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Judge Rules WoW Bot Violates DMCA

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the bot-having-trouble-climbing-the-slippery-slope dept.

The Courts 498

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Blizzard has added another victory in their campaign against World of Warcraft bots. A federal judge has ruled that not only did the Glider bot break the EULA, it can be classified as a circumvention device under the DMCA. "As we've noted before, Blizzard's legal arguments, which Judge David G. Campbell largely accepted, could have far-reaching and troubling implications for the software industry. Donnelly is not the most sympathetic defendant, and some users may cheer the demise of a software vendor that helps users break the rules of Blizzard's wildly popular role playing game. But the sweeping language of Judge Campbell's decision, combined with his equally troubling decision last summer, creates a lot of new uncertainty for software vendors seeking to enter software markets dominated by entrenched incumbents and achieve interoperability with legacy platforms."

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Hopefully there's a silver lining (2, Interesting)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671877)

That will allow them to use the same thing to prosecute gold spammers and the like who keep bugging the shit out of WoW players.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (4, Insightful)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671887)

They paid for their accounts.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (2, Informative)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671945)

I think he meant the in-game spamming more than the gold sellers themselves.

It's getting as bad as the spam folder in my gmail, with one small difference: there's no spam folder in WoW, only an easily bypassed filter.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (3, Informative)

JTorres176 (842422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672357)

Glider was a bot that would farm for you. It would move to areas, kill things, collect things off the body for you, even fish.

It's not just a spam bot, it's a full script that would play the game for you. Whether it's farming something, fishing to get your levels up, or mining, it was able to do it without your interaction.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (5, Insightful)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672517)

Is there even any point to the game if you can't even be buggered to play it yourself?

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671963)

I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (3, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672009)

You are absolutely free to harass others in the theater. The movie theater can ask you to leave, and you have to do it or else get arrested for trespassing, but you are free to exercise free speech in the theater. As long as you're not endangering people (yelling "fire" for instance)... So you have the right to harass people, but the theater also has the right to ask you to leave.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (2)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672017)

Exactly my point good sir.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (5, Funny)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672179)

You are absolutely free to harass others in the theater.

Good thing there's no law against harassment. If there were, I wonder what they'd call it.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672267)

Trespassing.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672433)

As long as you're not endangering people (yelling "fire" for instance)...

There's a fine point that many people miss...

It's perfectly legal to shout "fire" in a crowded theater, if there's actually a fire. However, if you're shouting "fire" for no better reason than to cause a panic, then it becomes illegal.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672121)

I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.

You are not allowed to discuss your personal opinion of the movie to anyone inside or outside the theatre for a period of one (1) year after its theatrical release date in your locality without the prior written consent of the copyright owner. If you fail to comply, you may be fined not less than $1,000, and/or jailed for a period of up to three (3) years. Enjoy the show, and buy our overpriced popcorn.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672167)

I pay for my movie tickets but that doesn't give me the right to harass others.

I wish more people felt that way.

I have multiple reasons why I have rarely or never been inside of a movie theater for the last five years or so, but the inconsiderate actions of the other customers is one of the biggest. I should preface this by saying that I am talking about R-rated movies that do not permit children, so the people I am describing are supposedly adults. From the "restless leg syndrome" individual who won't stop tapping the back of your seat, to the cellphone users who refuse to go outside if they absolutely must take a call, to the fact that I've never seen an establishment that had the balls to eject the small minority who have no respect for everyone else, I feel like they should pay me for the experience, not the other way around. Considering how many other methods there are to enjoy whatever movies I want in an environment that I can control, movie theaters have completely lost their appeal for me.

It's not really the movie theater and I realize that. It's just that theaters are enclosed environments which demand that you pay attention, and the immature, inconsiderate, ADD, "I'm the only person who exists" chronological adults who are really just overgrown children aren't terribly compatible with that atmosphere. I think these are the same folks who would only care about the immediate convenience of having more gold in WoW and would not care about the principle of never buying anything from a spammer for any reason.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (3, Informative)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672461)

Get up, walk out of the theatre, tell the manager, tell an usher, tell someone who looks important.

At the theatre I work at, we love to kick out the unruly lot that make the movies worse for everyone. Every time we walk in, they hush down, it's hard for us to know where the problems are. It's also a multiplex, with only one usher for many theatres, doing double duty, cleaning and checking the facilities.

