Blizzard Suing Creators Of StarCraft II Hacks

By John Walker on October 18th, 2010 at 1:06 pm.

Zerg something something rush something.

As we reported last week, Blizzard have taken the extremely peculiar decision to ban players from playing StarCraft II for using cheats in the single-player game. This meant that, despite cheating no one but themselves, they were locked out of playing the single-player game. Which is clearly bonkers. But it’s not enough for the developer. Blizzard’s lawyers are now setting out to sue those who create cheats.

Gamespot reports that the megolithic company is chasing after three developers of hacks for “destroying” their online game. It definitely will be in violation of the end user agreement, so there’s a case. However, it’s a certain element of their claim that stands out for attention. They’re claiming using the hacks causes people to infringe copyright:

“When users of the Hacks download, install, and use the Hacks, they copy StarCraft II copyrighted content into their computer’s RAM in excess of the scope of their limited license, as set forth in the EULA and ToU, and create derivative works of StarCraft II.”

Blink.

Blizzard are claiming that copying elements of the game into your computer’s RAM is copyright violation. It’s so brazened that you sort of have to respect their moxie.

They are claiming damages because those who play the games with cheats will have an experience that harms their appreciation of the game, and in turn they may speak negatively of the game to others. Presumably they’re referring to those who create multiplayer cheats, as single player cheats would be too ridiculous for words.

“The harm to Blizzard from Defendants’ conduct is immediate, massive and irreparable. By distributing the Hacks to the public, Defendants cause serious harm to the value of StarCraft II. Among other things, Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard’s legitimate customers (i.e. those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience. That, in turn, causes users to grow dissatisfied with the game, lose interest in the game, and communicate that dissatisfaction, thereby resulting in lost sales of the game or ‘add-on’ packs and expansions thereto.”

I’m a bit frightened that id will be suing me because I used to type IDSPISPOPD into Doom. (From memory, that.)

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283 Comments »

  1. Monchberter says:

    I installed a mod once. Don’t sue me bro!

    Idiots.

  2. HerrSchmidt says:

    And it starts…

  3. Pema says:

    What made Starcraft was the online experience, any threat to a fair online experience must be dealt with harshly.
    No sympathy for hackers and cheaters.

    • Daz says:

      “Pema says:
      October 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      What made Starcraft was the online experience, any threat to a fair online experience must be dealt with harshly.
      No sympathy for hackers and cheaters.”

      This, I think its great that people that make or use cheats for online games are finally starting to see some punishment for it, and I think its weird that people find that somehow unacceptable :P

    • Rob says:

      Yeah, pretty much.

      I mean, it’s crazy that they’re cracking down on single player hacks, but how many previous Blizzard games have been rendered unplayable online by trainers and cheats?

      That the first Starcraft managed to pull off a long and storied stint as an “e-sport” is incredible, but really didn’t happen with a whole lot of nudging from Blizzard when it started.

      Obviously the money inherent in that stuff is still huge, and if SC2′s multiplayer gets wrecked by cheaters, then what’s the fucking point?

    • Nessin says:

      Here is the problem with all these arguments:

      1) Being banned from Battle.net means you can’t activate Starcraft 2, which means if you have to reinstall it for whatever reason (new PC, new OS, etc…) then you can’t even play Starcraft 2 in Guest mode.

      2) While I have no clue why people would use trainers when there are cheats built into the game, this could be more than about achievements. Maybe someone is so used to using trainers they don’t think to look for built-in cheats? Maybe the built-in cheats didn’t let him do what they wanted to in Single-player and a trainer did?

    • DrGonzo says:

      I don’t think anyone or the article is bothered by them taking action against multiplayer cheats. It’s the single player cheaters being punished that is concerning.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Except rather than having a better system, they’re suing people. They are suing people for a ridiculous idea. I’m not pro-cheating, but I am NOT pro-legal action when someone steps on your foot.

      And if Blizzard gets away with this one, they’re just gonna keep going. They may have had a point with wowscape since the person was profiting a fair sum off their creation. They should not let a precedence be set for this kind of thing. Big companies already have too much power, and it’s not wise to forget that.

      I’d rather deal with a bunch of cheaters than worry that Blizzard could pursue legal action against me because I reduced a cheating manchild to tears by crushing him anyways.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “It’s the single player cheaters being punished that is concerning.”

      “Single player cheaters” in this case being folks running multiplayer hacks online but swearing they were not actually using them. How about not going online while running a maphack in the first place?

    • sinister agent says:

      As someone who thoroughly enjoyed Starcraft for many years, and plays almost exclusively played single player, and who has no interest at all in multiplayer for Starcraft 2, I strongly disagree. People buy a game so they can play that game, however they want to, and for many people that means playing mostly, or even entirely single player.

    • Devan says:

      Aside from the whole issue of cheating, there are a couple very serious legal implications from this.

      a) Using copyright law to control how a work is used, exploiting a loophole made possibly because computers must make internal copies of any program in order to execute it. This is clearly not what copyright law was designed for, and allowing it to be abused in this way sets a very dangerous precedent. Unfortunately, I believe that Blizzard has successfully sued before using this loophole.

      b) Suing tool creators for the use of the tools. Aside from the over-the-top “Patriot Act”, I know of no laws that would allow a program creator to be sued for how the program is used by others. For example, hacking tools are freely available if you know where to find them and there’s nothing wrong with creating or distributing hacking tools. Hacking itself is illegal unless you have the permission of the owner of the system (ie. intrusion testing), but creating tools is not and should not be a violation, regardless of whether or not it is eventually used for harm.

