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Blizzard Seeks to Block User Rights, Privacy

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the still-haven't-downed-netherspite dept.

Privacy 639

An anonymous reader writes "In the overlooked case between Blizzard and MDY Industries, the creator of the WoWGlider bot, Blizzard is arguing that using any programs in conjunction with the World of Warcraft constitutes copyright violation. Apparently accessing the copy of the game client in RAM using another program infringes upon their rights. Under that logic, users do not even have the right to use anti-virus software in the event that the game becomes infected. Furthermore, Blizzard's legal filings downplay the role of their Warden software, which actively scans users' RAM, CPU, and storage devices (and potentially sensitive data) and sends information back to Blizzard to be processed."

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WoW Glider is awesome, Taco is a faggot, FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673661)

that's about all right there

WoW is for niggers anyway (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673673)

on another note, I want to learn how to eat women out properly. However I need girls to practice on. How do I find volunteers?

DOA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673679)

This wont hold up in a Court of Law!
Consumers do have right's even though most companies think they should be treated more like Slaves then Customer's these days!

Re:DOA (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673913)

It doesn't have to hold up in a court of law if no one challenges it. How many teenagers do you think have enough saved to bankroll a lawsuit on Blizzard?

I have the right (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673681)

If I want to do something to my copy of the game, I can do so just as I can make any 'mods' I want to a cookbook or one of my C++ library tomes which are also copyrighted. I haven't affected anybody else's copy nor have I affected the master copy so Blizzard needs to quit bitching.

Re:I have the right (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673859)

And they have the right to ban you for life if and when they catch you. You agree to their terms when you play. Violating those terms should be punishable somehow.

No, I'm not sure that it's copyright violation and in this case I'm not sure the end justifies the means, but the *end* is a good one. Stopping cheating is a good thing.

Re:I have the right (3, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674061)

If the bot just simulates input devices (i.e. keyboard and mouse actions), then I doubt it infringes on the copyright. If they actually reverse engineered it to the point where they can make calls to functions inside the application itself, then they have broken the law. Remember all the crap the creators of the first x86 clone had to go through to prove that they hadn't reverse engineered it?

Re:I have the right (4, Interesting)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674097)

I would have to argue that it's not a copyright violation. If the rights holder provides a legally produced copy to an individual, and prescribes certain copy allowances to that individual (i.e., installation rights, which involves copying some/all of the copyrighted material, and execution rights, which involves additional copying of some/all of that copyrighted material to RAM, Swapdisk, etc., the details of which may slightly vary from system to system) then I don't see what additional copying happened in this case beyond what was already permitted. READING the data, especially of state objects, rather than the lines of copyrighted code, wouldn't involve copyright. Unless they intend to argue that every state produced in RAM by their copyrighted code is in itself copyrighted material, and copying that data even in part (which would have to be done in a program, at some low level, to work with/on that data) constitutes an unauthorized copy of their copyrighted work. In that case, they'd have to get the judge to agree that an active state of data constitutes a copyrightable piece of media, and that any copying of partial information from that piece of media falls outside of the already implicitly grated rights of copy (i.e., it's more than just 'reading').

I have a hard time seeing a judge thinking about things this deeply, meaning (a) he'll say, "you're full of crap. no dice.", or (b) he'll say, "wow, you're right. no program may read another program's data, whether on the harddrive, or in memory, because that implicitly involves some level of copying of information, and we must protect copyright."

Based on past events, I dread the result.

It's simple (-1, Flamebait)

mikecap (145011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673687)

Wow Glider = Cheating, therefore Blizz should do what it can to keep it out of the mix.

Re:It's simple (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673709)

Including grossly abusing the law?

Sorry, but if we have to pick between expansion of copyrights and some people cheating at a stupid game, I'm going to side with the cheaters. Preventing cheating in an online game is not a cause worthy of limiting access to general purpose computing for.

Re:It's simple (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673793)

This is the DMCA. The law itself is a gross abuse, and I think this falls pretty solidly under the anti-circumvention provisions.

That being the case, it's hard to see why Blizzard wouldn't use the law to do what it's designed to do.

Re:It's simple (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673877)

There's a LOT of confusion about the DMCA is about. The DMCA is makes it illegal for people to circumvent copy protection -- whether we're talking about encryption, or license managers, or dongles, etc. Basically any means of electronic protection from violation of copyright laws. The DMCA is not designed the prevent people from circumventing cheating mechanisms unless those cheating mechanisms involve making unauthorized copies of the software. Which WoWGlide does not do.

Re:It's simple (2, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673833)

I'd say that's a false dichotomy. You don't have to side with cheaters in order to oppose expansion of copyright.

There are other legal remedies for dealing with WOWGlider, including tortious contract interference for soliciting people to violate the game's TOS, which results both in lost revenue from banned players as well as lost revenue from players who quit out of disgust with rampant cheating. While the monetary damages from this may not be easily calculable, the real intent would be to get an injunction against the WOWGlider developers to force them to stop distributing the software. Then the developers are staring down the barrel of a contempt charge if they keep doing it.