So, do something about it. Honestly, having the balls to fix the problem is probably not their problem, more likely, they don't have anything substantive and don't want to interrupt the movie more severely than it already has been. Nothing distracts everyone in the theatre more than an argument in the seats. Make the theatre staff know it's a problem, and it'll probably be taken care of.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (1)

number17 (952777) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672525)

"restless leg syndrome" individual who won't stop tapping the back of your seat

I think those people are just being dicks. I'm a tall individual and movie theatres have never been a venue where I've touched the seat in front. Sports arenas, taxi cabs, and amusement parks make me feel like they were made for midgets.

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671971)

Why would Blizzard want to cut out 30% of the paid accounts?

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (5, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672041)

Because they want to keep the other 70%?

Re:Hopefully there's a silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672289)

That 70% has had plenty of opportunity to leave. The majority isn't going anywhere.

Doesn't matter. (5, Insightful)

SuperBry (1242668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671893)

This will just be appealed, this was just a judge not understanding the difference between breaking a contract (EULA) and breaking a copyright.

THAT Doesn't matter. (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671973)

The specific gripe the bot company appeals on doesn't matter much to me, they would appeal any decision that told them they couldn't sell their product, that's what companies do.

Re:Doesn't matter. (5, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672033)

That was several months ago. This is about a judge not understanding the difference between breaking a contract and breaking access-control mechanisms.

Re:Doesn't matter. (5, Informative)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672151)

He understands the difference, and his findings don't rely on Glider breaking the EULA. Basically he said that since Warden controls access to certain parts of the game by checking for software that accesses these parts in an unapproved manner, and Glider attempts to bypass these checks, the DMCA applies.

In other words, a tool that a) accesses elements of a copyrighted work b) evades protection mechanisms to do so violates the DMCA. Maybe the issue isn't with the judge, but with the law he's interpreting.

Re:Doesn't matter. (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672243)

But Warden is an anti-cheat measure, not a copy protection measure. Does this mean that circumventing ANY measure, no matter what it's for, is illegal now? Does that include nonsense like "rightclick blocker" Javascript?

Re:Doesn't matter. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672359)

DMCA, Wikipedia: "It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as Digital Rights Management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works and it also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself."

Re:Doesn't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672403)

But Warden is an anti-cheat measure, not a copy protection measure.

Tomatoe tomatoh

Re:Doesn't matter. (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672523)

It doesn't matter what the overall purpose is; Warden could be intended to act as a profanity filter or prevent overweight bearded men from playing female night elves named Sextasia, as long as it does so by controlling access to elements of a copyrighted work, i.e. the game.

Re:Doesn't matter. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672337)

Looks like Greasemonkey is illegal now too, right? Especially if you get rid of those "right-click" or selection prevention scripts (I'm looking at you, snopes).

Re:Doesn't matter. (4, Informative)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672415)

I'm sorry, but you have this incorrect (at least, in my opinion)

Glider does not bypass warden. Glider is stealthy and is not detected by Warden. Warden still runs. Blizzard updates Warden to detect Glider and hauls out the banstick.

But either way, Glider is not a tool that "accesses elements of a copyrighted work". It is a tool which accesses elements of a copyrighted work that you, as the user/developer, have a legal license to access until such time that Blizzard revokes said license for violation of their terms of use.

In other words, Glider does not bypass protection mechanisms granting you the ability to access copyrighted work without a license. Glider breaks a civil contract, which upon discovery will cause the licensor (Blizzard) to revoke the license of the licensee (you). After that, you can no longer access elements of the copyrighted work.

Re:Doesn't matter. (1)

harl (84412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672547)

According to the DMCA ink, tape, and gummybears are all circumvention devices as they've been used to bypass access control.

Non-Literals (5, Funny)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671903)

Judge Campbell has distinguished between the actual bits stored on the World of Warcraft disk (which he called the "literal elements" of the game) and the interface elements the user encounters as he's actually playing the game (which he dubbed "non-literal elements").

It's fun how after playing that game for a while I get called a "non-literal", good thing I stopped playing last year!

Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the industry (3, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671931)

It seems like each and every time Blizzard has filed a suit over something related to "violating the terms of their EULA", they've been handed a victory.

I've been troubled by ALL of these rulings over the years, and this just adds to the total.

As far as I'm concerned, people who pay for a copy of their game software have *every* right to opt to use said software with other, alternate servers, if they so desire. They also have every right to run any manner of automated script or "bot" in lieu of physically sitting in front of their screen and hand-manipulating the character they've paid for the subscription to use on Blizzard's servers!

It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline. Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends? Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672023)

Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

If both of them did it, then I'm imagining The Year of Linux on the Desktop finally coming to pass! =D

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672091)

Apple already forces you to use their hardware as it is. Microsoft also forces a lot of licenses to only be used by specific machines as well. That Vista you got on your new Dell probably wont work when you swap in a new system board or buy an HP system.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672127)

That's why MS sells Retail licenses...

Part of the price break of the OEM license cost comes from the fact that it is non-transferable.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672393)

Apple already forces you to use their hardware as it is.

tell that to the osx86 hacking community.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Jantastic (196238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672141)

... then I'm imagining The Year of Linux on the Desktop finally coming to pass! =D

lvl 80 Gnome, is that you?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (4, Insightful)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672045)

if 10 million people play WoW, do you think a few of them might be judges?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672055)

Even if they did, couldn't you vote with your wallet? You won't die if you don't have that latest "Call of Duty" game.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672139)

unless you've been a injected with a nanobots that kill you if you don't buy it within 24 hours of it being released.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672411)

Yeah, but you might die (figuratively) if their litigation ends up setting a bunch of weird-ass precedents. This case is way bigger than WoW.

True, But They've Done Much More Harm Than That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672069)

They've so dumbed down the MMORPG market that it is impossible for any other company to come out with any sort of game that isn't hand holding and brain dead at its core.

Blizzard went straight for the lowest possible common denominator game play and now the MMORPG market is fucked. It is sad to think of millions of people who will have spent years of their lives wasting away in such a piece of crap game. Now matter how 'polished' it is.

Re:True, But They've Done Much More Harm Than That (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672101)

They've so dumbed down the MMORPG market that it is impossible for any other company to come out with any sort of game that isn't hand holding and brain dead at its core.

And adding insult to injury, Hand Holding Online and Brain Death Online did it first! But everyone thinks Blizzard is the innovator...

Re:True, But They've Done Much More Harm Than That (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672351)

How much more hand holding can they do when the genre conventions already include having the amount of time you played the game dictate your strength? How sad is it that people call an MMO "hard" because it takes more time to get stronger? How much sadder is it that people define themselves as "hardcore" for playing games that waste more time than others?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672089)

I don't have a problem if you're playing on alternate servers; that's your prerogative. However, when you play on Blizzard's servers you have to play by their rules. This is no different than any other service. They can set the terms of service to whatever they want (within the law); if you violate those terms, you lose access to the service. If they say you can't run a bot while playing on their servers, then don't complain when they kick you out for running a bot on their servers. As far as I'm concerned, this is the same thing as Microsoft banning you for connecting to Xbox Live with a modded Xbox.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672195)

To me, a game programer, the aspect of preventing bots in a chess game. I start with a move, and the bot creaters make another move, I counter and so forth. I agree with what you are saying and strongly believe that they have all the right to prevent someone from using there servers weather they are botting or just because someone at blizzard doesnt like them. However bringing the law into this and thus costing tax payer money, make no since at all.
To me blizzard was getting there ass kicked in the chess game that was anti-boting, and desided to cheat and knock the chess board over.

Posted as AC because I still play SC online.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672213)

Except that you are expressly prohibited from playing on alternate servers. Your ONLY option for playing this game is with blizzards servers.

Furthermore, this situation is not akin to getting kicked off of Xbox live with a modded Xbox. If you get revoked from playing Xbox Live you may still continue to play the content you had purchased by yourself. Nothing is prohibiting you from playing the game, you just cannot play in an online environment. This is not the case with World Of Warcraft.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672279)

I completely agree. You have to remember that Blizzard has the entire community to worry about here, and if they find something that gives an unfair advantage they are completely within their right to ban it. I'm sure if it was a single player game, they would never dream of pressing the issue. Its the multiplayer aspect of WoW that dictates the need for such rules.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672131)

So Blizzard shouldn't be able to set the terms of use for a _service_ they provide?

