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Blizzard vs. Glider Battle Resumes Next Week

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-blame-blizzard-again dept.

PC Games (Games) 384

trawg writes "You paid for it, you have the DVD in your drive and the box on the floor next to your desk, but do you own the game? That's the question the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule on next week in the case between Blizzard, publisher of World of Warcraft, and MDY, publisher of the Glider bot. The Glider bot plays World of Warcraft for you, but Blizzard frowns on this, saying it voids the license agreement — you don't own the game, you only have a license to use it, and bots like Glider invalidate the license. The EFF has a good summary of the case as well. The case is due to be resumed on Monday."

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384 comments

Still waiting for... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455408)

Still waiting for a Nethack bot that can ascend.

Re:Still waiting for... (4, Informative)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455426)

Still waiting for a Nethack bot that can ascend.

And this is the reason why people still play Rogue, and will be tapping away at Nethack and Dwarf Fortress long after WoW is gone.

I am not trying to claim that these games will ever be as "successful" (read: profitable) as World of Warcraft, but I would say they far more closely approach video-games-as-art.

Re:Still waiting for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455446)

When I was younger and playing angband, then zangband I used to put weights on my keys and have the game 'level up' for me with a room of replicating monsters overnight.

This is all the 'glide' does in WOW. IT basically can autolevel for you, OR auto collect some loot for you. It doesn't actually 'play the game'

If you think glide is actually playing the game how I would spend my time playing your fracking nuts in the head. It would be a lot easier to make a bot to play nethack in that case... a *LOT* easier.

Re:Still waiting for... (2, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455552)

Better bots than glider can heal on raids more efficiently than a human (player, not character race) healer, interrupt in PVP more effectively than a human, travel while the human is AFK, etc.

Re:Still waiting for... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455586)

... travel while the human is AFK, etc.

I really miss the AutoTravel mod. I used to check on the Auction House during lunch by logging in via VNC and using AutoTravel to run between the bank, mailbox, and AH. That and riding down the road while I went to get some more soda was nice.

Re:Still waiting for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32456052)

how I would spend my time playing your fracking nuts in the head

Why would you wish to play my fracking nuts in your head?

Re:Still waiting for... (3, Interesting)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455540)

TAEB is getting there. It already plays better than I do about 10% of the time.

I like living in the future. (4, Insightful)

watanabe (27967) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455430)

I'm really enjoying living in the Future, I have to say. When I was young, I never imagined a trial over the right to have a computer play a game for you... Just wouldn't have made sense to my eight year old videogame-loving brain.

Re:I like living in the future. (5, Funny)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455724)

I'm really enjoying living in the Future, I have to say. When I was young, I never imagined a trial over the right to have a computer play a game for you... Just wouldn't have made sense to my eight year old videogame-loving brain.

Yeah, well, you probably weren't traumatized the way Judge Campbell was when his 8-year-old self played q2dm1 for the first time. Poor soul was chain-fragged twenty times. From the sewer. Through eight walls. Right before he was about to snag the rocket launcher.

That's not the kind of thing you just get over.

Wider implications? (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455444)

Does this case have much wider implications (as summary hints at) for the software licensing at large?
I haven't read the article yet, but it seems so.

Re:Wider implications? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455474)

Yes.

Now go RTFA.

Re:Wider implications? (4, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455556)

Does this case have much wider implications (as summary hints at) for the software licensing at large?
I haven't read the article yet, but it seems so.

It depends on the arguments being made. If the only argument is that because World of Warcraft is heavily dependent upon server-side interactions, that there is a leasing of the software to interact with that code.

To have the WoW binaries alone is fairly useless. Most games are not the same way.

I am not going to hold my breath... (4, Insightful)

Tepshen (851674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455490)

.. waiting for them to overturn this ruling. the bottom line is that blizzard has all the resources they need to fluff this case up as some kind of crime against humanity and the loss of freedom for every man woman and child in america when the bottom line is they are fighting to poison themselves for the long haul. I must say that as a consumer I HATE when any company wants me to pay for something I wont own. my first thought is always "if you dont want me to own your products, I wont buy them." They will learn this lesson eventually along with the "if we dont make things work easily, the pirates will" lesson after billions wasted and a soured market turns around and bites them in the ass.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (2, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455542)

I think the difference here between what is before and after is that one doesn't play World of Warcraft on their machine alone. There is a heavy amount of server-side interaction.

I think it is entirely reasonable that World of Warcraft have restrictions on what can be done while you are leasing the allowance to use their servers to play their game.