Re:It's simple (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673855)

I don't like cheaters, but it's not the law's job to support Blizzard's business model.

Re:It's simple (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674003)

That's kind of a vague statement - care to elucidate?

Re:It's simple (1)

nobuddy (952985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673715)

Wowglider = cheating. Agreed. Blizz doing whatever it wants to stop it = asinine. There are limits to anything, and this is too far. I have a reserved parking space. If someone parks in it, I have the right to have them towed. I do not have the right to sue them for their car.

Re:It's simple (2, Insightful)

QuijiboIsAWord (715586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673721)

WoW !> Civil Liberties.

Re:It's simple (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673733)

agreed, regardless of the rights infringements, cheating violates the EULA. I don't know why people have to make this a big deal. If a company made a device that would allow people to cheat at a casino, do you think the casino would have to live with it?

Re:It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673883)

If a company made a device that would allow people to cheat at a casino, do you think the casino would have to live with it?

There are laws specifically dealing with cheating devices and casinos. This case seems more akin to a device for cheating at Backgammon. Such a device may be unethical, but it isn't illegal.

Re:It's simple (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673977)

This case seems more akin to a device for cheating at Backgammon.

In backgammon, you can usually take measures against people who cheat (anything from a good kickin' where it hurts to not playing with them anymore). In WoW, you don't have that option.

Re:It's simple (2, Insightful)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674059)

In backgammon, you can usually take measures against people who cheat (anything from a good kickin' where it hurts to not playing with them anymore). In WoW, you don't have that option.
Well they could, oh, I don't know, terminate their account. Nah, that wouldn't work.

Seriously, there's no reason to get the law involved and set bad legal precedent.

Re:It's simple (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674087)

Well they could, oh, I don't know, terminate their account. Nah, that wouldn't work.

Why should I be forced to stop playing any game I like (poker, backgammon, WoW) in order to avoid cheaters ? This does not make sense. At all.

Re:It's simple (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673959)

Two points:

1. Gambling is regulated by the state. A better example would be something like chess. The chess club could kick you out or fine you if you wanted to stay, but unless you signed a legally binding contract, they couldn't go any further.
2. If it was any other EULA (possibly even other clauses of WoW's), you probably wouldn't give a rat's ass about it.

Re:It's simple (2, Funny)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674045)

okay the chess example is better.

I think you read me as a blizzard fanboy, which is not the case. This would be my mentality for any online game, and especially online games where this form of cheating can be a way to make money. If people want to cheat in a single player game, (or in a multiplayer game where everyone has agreed to allowing the cheats) its fine with me. I always maintain that if I meet a cheater I will destroy them, and their computer. I look forward to the day that I bludgeon someone to within an inch of their life's end with their own aimbot laden PC.

Re:It's simple (1)

KeyThing (997755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673739)

While I agree with you, what comes next? If this goes through, and Blizzard gets their way, they could prohibit any/all 3rd party applications from interacting with their program. Game timers, profile/stat pushers, anything. Of course, it all depends on two things: 1. If the court rules in their favor, and 2. how the final verdict is written.

Re:It's simple (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673789)

At what point did the man with the gun force you to purchase, install, and run World of Warcraft?

What's that you say? You bought the game of your own free will and could stop playing it at any time? I never would have guessed.

Re:It's simple (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673915)

I'm not quite sure what your point here is. People have paid for the game, and expected certain reasonable rights to control of their computer to remain.

Re:It's simple (1)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674067)

Such applications violate their EULA, it's as simple as that. If you don't like it, don't play WoW.

Re:It's simple (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673801)

Wow Glider = Cheating, therefore Blizz should do what it can to keep it out of the mix.
WoW Glider use is cheating. WoW Glider itself is just a program.

The problem is that Blizzard (and their legal department have always been MUCH less cool than their coders, sadly) has decided to try to use the law to force people to not cheat. This is dubious at best, the way they're trying to do it, and sets frightening legal precident if they win.

If they win, then any attempt to analyze and modify a running program would constitute copyright violation. That means that programs which debug, dissassemble and tweak performance of running programs would no longer be allowed on 3rd party software. It would also bring into question the relationship between emulators and the software they run. Mame, Wine and a number of other projects might be useless if this becomes precident.

Cheating in WoW is one thing. Setting precident that hurts consumers is another.

Re:It's simple (2, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673829)

Maybe so. But copyright doesn't apply here.

Here's a thought: what if I run WoW in a VM? We should be able to do that soon, the hardware and software are certainly getting to that point. Now that would impose a whole slew of issues to WoW, since they'd have no control outside of their sandbox. They really don't have that control now, honestly, but it's more work than most are willing to put in to make it happen.

The real answer is for Blizzard to make the game enjoyable to play, instead of rewarding "face time grinding".