Just think how viable xbox live would be if MS couldn't stop people from running hacks and mods.

And I'm sure everyone sitting in a queue waiting to get on their primary server will just love you and your afkave bot.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672183)

So Blizzard shouldn't be able to set the terms of use for a _service_ they provide?

So it's OK for someone to be guilty of a _felony_ for violating those terms?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672481)

Get your facts straight. Assuming the judge's decision is valid, the guy in question would have been guilty even if he'd never touched WOW before in his life.

The guy in question didn't violate Blizzard's terms. The judge determined that the users of his product ("Glider") did.

The felony he committed was to traffic that "Glider" product.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672257)

The problems are:

1) They sell software as well as the service. Their terms say you can only use their software with their service. The legal enforcement of this could have far reaching consequences.

2) Their enforcement of those terms is through the courts, where the arguments of their lawyers stretch laws like the DMCA or the validity of EULA's to cover more and more ground. Once there's precedent it affects everyone, not just WOW players or gold farmers.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672509)

The problems are:

1) They sell software as well as the service. Their terms say you can only use their software with their service. The legal enforcement of this could have far reaching consequences.

Guess that's just one of the consequences of having laws and judges and procedures to follow. Sometimes you're not going to like the outcomes but you can't just set aside the ones you don't like.

2) Their enforcement of those terms is through the courts, where the arguments of their lawyers stretch laws like the DMCA or the validity of EULA's to cover more and more ground. Once there's precedent it affects everyone, not just WOW players or gold farmers.

Would you rather Blizzard enforced it themselves? Maybe sent over a couple of goons to make sure violaters understood the error of their ways and would be persuaded to not repeat their offenses

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672259)

They don't won't to kick people violating their TOS off their service. They want to make it harder for people to violate the TOS by shutting down an enabler as that doesn't cost them profits.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672459)

Sure. So kick off the people abusing their terms of service. Suing the company making the bot is a completely different issue, and has (rather, SHOULD have) no legal grounds.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672227)

It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline.

Yeah, about that. There are these things called license agreements, they're kind of like contracts, which are a sort of legal instrument, that is maybe, like, thousands of years old.

If you don't like the license, don't buy the software.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (3, Interesting)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672397)

It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline.

Yeah, about that. There are these things called license agreements, they're kind of like contracts, which are a sort of legal instrument, that is maybe, like, thousands of years old.

If you don't like the license, don't buy the software.

That makes a lot of sense. However, Blizzard can change the license agreement required to play, and you can't keep playing unless you upgrade to the latest patch and accept the new terms. Since the game is based on accumulative success, do we get reimbursed for what we paid for if the license changes to something we no longer agree with?

Or, in this hypothetical scenario, perhaps we could use the product we bought months ago on an alternate server to continue to enjoy our purchase.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672539)

alternate server to continue to enjoy our purchase.

You mean the alternate server running software literally stolen from Blizzard?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672237)

They also have every right to run any manner of automated script or "bot" in lieu of physically sitting in front of their screen and hand-manipulating the character they've paid for the subscription to use on Blizzard's servers!

Not as long as you share a game world. Though it's not physical, whenever people meet there are rules to follow. Even if you paid membership to a sports club, they could deny you access if you came there shirtless. They could throw you out if you're breaking the rules and being an ass. You can't wave your membership card in their face and say "You can't touch me, I've paid to be here!". Client software and bots are exactly the same as dress code and club rules. With single player games you can do whatever the fuck you want, just as you can in the privacy of your own home. WoW is not your home (or if it is, seek professional help).

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672529)

WoW is not your home (or if it is, seek professional help).

I've tried, but I have yet to find any in Stormwind.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672535)

WoW is not your home

How can you be certain that I'm not really a Dwarf Paladin bot posting to Slashdot from within WoW? Hmm?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

HalfOfOne (738150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672295)

While I agree with you in principle regarding the precedents being a slippery slope, I don't agree with you in the perspective of a player trying to play the game.

When I purchase a game, I purchase an environment. It's a set of rules put forth by game designers, I abide by them and attempt to win given the limitations of the system. Anything else really isn't winning to me. Exploiting a bug to achieve an end by some other way than the designer intended circumvents the fun of it.

