Blizzard Suing Creators Of StarCraft II Hacks

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.)

From this site

283 Comments

  1. Tei says:

    Blizzard has tied singleplayer with online, so theres not such thing as offline singleplayer (theres a offline mode, but don’t support the same savegames, so is not full )

    As a side effect, Blizzard can’t tell the difference a singleplayer game against bots, from a multiplayer one. Blizzard has soon detect memory modifications, trigger all the alarms, and call wolf. Here, the false positive has not ben rejected, but enforced. Something that sould have ben ignored ( cheating in singleplayer ), has not ben ignored.

    Is not totally insane, theres the achievements things. But that insanity is opinionable, maybe you think achievements are personal perfomance, and not a multiplayer thing, so cheating your achievements is not important. Maybe you disagree, and think achievements is a multiplayer game, then you kind of have a point on banning singleplayer chaters.

    Blizzard created this problem wen made singleplayer a online activity. And by making achiements cheating a offense, is making the problem worse.
    This can only end in tears.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Blizzard has tied singleplayer with online, so theres not such thing as offline singleplayer (theres a offline mode, but don’t support the same savegames, so is not full )”

      Uhh, yeah, it does support savegames. You don’t get to upload them to the cloud, nor do you get achievements, but you can save your game offline perfectly fine. Well, it worked normally for me, anyway.

    • JKjoker says:

      they can tell the difference, they log every mouse movement, every keystroke, they know which mode you are playing in, they keep track of everything you do for marketing reasons, they just dont give a crap

      im sad so many ppl are dismissing this as “they were a bunch of cheaters” or “there are built in cheats already” without realizing that this is killing any possibility of modding outside of the corporate approved ones

      older Blizzard games had a TON of non official mods/maps that CANNOT BE MADE today for SC2 thx to bnet2, yes this can only end on tears

    • Starky says:

      They only log IN GAME stuff – 3rd party hacks by their nature are OUTSIDE the game, and due to restrictions in law Blizzard can’t scan your PC, or memory (except the memory the game itself uses) – so no they cannot tell.

      They cannot tell if you use a 3rd party program to intercepts the unit position data that the game sends (and then hides based on where you can see in game or not in the fog of war), then renders that date to a utterly external program – which is a system most maphackers are moving too because it is almost undetectable by an automated system – and would require a human to view every single replay in order to make a judgement call on if that person was map hacking.

      That is the problem with these hacks, they are usually almost totally client side – and often only READ memory, not alter it.
      Which is why they are so much harder to detect than say an aimbot – but then the smart aimbots do the same and emulate physical mouse movement and only ever read game memory, never alter it.

      So any time blizzard detects memory altering, they can’t know what else that 3rd party software does – what other capabilities it has. perhaps it only alters 1 byte of memory, which allows it to display a full maphack overlay in game.

    • Tei says:

      Detecting if the current game is singleplayer with bots, or with more than one human players is whitin what Blizzard can do. So can’t claim that is tecnically posible tell one from another. If is not implemented at the time, maybe Blizzard is on the wrong, banning the wrong people.

    • Starky says:

      That they probably can do, but what if the 3rd party program has functionality for both online and single player? But the user is only using them in singleplayer?

      Do they ban or not?
      Do they risk a player who clearly has access to hacks getting online?

      Still, it seems that the people who used the Single player cheat programs got a 14 day suspension rather than a permanent ban.

      It is a grey area I agree, the whole online/offline issue – but Blizz have been fairly clear from the start, from early beta even. 3rd party apps of ANY kind are not allowed to be used when signed into battlenet.

      I remember several warnings issues by Blizz and their community team about it. For example some people were using 3rd party apps to change the keyboard shortcuts (before they could be edited in a settings file) and Blizz said that they could not guarantee that Warden would not detect that as hacking and ban them, because similar methods could be used to automate in game activities (macro scripts and such).