Disclaimer: No, I don't play WoW, and never have. It didn't interest me in the least. I did play EQ, and tired of its mindless grind. None of the other MMOs seemed any different, not even Eve. I used to play and code for a mud (pre EQ, way way pre) which was quite a bit more fun as being an imp (GM would be the closest thing in MMOs these days) allowed you quite a bit of freedom and create spontaneous changes. Usually that was in concert with players - it gave them a new challenge or two, and kept things fresh. Things like surprise trap door mobs was one of my favorites.

Re:It's simple (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673921)

Oh whatever. A lot of people get enjoyment out of the game already...in those terms its a great success; you'll never be able to make it so exquisitely enjoyable that no one will want to cheat.

The whole idea that cheaters are a game flaw is absurd; if a game has goals, there are people who will want to take a shortcut. They'll do it for greed, they'll do it because they're lazy, and they'll do it because they want recognition that they haven't earned.

What's the solution? To have a game with no goals? It'd be like Tetris but you couldn't have a score, because then people might want to cheat for a higher score. Couldn't even have levels, because people might want to cheat to say they got to a higher level!

Re:It's simple (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673881)

Agreed. I'm paying Blizzard a monthly fee for an enjoyable gaming experience. I do this to relax and have fun in the evening. Some people have cable TV, some go to the movies, some go to the theater...I play WoW. And I want my money's worth. I don't want my game experience ruined because some guy bought a program that lets him cheat.

I don't know if anyone remembers trying to play Diablo (the first one) multi-player. It was fun for the first week or two, and then the cheats started showing up. Hacks and cheats that allowed you to kill people in town. Duplication bugs that gave you limitless wealth. It soon stopped being fun.

Diablo II offered both an open (peer-to-peer) multi-player mode and a closed (housed on Blizzard's Battle.net servers) multi-player mode - I played the closed version. Because the open version showed the same kind of cheats and hacks that the first Diablo did.

I have no problem with people cheating and hacking on their own time. If it's a single-player game they can IDDQD all they want. But if I'm playing a multi-player game I want a relatively level playing field. I want to know that they have just as much a chance of dying as I do. It's no fun when everyone gets headshots all the time and can't be killed.

Looks great but (2, Funny)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673691)

Can I make a Beowulf Cluster of WoW bots to create an army of fake chinese farmers ?

And Blizzard, of course... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673695)

...is owned by Jews.

Coincidence? I think not.

Ready the ovens.

What is at stake here? (2, Insightful)

KeyThing (997755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673701)

There are many programs that (programatically) do what the glidebot does. Like Spyware protection, antivirus, etc. There are "add-ons" to popular programs that make them more userfriendly by interacting with them.

I think Blizzard is approaching this case wrong. The bottom line is that they consider people using the glidebot to be cheating the system. Personally, I don't use it mainly for fear of having my account canceled. I'd much rather have something else go thru the grind for me than have me sitting in front of the game for hours on end. While such programs are prohibited by their AUP, I think they're going too far on this one.

Re:What is at stake here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673797)

I'd much rather have something else go thru the grind for me than have me sitting in front of the game for hours on end.

How bleak. We buys games so we can have programs play them for us? Does it send you a TPS report charting the fun it had for you too? Or is there something more to WoW than playing the game? If there is a sense of accomplishment for reaching lvl 70, isn't it robbed by having a bot do the 'work' for you?

I've heard of aimbots for FPS games, but I've never seen anyone looking for an autopilot for a flight sim, and that seems like what people are looking for in glidebot.

Re:What is at stake here? (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674017)

When I was playing WoW I thought that some grinding did get old. If part of Wow wasn't intensely stupid then SouthPark couldn't have owned it so badly and danced over the corpse. Really 60 percent for me was grinding 25 was lookimg for a group and 15 was having a great time working a difficult instance.

  Then again I was grinding all the time because everyone in my clan was l60 but me. I would have been fine letting someone else or an AI make me some gold, which is worth real money to some people, while I slept. That's the rub, time is money and glidebot saves or makes you money. This pisses off the people who have no jobs or wifes/gf's who kill boars in the forrest.

  Blizzard is probably the biggest gold merchants on the web (pretending to be chinese and using shady sites) and want to prevent competition. It would be easy to pretend to be shady and would gernerate HUGE revenue.

If the game becomes tedious ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673813)

I'd much rather have something else go thru the grind for me than have me sitting in front of the game for hours on end.



If you find the game so tedious, why are you playing it ? How about playing something that's actually fun ?


Then again, WoW is very light on the grinding side (unless you're doing nothing but leveling up one char after the other). At least on the type of grinding that's easily automated. It'll be a while until 25 bots can run a raid instance.


I quit 2 months ago (not because of the grind, but because of the ongoing Priest class issue), and found other games to be just as entertaining.

Re:What is at stake here? (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674113)

While I don't directly see how haveing a bot level grinding for you ruins the game for others, I can imagine this to be the case. In any case Blizzard has the right to tell their subscribers not to use these programs. This in no way gives them the right to prevent people from running a program that accesses ram on their pc, unless you want to take the personal out of it. There is no copying going on, thus no violation of copyright. I say to Blizzard, fix the problem on your side. Don't like bots? I imagine they can be identified quite simply based on behaviour. don't like what a program I have is doing to *my* ram. know, what, I don't care.