There are some games that market to the crowd that wants to customize the environment and make their own game/rules/limitations. That's great, and when I opt into that, I want as much control over the environment as possible.

When I don't want that type of thing, as in the case of a MMORPG, I'd rather that the system was as airtight as possible. I choose to play by the rules and see if I can win the way that the game was designed. By nature of it being multiplayer, I depend on everyone being on a level playing field. I'd expect the game designers to have a way to make sure that playing field stays level, as that's what ensures my continued enjoyment in the game as it was intended.

All is a roundabout way of saying that I like that Blizzard is protecting their game environment from being hacked/modified/manipulated into circumventing the designers' intentions. If you want a hackable game, find another one, there are quite a few on the market.

Again, I don't agree with the legal rammifications, but inside the game as a player who just wants a fair playing field, I like it.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672323)

"Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!"

And this is a new development? EULAs are full of insane stuff. Blizzard isn't even the worst of the bunch, they just get villified by those who want the rules to be what *THEY* want them to be.

And how does my little (49oy) brother feel when he plays WoW 'by hand', building and accumulating by the rules? He's beyond offended by those that use resources merely to profit in real $. He cranks levels and such for the sole purpose of being able to help other players accomplish what they want - usually level. Then he gives stuff away. And he gets a fair amount of wrath from the spammers and sellers who have at least twice tried to get his account deleted. Apparently not, weasels. He's not a 24x7 player. he's also a NASCAR fan. You get many weekends off from tormenting him.

I have less than no sympathy for the botters. May they lose everything in-game, and make room for players.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672325)

it seems like each and every time Blizzard has filed a suit over something related to "violating the terms of their EULA", they've been handed a victory.

You, know, this could just be a coincidence, but a couple of weeks ago I was in Northrend and I ran into an orc named "JudgeCampbell". He had some pretty sweet weapons and armor he was showing off, including a Judicial Robe of Invicibility and a Judge's Battle Gavel of The Dragon, which did an unreal amount of damage. Also, he had all these really powerful spells I'd never even heard of before, such as "Contempt of Court" and "Summon Bailiff". To top it all off, he had like 200,000 gold. I asked where he'd gotten all this stuff and he said he'd just "found it all in some dungeon". It sounded kind of fishy to me, but I didn't think anything much of it at the time.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672327)

It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline. Imagine if Microsoft or Apple came along and dictated that their operating systems could no longer legally be used as a platform running any "p2p sharing software" (since as we ALL know, torrents and other types of p2p sharing are inherently bad, right?).

Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends? Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!

Or if you bought Gear of War for Windows and discovered that you could only play it before a certain date, after which it would no longer function, and that date has already passed.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

rwwyatt (963545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672329)

There is a problem in your argument. There should be certain limitations on the use of certain software. For example, Would you use Windows to control a nuclear reactor?

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Cookie3 (82257) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672417)

Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends?

Try playing WoW between 5am and 11am Pacific time on a Tuesday.

(For those who don't play WoW, that's typically the time when maintenance occurs, patches get deployed, etc.)

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672427)

It's a really BAD precedent to set, to legally enforce the idea that a software developer can FORCE a customer to use their product only in specific ways they outline.

Blizzard isn't really forcing anyone to play in a specific way. They are asking for the right to kick people out who are worsening the experience for everyone else. Are you saying that bars shouldn't be allowed to kick out belligerents who are being annoying, obnoxious, and possibly dangerous? Your operating system analogy is bad one (not saying mine isn't bad either, but it's better) because using "any" P2P software isn't inherently bad at all. There really isn't any evidence that having P2P software on your computer would worsen the experience of people on other computers.

Or imagine if you bought the latest edition of a "Call of Duty" game, only to find out the EULA stated it was illegal to play except on weekends? Blizzard has effectively won the legal ability for developers to state and enforce anything like this they'd like to put in the agreement!

Not that I'm saying that the judges ruling isn't cause for concern, but you are blowing things out of proportion to the point where I don't know how you got modded insightful. I'm sure the judges ruling wasn't "software developers can enforce their users to do whatever the fuck they want." In other words, I'm not worried that a developer will create some ridiculous EULA that will limit my ability to play as a gamer. I'm worried that, as a developer myself, if I write a piece of software that might enhance (not necessarily in the form of cheating) the experience of a game or a set of games in any way, that I will be at their mercy, and can only pray that they don't use this ruling to sue me.