Now, as for Diablo 3, and playing on your own machine (or even connecting to a server for no other reason than copyright protection) there's simply no argument for being a licensee as opposed to an owner.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455842)

To take a little spin, perhaps you own your copy WoW, pay for a license to log onto Blizzards servers?

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455914)

To take a little spin, perhaps you own your copy WoW, pay for a license to log onto Blizzards servers?

I'll take the high road and say, this requires speculation about how the law should be. I'm not anywhere in the position to do that. I just know a bit how the law works.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (3, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455950)

I think it is entirely reasonable that World of Warcraft have restrictions on what can be done while you are leasing the allowance to use their servers to play their game.

It might have been reasonable if they'd argued that, but they didn't. Their case is entirely about your local copy of the client. They have argued (successfully) that if you do not follow their license terms then the act of copying it to RAM [publicknowledge.org] is a copyright violation.

Perhaps we could stick to discussing what they have argued, not what they haven't?

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456134)

I think it is entirely reasonable that World of Warcraft have restrictions on what can be done while you are leasing the allowance to use their servers to play their game.

It might have been reasonable if they'd argued that, but they didn't. Their case is entirely about your local copy of the client. They have argued (successfully) that if you do not follow their license terms then the act of copying it to RAM [publicknowledge.org] is a copyright violation.

Perhaps we could stick to discussing what they have argued, not what they haven't?

You are correct that they argued about a local copy of the client, however you fail to acknowledge that Count I is "Tortious Interference With Contract"

It is not the ONLY thing that they argued. As for their copyright argument, they asserted that Glider produces an unauthorized copy of the program into memory in order to disable and/or defeat Warden. Such a copy they argue is not authorized.

It's difficult for MDY to argue that making their altered copy of the program is necessary for play... especially when such play is directly a violation of the contract to play said game.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456156)

Copyright law has a provision to allow installing software without needing a license for that, if there's still loopholes companies can use to make running a piece of software without a license a copyright violation the law is buggy and needs a patch.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456078)

"I think it is entirely reasonable that World of Warcraft have restrictions on what can be done while you are leasing the allowance to use their servers to play their game."

Let's just be clear here, what are you saying, that when you lease allowance to use their servers, they have permission to do whatever they want to your local machine and define what software you can and can't run on it? because that's the issue here.

Blizzard use pretty much exactly the same techniques to check processes on your local machine as Glider uses to interfact with the WoW process. Blizzard are saying that this technique should be illegal- in the case of Glider, making the whole piece of software illegal even if you wanted to use it on say, 3rd party custom WoW servers. They're saying it's okay for them to use the technique though to scan your other software.

It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact the technical argument they're using can have massive implications for the software industry, for example, the same technique is used by anti-malware software. Potentially then if Blizzard's argument is held up in court, if someone is stupid enough to click through a EULA on a piece of malware, then the malware vendor could sue for the removal from sale of any anti-malware software by precisely the same argument Blizzard is using. Worse, the technical argument used by blizzard questionably even makes operating systems themselves outright illegal for also using such tecniques.

It's a bad case in general, Blizzard are attempting to create a dangerous precedent for the software industry that has far reaching negative implications whilst also restricting people's rights to do whatever they want on their computer, and to use whatever software they want, even if that software is in itself not illegal.

The issue is that Blizzard is going far too far just to protect their game, they're risking too much collateral damage for too many people just for the sake of stopping a handful of people cheating in their game rather than simply making their game less prone to cheating by making it worth playing rather than just macroing. Their actions are utterly reckless and selfish, their game just isn't important enough to create such a dangerous precedent for the millions of people who don't even play WoW. It's their problem to deal with, yet they feel the rest of us should have to suffer rather than them properly deal with it because the worst thing is, people will still distribute such hacks regardless of the legality of them, just as they always have.

They're using a legal answer, to a technical/gameplay problem.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (2, Informative)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455576)

With World of Warcraft you are playing on Blizzard's servers and with thousands of other people. This sort of 'bot screws things up and Blizzard have a right to stop people using it whilst using their servers.

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (5, Insightful)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455692)

Do you even realize that WoW is an MMO?
It's so utterly transparent that by "buying" WoW, you're paying a setup fee for you ongoing subscription.
Hate them all you want. Your ideology just doesn't go with MMO's. I guess they're not your thing then, and I'm wondering why you can be bothered to post here.
And btw, there's no (software) pirates (but plenty of the actual one-eyed, peg-legged, parrot-accompanied villains) in WoW. Unless you're counting private servers. Which I guess Blizzard don't really care THAT much about, since their activities aren't actually hurting the real world... of warcraft.