You know... (1)

Marrshu (994708) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673705)

... the fact that a game that I just bought a 60-day card for is spying on me is scary. But dammit, killing dragons and giants is fun!

Re:You know... (1)

TobyWong (168498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673763)

"Spying on you" like an AV program...

Um.. (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673711)

This is like saying "Windows can't access my program in RAM, it's copyright violation!"

...

Why not make a policy? (1)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673717)

WoWGlider bot [..] constitutes copyright violation

IANAWoWP, so I may be missing some details, but can't they just make a "bots will get you banned" policy? Other MMORPGs seem to have successfully implemented that.

Re:Why not make a policy? (1)

nobuddy (952985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673779)

They have such a policy. They have banned accounts in the 100,000 range thus far. The issue is they give out those 14 day free accounts, and the Chinese farmers use those to bot and farm till they are banned and make another free account. They need to quit slitting their own throat and end that practice. When it costs you $39US to get banned, it becomes self regulating. I lost my first account because I screwed around with the tools and bots out of curiosity. $40 and a do-over later I won't touch them.

Re:Why not make a policy? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674033)

No, they can't bot with a trial account; with a trial account you can't level above 20, and you can't trade any items or gold from it in any way.

They do spam using whispers with trial accounts, advertising the goldselling sites (WTB [Auto-Ignore Whispers From Trial Accounts Option] which would neatly solve that one), but they never bot with them. They actually have to pay for their accounts.

However, since it costs around $30 for an account, and that's the market price of about 1000 gold, the botting probably very rapidly pays for itself while the bot levels up - after which it's all gravy. Until Blizzard tracks them, figures out where the gold's being sent, and bans the goldbank accounts (which hurt far more than the bots).

Given that it's a tool specifically created to violate the EULA and terms of service of another service, I'd rather like WoWGlider to be taken down. I'd like to be on Blizzard's side, but this could set bad precedent for offline games and a whole bunch of other things like debuggers, so I can't. They should've gone with tortious contract interference, I reckon they'd have a clearer case. The DMCA doesn't really apply, as it's not really an access-control method protecting a copyrighted work that's being circumvented.

Until then, it's incredibly obvious who's botting. The little chicken-walk they to do back up, the fact that they run in circles, the turning on the spot towards the next mob, absolutely scream "glider". If they don't ban right away, it's probably because they're trying to follow the money.

Re:Why not make a policy? (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674105)

*Disclaimer* - I've never played WoW and am pulling this idea out of some orifice or another.

If this is indeed what the Chinese farmers are doing - repeatedly logging on with the free accounts to quickly bot-mine/farm then are either of these viable solutions?

  • Ban multiple free trials from the same IP address within number of days
  • Prohibit free trial accounts from transferring gold/equipment to any other player (if you can't sell the veggies, why farm?)

Re:Why not make a policy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674135)

The issue is they give out those 14 day free accounts, and the Chinese farmers use those to bot and farm till they are banned and make another free account.

Tial accounts cannot use the auction house, cannot trade gold or items with other players, have a limit of 10 gold and a maximum character level of 20. So no. Farmers of any nationality do not use them to bot or farm.

Even if they were able to by pass the trading restrictions on a trial account the 10 gold limit would make it pointless. A high level character can obtain much greater amounts of gold far more easily. So farming gold via the traditional methods is more productive.

Even more productive still is the method of pretexting/keylogging an established account, vendoring everything they have that can be vendored from every character they have, and then mailing the gold off to be bounced around so many times Blizzard gets tried of trying to trace it all.

Re:Why not make a policy? (1)

Saint Mitchell (144618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674069)

They do ban bots, but it takes forever sometimes.

I've reported the obvious ones but the GMs don't seem to do much about it. You just get a canned response that they "are looking into it." Since that doesn't work, (on a PvP server) you can take matters into your own hands and kill the bot a few dozen times to break its loop. They get confused really easy if you kill it a few times and it ends up in a spot it doesn't know it just kind of freaks out.

A chilling effect? (1, Funny)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673725)

Apparently accessing the copy of the game client in RAM using another program infringes upon their rights. Also known as the Blizzard chilling effect.

Power to the SUN (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673745)

By that logic, SUN owns every program written in Java. On the other hand, Intel owns every program that uses processor's instructions.

May be there is some "license" from Intel of SUN involved?

That is where the world seems to be headed. (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673927)

How long before the individual owns nothing, though everything is owned? How long before it is a legal fact that all "ownership" (even of the very air we breathe) is exercised by corporations rather than individuals or publics?

The way things are going, we will soon see legal battles between all kinds of financial interests:

"We own that story, he wrote it using our software."

"But he was using our hardware."

"Yes, but he was sitting on our chair."

"Ah, but he was sitting inside our building."

"True, but he had eaten our food that morning."