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672507)

Allow me to cry a single tear for the bot companies that have had their customer's (aka jackasses) gold mining plans undermined by this ruling, oh wait, I won't. Just because you paid someone to enter their building, doesn't mean you can do anything you want in it or to it; the same applies for servers. If I were to pay to get into a museum, then set up a robot that is constantly flipping people off in the lobby, do you honestly think they wouldn't kick me and my flipping the bird robot out? Well setting up a bot on a company-owned server is sort of like giving a giant "fuck you" to everyone who wants to play the game within the rules that have been laid out.

As far as using WoW with "alternate" servers, that would mean Blizzard would need to release server hosting software; clearly they won't do that unless they believe they can get more money from that than hosting it themselves, so anybody who is hosting a WoW server besides Blizzard would be reverse engineering their code (which is illegal for any software that isn't open source). However, if you don't like Blizzard's policies, you are more than welcome to put your money where your mouth is; send Blizzard a letter or e-mail saying what policies you think should be changed and that you won't buy their games until those policies do change. People seem to constantly forget that capitalism is the ultimate representative democracy, you vote with your wallets people!

Re:Blizzard is doing a lot of damage to the indust (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672555)

Well, I'll admit I didn't RTFA, but isn't Blizzard's stance basically that they don't have to _sell you a subscription_ if you aren't using it how they want? I mean, since you get the game client free with your subscription, you aren't really _buying_ anything.

...RAAAAAAAAGGGGEEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26671937)

How the fuck did this judge come to this decision?

Next up, OS security bugs found to be DMCA violation because they could control access to a copyrighted work

Wow, if DMCA applies here... (4, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671943)

Maybe they can use the DMCA to outlaw abortion! And create world peace! And make me dinner!

Re:Wow, if DMCA applies here... (1)

rel4x (783238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672057)

Well, I suppose her pants were circumvented.

Re:Wow, if DMCA applies here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672103)

Maybe they can use the DMCA to outlaw abortion! And create world peace! And make me dinner!

Actually, when you mention it, if you consider children to be little copies of their parents, I can almost see how the DMCA could be used to argue that abortions are wrong :)

Re:Wow, if DMCA applies here... (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672185)

They are clearly derivative works and protected by fair use.

Re:Wow, if DMCA applies here... (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672145)

I was taking a second look at the DMCA, and it apparently outlaws women's suffrage. Yay Blizzard! They just ended the suffrage of women every where!

Re:Wow, if DMCA applies here... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672471)

To further your analogy... someone would basically have to use the DMCA to put coat-hanger manufacturers out of business, not to actually outlaw abortions.

Just goes to show you (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26671955)

don't install the game you're writing the bot for.

Re:Just goes to show you (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672049)

You mean: don't live in a country with a law like the DMCA.

Re:Just goes to show you (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672261)

>You mean: don't live in a country with a law like the DMCA.

Countries that don't, have their own downsides. It's a matter of pros and cons.

Re:Just goes to show you (2, Informative)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672307)

Donnelly, et.al. are not being tried for their personal violation of copyright, or contract infringement.
But Donnelly is on the stand for, among other things, willfully allowing others to break their contractual agreement with Blizzard, Vivendi Games, Inc.

The courts could care less about whether or not Donnelly himself violated his contractual obligation with Blizzard/Vivendi, Nor whether Donnelly had actually installed Blizzards software at all.

Cheating (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672003)

Now if only I can win a DMCA "circumvention" case against anyone who moves pieces on the RISK board when I go to the bathroom!!

Interesting tidbit (5, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672059)

...he also found that MDY's founder, Michael Donnelly, was personally liable for the actions of his firm.

Strangely, though, those who perpetrated the recent Mortgage fiasco which resulted in the current recession are not personally responsible for the actions of their firms. I find it strange that CEOs incur personal liability for their firm's actions only when the victim is another corporation.

Re:Interesting tidbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672211)

welcome to the grand illusion...