Blaming someone else for your own decisions (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455826)

The most bizarre thing about this lawsuit is that Blizzard is suing MDY for lost revenue, because Blizzard chose to ban players. Blizzard didn't have to ban those players. They could have taken away their money and levels and allow them to continue playing. Blizzard made a choice. It's completely ridiculous that they blame that choice on someone else.

It might have made sense if MDY was sued by its customers who got themselves banned for using an MDY product. That I would understand. Blizzard suing MDY is completely retarded.

Re:Blaming someone else for your own decisions (2, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455854)

The most bizarre thing about this lawsuit is that Blizzard is suing MDY for lost revenue, because Blizzard chose to ban players. Blizzard didn't have to ban those players. They could have taken away their money and levels and allow them to continue playing. Blizzard made a choice. It's completely ridiculous that they blame that choice on someone else.

It might have made sense if MDY was sued by its customers who got themselves banned for using an MDY product. That I would understand. Blizzard suing MDY is completely retarded.

Blizzard didn't sue them for lost revenue (as I was able to see.) Blizzard obtained a judgement against MDY copyright infringement, and inducement to violate a contract.

Re:Blaming someone else for your own decisions (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455988)

The most bizarre thing about this lawsuit is that Blizzard is suing MDY for lost revenue,

That would have been bizarre if they'd done it, but they didn't [virtuallyblind.com] .

Re:I am not going to hold my breath... (1)

addie (470476) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455878)

There's a difference between "owning the game" and "owning the service". There are terms of service for WoW and other online games; this comes with the territory when you're playing a game that involves interacting with other players. You can't simply do anything you want, as you actions have effects on others. I don't want players to be botting their way to the level cap or harvesting resources, it has a negative effect on my experience in the game by removing a social aspect, inflating the economy, and cheapening my experience.

Here's an imperfect analogy: you buy a soccer ball. You have the right to deflate it, paint it orange, and put spikes and nails on it if you want. But that doesn't give you the right to bring that hard spikey orange ball to my amateur league soccer games.

Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Insightful)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455530)

You've to realize that this game is a service provided not for a single person, but for everyone who is in one the game. Blizzard has crafted a meticulous balance to ensure that people will continue paying to play for the game and be happy, and this balance greatly requires that people don't get to use shortcuts which bypasses aspects of the game which Blizzard deems as crucial for balance. For that alone I can understand why Blizzard would want to prevent bots.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Mechanist.tm (1124543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455584)

Isn't it every programmers job to try and create something to make the mundane parts of using a computer easier and quicker.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455608)

Perhaps, but Blizzard is more of a developer than a programmer. Glider may be a programmer, but that programming is both unauthorized, and counterproductive for the satisfaction of the network as a whole, and counterproductive for generating profit (from subscription payers) as a result.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455856)

Glider may be a programmer, but that programming is both unauthorized, and counterproductive for the satisfaction of the network as a whole, and counterproductive for generating profit (from subscription payers) as a result.

How so? Blizzard is hurting their own bottom line by choosing to ban players. The players are perfectly willing to pay Blizzard for a game that they're going to have a bot play for them. The players are willing to pay MDY for a bot to play the game for them. Everybody is happy and making a profit here.

It's Blizzard's decision to ban people that's hurting them. Of course they're allowed to ban people if they want to. It's their servers, after all. But it's stupid of them to blame someone else for their own decisions. Glider is just providing a service for there is a demand, apparently.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (2, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455886)

A false narrative again from a lack of understanding of the law.

You cannot induce others to violate their contracts.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455990)

I think that is rather unclear.

I'm almost certain that you mean:
- Inducing others to violate their contracts is illegal
as opposed to:
- Inducing others to violate their contract is not a valid legal position (and hence cannot be deemed illegal).

Clarity is important.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455898)

No they aren't hurting there bottom line, they are helping there own bottom line, there are far more players that get pissed off and quit because of retards that bot then there are botters. It only takes a few in a battleground to completely throw off any chance of balance.

Secondly most people are DEFINITELY not happy with the botting situation, the majority of players are screaming at blizz to do something about it.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455620)

Also, a quick analogy. If you wanted a game which lets you win easily, just visit this link.

http://xkcd.com/391/ [xkcd.com]

If you wanted a fun game however, you might want to rethink your strategy of making everything software easier and quicker, especially when pertaining to entertainment.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Mechanist.tm (1124543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455676)

I said the mundane parts. For example like any open world game long distance travel in games like fall out 3 could be skipped. Is that making the game too easy for ye? You dont have to use the Glider bot but its there for anyone that does. People use cheats for games all the time. Again its up to you to use them or not.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455716)

There's a big difference between Fallout 3 and WoW. One's a single player game, the other's a multiplayer game.