      If people ignore that or are ignorant, then it’s really their own fault.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      older Blizzard games had a TON of non official mods/maps that CANNOT BE MADE today for SC2 thx to bnet2, yes this can only end on tears

      Er…. what? SC2 has a full map editor included with the game. I have seen Diplomacy, Nexus Wars, and a Mario-Party clone done in this map editor done with provided tools. Blizzard provides and even encourages those who make custom Maps (as they are known). The Patch notes from 1.1.2 included several custom map programming fixes. It’s more advanced than anything I’ve seen from any other strategy game.

      While I don’t really like the legal precedent, I can’t really say anything bad. These are cheaters, they are thrying to cheat at the game in a way that is unfair to others playing the game legitimately. This isn’t ‘I made a nifty mod’ or whatever. Phenty of those poeple are out there, doing things the right way.

      tl;dr: Hack cheaters have basically no leg to stand on here.

    • Tei says:

      “That they probably can do, but what if the 3rd party program has functionality for both online and single player? But the user is only using them in singleplayer?”

      Is easy.

      Banning people for singleplayer cheats is WRONG. No videogame has the right to rule how I pass my time in a computer. If i want to “ruin” my gameplay, is my problem.

      Now we have a problem, that Blizzard has created, .. is singleplayer + achievements still singleplayer? or is some sort of multiplayer competition where you submits your scored to challenge other users?, if is the later, then is right to ban these poor souls.

      Maybe theres not right or wrong here, since some things are not as well defined as we would love to. Blizzard has blurred the difference from online to offline, singleplayer to multiplayer, so have created this problems.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Banning people for singleplayer cheats is WRONG. No videogame has the right to rule how I pass my time in a computer. If i want to “ruin” my gameplay, is my problem.”

      People were banned for multiplayer cheats. If you go online while having those loaded into memory, betting on not getting flagged by Warden, yeah – your problem. The solution: stop being stupid and go offline.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      They should have just not connected single player to any sort of online system. Then the only cheats they need to worry about are multiplayer. When you start mixing your single player into the online it becomes harder to tell if they were using hacks only for single player, or for multiplayer as well. Maybe there is some way of monitoring, but then I’m sure hackers would just figure out a way to bypass that too. Nobody would be saying anything right now if it were only multiplayer hackers.

  2. Langman says:

    This is a rather….extreme move from Blizzard, but to be honest I don’t really have anything against it in principle. It’s just surprising to see them actually go through with it.

  3. dvdz says:

    Some quick google-fu shows that one of the cheats is donationware, another is free and another is open source.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      Interesting. Presumably there’s still a case for suing the donationware hack as money has still changed hands (albeit voluntarily). I wonder how well the case of others profiting from their Intellectual Property stands up when the hack devs are giving it away? That said, I expect there’s still a case for copyright or EULA violation that’s not based on profit if Blizzard wanted to make it.

    • Starky says:

      That and damage to the “good” names of Blizzards trademarks…

      I suspect though it’s not about the money – even if they are awarded millions Blizzard know they’ll never, ever see that money – the makers of these hacks cannot afford it.

      It’s about sending a harsh and clear warning to any future hack makers.

    • DrZ says:

      @RaveTurned:

      The question of whether intellectual property has actually been infringed is open to debate, because while the hacks may work with the Starcraft code that resides in your computer memory, that code isn’t distributed as an actual part of the hack. There is legal precedent that there is no ‘derivative work’ in such cases.

      As to the issue of money: It shouldn’t make any difference whatsoever, and I believe this isn’t only true for the EU but also for the US. Infringement presupposes distribution, but it makes no difference if distribution is monetarized or not (unless it’s Fair Use, but in the case mentioned in the article this is obviously not an issue).

  4. JackShandy says:

    Oh god, those poor bastards. Blizzard is going to hit them like a fucking ice age.

  5. DrZ says:

    @Max:

    Even when creators of hacks were to distribute them for money, it’s still massively dubious if any actual infringement is taking part, simply because (as I take it from the article) it seems that no actual Blizzard code was distributed with the hacks. As the situation presents itself, Blizzard are trying to extend their conception of infringement to every kind of manipulation of their code in your home computer’s memory, which by itself will appear as outright insane to some people. Blizzard are saying: If you create a program which modifies some byte at some position in memory, and that byte was created by the Starcraft II program, then you are stealing Blizzard. Blizzard in effect say: We don’t just own the abstract representation of the code/data, but we own the code/data *in each and every individual computer*. And this is what’s so bizarre about it..