      I think that the courts should think very carefully about how the laws should rule on these issues, so they set the right precedent. It’s easy to side with an industry giant, especially when the defendant is considered shady. Technology is advancing fast and things like copyright law should be evaluated often to make sure they give an end result that is balanced and beneficial all around.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      If Blizzard wins this case, I’m sooo going to pirate Starcraft II. Since if I am breaking copyright anyway by loading the game into RAM, I might as well break copyright at the source.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I’ll just echo a post I saw on here about the same topic..

      “What is concerning is that they can stop me playing my singleplayer game when they feel like I have ‘infringed’ on their ‘EULA’ or rules”

      Who the hell reads the EULA anyway

  4. Rich says:

    “This meant that, despite cheating no one but themselves”
    Except that the hack they were using was intended to allow them to unlock achievements while still cheating. You can cheat in the single-player if you want to, but you can’t normally unlock anything.

    Now, I’m not saying I agree with their decision, but it’s a point you seem to be ignoring.

    • Pema says:

      The hack also allowed to cheat in MP games.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      Rich:

      That’s because nobody cares about frigging achievements.

    • AndrewC says:

      Except the ones using the hacks.

    • Starky says:

      Quite a large chunk of the SC2 community care about achievements (not me personally, but there you go) because unlike many games, the ones in SC2 are vast and many of them meaningful. Many are a true challenge and benchmarks of skill, or dedication, and people want to show that they have that.

      The SC2 Achievements could be compared to the titles in WoW – you defeat the hardest boss in the game on the hardest setting you get a title for your character – people care about that because it means something – it shows the community you achieved something difficult and noteworthy.

      So yes, people cheating and instantly gaining those achievements diminishes their value for legitimate customers.

    • Risingson says:

      … which does not mean that Blizzard’s move is a valid one.

    • Starky says:

      Well it kind of does, banning a small percentage of the player base who are breaking the TOS and cheating in an online environment thus lessening the value of achievements for much, much larger percentage of players who value them – seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      Removing a small but disruptive section of the community for the good of the larger whole – I’ve no problem with it.
      Just as I prefer to frequent forums that are strict as hell about enforcing decent behaviour and banning trolls and idiots.

      Also why I read and comment at RPS, and avoid the likes of Kotaku like the plague.

    • Eamo says:

      Not to mention that they could still play the single player game in offline mode even after the ban.

      I am getting the impression that our esteemed Mr. Walker did not even read the responses in the last thread since several people pointed out that much of the claims he reported as true in that post were incorrect and now we see the exact sames posted again here as true.

      Come on John, we expect better from you!

  5. HerrSchmidt says:

    Also I think that it’s not Blizzard itself, but their owner who has shoved their arm up the puppet’s backside, wiggling the joints.

    This, coming from the MMO what has HOW many Mods and tweaks and what have you for it?

    More like some attempting to set up a precedent methinks…

    • mrmud says:

      All legit mods for WoW use the Blizzard UI API.
      They have gone after other kind of modifications to wow since the start (such as model switching) by banning people. This is not new.

    • SpinalJack says:

      WoW mods are mostly UI tweaks or macros rather than cheats seeing as the game is server based. It’s difficult to create more gold from a button press for instance (not including exploits or glitches) So it’s not really the same.

  6. ManofMuchManliness says:

    I just don’t know what to say… are they stupid? are they trolls? are they stupid trolls?

    I call shenanigans!

    p.s.
    Please please please please please god don’t let them fuck D3 up, idk how I’ll survive with yet another awesome franchise FUBAR’d.

    • JKjoker says:

      the problem is even if D3 ends up being the best thing since the invention of Pizza (and i believe it will because the formula is simple and the polish only Blizzard can give is the only thing most diablo clones are missing to be awesome) it will be packaged in the bnet2 shit sandwich and deep fried in Activision DLC drool

    • RyePunk says:

      People keep tauting that Activision will pressure Blizzard into DLC, but thus far those claims haven’t proven anything. At best it has coaxed Blizzard into releasing content that is entirely disengaged from their games entirely (I’m thing ring tones, merch and such).
      Furthermore DLC is not entirely a bad thing. Certainly bad DLC does exist, but so does good DLC. Shouldn’t we at least give Blizz the benefit of the doubt that if they make DLC it will be worthwhile for those who purchase it, and non-gamebreaking for those that don’t?

    • JKjoker says:

      yes, DLC *could* be awesome but its not, kind of like Activision *could* be a great company but its not, and taking away my freedom to play the game as i like goes past my benefit of doubt line

    • Thants says:

      On one is taking away your freedom to play the game as you like. If you want to hack the game, just play in offline mode.

    • JKjoker says:

      what about LAN and playing maps that didnt have to go through the corporate filter ?

  7. The Hammer says:

    How does

    “Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard’s legitimate customers (i.e. those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience.”

    translate into:

    “They are claiming damages because those who play the games with cheats will have an experience that harms their appreciation of the game, and in turn they may speak negatively of the game to others.”

  8. Ben says:

    What a load of arse. Blizzard needs a new hobby.

  9. Cryect says:

    The copying into RAM as breaching copyright is the same technique they used with the Glider bot person and succeeded with unfortunately considering most cheat applications often just change a few bytes after its been loaded up by the OS.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      ^what I was going to say. They used the exact same method with Glider and won it that way. So not that strange an approach at all.

  10. Baboonanza says:

    I find it very difficult to believe that any cheat has cost them more money than the bad press from this insanity will.

