WoW Bot Battle

Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot' (thanks Mike Martinez) describes a legal battle that's unfolding in a US District Court over sales of WoW Glider, a program that automates many of the (presumably super-fun) functions in World of Warcraft, including combat. According to plaintiff Blizzard, the program infringes on their copyright, and violates the MMORPG's EULA, while defendant Michael Donnelly argues that since no copy of the game is used, it does not violate any copyrights. Word is both parties are now waiting for the court to issue its summary judgment. Here's a bit outlining both positions:
In its legal submission to the court last week, the firm said: "Blizzard's designs expectations are frustrated, and resources are allocated unevenly, when bots are introduced into the WoW universe, because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time."

'Infringed agreement'

Blizzard argued that Michael Donnelly's tool also infringed the End User License Agreement that all parties have to adhere to when playing the game.

More than 100,000 copies of the tool have been sold, according to Mr Donnelly. More than 10 million people around the world play Warcraft.

Mr Donnelly said the first time had had been aware of potential legal action over his program was when a lawyer from Vivendi games, which publishes Warcraft, and an "unnamed private investigator" appeared at his home.

In his legal submission, he detailed: "When they arrived, they presented Donnelly with a copy of a complaint that they indicated would be filed the next day in the US District Court for the Central District of California if Donnelly did not immediately agree to stop selling Glider and return all profits that he made from Glider sales."

"Blizzard's audacious threats offended Donnelly," according to the legal papers.

Mr Donnelly says his tool does not infringe Blizzard's copyright because no "copy" of the Warcraft game client software is ever made.

Blizzard has said the tool infringes copyright because it copies the game into RAM in order to avoid detection by anti-cheat software.
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57.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 22:59
57.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 22:59
Mar 26, 2008, 22:59
 
Blizzard has had their heads so far up their ass over WOW that they almost completely forgot about the PC market for us SP player non MMO fans

Uhh no they aren't. Unfortunately Starcraft Ghost was "put on hold", they have Starcraft 2 coming out, and its rumoured that Diablo 3 is in the works, as well as another MMO. The single player games just aren't ready yet.

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56.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 21:45
Dev
 
56.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 21:45
Mar 26, 2008, 21:45
 Dev
 
Darks: At the same time they released the expansion they lowered the price of the original game to about $20 or less.

They may be concentrating on WoW, but that just makes good business sense since they have 10+ million subscribers.

I wish they would make more SP games though.

There may be some decisions they've made that are "greedy" but they are far far far less greedy than someone like EA for instance!! And at least blizzard supports thier stuff. Heck they are STILL releasing patches for starcraft 1!! EA often gives up patching a game in less than a year and tells people to buy the sequel if they want something fixed.

55.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 21:15
55.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 21:15
Mar 26, 2008, 21:15
 
Nighthawk, if they are not Greed mongers then what do you call releasing an add-on for WOW at almost the same price as a full game? $39.99 on top of an added monthly fee. That’s just plain greed any way you cut it. There’s no excuse for charging that much from an add-on that will sell 4 or 5 million copies minimum. So you can tout quality games all you want but in my book Blizzard sucks, why is it that this company that’s pulling down millions of dollars per months now all the sudden starts to release some normal non MMO games for the pc market? Blizzard has had their heads so far up their ass over WOW that they almost completely forgot about the PC market for us SP player non MMO fans. And yea it all points right back to the greed.

Creator of the Neverwnter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.

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54.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 20:07
Dev
 
54.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 20:07
Mar 26, 2008, 20:07
 Dev
 
TangoBaker:
brilliant! Everyone would win then Blizzard could get money (and extra for the conveniance factor) from people who don't want to grind, and the people who are paying power leveling services anyway would go with blizzard since it would be official and no change of losing account from someone stealing the password or blizzard banning them.
The only downside I see is that some people would get upset at people with money gaining advantages in that way.

axed: They have a bunch of anti-bot security in WoW already. Including checking for stuff thats running while you play the game.
WoW has stuff that could be termed spyware in it to check you and your computer for bot software.
You can google for some details, people have done stories on this before.

Sepharo: Most capchas have been defeated to some degree already. You can google up news storys on it, but for instance I've read that hotmails can be defeated something like 30% of the time, so spammers can create emails to spam from.