Liability for the mortgage fiasco rests solely (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672229)

with Congress and those two quasi-private but really federally run groups called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Better yet, all those Congressmen who got sweetheart mortgage deals suddenly no longer need to come clean because they bought off the companies adversely affected by their actions with our tax dollars.

On topic:

I really dislike the summary which wants to relate what this guy did with interoperability. Since when is promoting cheating, breaking the EULA, and profiting off of it, interoperability?

Re:Liability for the mortgage fiasco rests solely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672349)

Bullshit.

Fannie and Freddie did 99% of their business buying hopped mortgages from private lending institutions who were pushing the bounds of what a reasonably qualified borrower was out of pure greed.

Re:Liability for the mortgage fiasco rests solely (2, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672515)

None of the mortgages Freddie and Fannie cut were subprime. Freddie and Fannie are suffering because of what the big banks did in destabilizing the housing market. Freddie and Fannie would in all likely hood have been OK had it not been for the Subprime lending.

Subprime was all through the major banks cutting their own mortgages and avoiding the government system and it's rules. Subprime is what destroyed the economy, the idea that you can lend that much money to someone that under no circumstance can they possibly make the payments after the ARM adjusts. The Bank's knowingly lent these huge amounts of money with knowledge that once the ARM adjusted all those subprimes would turn into foreclosures. Management acted to get their piece of the pie while they could then get out. Much of the major banks Management should be sued for what they did and bankrupted.

Re:Interesting tidbit (1)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672355)

In this case, the courts found that Donnelly was using his INC solely as a shield. And, in fact, MDY was simply Donnelly's alter ego. This is not allowed. Had the MDY been ran differently, this may not have been the case.

Vengance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672123)

Now an undead warlock will cast a chaos bolt to all those evil bots of Arthas the Lich King! jojojo

Bot if You Want (2, Interesting)

molotovjester (1273662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672155)

In my opinion, You can Bot if you want, but do it on a private server.

This case isn't about how someone changed the game on a personal server, but how a person's actions unfairly impacted the game play experience for thousands (or millions) others.

To that extent, enforcing a EULA in a reasonable manner is a different story than enforcing an unreasonable EULA. So those of you worrying about judgments that hinder society and technology should look instead at the recent copyright awarded to apple.

Re:Bot if You Want (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672487)

This lawsuit is NOT about how a person's actions broke the EULA. It's an abuse of copyright... they're suing a company that provided software. They're not kicking off the botting users, they're taking an end-run around the law trying to subvert it because it's easier than finding their users that are actually cheating.

Re:Bot if You Want (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672491)

From what I've read, Glider farms for you. It doesn't provide PVP cheats or magically grant you epic raid drops. That is to say, it doesn't go very far into impacting game play experience for others.

At least, as someone who's played quite a bit, I've never felt impacted at all by someone using a bot, much less unfairly.

Unless of course this is the bot that keeps you from going AFK in Alterac Valley without contributing (which before the last expansion meant that Horde was down ~15 players each battle), in which case everyone who's used it can burn in hell.

Absurdity (1)

santiagodraco (1254708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672241)

Ok, now this is absurd. I can understand finding that it violates the EULA, that's pretty obvious to anyone, but the DMCA? Where exactly did they copy code? Does this judge have ANY experts assuring he understands wtf he is making a ruling about?

Never about Piracy. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672245)

For anyone who was wondering whether the DMCA, or DRM, had anything to do with piracy, look here:

Glider violates the provision of the DMCA that prohibits "trafficking" in software that is "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work" protected by copyright.

Sounds pretty open and shut for Glider...

But unless I'm missing something, that's a valid interpretation of that language -- any technological measure which controls access to a work.

Not "prevents piracy", or "prevents duplication", or even "prevents already-illegal stuff that we didn't need a new law for anyway."

No, it's all about control. It's about preventing you from using stuff you legitimately bought in new and interesting ways, so they can sell it to you again in those new and interesting ways. Or it's about preventing you from doing something that damages them in a completely unrelated way, if they can.

It's about taking control away from the consumer, and putting it back in the hands of the publisher.

If it stops piracy, great. But I don't think that they could've come up with something this devious by accident, especially when it's clear how ineffective the stuff is at its supposed purpose (preventing piracy).

Re:Never about Piracy. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672331)

next case: Microsoft v Andrew Tridgell.