    • Starky says:

      Are you kidding me? WoW cheats have cost them MILLIONS…

      I can’t find it now, but there was a study done that calculated all the gold farmed by bots, and then sold to players – how many hours those players would have needed to play (and pay for) to gain legitimately and it was staggeringly large.
      Especially in china where they pay by the hour.

      Even in the west though, Gold sellers selling someone 10,000 gold to buy all the stuff he needs instead of spending 3 months earning it is basically them losing $30, because that guy will run out of content quicker and quit – obviously no true for all gold buyers, but it is true for enough that it becomes a loss of real money.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Except this isn’t WoW, and we’re aren’t talking mp cheats. We’re talking single player. And don’t come trying to argue around that, cause it’d be nonsense.

      Reading comprehension ftw.

    • Starky says:

      Except we ARE talking multiplayer cheats because they are the ones that Blizzard are suing… NOT the single player trainer makers…

      So how’s your reading comprehension now?

    • Baboonanza says:

      Whether it’s MP or SP cheats seems to be a matter of some debate. As noted however, SC2 isn’t WoW and cheating doesn’t directly hurt their bottom line in the way they are claiming at all.

      The bigger issue is that banning cheaters is one thing, suing the people who make the cheats for spurious loss-of-earnings is quite another.

    • Starky says:

      It does indirectly harm their bottom line though.

      Starcraft is a MASSIVE esport – and SC2 is shaping up to be even bigger. Especially in Korea, but quickly spreading to the west – especially thanks to high quality replays and youtube near professional commentaries.

      So if hackers harm the validity of Blizzards ranking systems, it damages the reputation of the game and prevents the growth of popularity that will ensure long term sales over the next 10 years in the same way that Starcraft achieved.

      Single player achievement cheats don’t do that same harm, not to the same degree – but Blizz can’t detect the difference with it’s anti-cheat – or they could, but it would be WAY too much work to verify it all – because cheaters regularly change what memory they alter and how – it would be a massive task to trace which hacks altered which specific things and how. Would require them to reverse engineer every hack tool by version. Which would mean getting copies of them to do so.
      So Blizz simply ban anyone who alters game memory with a 3rd party tool while logged into battlenet.

      It is the same reason that sport/athletics ban illegal (and even legal) drugs that might not be performance enhancing, might not offer unfair advantage because they need to take a hardline stance so that their is no illusion of wiggle-room or excuse that can be made. So that the rules are clear and in stone.

      Like it or not Starcraft isn’t simply a game – it’s a competitive sport.

    • Carra says:

      @Starky. So someone doesn’t spend 3 months getting 10K gold. Instead some Chinese fella spends 3 months doing it for him.

      Blizzard still gets their 3 months of payment.

    • Starky says:

      No, it will take that chinese botter about 3-4 days a week max, running 24/7 (one guy running about 10 computers 3 of them in shifts)

      Where as the average player grinding 2-3 hours per night for that gold (as well as doing other stuff) will indeed take months.

  11. mrmud says:

    IDSPISPOPD (IDNOCLIP for DooM2), IDKFA, IDFA, IDDQD are all built in cheats, just like there are for built in cheats for SC2. This is more like if ID were suing makers of aimbots, something that I think is perfectly commendable. Cheating in multiplayer ruin games.

    • Legionary says:

      “You’re spoiling my game. You deserve thousands of dollars in fines.”

    • DrGonzo says:

      That sums it up for me. It’s cheating in a GAME. It seems perfectly fine to me. Ban them from the game if you like but you can’t possibly do anything more. I don’t like cheats, but it’s only a game and they aren’t doing anything criminal.

  12. SpinalJack says:

    They’re probably acting all serious cos they think they’re a proper sport with TV channels dedicated to it, which they kinda are in Korea. So cheating in SC2 multiplayer is like taking drugs at the Olympics. If they just released a couple cheats themselves then people wouldn’t need to use hacks for single player, simple fix I think.

    If they want to go after hackers then more power to them but leave the poor users who bought your game alone, they just want to cheat themselves or god forbid, have some fun.

  13. SquareWheel says:

    Morons.

    If I buy your game, I can run any tool, trainer, memory editor that I want. “Boo hoo, cheaters get achievements and it ruins it for the rest of us!” Give me a break.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Are you seriously trying to write off map/drop hacks with just a “boo hoo, cry me a river”? Because that’s not cool, at all.

    • bildo says:

      This is a huge problem.

      Cheating in multiplayer, that’s one thing. Cheating in a game against a computer opponent, is another.

      Blizzard should just release a version of the game which allows you to cheat, no problem built into the game, ALA Goldeneye. This way, beating certian challenges and unlocking certian cheats is an achievement in and of itself. In this mode, you may not get achievements but instead you can unlock cheats to use for yourself when you play this cheat-single player mode.

      Jesus, Activision must have a tight grip on their balls. Unless anyone can show Activision isn’t involved in this…which I’m sure they since they are the same company…

      Problem solved. Next!

    • JWill says:

      “Blizzard should just release a version of the game which allows you to cheat [...] In this mode, you may not get achievements but instead you can unlock cheats to use for yourself when you play this cheat-single player mode.”

      This is a great idea! So great blizzard has already implemented it. The only people who use single player hacks rather than the built in cheats are one who want to cheat for achievements. For the record, I don’t care one whit about achievements in SC2, but Blizzard has to take a hard line on this sort of thing.

      If hacking is shown the slightest leniency, people will think it’s okay, and start using maphacks in competitive matches, where it actually matters…

      Not to say I agree with suing the poor crackers who thought hacking SC2 would be an interesting challenge… but anyone with half a brain would look at Blizzard’s history curb-stomping anyone who so much as looks at their games the wrong way, and realize it’s really not worth making hacks for SC2.