53.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 19:53
53.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 19:53
Mar 26, 2008, 19:53
 
Greed Mongers?? Blizzard makes quality games and has been rewarded with purchases.
They're not suing this guy to make money, they're trying to get back the control they rightfully deserve of THEIR GAME because of people abusing the product he's offering.
I'm sure if it was just players using it, Bliz wouldn't make it a huge deal.


52.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 19:50
Dev
 
52.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 19:50
Mar 26, 2008, 19:50
 Dev
 
Darks: Actually that might work. Since the courts have been saying stuff like if you don't enforce, then you lose the rights (leading to all sorts of rediculous enforcement things on fan projects from every company under the sun because they are afraid of losing thier IP rights), then that might be a good point to argue.

51.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 19:39
51.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 19:39
Mar 26, 2008, 19:39
 
God forbid anyone else make any money off of WOW other then the Greed mongers at Blizzard. If they are sueing this guy for selling a program than they have to also sue each and every last Gold farming site on the net for also selling Blizzard property as in Gold. If I was that guy that would be the part of my defense.

Creator of the Neverwnter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.

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50.
 
Re: WoW Bot
Mar 26, 2008, 18:43
50.
Re: WoW Bot Mar 26, 2008, 18:43
Mar 26, 2008, 18:43
 
I am sure there are 10 million other guilds he could join - I am sure you didn't ruin his day.

True enough, but he wasn't very happy being kicked. I'm not gonna claim it had a lasting impact, but I imagine it was still hard to lose a bunch of friends cause you'd been cheating. Of course the guild exploded with drama (don't most of them) 2 or 3 months later anyways so I suppose he just got a head start on finding a new guild anyways.

49.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 18:25
49.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 18:25
Mar 26, 2008, 18:25
 
i can almost see blizzard buying out this guy and offering the glider bot as a future expansion pack option.

Something very similar actually happened with Ultima Online. There were two programs people were using to do a variety of tasks within the game, UOExtreme and UOAssist. After combating the programs for awhile, OSI or EA, not sure which, actually made them both an offer to officially license them. *under the condition that they work together to decide what the program can and can't do* OSI/EA would get a cut of the royalties, and the makers of the programs would receive OSI/EAs support on selling the program.

UOExtreme told them to "forget it", but UOAssist accepted and went on to make some nice money. This was a perfect example of OSI/EA taking a situation that was proving difficult for them, and turning it into something that was mutually beneficial for them, the players, and the other parties involved.

48.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 17:06
48.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 17:06
Mar 26, 2008, 17:06
 
i can almost see blizzard buying out this guy and offering the glider bot as a future expansion pack option.

47.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 16:53
47.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 16:53
Mar 26, 2008, 16:53
 
What bothers me most about this program isn't legit players using it to level, but the gold spammers using it to spam advertising all over the place, harvest everything they can get their mits on, and, generally just being jackasses.
If joe-nightelf wants to get his new hunter to 70 asap, go for it

46.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 16:46
46.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 16:46
Mar 26, 2008, 16:46
 
I'm sure Blizzard could use the DMCA to sue. The DMCA is so broad and vague that it can be used in pretty much any computer-related lawsuit.

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45.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 16:44
45.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 16:44
Mar 26, 2008, 16:44
 
If WoW did not exist, would anyone buy this program? The answer is no. What this means is that the program is riding on the brand recognition and marketing of the World of Warcraft game. I think Blizzard will easily win this suit.

???? Flawed fanboi logic.

Welcome to Liberty City: Where the people are angry and lonely, and the taxes sky high.
44.
 
Re: Blizzard Botch
Mar 26, 2008, 16:29
44.
Re: Blizzard Botch Mar 26, 2008, 16:29
Mar 26, 2008, 16:29
 
Which I am sure is being nickeled and dimed away at this point thanks to his legal team.

Well reading over their FAQ, they also have a $5 a month subscription option, who knows how many people are using that.

If they didn't think they could win I'm sure they wouldn't fight it. He could fold up, stop selling and walk away with whatever cash he has.

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43.
 
No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 16:25
43.
No subject Mar 26, 2008, 16:25
Mar 26, 2008, 16:25
 
If WoW did not exist, would anyone buy this program? The answer is no. What this means is that the program is riding on the brand recognition and marketing of the World of Warcraft game. I think Blizzard will easily win this suit.

42.
 