  6. Tyler says:

    This case has already been argued, and Nintendo lost. Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc established that things that modify in-game memory are fine, with respect to the derivative work and related claims.

    It’s probably still a breach of the EULA, which is a separate issue.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      This case has already been argued, and Blizzard won, just last year. See my post on page 1 regarding MDY v. Blizzard.

  7. kincaid says:

    i keep telling people that blizzard has a great reputation and that something has to happen that shall tarnish said reputation.

    i thought it was going to be cataclysm. i guess i didn’t see this coming.

  8. Max says:

    Poring over the comments, it seems there are two different viewpoints: that Blizzard either is doing this because they want to make lots of money from these lawsuits, or that they actually want to protect the integrity of the game. Now, I know which camp I fall in, and it’s partially because it seems silly to me to expect that a company with access to the money fountain that is World of Warcraft would pursue a lawsuit like this purely for financial gain, slavering over what clearly are those hacker’s fat sacks of delicious cash. I freely admit I could be wrong. This could be pure greed. But it doesn’t strike me as the same attitude expressed embracing the “rainbows, colors, and unicorns” outrage over the early diablo 3 screenshots by having their own line of shirts printed.

    Even if it is true that they’ve gone mad in pursuit of every last shiny shilling, however, what really pushes me over the edge is that I WOULD have my gameplay experience ruined by hackers and exploiters and aimbots, and so I have no sympathy for those that would help enable such people.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Even if they win, I doubt they’d get much out of these people and I get the feeling Blizzard’s lawyers aren’t the cheapest ones, so they’re probably not doing it for the money.

  9. Ovno says:

    Regardless of whether these people have spoiled peoples online play or what ever and regardless of your or anyone elses opinion of cheating in games, sueing someone for writting a hack that they then distribute is beyond ridicullus…

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yeah I’d have to agree. Ban the cheaters and leave it at that.

  10. Eamo says:

    I can see the Onion headlines tomorrow “Cheat program creators victims of unfair system”. I hope the irony of the situation isn’t lost on the people who made this program. A harsh lesson in how much fun it is to lose to someone with an unfair advantage is about to be taught.

    • John Peat says:

      Dream On – people will ALWAYS cheat and there will always be ways of doing so…

      Take XBOX Live – noted for banning people by the bucketload – and look at almost any high score table in any game and the top players will be clear and obvious cheats with scores which are impossible, massive gamerscores but no achievements to back them up etc. etc.

      Cheating cannot be stopped – people will always do it – part of being an adult is dealing with it really, only kids think the world can be shaped to their own idea of ‘fairness’.

    • bleeters says:

      Yeh, and let’s disband law enforcement too. There’ll always be crime. Deal with it, you losers.

    • Eamo says:

      @John Peat

      Just because people cheat does not make cheating acceptable. You may as well argue that just because people have always murdered murder should be acceptable. The reality is that many who break the law get away with it, you are basically arguing that we need to encode a chance of escape into out laws otherwise it is unfair to the lawbreaker which is patently untrue.

      @bleeters

      You are trying to equate an excessive invocation of the law with a lax invocation of the law. Enforcing the law is a good thing. The problem in this case is that Blizzard are attempting to apply criminal law to what many would describe as a civil offense. That I can appreciate the irony inherent in the situation does not mean I condone it.

      The problem is one of durisdiction. The reality is that Blizzard invest a lot of money and effort into implementing an online game system. The cheat program, obviously, detracts both from the experience of the many legitimate users of that system and, by extension, reduces the number of legitimate users and the amount of money Blizzard will make from that system.

      The wording of the Blizzard suit seems to be pretty clear that the problem is not what the program does, but that by distributing the program the creators have taken a deliberate and informed decision to negativily affect a commercial service. This seems like a reasonable argument to me.