      PS: The most important thing this article failed to mention was that the achievement cheaters only got banned for a few weeks… and even then only from multiplayer.

    • ChainSOV says:

      [q]The only people who use single player hacks rather than the built in cheats are one who want to cheat for achievements.[/q]
      Wrong! For example, there are ppl who just want to play this game in eyefinity mode in singleplayer. Blizzard didn’t bother to implement it properly, so a hack is needed to enjoy it this way.
      Oh, you forgot to switch to offline mode before playing singleplayer campaign?
      Say bye-bye to your account.
      Hacks arent necessarily cheats, they can add functionality.
      Think about how many fan-made/unofficial hacks/patches exist for old games and now imagine if all the devs of these games would act as hysterically as Blizzard.

  14. Theory says:

    Modifying a computer program in-memory creates a derivative work? Is there any precedent for that?

    • Theory says:

      Apparently so, see Cryect’s post above. :o

    • zoombapup says:

      Aye, weirdly enough it is. I was an expert witness on a similar case (for a gambling gaming company) and the case rested on essentially the same issue. In the case in question, the fact that the code was loaded into memory was enough to be a violation. Worst thing was that the code was never executed (it was old code the company had licensed and then lost the license but not removed).

      The law is very strange in this respect. It scared me in many ways.

    • Torgen says:

      Perhaps…

      Loading it into RAM means it also gets written to a pagefile, therefore “producing” a derivative work?

      or..

      We could demand our politicians quit taking money from media corps and rescind all these asinine copyright laws.

  15. Crabtacular says:

    Bum baileys, the lot of them. That kind of action is too extreme. Surely they realise how this could impact on their reputation? Is it worth it Blizzard, really? Oh dear…

    • kikito says:

      I like them more because they fight cheaters.

      I do concede that the ‘copying to RAM is copyright infringement’ is bonkers, though. I expected them to be more technically-savy than that.

  16. Brumisator says:

    Removing all cheats from the game was borderline understandable. Temporary bans were issued, creating a big enough threat for people to stop cheating, F’ing suing people who weren’t even sure they were breaking.

    I just hope that they get thrown out of court. But with their army of lawyers fuelled by billions of dollars, I fear for the use of logic.

  17. Berm says:

    Oh Blizzard, how the mighty have fallen…

  18. Goomich says:

    Now they should sue their lawyes, becaus I feel so dissatisfied wit Starcraft 2, lost interest with it and I’m just communicating it.

  19. pipman3000 says:

    now if only they could do something about the WoW gold vendors who keep spamming everyone with advertisements.

  20. bleeters says:

    Multi billion dollar corporation vs folks banging out the odd trainer or two in their spare time.

    Gee, I wonder who’ll win that case. They might as well sue them for drawing breath.

  21. Dean says:

    Yup, the “copying in to RAM” thing has been used a few times. As well as Glider I seem to remember it being part of the early DS Flash-card cases, possibly other mod-chips too (they tend to work by copying the console loader in to the chip, modifying it, then running the modified code).

    It seems to work, but clearly it shouldn’t…

  22. Cinnamon says:

    Sid Meier sent me cease and desist letter the other day warning me that I was taking illegal advantage of the weaknesses in the Civ 5 AI. Only two months ago Ken Levine sent me a letter informing me that the vita chambers were only there for the use of his grandmother and if he caught me using them I would be arrested for trespassing. This is out of control.

    • EthZee says:

      I got a Cease and Desist from John Carmack for trying to talk to the monsters in Doom.

  23. Ernheim says:

    You sell a game, what people do with it is up to them. Suing for the single player hacks is ridiculous, and arguably it’s the same for multiplayer. Valve seems to have a competent way of separating hack servers from lawful ones (I speak from no experience other than a mate whinging about getting banned from valve anti-cheat servers for some reason), no reason that Blizzard can’t you know, police the servers without dragging people into court.

    Speaking as somebody who loved the creativity in the mods and maps for Warcraft 3 (Christ Wintermaul was addictive), it saddens me to see how far Blizzard has fallen.

    • kikito says:

      Starcraft is completely modable. There’s a map editor that allows all sorts of crazy things, and a script language.

      Cheats are not mods.

    • Starky says:

      You can even play all the single player missions in the map editor – with all kinds of crazy and fun modifications – like play the missions as other races – or with units from all races.

      I played some of the missions with a ghost that did 500 damage per shot and had a range of 20 and near unlimited energy – was a great laugh beating the final mission with 1 unit – snipe, snipe, snipe, snipe… nuke, nuke, nuke… hehe

  24. Guildenstern says:

    Except that the hack they were using was intended to allow them to unlock achievements while still cheating.
    Who the fuck cares?

    • Rich says:

      The people who made the hacks, in order to play multi-player games against the AI to farm achievements and give themselves an inflated rating, that’s who. That doesn’t include me by the way, as I don’t give a damn about achievements. Never have.

  25. Axess Denyd says:

    A US court already ruled that copying into RAM can be copyright infringement when they sued the creator of….some big WOW hack that I forget the name of. Yes, US courts can be very, very stupid sometimes.

    Blizzard has complete legal precedent for this in the US.

  26. Tony M says:

    There must be at least a dozen Single Player trainers (hacks) for Starcraft 1 ONE!!!! Despite the fact that SC1 has plenty of official cheats available.

    So the idea that players are only downloading trainers to get cheap achievements can’t explain the popularity of SC1 trainers. (and trainers for hundreds of other games before achievements were even invented).