There is, as far as I know, no multiplayer game which allows cheats to be implemented by anyone other than the game host. And for a good reason: to make sure that the environment is fair. Travel distance is taken account into what is deemed as fair.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32456086)

Its not really cheating. One still has to travel the given distance within the engines limitations. Its just not done by pushing 4 buttons for hours long(or whatever the avg travel time in WoW is). For example, in BF2 you can set yourself of in a certain distance, keep the forward key pressed and pres the chat button. This will make you go forward without touching the keyboard. Nobody has ever accused those people of cheating.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456110)

It depends on your definition of cheating. Blizzard gets to define it, and the majority of subscribers accept that definition.

Also, there is an autorun button last I played, so that is not a valid comparison regardless.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455984)

Long distance travel in Fallout 3 is there by design. WoW picked a different route. You're free to dislike mundane aspects, but Blizzard made this game, and they're free to include it. And of course, you're free to stop playing if you really hate it.
Also, you're free to do whatever you want in your single player games, including cheating. However, cheating in WoW impacts everyone else on the server, and I most definitely believe Blizzard has every right to protect the WoW eco-system from people who reached level 80 and 100K gold, not by playing the game, but by installing an application.

Some players think they have the right to cheat in WoW. Some people think they have the right to play on level terms with everyone around them, and feel this right violated by cheaters. One group is gonna be pissed off. I definitely appreciate the side Blizzard picked.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Mechanist.tm (1124543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456102)

Thats a good point. I dont play Wow so i dont know how much the bot actual influences/impacts other peoples games. If it is very little i dont have a problem with it but if ist alot than i would. I just see a bot walking around collecting gold and getting some xp by killing simple creatures. Is there a finite amount of gold and xp in the game? Can a person come along with that gold and buy something that you were going to buy from under your nose? Can he come up and kill you easily with the xp he has gathered? Can someone give me some indept into how it affacts your game?, thx

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456048)

Isn't it every game designers prerogative to decide what parts should be quick and easy?
In an RTS, it's might be quick and easy to order your squad to take out that enemy platoon, while you worry about the grander scheme of things.
In an FPS, it's probably quick and easy to figure out what guys you need to kill, but less so to get it done.

Leveling a character, or grinding valuables for auction house hardly qualify as a fundamental "part of using a computer".

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455628)

Well that's the key point. Does Blizzard own/rule the communal experience of the players? Is this position implicit or explicit, and precisely what are the boundaries of their authority and responsibility?

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (2, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455682)

Well that's the key point. Does Blizzard own/rule the communal experience of the players? Is this position implicit or explicit, and precisely what are the boundaries of their authority and responsibility?

Good question. If I stop paying for my account, what do I get to keep?

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455866)

As far as I can tell from the EULA, nothing (of value), since nothing can be traded outside their services.

Is this supposed to be an issue?

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455904)

As far as I can tell from the EULA, nothing (of value), since nothing can be traded outside their services.

Is this supposed to be an issue?

Point is that without your license to play upon their service, you don't have anything. Same as a renter.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455970)

All the experiences and memories you had of playing the game.

Even physical goods are temporary.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (5, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455632)

I don't think the issue here is whether Blizzard should or should not work to prevent bots. The question is the tactic they're using to achieve that end. And, more to the point, the legal ramifications of those tactics being successful.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455890)

I don't think the issue here is whether Blizzard should or should not work to prevent bots. The question is the tactic they're using to achieve that end. And, more to the point, the legal ramifications of those tactics being successful.

Exactly. I'm perfectly fine with them banning bots. What's stupid is that they sue another company over the revenue lost because Blizzard chose to ban bots. They didn't have to do that. Their decision.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455930)

Exactly. I'm perfectly fine with them banning bots. What's stupid is that they sue another company over the revenue lost because Blizzard chose to ban bots. They didn't have to do that. Their decision.

No, they sued over copyright infringement and inducement to violate terms of a contract.

Nowhere did they claim any damages for lost revenue.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455636)

You've to realize that this game is a service provided not for a single person, but for everyone who is in one the game. Blizzard has crafted a meticulous balance to ensure that people will continue paying to play for the game and be happy, and this balance greatly requires that people don't get to use shortcuts which bypasses aspects of the game which Blizzard deems as crucial for balance. For that alone I can understand why Blizzard would want to prevent bots.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the legal authority of Blizzard to refuse someone to use a bot. Blizzard cannot really deny a bot playing Starcraft. You own the software, you may do with it as you please.

However, World of Warcraft is not like buying a house, it's like renting a house. You even pay a monthly licensing fee.

