updated 09:30 pm EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Filing claims cheat devalues game, developers commit copyright infringement
An article from Torrentfreak outlines a legal battle between Starcraft II creators Blizzard and a number of unnamed defendants over the creation of a maphack cheat said to alter the online experience. The lawsuit, filed in California federal court, levies three different charges of copyright infringement, trafficking in circumvention devices, breach of contract and interference with contractual relations.
The filing focuses on the Valiantchaos maphack, a cheat that gives users an advantage in multiplayer situations by viewing areas of a map otherwise unseen. The cheat is available to gamers with a donation of $62.50, which grants access to an area of the Valiantchaos forums where it can be downloaded. Blizzard alleges that the software circumvents several security measures of the game, and ruins the experience for gamers not taking advantage of the cheats.
"At issue in this lawsuit is the insidious and harmful practice of developing, distributing, and selling software products (sometimes referred to as 'hacks' or 'cheats') that modify or alter the online 'multiplayer' component of Blizzard's computer games to give their users an unfair competitive advantage against other players," reads the filing. "These hacks and cheats not only disrupt or impair the online experience for purchasers of the computer game, but, as set forth more fully herein, cause serious and irreparable harm to Blizzard and its products."
By selling the software, even through donation, Blizzard believes that creators of the software have benefitted from causing damage to Blizzard's name. The company argues that the creators of the hack are well aware that they hold no license or individual right to develop an application that infringes upon the rights of the publisher. Additionally, by introducing the hack and lessening the fun factor for gamers, the cheat is devaluing Starcraft II. This devalue equates to fewer sales of the game and its expansions, as well as driving players away.
"Defendants create and sell their unlawful software products with the knowledge that they are
facilitating and promoting users to infringe Blizzard's copyrights, to breach their contracts with Blizzard, and to otherwise violate Blizzard's rights."
Blizzard is seeking an injunction against further sale of the hack, a shutdown of the hack, delivery of materials that infringe upon Blizzard's rights delivered to them, accounting records and monetary relief, including attorney fees, for the crimes. The filing requests a trial by jury. There has been no response from the Valiantchaos creators as of yet.