing over this in protest. But for those few, I think today is the day to give up WoW forever.

For the rest of us, well, lawsuits and court decisions like this are a better argument for using Free software (and only Free software) to the greatest extent possible than pretty much anything $FOSS_ADVOCATE_OF_YOUR_CHOICE could say. Use Free software except when absolutely essential. IMO no game counts as even remotely essential, so if you're a gamer, switch over to gaming with Free software only. It'll save you money, too. In those cases where using non-Free software is truly essential, watch for and advocate for a Free alternative. When one arrives, switch.

Huh? (1)

Tremegorn (1111055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189707)

Here's the meat straight from the TFA:

"In this Circuit, the âoecopyingâ element may be proved in software cases by showing an unauthorized reproduction of a copyrighted software program in the computer userâ(TM)s Random Access Memory (âoeRAMâ). The Ninth Circuit has recognized that âoethe loading of software into the RAM creates a copy under the Copyright Act.â MAI Sys. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511, 519 (9th Cir. 1993), cert. dismissed 510 U.S. 1033 (1994); Triad Sys. Corp. v. Se. Express Co., 64 F.3d 1330, 1334 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Cablevision Sys. Corp., 478 F. Supp. 2d 607, 621 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (agreeing with the âoenumerous courts [that] have held that the transmission of information through a computerâ(TM)s random access memory or RAM . . . creates a âcopyâ(TM) for purposes of the Copyright Act,â and citing cases.) When such a copy is made in excess of a license, the copier is liable for copyright infringement. Ticketmaster LLC v. RMG Techs., Inc., 507 F. Supp. 2d 1096, 1107 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (ââoeWhen a licensee exceeds the scope of the license granted by the copyright holder, the licensee is liable for infringement.ââ(TM) (citation omitted))."

Wait, so if I open WoW, or ANY program for that matter, and it loads into ram (And according to this; 'makes a copy') I'm in contempt with the law?

So, by the wording of this, merely turning on your computer and posting on slashdot makes me a software pirate.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Huh? (1)

Tremegorn (1111055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189859)

The wording here then, is what everyone is having a problem with. Determining exactly WHAT "In excess of a license" is rather vague, especially in regards to the computers RAM. This isn't really covered in tfa.

Re:Huh? (1)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189913)

Sounds rather clear to me. It validates EULAs, or at least, software licenses in general. So, if the WoW license says 'Only one copy running at the same time' or 'No bots' and you do not respect that, they can sue you.

Re:Huh? (1)

unfunnyguy (1324217) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189975)

So, by the wording of this, merely turning on your computer and posting on slashdot makes me a software pirate.

No, that'd be breaking and entering.. by like the nerdiest burgler ever.

The opposite of Nintendo vs. Game Genie (5, Informative)

Dash Hash (955484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189721)

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, another major gaming corporation lost a lawsuit against a not-so-similar game "enhancing" device.

Nintendo was attempting to stop the creators of Game Genie from releasing their product via a lawsuit, but the creators of Game Genie were found to be within their rights to permit such altered play.

I fully realize that Nintendo/Game Genie are a very different beast compared to World of Warcraft/Bots, but at the same time, they are still relatively similar.

I don't have much else to say on this subject, even though I feel bots in online games cross the line, but it does make me wonder if any other gaming companies will attempt to revisit the old issue with cheat devises (such as Game Shark).

Anyway, here's a link to a bit more info about the Nintendo vs. Game Genie bit. Sorry it's from Wikipedia, but it is a semi-decent summary (emphasis on summary) that is readily accessible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Galoob_Toys%2C_Inc._v._Nintendo_of_America%2C_Inc [wikipedia.org] .

Well - I guess it's time for storage fees for Bliz (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189727)

If loading a copy of the program into ram in order to play the game is a copyright violation, then having the program installed on my hard drive (if it still belongs to Blizzard) has just started accumulating storage charges at the rate of $300.00 a day, per megabyte.

I think I'll install the program 4 more times, in different locations, and really rack up the storage fees....

Since I won't actually run the program, it will never be in RAM.