"Yes, and he was working beneath our light bulb."

"Ahhhhh, but he was breathing our air..."

Judge: "Divide the profits from its sale evenly amongst yourselves."

Writer: "But what about me? I don't even want it sold. I wrote it and I should get to control it..."

All: "Bwahahaha, you fool! Do you think you would be anything if it weren't for us? Everything you do is the result of what we have given you!"

Misleading. (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673751)

As always, they're arguing that using another program or set of programs to circumvent the code that Blizz uses to try and stop people from using bots and other hacks violates the DMCA...And it's hard to see how they're wrong in that. The anti-virus argument is an over broad generalization; I don't know of any case where a virus actually modifies WoW binaries.

Agree with the DMCA or not, this is a "valid" use of it.

Re:Misleading. (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673849)

I was under the impression that the DMCA only prevents circumvention for the purpose of breaking copyright, hence the contention that accessing their memory space is violation of copyright, which is bollocks. Reading the content of a book isn't copyright violation.

Re:Misleading. (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673987)

Well, look at it like this. Circumventing Blizzard's controls allows access to content that the Bot-user wouldn't otherwise have. I mean, sure, I'd love to powerlevel a character from 1-40 in one day, but I have things to do. It's going to take me some time. But using this (or other) botting software, I can cut a lot of the time needed, plus have it play while I sleep or am at work...

Which is not what Blizzard intends to be done with their game.

Re:Misleading. (0, Troll)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673973)

using another program or set of programs to circumvent the code that Blizz uses to try and stop people from using bots and other hacks violates the DMCA...And it's hard to see how they're wrong
Actually, it's pretty easy to see how they're wrong.

Unless you can point out where the DMCA says anything about bots.

Agree with the DMCA or not, this is a "valid" use of it.
Only if by "valid" you mean "completely unreasonable and wrong".

Re:Misleading. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674079)

Unless you can point out where the DMCA says anything about bots.

Did your mother drop you on your head? This has nothing to do with bots. It has to with whether or not the people who write the bot software are allowed to manipulate the game code in memory. Blizz says no, and says that it's a copyright violation, which is at least arguable, if over-broad.

Re:Misleading. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674123)

DMCA is not remotely applicable. DMCA concerns anti-reproduction technologies... if Blizzard software was running that prevented you from burning a copy of your game disks, then interfering with it would be a violation. But this software does not do that.

Options (1)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673755)

Under that logic, users do not even have the right to use anti-virus software in the event that the game becomes infected.

I think Blizzard would let this particular circumstance slide when determining the requirements for who should be dealt with in their investigations. There's gotta be some gray-area here, assuming Blizzard is a reasonable company.

Furthermore, Blizzard's legal filings downplay the role of their Warden software, which actively scans users' RAM, CPU, and storage devices (and potentially sensitive data) and sends information back to Blizzard to be processed.

If people have a problem with Warden, they can choose to not play WoW (assuming they know what it is of course). Given the millions of current players however, I don't think gamers care that much anyway.

Re:Options (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673867)

Honestly, I prefer it; the fewer cheaters, the better the game. The people in this case who are screaming about a "right to privacy" are mainly just people who want to try and hack the system, and I don't have much sympathy.

Re:Options (1)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673905)

Agreed; I'm just addressing the issue as an impartial observer. I've never even played WoW (I'M PURE!), but hey, people still have a choice.

Re:Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674029)

The people in this case who are screaming about a "right to privacy" are mainly just people who want to try and hack the system, and I don't have much sympathy.

I believe this is known as the ad logicam fallacy. I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's when you claim a proposition is false because it was presented as the conclusion of a fallacious argument. In this case, while it might be fallacious to argue that you have a right to hack the system, it doesn't mean that the conclusion - that you have a right to privacy - is also false.

In Summary.... (1, Insightful)

MrLizard (95131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673759)

"Waaaah! Blizzard won't let me cheat!"

Drug tests for athletes aren't invasions of privacy. Cheat programs in online games are the same thing. You want to cheat? Play "Oblivion" and use all the mods you want. In any kind of multiplayer environment, the use of third-party programs must be verboten. Don't like it? No one is forcing you to play.

MOD PARENT UP (0, Troll)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673819)

I wish I had mod points left. Cheating has an adverse effect on the economies of MMOG's as well as potentially impacting others more directly than that (they pay a fee too, the ones who don't cheat, and their enjoyment can be hurt by asshats who do cheat). It *should* be a civil offense to cheat in an online game. Maybe a 'fine' of 48 hours with no net connection ;)

Then again that may be too harsh. I know people who play WoW, UO, SWG, etc., who would probably commit suicide if they were kept offline for two whole days...

WOW != Athletics (0, Flamebait)

ady1 (873490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674023)

There are people who would commit suicide if they don't get heroin. Doesn't make it sound any cooler.

Also it isn't like the drug test at all. The drug test is conducted before the event and only once. They don't require the athlete to reveal the detail of their bank accounts and drug purchase history nor does they attach a mobile testing lab to them through out the sporting event to make sure that they don't cheat.