    My guess is that most of the people who use trainers don’t take the game (or achievements) very seriously. My son used them until he was old enough to play games as they were designed.

    Tony

    • qrter says:

      I’m old enough to play games as they were designed, but I’ll cheat in a heartbeat if it enhances my enjoyment of a game.

      That’s all singleplayer, mind, I wouldn’t cheat in multiplayer. (Or would I..? No, I wouldn’t. Or would I! No. Ah.. but what if I would!? I wouldn’t….. or woouuld I..? Etc.)

    • Tony M says:

      I used a trainer to play Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (on the PC) because I liked the puzzles but didn’t care about the fighting.

  27. Rory says:

    Blizzard I am dissapoint

  28. bill says:

    “Defendants irreparably harm the ability of Blizzard’s legitimate customers (i.e. those who purchase and use unmodified games) to enjoy and participate in the competitive online experience”

    Are those that use hacks ILLEGITIMATE customers? Surely those that use hacks are still legitimate customers. Isn’t that like Ford saying I’m not a legitimate customer because I used the Fiesta I bought to ramraid a shop?

    • CraigT says:

      I haven’t red it, but I would imagine Blizzard have laid out what an illegitimate user is in the EULA or ToS.

      If they have stated in the EULA that ‘thou shall not use a hack or trainer’ then the user has broken the EULA and they can do what they please with them.

    • Starky says:

      That comparison fails –

      It’s like Dell saying you’re not a legitimate customer, and the warranty and support contract is void because you opened up and modified your laptop.
      or for one closer to your example… It’s like your Insurance company refusing to pay for repaids because you used the car to ram raid the shop.

      Ford don’t care if you’re legitimate or not, given you’ve already paid. Though I bet it would still void any warranty.

    • DrGonzo says:

      So could I write I get to shag everyone who agrees to this EULA’s girlfriends and they would then have to comply? I think EULA should be abandoned. Nobody reads them anyway.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      EULA’s aren’t even legally enforceable in some countries. I remember getting into this argument with Sports Interactive when I said about using a no-cd crack for CM01/02. They said that violated the EULA. I pointed out they weren’t legally valid where I lived, and they concurred and admitted that I hadn’t actually broken any laws where I live. (Canada. Don’t know if the law has changed now.)

  29. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Blizzard seem to be basing their copying into RAM argument on their success in MDY v. Blizzard, where the court determined that the player only had a limited licence to use the software subject to both the EULA and the Terms of Use of WoW, and that by violating the specific sections against the use of bots, the subsequent copying into RAM was infringing. (In general, in the US, the owner of a copy of software copying it into RAM for the purposes of running it is not an infringement).

    That case is apparently waiting to be considered for an appeal, so if it is granted one, it will be very interesting to see how the higher courts treat this argument.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Further searching shows the appeal for that case began in June this year, but as far as I can see there has been no decision yet. But it is fundamental to the role of the purchaser as owner or mere licensor, and the extent to which an EULA can restrict them, and the outcome is certainly going to affect how “valid” EULAs are.

  30. Delusibeta says:

    As I understand it, Blizzard is suing people who sold their hacks, which makes a bit more sense. The language used is still nutty, however.

    • Starky says:

      Exactly, Blizz are suing people who are making money of their trademark and copyright, perfectly understandable thing to do.

      Just the same as they would sue someone selling Starcraft 2 T-shirts using their IP.

  31. Starky says:

    They are NOT suing the single player trainer hack makers, they are suing the multiplayer map hacker makers… you know the ones that make available cheats for online competitive play… and sure they are using any legal bullshit they can to do so.
    Exactly the same as they sued, and successfully at that, one of the bot creators for WoW. They also sued some people running 3rd party WoW servers.

    And I say good on Blizzard. Diablo 2 was almost, and to a large degree was ruined by map hackers, dupers, and botters… and I for one am glad that blizzard are taking a hardline stance.

    They don’t need to win, they just need to make these multiplayer cheat makers understand that they risk getting sued.

    Just like the bans that happened over the “singleplayer” those guy were using cheats that are basically exactly the same as the multiplayer cheats – memory hacks. They were using them while signed into battlenet, and in their accounts – they were stupid and Blizzard was right to ban them.
    You can go “It’s only achievements” but those achievements mean a lot to a large chunk of the SC2 playerbase (not me, I do them for fun sometimes but otherwise could not care).
    Blizzard is right, banning people for hacking achievements lowers the quality of the experience for the hundreds of thousands of players who care about them. Many of them take a lot of skill and dedication to earn, and so have some boasting worth at least – they are not just fluff.

    Memory altering hacks should result in a ban if anyone is dumb enough to use them when signed into battlenet – if you want to screw around with such things that is what the 100% and totally offline guest mode is for. Which will NOT get you banned.

    • zipdrive says:

      I disagree.
      I think Blizzard have no business if (for example) I’m a bloody worthless RTS player and need cheats to help me finish the campaign. To do that (I’m guessing) I can’t be in Guest mode, right?

      I have a lot of respect for Blizzrd, but doing stuff like this, while claiming “The harm to Blizzard from Defendants’ conduct is immediate, massive and irreparable” is just ridiculous and they’re burning their credit with me.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I think Blizzard have no business if (for example) I’m a bloody worthless RTS player and need cheats to help me finish the campaign. To do that (I’m guessing) I can’t be in Guest mode, right?”

      You guessed wrong. You can be online as well, and use the invincibility and insta-win cheat codes to go through the campaign. What you can’t do is load up map/drophacks and connect to their servers.