Re: Blizzard Botch
Mar 26, 2008, 16:10
42.
Re: Blizzard Botch Mar 26, 2008, 16:10
Mar 26, 2008, 16:10
 
As for the defendant offering their program for free in hopes of getting a job somewhere... 100,000 copies of Glider sold at $25 a pop...you do the math, vs how many years it would take to make that much money on a legit job.

Which I am sure is being nickeled and dimed away at this point thanks to his legal team.

Blizzard wins in the long run - but we can only hope that this publicity creates sales for this person.

http://www.mmoglider.com/FAQ.aspx

He acknowledges that it is against the rules and it is a "use at your own risk" sort of thing.

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This comment was edited on Mar 26, 16:12.
41.
 
Re: Blizzard Botch
Mar 26, 2008, 15:49
PHJF
 
41.
Re: Blizzard Botch Mar 26, 2008, 15:49
Mar 26, 2008, 15:49
 PHJF
 
If people are paying money for Glider you can bet your ass it's full-featured and has a swathe of functions beyond simply killing and looting the nearest enemies. It's the extensibility and customization options that draw people to a good bot.

By the way, when MMO's include things like the mining, skinning, and reputation loot that WoW includes... you're asking to be botted. They don't even try to masquerade such "tasks" as enjoyable; it's 100% work and should not be in the game. That's the biggest red flag I see before even thinking of wasting time in an MMO.

Bittorrent can argue that it has legit uses (i.e. downloading free content/opensource apps.) whereas Wowglider's only use is to cheat/play the game for you.

Exactly, which is entirely legal. The only way Blizzard can attack Glider is on copyright grounds, which is what they are trying to do... and which is why most likely won't win: Glider isn't breaking any laws.


This comment was edited on Mar 26, 15:51.
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40.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 26, 2008, 15:44
40.
Re: No subject Mar 26, 2008, 15:44
Mar 26, 2008, 15:44
 
I'm not an attorney but it would seem this is a longshot for Blizzard. Much like the Recording industry trying to take down bittorrent because its far easier to litigate the gateway application or site rather than going after each individual.

Bittorrent can argue that it has legit uses (i.e. downloading free content/opensource apps.) whereas Wowglider's only use is to cheat/play the game for you.

39.
 
Re: Blizzard Botch
Mar 26, 2008, 15:41
39.
Re: Blizzard Botch Mar 26, 2008, 15:41
Mar 26, 2008, 15:41
 
I don't think you know much about Blizzards stance on cheating if you think they didn't see programs like this coming. They've been banning users of third party programs since day 1. It's virtually impossible to make software 100% unhackable, so you can be as pro-active as you want, but it's never going to be enough.

As for the defendant offering their program for free in hopes of getting a job somewhere... 100,000 copies of Glider sold at $25 a pop...you do the math, vs how many years it would take to make that much money on a legit job.



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This comment was edited on Mar 26, 15:49.
38.
 
Blizzard Botch
Mar 26, 2008, 15:14
FLY
38.
Blizzard Botch Mar 26, 2008, 15:14
Mar 26, 2008, 15:14
FLY
 
That's all fine and dandy but don't blame an inventor for your lack of thought,Blizzard. You should have seen programs like these coming. Blame the research/i.t department. The biggest problem with big business is the lack of being pro-active to problems i.e. see Microsoft's customer care for the 360. Horrendous.
If i was the defendant i would try to sell the program to Blizzard. Hey, it's worth a shot! Throw some money at him, Blizzard it's the American way;)
Some people think the case is like saying if someone created and sold a robot/program that could park a car, the car maker would sue the creator of the robot. Reality is, if the robot uses or rely's on any part of the vehicle program or structure for sustainment of it's operation and purpose, it's illegal.

In reality though, Blizzard is right. IF the program uses the game code in any way, function, or program design, it's illegal. Illegal because the program is being sold. Why do you think emulators are for free?
The defendant should NOT have offerend the program for sale. Big mistake. Build a name for yourself, gather experience in creation of programs. Gather a fan base, don't burn bridges. Submit resume to game company. Viola! a possible actual job making games.
It's the nature of common business and anti-piracy law. Don't copy other peoples sh!t and try to make a profit. You'll end up some dude's b!tch in prison.

thanks for reading

This comment was edited on Mar 26, 15:20.
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