At the last that I checked, WoW with the first expansion was a little over 6 or 7GB worth of files. ((((7*1024)*300)*365)*3)= $2,354,688,000.00 - hmm - I think I have to put the pinky to the side of my face as I say "2 billion dollars (and change)"

I was once working for a company (5, Interesting)

zonky (1153039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189735)

who was being sued in not that dis-similar situation by a well known RTS series publisher. One of the things we were being accused of was direct copyright infringement. Apparently, we had a copy of a file named EXACTLY THE SAME as they had on their CD. Setup.exe Never underestimate the stupidity of the courts/lawyers in technical matters.

But wait, there's more... (2, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189745)

If the copy of a Game in RAM where it needs to be (at least in part) is somehow an illegal copy, then isn't the copy on hard disk also? Perhaps even opening the box will soon become illegal, as it could be taken as a sign of criminal intent.

I guess Blizzard is feeling real good about themselves for winning this suit. And I feel strongly that there should be a consumer backlash about the way that they did it.

Re:But wait, there's more... (5, Interesting)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189887)

What makes the copy illegal is not that it was put in ram, but the way it was put there.

Click on the WoW executable, windows sticks a copy in RAM; that's a legal copy, per the license agreement.

Click on the Glider executable, glider calls the WoW executable, that's an unlicensed copy of WoW and hence is infringing.

The specific copy of WoW in your RAM is illegal not because it's a copy, but because of how it got there.

So basically, this ruling is essentially saying... (2, Insightful)

ibanezist00 (1306467) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Good thing I've never bought a Blizzard product (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189785)

I know, it seems hard to believe. I'm not saying I haven't played Blizzard games (and Diablo II is, of course, great). That said, I vote with my wallet with these sorts of things, and over the years Blizzard's arrogant controlling nature with regard to servers and products interacting with their games has never made me want to give them any support.

And let's not even get into WoW. I like my life.

Re:Good thing I've never bought a Blizzard product (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189901)

...over the years Blizzard's arrogant controlling nature with regard to servers and products interacting with their games has never made me want to give them any support.

See, thing is, they do this as a service to the hardcore players, protecting them from the lazy ass script kiddies who only know how to run a cheat engine. Don't like that, it's fine, go away, blizzard has never wanted your kind anyways. Just don't think Blizzard is taking some kind of low road here. All of blizzards fans appreciate this.

Proof that Blizzard is the Horde (0, Troll)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189833)

First they addict you through conditioning. Then your lose sleep playing nonstop for days. Soon you're out of a job, your wife has left you, and the only people who will still talk to you are your guild mates, a bunch of 13-year-olds.

And now this bullshit court decision.

This is all proof that Blizzard is actually the Horde. They are evil.

So uninstall the game, cancel your account, and step outside.

Re:Proof that Blizzard is the Horde (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189851)

This is all proof that Blizzard is actually the Horde. They are evil.

I know this is beside your point, but the Horde isn't evil. At least, not the post-Warcraft II Horde. Hell, I'd consider the orcs in WoW to be more "good" than the humans, really.

This is bad news (3, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189857)

because if someone writes a plug-in to help gamers, they will use this case to sue them as well.

This case shows that no consumer can own a copy of a video game, the game development company still owns the copy but only gives the consumer the right to use it in a native copy of Windows, and not modify it in any way. I guess it also means you cannot sell it used, nor can you run it inside of WINE, or a virtual machine or emulator either. You can only run it in a native copy of Windows, anything else is considered modifying it and violating the EULA and could get you sued.

This has No real affect on anything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24189863)

So many people here are COMPLETELY off target in there assessment of this. There is no claim here that loading a program into memory to use or play it is violation, that is protected. However that protection is considered void if you are loading the program to alter it or use it in ways not intended (ie load it with a bot so you can alter it), they are being done on the grounds of unauthorised copying. While I think this sucks, it in no way has any affect on fair use or making legal copies into memory to play games/music/movies. Take off your tin foil hats and actually read the summary judgement, while it still sucks it has no real ramifications for anything (except other botting programs I suppose).

Good news! Running Windows is illegal! (0, Redundant)

stoicfaux (466273) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189889)

Look on the bright side. If loading software in memory to run it is now illegal, then it's now illegal to run Windows.

Precedent (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24189923)

There was a precedent set, in the '70s or '80s if I remember correctly, that loading a program image into RAM did not constitute a "copy" in the sense of copyright infringement, as this was by definition required for the program to function as intended. Can somebody remind me of the details?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>