Re:WOW != Athletics (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674137)

nor [do] they attach a mobile testing lab to them [throughout] the sporting event to make sure that they don't cheat.

If a quarterback were to break huddle to shoot up some steroids right there on the field, it wouldn't take a mobile testing lab to determine he was cheating.

Re:WOW != Athletics (2, Interesting)

dharbee (1076687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674145)

"The drug test is conducted before the event and only once."

No. Many sports test before and after the event (boxing for example) and while I'm not intimately familiar with the Tour de France, I recall hearing that tests are conducted throughout the event, sometimes testing the same person multiple times.

"They don't require the athlete to reveal the detail of their bank accounts..."

Neither does Blizzard. You choose to do that as one of the conditions to play the game.

Re:In Summary.... (2, Interesting)

kennedy (18142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673865)

damn straight!

I have no issue with someone cheating/moding the heck out of a single player game - the only person it affects is the player. Once you go online though - your cheating affects me and everyone else playing online, and therefor i am completely against it.

anyway i wish i had some mod points - mod parent post UP!

Re:In Summary.... (5, Insightful)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673971)

Even if this is cheating, the claims of copyright infringement and DMCA circumvention are a disturbing extension of those already-disturbing areas of law. Blizzard's well within their rights to stop cheating, I think, but not like this.

Cheaters == terrorists? (5, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674109)

It is a really interesting theory you propose: those who cheat in a game should be subject to a different set of laws than others.
I know that in the USA it's a popular opinion in certain circles that suspects of terrorism should be stripped of all of their rights, but to extend it to cheaters is something really new.

Seriously: a groundless lawsuit is a groundless lawsuit even when the defendant is a slimeball. In the USA's precedent based-system this is even more important since the precedent set by this lawsuit will apply to non-slimeballs, too.

WTB 1x[Clue] PST (1)

Mondoz (672060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673761)

I read through most of the filing... (What I could understand of it, anyway) I never understood how the Glider program violates anything other than the EULA or TOS. I didn't see anything that would violate copyright...
I could understand if it used WoW code to do what it does, but I didn't see anything along those lines.

Re:WTB 1x[Clue] PST (2, Informative)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673879)

The theory is that Blizzard allows the user to load World of Warcraft into his computer only if they follow the EULA, including the part about not using programs like WoWGlider. By using WoWGlider, the user is not following the EULA, so they do not have permission to run WoW. Since running the program makes a copy of it in computer memory and since the user does not have permission to do so, that copy in memory is an infringement.

In that way, it's just like the GPL: "You do not have to follow this license, but nothing else gives you permission to use the software."

The claim against MDY is of vicarious infringement -- the company isn't doing the infringing itself, but it is helping others to do so, and profiting from it.

Re:WTB 1x[Clue] PST (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674099)

Since running the program makes a copy of it in computer memory and since the user does not have permission to do so, that copy in memory is an infringement.

At least in the USA, it is not copyright infringement to copy software for the purpose of using it. 117. Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs: [copyright.gov]

(a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy. -- Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

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

Re:WTB 1x[Clue] PST (1)

Nutty_Irishman (729030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674007)

I didn't see anything that would violate copyright...
The DMCA card has been used under far more controversial events: including preventing competition in toner cartridges and garage door openers http://picker.uchicago.edu/Papers/PickerDMCA.100.p df [uchicago.edu]

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Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (4, Insightful)

Direwolf20 (773264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673815)

Everyone complains about Warden, but noone knows really how it works. Heres the basic gist:

Warden uses something similiar to a HASH function to get information about the processes run on your computer. Warden sends the HASH home. The HASH is compared against a list of known hacking processes, like WoWGlider, and if theres a match, you're being very naughty!

Is that REALLY the end of the world? NO! Blizzard can NOT discern any information from a HASH.

Heres an MD5 HASH of a file on my desktop, what is it? Quick, get my personal informationz!

070A3B2AF0070DE30B1931B9F2590510

Re:Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (1)

nobuddy (952985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673839)

Your source? Any attempt I have seen to get info on what Warden is doing has been met with a stony silence.

Re:Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673895)

070A3B2AF0070DE30B1931B9F2590510
  ---                       --
  0A3 = Beastiality         05 = Washington State

I believe sir, that you may be in violation of the law?

Re:Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674027)

Don't worry, blizzard allows it in the EULA. The EULA is holy, the eula covers it. If you do not like the EULA you should never have played the game in the first place.......

Re:Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673923)

070A3B2AF0070DE30B1931B9F2590510

What! My mother is a saint!

Re:Noone bothers to see what Warden Does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18673929)

It may be true that no discernible information can be derived from the MD5 sum, but the point seems to be that Blizzard reserves the right to look at information on MY computer, but prohibits me from looking at THEIR information. A piece of software has no more right to look at my information than a person does. Blizzard wants all the protection rights while denying them to the users and using the EULA to justify this. They may just want to stop cheaters, but they are looking like the kettle calling the pot black here!