    • Starky says:

      You can play the ENTIRE single player campaign in guest mode – you just don’t get achievements or anything else for it.

    • kikito says:

      @zipdrive: the campaign in ‘casual’ mode is really piece of cake. I’m sure that my cat would be able to go through it, just by running over the keyboard and gently touching the mouse.

      And I don’t have a cat.

      And even if you are so “worthless”, there are legal cheat codes that allow you to skip the parts that are too difficult, or get invincible, etc. These codes are provided by blizzard and you can use it at any moment, without having to pay for or install any sort of cheat thingie.

    • zipdrive says:

      Ok, then. Thanks for Clearing that up.

    • jsdn says:

      Maybe I don’t want to be invincible. Maybe I want to use nothing but ghosts across the whole campaign. Sounds fun right? Well, there’s no cheat for that. Should I be downloading a hack for that? Should people be sued for making a hack for that?

    • jsdn says:

      Should I be banned for downloading a hack for that?*

      CAPTCHA: ssue
      Totally worth it.

    • Starky says:

      Or just learn to use the map editor and do all of the above.

  32. rocketman71 says:

    Even more ridiculous than banning players for cheating in single player.

    Fuck you, Kotick. You destroyed one of the best companies in the world. I hope someday you pay for it.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Yes, how dare they try to go after people who charge money for hacks that ruin online play! The bastards!

  33. Max says:

    Is it really that far-fetched to believe Blizzard will pursue legal action against programs that clearly violate the modification clauses in the terms of use, single player or otherwise?

    • bill says:

      These days, it’s not far-fetched to assume any company will pursue legal action over anything. Unfortunately.

  34. Jockie says:

    The single player thing is completely mental and a big company suing some guy for tinkering with a program is downight mean.

    On the otherhand, many a multi-player game has been ruined by people using hacks and the like and i’d quite like to see the guys using them get shafted.

    • Starky says:

      It is the guys making and SELLING those multiplayer hacks that Blizz are going after, not single player trainer makers.

    • Jockie says:

      I see, well that’s not so bad then. The lines on who exactly they were going after sounded a little broader than that in most of the comments above. But I have no problem at all with a company aggressively trying to stamp out hack-makers and cheats as long as no innocent players get caught in the crossfire.

  35. Anthony says:

    That has to be hands-down one of the strangest bits of lawyer-speak I’ve ever seen.

    And apparently has precedence. I bet the guy who came up with that one the first time around is a very wealthy bastard right about now.

  36. Max says:

    Goodness, just in the time it took me to write that last comment already what seems like dozens of people have chimed in with their “disappointment” that Blizzard was preserving the integrity of their online game. Were people this upset when Warden/VAC were introduced? (That’s rhetorical, I’m sure they were.)

    I did just want to point out that the lawsuits are targeting people who SOLD these programs, and thus profited by native use of Blizzard’s copyrighted material. I’ll leave the ethical debate for others.

  37. Po0py says:

    Seems a bit inaccurate to not point out that the creators of the hacks are trying to make money from it. Which is an entirely different thing altogether. If it were simply a modder, modding the game for the sake of it and then releasing it for free who was getting sued, then I would have issues with that. But it is not.

  38. Navagon says:

    Whatever your perspective, this is still a mess of Blizzard’s own creation. They tried to play Big Brother and now it seems they’re having to resort to this kind of bullshit just to hold their totalitarian ground.

  39. Skusey says:

    When did Blizzard go crazy?

    • Navagon says:

      They might have always been like this. But you can’t exercise this level of control if people won’t put up with it. It’s only now that people are willing to buy their games no matter what that they’re able to act like this with impunity.

      Give a person a sense of authority and control and you start to see their true nature. That’s what Blizzard fans are giving them right now. That’s what we’re seeing.

    • John Peat says:

      Nah – this is definately the Activision effect…

      It was visible almost the moment those grasping leeches stepped in – WoW Ringtones, Pay to change faction, Pay to change Race etc. etc. – screw the game, GIVE US THE MONEY.

      Now they want to leverage total control of their community – well good luck with that one because it’s impossible and the harder you try, the stupider you will look.

    • Navagon says:

      Activision may have honed Blizzard’s greed and assisted in directing it. But it was very much evident before those two merged.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I got the impression they were always crazy. If you mean ‘evil’ crazy. They just copy and paste their games with shinier graphics. Didn’t they also develop WoW before their merger with Activision? It just depends on what you think are dodgy business practices I suppose.

  40. mandrill says:

    Bobby Kotick has a lot to answer for.”We are not making games to allow people to have fun, we are making games to make money” (paraphrased of course).

    The sooner someone drops him off a cliff the better for the entire industry IMO. Blizztivision/Actitard has become what EA used to be. Swollen and lazy, generating no original content and relying on the popularity of their franchises for a living.

    Much as it pains me I will not be buying Diablo 3. There are plenty of better games of a similar style out there and they’re not made by a company I find to be obnoxious

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “We are not making games to allow people to have fun”

      Amusingly enough, the point of this lawsuit is to cut down on cheaters ruining the online multiplayer. But if it has to do with Activision it is surely EVIL.

  41. John Peat says:

    The point here is that not everyone who cheated in the offline game, did so in order to gain advantage in the online game.

    An analogy would be banning you from the entire internet because you cheated in 1 game – slightly OTT…

    Blizzard – under the guidance of Greedyvision I’m sure – are ploughing into new ground here in terms of the level of control they’d like to have over their game community (see the RealID farces too) and I’m afraid they’re going to come out of this looking as bad as Metallica did when they foolishly tried to defend their own greed and ignorance…

    How long before someone starts a class action for their being locked-out of a game they bought and paid for?? (Bear in mind that the licence agreement has no legal value in many countries).