Re:Never about Piracy. (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672541)

next case: Microsoft v Andrew Tridgell.

Heck, never mind SAMBA and Tridge, how about Microsoft vs Linus Torvalds et al?

After all, the linux kernel now includes drivers to allow it to "access" the NTFS filesystem and the data contained therein, does it not? FreeBSD too, for that matter, would probably be liable under this interpretation by the same logic ("logic" being used loosely here).

This interpretation along with a properly-worded EULA ("properly" for MS' purposes) would pretty-well kill any interoperation they didn't like or want by any software whatsoever, unless I'm missing something (which I may well be).

For that matter, they could sue an end-user and win if they didn't like the fact the user installed a "flying Tux" screensaver. I hope I'm wrong and either I'm interpreting the interpretation wrong, or a higher court throws this decision out.

Strat

I don't get Siy and Pearlman... (4, Insightful)

Cookie3 (82257) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672247)

FTA:

Siy and Pearlman also expressed skepticism at the notion that these "dynamic, non-literal elements" constitute a distinct copyrighted work.

If I'm reading the trial order [mmoglider.com] correctly (IANAL), it seems to cite the following cases in support of "non-literal elements" being copyrighted:

See Atari Games Corp. v. Oman, 888 F.2d 878, 884-85 (D.C. Cir. 1989); Midway Mfg. Co. v. Arctic Int'l, Inc., 704 F.2d 1009, 1011-12 (7th Cir. 1983); Williams Elec., Inc. v. Arctic Int'l, Inc., 685 F.2d 870, 874 (3d Cir. 1982); Stern Elecs., Inc. v. Kaufman, 669 F.2d 852, 855-56 (2d Cir. 1982)

What I'd like to see from Siy and Pearlman is a description of what these cases are, and why their citation is somehow irrelevant with regards to non-literal elements and copyright enforceability. The judge certainly seemed to think they applied. (Again, if I'm reading the order correctly. I might be wrong. Who knows.)

Crazy (1)

visible.frylock (965768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672299)

Wow.

I've started about 3 different replies and erased them, for fear that if I continued trying to understand the judge's logic, my head would explode. Anti-liberty scum with a robe and gavel.

I did want to bring this up though. From one of the linked Ars articles:

The question is, how is installing a third-party tool copyright infringement if it doesn't use Blizzard's code? This is where things get dicey. In a filing, Blizzard quotes a section from its EULA that says that "All connections to the Game and/or the Service, whether created by the Game Client or by other tools and utilities, may only be made through methods and means expressly approved by Blizzard." In other words, you're only allowed to play WoW using Blizzard-approved software.

By scrolling through the EULA and clicking okay, you agree, and can then play the game. Here's where Blizzard's logic gets slippery. To play the game, certain parts of the code have to loaded into your computer's RAM. In effect, Blizzard says you're making a copy of the game. Since Glider breaks the EULA, you no longer have a license to make that copy in your system's RAM, and now you're infringing on Blizzard's copyright.

First, it would have to be the user breaking the EULA. The bot can't break it because it never "clicked" OK. Second, their logic is that because the EULA is broken, any subsequent RAM operations are copyright violations.

So my question: Did I miss the memo that made EULAs legally binding contracts, and gives EULA "agreements" the authority to invalidate the license to copy the software into RAM? Has this been true ever since the DMCA was passed? I know that EULAs always talk shit about this, but I had no idea that this logic was valid in court. I knew it was bad, but Jesus.

Re:Crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672401)

I never killed you because my gun never agreed to be fired.

Screw u.s. jugdges (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672429)

they serve stupid corporations' interests more than they serve justice in any form. what's appalling is, corporations are so stupid that they actually seek to hamper their own survivability and profits with out-of-hell-stupid lawsuits like this.

luckily that kind of shit wont fly in europe.

Hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672443)

Hi Slashdot,

Steve Ballmer here. Just wanted to my fellow Slashdotters know that I've read the summary (obviously I skipped the article) and have already mobilised the Microsoft LawyerTeam Pro(tm)*.

Target? The Samba developers of course!

* It's the only thing we've got that still works, don't tell anyone, but for Windows 7 we just copied KDE 4.2 and put a different skin on it!

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