Shooting their own foot... (2, Funny)

Alpha232 (922118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673835)

If Blizzard wants to claim that reading the memory used by the application is a violation of their copyright, so be it... Then watch the mudslide of people who have written mods and go after Blizzard for their Warden application which, guess what.. reads the memory of other applications and whats more, sends it off to blizzard which is a more direct violation of copyright as they are making a copy rather than just changing some bits in memory.

Re:Shooting their own foot... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673983)

reads the memory of other applications and whats more, sends it off to blizzard

Not true. This is pure botter FUD.

Even one of the WOWGlider devs, when they wrote up their analysis of Warden, provided zero evidence that Warden sends back to Blizzard anything more than an indication that "this is the known hash key that Warden matched". All the processing is done on the client machine, and zero copyrightable, private, personally-identifying data is sent back to Blizzard as a result of this processing.

Is this really necessary? (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673845)

I don't play WoW (or any MMORPG for that matter) so maybe I'm out of touch here. Why should it be that Blizzard feels they have the right to sue someone (individual or company) for finding a way to "cheat" at their game? I guess I'm having a hard time reconciling how this is realistically going to affect them. I understand their argument that this could devalue the experience of playing the game and thus create an environment where less people want to play for fear of having to play against bots, but isn't that presuming a lot?

Who's to say that they don't make the choice to implement some type of Captcha [wikipedia.org] or equivalent method for keeping this out of gameplay? Why not consider the possibility that someone (individual or company) might find a way to take advantage of these bots to their advantage as a sort of backlash? (like figuring out automated players' responses to various events and then exploiting that, thus making the prospect of using the Glider less attractive to those who would) I guess I'm wondering, isn't this an awfully rash lawsuit? I confess, I am no legal expert, but I really wonder if this thing has merit, and I think being able to PROVE that their revenue stream is going to be majorly impacted is going to be a stretch at best.

Regardless.... (5, Insightful)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673857)

No matter how the suit comes out (and I'm all for sticking to "the man") using a bot in an online game where other people are involved is cheating, and it kills the very nature of what the game should be all about for everyone: fun.

This is why I will never, ever, play another FPS, online ... that is, a current PC-based FPS. Xbox live? Sure. No cheating there (yet) and that's good.

I have admined many game servers (q1, q2, cs) and worked hard to stop cheating with all the tools (punk busters, etc.). I even ran an anti-cheating game site years ago (anyone remember slipgate central? no I didn't run that, but one of my little sites was listed).

I also did an write-up on the zbot in q2. I installed and used it. I pwned players effortlessly. It was disgusting. I ran around gathering health and power-ups and the bot did all the work while the whole server tried to kill me. It was sick fun, but it's lame.

Showeq was the first big exploit for mmorpgs. It was lame. With it, the punk could get any unique mob in a zone before anyone else. How is that fair? How was it fair for the people without a 2nd computer, or without linux knowledge to set it up?

This article may be all about the legal ins and outs of who has access to what in ram, but the bottom line is, cheaters blow. If you cheat you blow. You're feeding a primal part of the human psyche at the expense of others and undermining the entire event. When it all crumbles and dies, you are to blame.

Using a bot to lvl or farm in wow is lame. Don't do it. Let this guy's work die on the vine....

Re:Regardless.... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673979)

You don't understand, cheating can be FUN.

One time I ran 5 bots on a local private Lineage server. It was very fun to setup them so they would interact with each other. It was kinda like programming.

Re:Regardless.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674015)

But perhaps I don't enjoy playing 10 hours on end just to lvl up once. Perhaps I would rather just get right into the action. How I chouse to play is my business, and it dosen't affect you in an MMORPG. Your argument boils down to I did less work then you, therefor I don't deserve what I have; That's BS. As for fair, is it also fair that someone can have multiple acounts, or simply more time to play the game then you? If you don't like cheaters then don't assohiate with them in game, don't buy, barter, or traide with them; Simple as that.

Re:Regardless.... (1)

Sanguis Mortuum (581999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674083)

Showeq was the first big exploit for mmorpgs
Actually, people were using UOPlugin to exploit in UO over a year before EQ was even released...

Anonymous Reader eh? (1, Insightful)

pslam (97660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673861)

I'm guessing it's that asshole author of the WoWGlider bot, actually. Quite an evident bias and quite blatant half-truths in that summary. It's the same for every anti-Blizzard story that comes out about WoW - usually it's the virtual gold industry posting anonymous stories about how great they are and how Blizzard is being heavy handed on their poor, innocent selves. Rubbish.

He's ruining the game so he can make some profit out of it. I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever, even if what Blizzard is doing is dubious. He certainly doesn't have clean hands himself.

Somebody's got a greataxe to grind, apparently (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673933)

This is quite possible the most biased article summary EVAR, unapologetic in its support for activity that is, simply put, cheating. Folks should be reminded of a past case of allegations of wrongdoing against Blizzard, namely the Warden software which is supposed to detect third-party hack programs. The allegations of Warden being spyware were put forth by folks involved with the development of WOWGlider, though the conflict of interest was somewhat concealed behind all the misinformation of what Warden actually did.