    • Starky says:

      No, the analogy would be banning you from every Source (valve) game because you cheated in one of them…

      Oh wait… that is exactly what happens (near enough)…

    • CMaster says:

      No it isn’t Starky.
      Blizzard lock you out of playing the game, SP or MP entirely.
      Valve stop you from playing that game or ones of the same engine, in multiplayer, on cheat protected servers. You can still log in to Steam and play all you like – you’ll just get dropped from cheat protected servers.

    • EALouise says:

      I think the problem is that single-player trainers work in a similar way to the multiplayer hacks, as well as cracked copies. They either have a running process that modifies the program in memory or they modify the game executable itself. So, to the Warden system, there’s no discernible difference.

      I would think Blizzard regret bringing up the achievements thing, I don’t think it’s something worth arguing over, it’s just a bit of PR noise.

    • Starky says:

      That’s true, but it is my understanding that most of the single player trainer users only got a 14 day suspension not a full ban.

      That the full ban went to those using online multiplayer map hacks.

      But because they happened at the same time, people are lying and trying to claim they only used the SP trainer, or just ignorant (perhaps they used the maphack in single player only – but how can Blizz tell the difference?) – and the issue got all muddied and confused – and all the piss poor reporting of it sweeping the internet blogs didn’t help – even here at RPS just regurgitating incorrect “facts” from other sites.

      So maybe there are a few hundred people who got banned when they should have only gotten suspended – but given there is near zero difference between a trainer for the SP campaign that works when signed into B.net and a trainer that works for multiplayer games (it’s just the bytes of memory you alter) – Blizzard probably can’t tell exactly what was modified, just that it was modified by a 3rd part program.

      Personally I’d rather them have a hard-line stance on this and discourage any future cheating, because I don’t want Sc2 to be filled with maphackers ruining my online experience – just like I don’t want FPS games to be filled with aimbotters (and it is basically the same thing).
      If a few “innocent” single player cheaters are banned as collateral, then it is a price that I think is worth it.

  42. Nevard says:

    This isn’t really a case of them messing the game up, unless you are only able to play SCII by hacking.
    Unless you planned to hack your way to glory instead of playing it properly this news shouldn’t make you worry about Diablo 3 at all.

  43. Starky says:

    For the record here are the offical cheats you may freely use in game whenever you like and never fear getting bannd (you just won’t earn achievements)…

    * terribleterribledamage – God Mode
    * moredotsmoredots – Free Units (no resources needed)
    * realmendrilldeep – 5,000 Gas
    * whysoserious – 5,000,000 Credits
    * jaynestown – Resources granted
    * tyuhasleftthegame – Disable victory conditions
    * sosayweall – Disable tech requirements
    * eyeofsauron – Open cutscene menu
    * iamironman – Upgrade Weapons, Armor and Shields by 1
    * overengineeredcodpiece – Plays the Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain (Blizzard employee band) song “Terran up the Night”
    * hanshotfirst – Disable Ability Cooldown
    * stroaksmolts – 5,000 Minerals
    * smoldersbolds – 5,000 Minerals and Gas
    * ypoonsvoicemail – Disable defeat conditions
    * mintmansoperator – Disable food requirements
    * nevergiveupneversurrender – Disable defeat conditions
    * reversingnazaire / basestarsprimative – Fast building
    * fsbcomunicacion – Fast Heal
    * sawnoutofmemory – Fog of War disabled
    * cadeasygoin – Lose the current game
    * lyingpect – Mission Select
    * furabranchery – Opensthe UNN broadcast menu
    * wapboinkers – Research points
    * cmethodfeedback – Win current game
    * qrotero – Disable time of day
    * dzmhairspring – 5000 Custom resources
    * = – Re-enter the last cheat

    • bildo says:

      wow. i honestly didn’t know these existed. i take back my previous post of making a new game mode where you unlock cheats by completing certian goals – similar to achievements – but in this mode you are not able to gain achievements.

      Still. these are the silly problems we are going to have to deal with now that games are becomming more intertwined with being persistently online. It’s a shame that the future is leading to a time when you can’t do as you wish, esp. while playing a single player game – achievements or not.

  44. DrZ says:

    @Daz:

    Be aware that in the larger parts of the world, creating those kinds of hacks can’t be subject to legal prosecution, simply because EULAs don’t constitute legally binding forms of contracts there. E.g. this holds for all countries within the EU. That’s probably also the reason why Blizzard are trying to pull this off as a ‘copyright infringement’ now. And even for this the legal basis isn’t exactly solid. It’s an open question if modifying contents of memory outside of your own code really constitutes a ‘derivative work’. In the case of dynamically binding other peoples libraries (.dlls etc.), there is some legal precedent in the OSS community that this won’t constitute ‘derivative works’.

    Perhaps it would be saner to keep in mind that cheats don’t cheat, but people do.

  45. pkt-zer0 says:

    “Blizzard are claiming that copying elements of the game into your computer’s RAM is copyright violation.”

    …if it’s outside the scope of the EULA. Such as using a hacked client.

    “I’m a bit frightened that id will be suing me because I used to type IDSPISPOPD into Doom.”

    That’s not even remotely the same thing as maphacking/drophacking. SC2 also has cheat codes, btw.