I was reading through MDY's appeal, and it just reads like kind of a hack job trying to misrepresent the situation... these are not owners these are renters. Their use of the Blizzard gaming service is on Blizzard's terms...

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455684)

^^^^THIS IS 100% UNTRUE^^^^

Glider was made for people to play with their own emulated servers at home not on the blizzard servers!!!!!

If someone chooses to use glider on the blizzard servers blizzard has every right to remove their account. Glider is not arguing with that.

Glider is saying people who own the software can run glider with it!!!!

This is the exact same as making a bot that plays starcraft single player.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455752)

^^^^THIS IS 100% UNTRUE^^^^

Glider was made for people to play with their own emulated servers at home not on the blizzard servers!!!!!

If someone chooses to use glider on the blizzard servers blizzard has every right to remove their account. Glider is not arguing with that.

Glider is saying people who own the software can run glider with it!!!!

This is the exact same as making a bot that plays starcraft single player.

This is why we have real lawyers fight this stuff in court. Your argument admits all the key parts necessary to prove liability on the part of MDY in inducing people to violate their contract with Blizzard.

The primary purpose of Glider is a violation of Blizzard's license agreement to use WoW.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455758)

i don't think there is a problem with a ruling stating you don't own the game, but it better be worded very very carefully. you own the right to play it, and there needs to be strict as hell limits on just what blizzard can do to restrict HOW you play it.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455790)

i don't think there is a problem with a ruling stating you don't own the game, but it better be worded very very carefully. you own the right to play it, and there needs to be strict as hell limits on just what blizzard can do to restrict HOW you play it.

Renters actually have very few rights, and they have those rights simply because one's residence is so necessary.

As a better example perhaps, take a gym membership.

Fundamentally, you do not "own the right to play it" not at all. And any limits on how Blizzard can restrict you in playing on their servers needs to be strongly considered before restricting them.

They own the greater part of the game experience that you're playing.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456018)

Their use of the Blizzard gaming service is on Blizzard's terms...

Which may be relevant to the tortious interference with a contract action, but is utterly irrelevant to the copyright violation action.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456138)

The copyright violation is from how they bypass the anti-hack security via creating another copy of the game client.

Which admittedly is a separate issue.

Re:Blizzard is not completely guilty (4, Insightful)

beowulfcluster (603942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455640)

Of course they want to prevent bots, that's totally understandable. Most players probably wish them good luck with that. Does that mean players are committing copyright infringement when using something like Glider, and are the makers of Glider guilty of contributory copyright infringement? That's the question. Blizzard says yes. Sane people should say no(!).

Poor game design (1)

ReekRend (843787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456108)

If your game can be successfully "played" by a bot in this day and age, then it's a pretty bad game.

Back to the question of why do so many people want to play a game that effectively makes them a bot?

Re:Poor game design (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456154)

Chess is a bad game?

The brief is interesting reading... (2, Interesting)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455538)

The case opening brief makes for interesting reading.

There's one curious omission though (as near as I can tell, I only skimmed it). Ongoing payments.

Although the brief does mention that the game is available for retail purchase, or download, it makes no mention that an online account that requires an ongoing service charge is required in order to play. I suspect that Blizzard could argue that while the Glider author may not be circumventing the game client itself, it's making an illegal copy of the data stream for which the gamers pays an ongoing fee.

That said, I believe Blizzard is in the wrong on this one by going the legal route. I believe they have every right to modify their Warden software to scan for and ban accounts which use glider and other bot programs. They're just worried about losing revenue by banning customers, rather than by going directly to the source.

N.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (2)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455622)

There isn't a way to ban Glider. the fact is, the program is using the same input a human does. This is why they are taking legal action.

Having an AI to play the game for you is not any more unfair then being jobless and playing 20 hours a day.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455672)

There isn't a way to ban Glider. the fact is, the program is using the same input a human does. This is why they are taking legal action.

Having an AI to play the game for you is not any more unfair then being jobless and playing 20 hours a day.

I cannot put up my own curtains at a rental home/apartment. The reason is that the owner has the right to ensure that the appearance of the house/apartment building conforms to their satisfaction.

You are only the possessor of the World of Warcraft program... it requires extensive interaction with their servers to operate. You have a license that dictates the terms of your use of this service (just like a rental agreement). If they don't want AIs to play the game, then by god, that's their right.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (-1, Troll)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455704)

It ain't.

Sure they say so, but who gives a shit about what they want.