  11. Max says:

    @DrZ:

    Unfortunately, this not a unique Blizzard, or even a new practice. ALL EULAs today essentially say you have no right to any of the code, but only a right to a license to UTILIZE that code.

    • John Peat says:

      Just to re-emphasise what’s been said many times, EULAs aren’t worth shit in the EU and in many other countries – they’re just words with no basis in law whatsoever…

  12. B-Boy says:

    Hah! That’ll teach this damned cheaters! Give them hell boyz!

    Although. I hope the average sheep is till independent enough to boycott Blizzard from here on and not buy anymore shit of them, unsubscribe to WoW and what not….
    Make them do irreparable damages to themselfs by acting like shit, make them lose mass revenue, it’s time Blizzard, to die!
    They’ve tried to fuck with us for long enough and if we don’t stop it now.. soon it’ll be too late!!!
    Remember the real ID name change and all that BS! It will only go worse! Soon we will all be human zombies mind-controlled by blizzard… They’ve strayed to FAR from there origins and into big money commercialism, it’s time for them to go DOWN!

    I mentioned in the beginning that this is what I HOPE to happen, HOPE, but really, I know better cause everyone is a stupid dumbass sheep.. except me..xD

    • Starky says:

      I hope for your sake that that is sarcasm, said in mocking of all the people who do indeed believe that crap.

      :)

  13. Max says:

    @John Peat (I really should bite the bullet and register!)

    I live in the US, Blizzard is a US company, Blizzard has precedents for winning court cases in the US based on similar arguments (which I believe, as mentioned earlier, are in appeal, but don’t hold me to that)

    • Leelad says:

      Indeed, they raped “Glider” a clever botting program for WoW.

      They stand a good chance if all this is covered in the EULA. Which it will be. Would have been safer for folk to just use standard cheat codes it seems.

    • DrZ says:

      @ Max:
      The question would rather be if the people who developed the hacks are US citizens. I’ve never heard of any extraditions based on civil law offenses, and even then extradition at least in most western countries presupposes that the extradited commited an offense punishable according to the native laws of the extraditing country.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      It would be humorous if people in countries where the law can’t be enforced start redistributing the hacks. Actually, I think that exact thing will happen.

  14. Zuni says:

    I think many posters here are missing a few points:

    1) We are not talking about single players cheats here. Yes single player hackers (one who downloaded / bought hacks) got banned with online hackers, most propably because the line between online and offline/single player is pretty nonexistant here. I don’t agree with that ban in principle, but I am certain that the amount of users who went through the effort to download or buy separate hacks (insted of using the allowed built-in ones) to ONLY play alone in single player is extremely low.

    2) There are people making money by using Blizzards IP and creating these hacks. There are subscription systems and monthly payments to get the latest versions of the hacks, and it’s pretty much more organized and widespread than many might realize. The money involved is more than a dollar here and dollar there. To me, this makes for a pretty clear legal case

    3) Blizzard is strongly pushing for SC2 to become a real e-sport, and has already succeeded in that to a large degree. There is a huge amount of tournaments, professional commentators, live streams and pay per season -channels. There are advertisers, subscribers and there are the players with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake in the tournaments. There is a very strong incentive for blizzard to use all measures to keep online hacking at bay, and for once they are trying to go for the source. I totally support this. We all do know how easily a game can be ruined by excessive hackers.

    That said, I think we can all agree that no amount hunting will get rid of hackers completely, especially not for the massive beast that is SC2. Keeping it down and rare, however, is possible and a noble goal to pursue.

    • Starky says:

      Very well said.

    • DrZ says:

      @Zuni:

      Just because something is morally offensive and conducted in an organized fashion doesn’t make it unlawful. As to the legality of the whole thing, it isn’t so clear a case, at all, as long as the people distributing those hacks didn’t distribute Starcraft content in conjunction with the hacks. A strong indicator that this wasn’t so in the case at hand is Blizzard’s pulling stunts to construct a legal case with reference to “copyrighted portions of memory”. Another commenter has raised a law suit lost by Nintendo in similar circumstances [If I remember correctly they sued the manufacturers of a device which enables a user to make back-up copies of his cartridges]. There’s simply no derivative work when something isn’t derivative when distributed but only when used. It’s like sueing the manufacturers of paint because they enable a user to make a copy of a work of art.