Warden temporarily cut off a revenue stream for the Glider developers (note that they've resumed charging $25 for it now), and that revenue stream - and much more - is now at risk with this lawsuit. Take this article with a block of salt because of that. It's in the interest of the Glider developers to engage in an(other) anonymous campaign to sully Blizzard's reputation further in an effort to make Blizzard back off on their lawsuit.

You can also compare it to the case of the Starforce developers, who sold a product proven to be nefarious, and who engaged in a smear campaign [wikipedia.org] against those who exposed their product for what it is.

A friend of Mine. (2, Interesting)

elzurawka (671029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673939)

If Blizzard does not want people using bots/mods, then they should put it in the EULA, and if anyone violates that, handle is accordingly. I don't see how this is in any way copyright infringement.

A good friend of mine is "addicted" to this game. He has been playing for over a year now, and has leveled up 2 characters to level 70. So he wants to make a third character, but he doesn't want to play through all the lower missions. So he uses a bot, to gather some experience. If it wasnt for the bot, he probably wouldn't be playing anymore.

If he was to be charged with this "crime", his defence would be

"Yo...wtf?"
"The defense rests"

And any real judge would say "Good point, Case dismissed"

Instead of playing, he watches his bot play...is he paying them? yes. is he interfering with other peoples play? no., so wtf?

Blizzard should stfu, and be happy they are getting his money every month. WoW is a cash cow, and they are just trying to milk it to the Max...those bastards...

Re:A friend of Mine. (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674063)

If Blizzard does not want people using bots/mods, then they should put it in the EULA, and if anyone violates that, handle is accordingly.

It's already in there, don't worry. Apparently, Blizzard is just looking for a bigger stick to wave at potentian cheaters.

A good friend of mine is "addicted" to this game. He has been playing for over a year now, and has leveled up 2 characters to level 70.

Only ?

So he uses a bot, to gather some experience. If it wasnt for the bot, he probably wouldn't be playing anymore.

If he finds the game tedious, why doesn't he play something that's actually fun ? I dunno, but seeing "Level 70" on the screen doesn't really sound like fun. So he wants to make a third character, but he doesn't want to play through all the lower missions.

I doubt he's seen all of them with just two characters.

is he interfering with other peoples play? no., so wtf?

Heck yes he is. Maybe some legit players want to farm, too. Having to compete against dozens of farm-bots in addition to the Chinese farmers sucks big time.

WoW is a cash cow, and they are just trying to milk it to the Max...those bastards...

If they were trying to milk anything, they'd have the game mechanics set up so that having a second account with a buffbot (which is different from a real active bot, because its only purpose is to be parked in a safe spot) is a must, and be running an items-for-cash service.

Right now, Blizzard is far from being in the "milking" phase, in contrast to some other MMOs.

Wise words (1)

b0z0n3 (1086487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673949)

"He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither" --Benjamin franklin

MISQUOTE (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674121)

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." And keep it in context...which isn't this debate.

Which is why I'm against railings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18674127)

Which is why I'm against railings, I want the _freedom_ to go over the edge!
 
Seriously, I'm getting damn tired of that quote. It's probably taken out of contexts as well.

Bots vs. anti-virus (1, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673991)

Anti-virus software is a special case. It has always been against the law to reverse engineer software protected by copyrights. Yet anti-virus writers are allowed to reverse engineer viruses and malware. Why? Because viruses themselves are illegal, and therefore can't be defended in court by a copyright. That would be like person A calling the police because person B stole his crack.

If these bots are accessing memory inside WoW while it is running, then someone has reverse engineered WoW, and that is against the law. WoW is not a virus, and it is protected by copyright laws. This isn't about expanding copyright law. This has been illegal since before many Slashdot readers were born.

Re:Bots vs. anti-virus - probably wrong (1)

JetScootr (319545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674039)

Antivirus companies have contracts with M$ and other companies that allow them to do this (for a fee, I guess). This is what being a "M$ partner" means - an organized cabal that shares secrets and non-litigation covenants to provide a single "interactive TV set" appliance to "consumers" (instead of "computers" to "customers").

So don't play it until they change (4, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673997)

You don't have to play WoW. Really. You lived without it before and you'll live without it after. Politely tell Blizzard why you are leaving them, and then leave.

If you're not willing to do that, this obviously isn't THAT important to you.

No data is sent.... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18674081)

What the warden does, is to scan for a set of signatures. It then sents back whether it found a signature. No data locally found is sent. Especially in the EU this would be criminal anyways and would subject the people responsible to fines and possible prison time. The signature method is pretty reliable and very likely legal, because it can only be used to find whether specific, already known data is present on a system. The EULA also states something to this effect.

Sometimes singantures can be mis-detected. The one case I know is people running WoW under Linux.

So to re-iterate: Nobodys privacy is invaded. Get the facts straight before posting.
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