If I want my AI to play the game, it will play it. Don't be a racist. This is the same as saying niggers can't play WoW.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455814)

It ain't.
No where did any piece of legislation say that all intelligence, whether artificial or human, was created equal, and human rights does not apply to computers.
Sure, you say your AI is entitled to play WoW, but who gives a shit what you say.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (3, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455852)

You are so 20th century. :)

Free the AI!! :)

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455860)

Oh thank god you're not insane.

Sometimes it's hard to spot sarcasm/satire/parody when you're trying to be serious.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455902)

Actually the day when we will discuss if we give AI human rights will come. There will be some inevitable fights and opposing ideas. But like we aborted slavery we will liberate the AI.

Once the dust will settle we will look back to the days when the AI was not allowed to play games.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455934)

Once the dust will settle we will look back to the days when the AI was not allowed to play games.

Right, but the AI has to be rational enough to make moral choices, and be held responsible for its own actions.

AI is not anywhere near that right now.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455964)

Hey, that's a touchy issue right there. How gets to define what is moral? How does one determine the maturity of an AI?

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456002)

Is you cat allowed to play WoW?

If the cat has this right, why not the AI?

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456058)

On hindsight, I don't think that's a requirement, AFAIK WoW minimum age is not the legal adult age (rational enough to make moral choices, and be held responsible for ones own actions).

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455944)

Of cause, there'll still be issues. Will direct connectivity (as opposed to an indirect mechanical input) be allowed? Would AI and humans be segregated regardless? (this doesn't mean inequality, more of disparate communities with interactions) Would AI inhibiting the same body be granted separate identities?

Also random note: Freefall (comic) does touch into many of these AI issues. Nice read, that.

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455980)

conforms to their satisfaction.

"Conforms to their satisfaction?" That's the weirdest sentence I've read all week. Surely, one's satisfaction is the result of a stimulus, rather than an instigator?

Re:The brief is interesting reading... (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455810)

They can (and do) ban glider by updating their warden software to detect glider in memory, or by doing statistical analysis on player actions (time between keypresses, duration keys are held for, which areas players are in, what they're doing, etc). All of this can be faked, but it's a matter of how much trouble someone will go to. If Blizzard really wanted to throw a wrench into these types of programs, there's all sorts of random elements they could include that would play havoc with them. But again, it would also impact regular players, which they don't want.

Warden is the easier of the two, but it's an ongoing arms-race between the companies. The analysis of player actions takes more effort as they may flag accounts for GMs, who could whisper something to the player and boot/ban them if there's no reply from glider.

Funny (4, Insightful)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455580)

I still find it amusing that Blizzard is going after the makers of Glider, when the license violation is on the part of each player using it.

Sure, maybe Glider is infringing on some trademark or copyright, but the company making it did not facilitate the user in violating the license any more than the authors of libpcap facilitated someone running ShowEQ and violating Sony's license. The route Blizzard seems to be going ends up at, "The user violated our license, and so we want them to pay the next 20 years of subscription fees while we also cancel their account. After all, they would have paid us anyways." which is patently, and I hope legally, ridiculous. Nothing at all shows that these users would have continued playing if they did not have access to a program like Glider, in fact I recall back in the peek of EQ people quitting when seq or mq or any of the other programs got defeated. If they just got banned, they bought other accounts.

If Blizzard is really egotistical enough to claim, in a court of law, that the user would play if only they had played by our rules, than let them sue the user. Better yet, let them track down which users are not only still playing, but purchased new accounts to do so. Then lets hope the judge laughs them out of the court room.

Re:Funny (2, Informative)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455666)

According to Wikipedia, Glider makes a copy of the WoW client (as opposed to just running on top of the client), so the software itself does infringe on the license.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glider_(bot) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455908)

The courts holding is very specious, its like saying I can't run two copies of Word at the same time. Its a copy running in memory according to the link you sent. This decision is stretching the meaning of copying software and I wonder if they even understand what they are talking about. I can't wait till the current batch of the judiciary is replaced with a younger generation that understands technology.

Re:Funny (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455948)

The courts holding is very specious, its like saying I can't run two copies of Word at the same time. Its a copy running in memory according to the link you sent. This decision is stretching the meaning of copying software and I wonder if they even understand what they are talking about. I can't wait till the current batch of the judiciary is replaced with a younger generation that understands technology.

The courts ruling is not specious.

Gilder created another unauthorized copy of the game, which is not necessary to play the game.

This copy was for the specific purpose of avoiding detection by the anti-cheating software Warden.

The first proves the copyright violation, the second proves the inducement to violate the terms of a contract. ... this coming from a girl with extensive history in emulation and virtualization.