  15. Norppa says:

    … This is just stupid …

  16. Nevard says:

    Those are built in features. Blizzard have their own cheats that they allow people to use.
    They are banning people for hacking the game to beat other people online. That’s not really the same as using the built in vita-chambers in bioshock ;)

  17. Tei says:

    Legal EXPLOITS:

    Copyring to RAM is not Ok EXPLOIT.

    Copying to RAM a copyrighted program is creating a copy, so is not OK., if you don’t have a licensse. But Blizzard seems talking about copying part of of a program. So Blizzard must prove that owns that part of program, and is not something created by scratch by the cheat’s authors.

    Fonts are programs EXPLOIT.

    The law is very retarded about what is a program, and what is not. Font’s are considereed programs. Probably the law consider programs things than for us are just data or binary noise, or the compiler initialization code, etc..

    Copyright law just don’t make sense for the most part.

    • JKjoker says:

      soooo, since to RUN a program the computer needs to copy it to ram (and then to the cache in several levels down to the registers) just clicking the exe makes you guilty of several instances of copyright infringement ?, i wonder if we are legally allowed to browse the directory, those file names need to be protected!

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The categorisation of fonts as programs comes about because the hinting instructions in True Type fonts are literally compiled programs: bytecode instructions for a virtual machine to adjust the outline of a character to the pixel grid. In the US, the font outlines themselves are not protected by copyright, which is why you can trace the outlines and produce your own near-identical font without infringement, but copying the font file itself (with the hinting) is infringing.

  18. Ryan says:

    I think they may be doing this to let it be known they’ll go after any and all hacks on battlenet. Which kills any chance of me trying to download a decent maphack once DIII comes out.

  19. utharda says:

    Sorry, this is creepy as all get out. Especially the idea that blizztivision is logging all. Admittedly I have an odd perpective since I met my soon to be wife playing wow. (yeah I know, and she’s actually a she, its a miracle) The idea of blizztivision reading some of those chats is deeply disturbing.

    Even if the aren’t logging everything, the fact that their going after single player players indicates a frightening amount of hubris.

  20. Heynes says:

    I believe Blizzard did try to preempt this by putting something that addresses this in the SC2 EULA, but how well that holds up in court will remain to be seen. Personally, I’m have little sympathy for the SC2 cheating community, having been the victim of both drop-hacks and map-hacks in my multi-player games previously. I do feel at least this attempt at targeting the problem at the “supplier/dealer” level will be somemore more effective than periodic mass bannings (which probably cause a number of false positives), though I wonder how the case will pan out do the location of some of the defendants(with one of the accused being in Canada and another in Peru).
    It’s true that there’s always the chance that Blizzard, if successful in it’s case, might use the precedent to go after less justifiable targets, but I trust Starcraft 2 community to be able to call them on their bullshit, as they have during the various controversies in the pre-release period.

  21. Bascule42 says:

    It’s all gone wrong since the Tories were voted in…

  22. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    In the Glider bot case, the court ruled that the player had violated the EULA by using the bot, and so no longer had a licence to use the game and was committing copyright infringement by running the game (copying it into RAM), and thus the maker of the bot had committed both contributory copyright infringement (i.e. encouraging the player to commit copyright infringement) and vicarious copyright infringement (i.e. not taking steps to prevent the player committing an act of copyright infringement that they should have been aware of).

    This is a convoluted argument, but means damages can relate to the number of instances of players committing infringement by using the bot (or in this case, the cheats), rather than just the relating to the single EULA violation by the bot/cheat-maker themself.

  23. Nethlem says:

    I don’t understand the outrage about this…
    If Valve would sue people that create multihacks/aimbots for source engine games like Counter Strike or TF2 people would kiss their feet as it’s something that has been demanded by players for nearly decades.