    • DrZ says:

      @pkt-zer0:

      EULAs aren’t legally binding contracts in most parts of the world. In Germany, and afaik in the whole EU, the situation is the following: Any kind of contract can only be made at the moment of purchase, which means that any contractual text you get while installing the software is void and nil, and if your only way of installing is clicking the “accept” button, than the button click will be void and nil, also. EULAs can only be valid if they are printed on the box, and even then, massive restrictions apply as to what EULAs can legally ask of the customer.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I didn’t comment on the legality of EULAs. Just pointing out that Blizzard aren’t suing people for copying SC2 data into memory (like the article implies), but for using a hacked client.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      “Blizzard are claiming that copying elements of the game into your computer’s RAM is copyright violation. It’s so brazened that you sort of have to respect their moxie. ”

      Actually, this bit will probably stand up in court – there is precedent. What’s interesting to me is that Blizzard (and by extension Activision) are risking a court ruling on the enforceability of EULAs. I’m guessing they think the hackers will settle, and they’re probably right. But this could backfire on them pretty badly.

    • DrZ says:

      @ Ginger:

      I can’t speak for the situation in the US, but the situation regarding EULAs is pretty much clear in the EU. In German law EULA are only binding if they were made clear at the point of sale; if they are shown only during installation, they are void. And even in the case that they are printed on the carton the game is sold in, massive legal restrictions apply as to what can be demanded of the customer. I’m pretty certain that this pertains to the other EU countries as well, as copyright laws have largely been unified by Brussels nowadays.

    • Matt says:

      Two of the three being sued were from Canada, I believe. I can’t remember where the other hacker lives, but I seem to recall he/she wasn’t living in the States, either.

      I just wanted to add this to the conversation, since while pkt-zer0 wasn’t talking about the legality of EULAs in different countries, it somehow drifted there.

  46. Metal_circus says:

    The reason why I don’t want to play PC games anymore.

    Piss off, Blizzard.

  47. kikito says:

    When did Destructoid become a FUD-based blog?

  48. Nallen says:

    Odd article John, it’s like you understand what they’re doing and why but giving it a bit of Daily Mail spin to enrage the masses. Which worked.

    (Seriously, did anyone making the ‘what happened to you, Blizzard’ comments understand what is actually going on here?)

    • Rii says:

      When you pair it with Quinn’s article below, and RPS’ earlier article on the SC2 cheats affair, it begins to look less ‘odd’ and more part of a consistent pattern of anti-Blizzard propaganda.

    • panther says:

      cool story bro.

    • Joe says:

      @ Rei

      “it begins to look less ‘odd’ and more part of a consistent pattern of anti-Blizzard propaganda.”

      Sure, if you cross your eyes really really hard.

    • Stu says:

      ROCK PAPER HATCHET JOB, MORE LIKE

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      WHY DO YOU HATE FREEDOM??

  49. RaveTurned says:

    Presumably the hack makers need access to a copy of the game to develop and test the hack, which implies violating the EULA in the process. Perhaps if they could provide evidence that you somehow don’t need knowledge of the game code to make a hack for it, they could convince a judge that there’s not enough proof that they have violated the EULA themselves? Not sure how they could do that though.

  50. Gosh says:

    im glad im hurting the industry by not paying for games at all. bought minecraft tough ^^

    • bildo says:

      I stand by your comment. Less control is better for everyone. Some control is nessecary but stuff like this is nuts. Yes, I know, they are suing the guys who made multiplayer hacks only.

      Some will say, “BUT DIABLO AND THE REST ARE UNPLAYABLE B/C OF HACKS AND BOTS AND WHATEVER.” Who cares. They are older than sin. Let’s focus on the current and future games, not look back.

      First of all, Battle.net as it stands today is a sign of the grim future we will all face. It won’t stop pirating nor will it limit it. The minority that wants to pirate will find a way. Private servers on WoW for example. These people will always be in the minority and they will always find a way. Also, they will never stop a title from being a smash success, ever. If a game is great and has minimal copy protection, you’re going to do well.

      However, being consistently online, under the watchful eye of Blizz or any other company is absurd. It will lead to more incidents like this. Look at SC1 for instance. I have played with Koreans for a long time now, fairly consistently. By the current standards, money maps would be forbidden in SC2 because they will allow for easier achievement farming. On the otherhand, in SC1 money maps or hacked maps that have one mineral and vespene source are played by a large number of people here and they love it! Why should they not be able to play this way on SC2? Why is it, that you can be forbidden to play a game the way you want to play it?

      This is just another form of control about something that really dosen’t matter. Blizz: pull a Valve and instead of punishing your players for playing in their own style, find a more constructive way to allow them to play as they wish – such that no rules are broken and everyone can have fun doing their own thing.

      Maybe I’m out of touch. Please tell me if I am. Persistent online games that aren’t MMOs scare me.

    • bildo says:

      tl;dr

      SC1 money maps are still played by thousands of people. Why can’t people like them play in the way they want to?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I’ll just skip right to the tl;dr version:

      What the hell do maphacks/drophacks have to do with custom maps?

    • bildo says:

      @pkt-zer0

      this goes beyond maphacks. you cant have money maps in SC2. if you did it would be against TOS under cheating.

    • bildo says:

      edit:

      nvm. i suppose you can have money maps in custom game. massivly overlooked that point. ’nuff said. there is something about being forced to be online for a single player game that bothers me.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      You’re not forced to go online for single player, either. It’s called guest mode, works just fine. Unless you feel forced online by achievements not getting recorded on your profile, I guess.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Wouldn’t playing a custom map not let you get achievements? I would think the game would only record achievements while playing official Blizzard maps. Otherwise people could farm achievements which would be ridiculous. I don’t own the game so I can’t confirm one way or the other.