Re:Funny (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456014)

Actually, from the wikipedia link it is entirely unclear whether the copied memory is edited in any manner (I would think it is, if the sole purpose is to circumvent a anti-cheating device). If there is any editing of the memory, Blizzard has a perfectly valid case.

Re:Funny (2, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455828)

Your argument at first sounds about right, but unfortunately it is specious.

An individual can be responsible for inducing someone else into violating the terms of their contract.

MDY knew that use of their program violated the terms of use of World of Warcraft. There is no use of Glider that does not violate the terms of use for WoW. Therefore selling this induces people to violate their contract.

If people did not enjoy the game under the ToU, then they have a contractually allowable response: cancel their account.

They do not have the right to break that contract, and MDY suggesting to them that they are allowed to do so, is textbook inducement to violate the terms of a contract.

really? (2, Insightful)

acehole (174372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455588)

If you're needing a bot to play for you its time to give up the game.

Even though wow is a shadow of its former self.

Re:really? (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455642)

If you like a game it does not imply you like every aspect of it. With a bot you skip the parts you don't enjoy (anymore).

I say, if you paid for it, do what you want. (moral exception applies).

Re:really? (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455712)

If you like a game it does not imply you like every aspect of it. With a bot you skip the parts you don't enjoy (anymore).

I say, if you paid for it, do what you want. (moral exception applies).

Do this with your apartment. Just paint the walls, and put in your own walls.

See how far that gets you.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455740)

That would be equivalent to changing things in the game world so that it affects future gamers. That's not happening here.

Re:really? (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455798)

That would be equivalent to changing things in the game world so that it affects future gamers. That's not happening here.

No. Renters are not allowed to do those things because they are simply in possession of the property, but not the owners of the property.

Thus, renters are banned outright from doing just about anything but transient changes to the property.

Owners also have the right to forbid renters from changing the external appearance of the property as well... so, go chew on that one.

Don't tell us what programs we can and can't run (0, Flamebait)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455598)

As if intellectual property owners didn't have ENOUGH legal clout these days (including guilty-until-proven-innocent instaverdicts)! Cheating or not, no software company should be able to tell us what programs can run in tandem with theirs.

Re:Don't tell us what programs we can and can't ru (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455686)

Did your parents have any children that weren't retarded or are you an only child?

Re:Don't tell us what programs we can and can't ru (2, Informative)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456148)

I mean ostensibly I can see how the Glide bot could be considered 'legal' in and of itself, I am of the firm belief that if you buy a game you can use (or abuse if you so desire) it any way you want.

Now in the case of WoW the EULA is not just for the game (which you own, or ought to anyhow) but also for the servers (which are owned by Blizzard). So seems to be that it is entirely fair that Blizzard can dictate what you can and cannot do on their servers, if they decide that they do not want a bot running on their servers then a they are in the clear when they ban the user of said bot.
I mean it is fairly commonplace for people who run multiplayer notepad servers (excuse me I mean 'IRC servers) to say that they do not want unauthorized bots on their servers and most FPS games implement anti-cheating and systems and will ban people who cheat.

So Blizzard are not so much telling you what you can or cannot run on your computer as much as they are telling you what you can and cannot use on their servers.

The Catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455616)

This case is one of the few that is testing EULA vs you know, actual sane things like property ownership.

granted Botting is generally reviled by all who play MMOs... (same with spammers and gold farmers).

however the main reason they exist is simple: Time = Money.

botting = more Time playing thus more ingame Money / gear such to use to play the game yourself.

That being said some of the EULA's i've worked my way through are so much legal bullsh!t that it'd take a lawyer a week to work through what exactly it says.

EULA are barely enforced at the moment... however... if EULA become enforceable then what the laws giveth the small print can take away
(and another thing about the case was Blizzards use of Copyright Law to win the case)

And if you like owning software good luck in 5 years you won't be able to BUY software anymore
you'll just purchase a limited use license and heaven help you if you want to play the game 5 years down the line.

Steam is a nice example of this... its done well... but at its core is this...
YOU no longer OWN your game. you cannot sell the game to anyone, you cannot lend the game to a friend, and the game owners or Steam can decide you can't play the game for any reason with little to no recourse.

Re:The Catch (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455744)

I don't mind EULAs being tested, if it's tested in an environment which gives a non-clear advantage to the EULA enforcer. It would be a very bad day if EULAs are deemed enforceable, just because of this case.

High Price of Success (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455618)

I'm glad Blizzard was able to shut down MDY and go a long way towards interrupting Glider and it's ilk. But I'm afraid Blizzard's lawyers are being too smart for everyone's good. The legal tactic has been successful in achieving this goal. And I'm not sure that there's a more effective way to go about it. However, the legal ramifications are startling.

Re:High Price of Success (3, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455648)

Yeah, I hate cheating too, but this is too high of a cost. It's like using a guillotine to fix your dandruff.

It's a sports competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32455674)

Blizzard worries - and should worry - the other users. No-one could care about bots if it didnt affect the users (or, optionally, a disproportional (24/24) load on the game servers).

The game is a competition. As in other sports, there are rules that regulate the competition. No doping, no cheating, no helping by others. It goes as far as that new clothing materials may have to be tested and approved or disapproved.

The reason is obvious: to allow a fair competition. As soon as someone breaking the rules is 'allowed', the other competitors will rightfully complain. It's not else in the blizzard game - you -knowingly- obstruct other user's gameplay. Thereby hinder other users.

Having said that all, i'm not sure why they have to go the 'legal' way - blizzard could just ban all involved accounts.

Legally, i'm not sure if this ownership discussion is needed at all. Blizz should use this competition element, and the aspect of fair play / breaking the competition rules. Because, suppose this situation: A free game, open-source if you like, no monthly fees. Someone setting up a gameserver for this and banning users that cheat. Who owns the software in this case? Does the owner of the game server _not_ have the right to ban users (or: have the right to ask them to create an account in the first place?). Taking away all copyright ownership issues, Blizz should still be able to make the case - they offer the service of a competition, they must be able to regulate such competition and disqualify cheaters. No more no less.

Re:So maybe, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32456124)

Maybe if your game is so broken that "It becomes unbalanced if you play it for a really really long time" is something you need to get the U.S. Government to step in and help you work-around, it's time to make a game that isn't so hideously broken?

Perhaps I'm missing something (1, Offtopic)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455680)

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but isn't the summary a bit misleading? It's not ownership of the copy of the game you've bought that's being contested; it's the right to play it on Blizzard's own servers. Now, admittedly, the game isn't much use if you can't connect to those servers, but it's not as if you didn't know that when you bought the game.

However, Blizzard is not talking about going into anybody's home and taking away their physical copy of the game, or requiring them to delete it from their hard drive. People like to say that piracy isn't theft because it doesn't deprive the rights-holder of their original copy of the software. Ok, I can buy that. It doesn't mean that piracy isn't A Bad Thing (TM), but I can agree that it isn't theft. So by the same token, Blizzard isn't contesting anybody's ownership of the game - just the right to play it on Blizzard servers.

As a former WoW player (quit cold-turkey 6 weeks ago due to needing my life back) I'm supportive of Blizzard. Stuff like Glider just ruins the experience for legitimate players and I'm glad they take steps to guard against that.

Incomplete summary (1, Offtopic)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455788)

You paid for it, you have the DVD in your drive and the box on the floor next to your desk, but do you own the game?

Yes you do. ...but do you also have the server in your room?
You can add any bot or cheat you want to the game, as long as you don't connect it to the official server.

Re:Incomplete summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32456062)

Yep the only issue with that is if we roll back to the case against KALI, and Free Battlenetd its illegal to make something that emulates blizzards servers, so I guess a check mate you suck is in order.

Iffy on this one (2, Interesting)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455952)

Hoping for a so-so verdict here. The court should allow anyone to modify software they've purchased in any way they wish.
However, the court should allow Blizzard to block connections from any modified software they detect (just like Apache disconnects clients which violate the HTTP protocol).
However, their should be recourse for false-positives to get their money back.

The consequence of this: (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456126)

I'll choose Microsoft for an example, although this sort of boilerplate is fairly standard. I quote from the license terms for Microsoft Office:

The software is licensed, not sold. [...] You may not:

  • work around any technical limitations in the software;
  • use the software in any way that is against the law;
  • rent, lease or lend the software;

The first user of the software may make a one-time transfer of the software, and this agreement, directly to a third party.

And many other restrictions.

So Microsoft can (successfully, in the Central District of California) sue you for copyright infringement the moment you load Office into RAM after: fixing their product for them; using it for any purpose that is "against the law" (which law?); borrowing it from anyone; buying a 2nd hand copy.

You think that's ridiculous? The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California doesn't think so. They think that the EULA gives Microsoft exactly that right.

This is not hyperbole or speculation; this is now established case law in that District (pending appeal).

You don't think Microsoft would ever exercise this power? OK, pick a different name then. Adobe [wikipedia.org] . Apple [i4u.com] . SCO [groklaw.net] . Choose your poison.

missing the point (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456144)

Whether you own the software or not, you're still bound by the terms of service to connect to their network and use their servers.
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