    If blizzard does it it’s suddenly evil and greedy just because people can’t get their facts straight. They don’t sue the users, they don’t sue the hackers who made singleplayer cheats. They are sueing the hackers that made maphacks and drophacks, hacks that impact multiplayer gaming and give people an unfair advantage. Not only that, they even SOLD those hacks, they are basicly making money from giving people an unfair advantage in an multiplayer game.

    And people get angry about blizzard taking them out? What is this? Did i end up in some kind of strange alternate reality where multiplayer cheating/hacking is suddenly something great that should happen and deserves to be protected?

    • Dominic White says:

      “If Valve would sue people that create multihacks/aimbots for source engine games like Counter Strike or TF2 people would kiss their feet as it’s something that has been demanded by players for nearly decades”

      No, I’m fairly sure I’d immediately start hating Valve as a company if they started going around dropping life-ruining megacorp lawsuits on people who made cheats. I thnk cheating in online sucks, and am fully in favour of permanently banning those who do it, but financial ruin for the creators of cheats? That’s approximately five steps too far.

  24. Anonymous says:

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

    Unbealievable, really im shocked how can this be a proper case? Modifying RAM of my computer is my own right, no matter of the code inside. You can copyright the code on digital media (like CD/DVD), but how the hell you can define from where-to-where my RAM is actually owned by Blizzard. And one more thing… oo yeah FUCK YOU BLIZZARD, you may create amazing games,but fuck your user policy. Im not slave or a mindless zombie to just give you money and threat me like a stealer, prefer to not play the game, rather to expand you fortune. And FYI i never cheated in a game, but fucking the shit out of legal users is just, so patchetic.

  25. rebb says:

    First Real-ID, now this…
    Come on Blizzard, stop sniffing the Dollar Bills so much.

  26. Taillefer says:

    I hope you have permission for that screenshot, sir.

  27. Jeremy says:

    Yeah, I have to say that I really am in support of this move by Blizzard. If you look through the legal/corporate-speak, all they’re really saying is… “We will not allow an outside company to make money by exploiting the code to allow users to cheat in multiplayer.” Obviously, that makes a ton of sense right? This isn’t a case of Blizzard going mad with power, people are cheating online, and ruining the experience of the legitimate users that some on here claim Blizzard is alienating by improving their experience.

    Ignore all the RAM stuff, because they’re not trying to dictate how you “use” your RAM, as if you had control of how SC2 used it in the first place. It’s just fancy words that are attempting to back the creators of the hacks into an impossible hole, so that there is no way of escaping the legal action.

  28. Vodkarn says:

    Why Helloooooo activision.

  29. Alaric says:

    Wow, that is quite an idiotic move. I am still impressed with Blizzard’s games, but this situation is adding to my vast dissatisfaction with Blizzard’s tactics as a company.

  30. mondomau says:

    Jesus fishfucking christ, when did the RPS comment section turn into a Kotaku-esque kneejerk ragefest?

    RTFA. Properly. Then have a look at the source info.
    Now the facts:
    1. Cheating in Single-Player is not a bannable offense. Blizzard include home-grown codes for this very purpose.
    2. Blizzard did not ban anyone for cheating, they banned them for using a hack.
    3. The hack in question allowed people to bypass the disabled achievement element of cheating, thus had an effect on multi-player, even if you didn’t use it in online matches.
    4. The SC2 online community are quite touchy about their achievements / rankings / epeens.
    5. Blizzard like to look after these people, not least of all because they are a long term revenue source.
    6. Blizzard are now suing the hack programmers to scare people off making these programs and bringing the game into disrepute and possibly upsetting their cash cow customers, not because they want a slice of the (tiny) profits involved.

    The schtick about copying SC2 files to RAM being a copyright infringement is spurious bullshit, of course it is. But it’s also a proven method of shutting down people that are ruining a game community’s online experience. I don’t necessarily agree with their methods, and blizzard generally don’t impress me as a company but this is sound business rather than evil money grabbing.

    • mondomau says:

      doh, forgot the /

      :p

    • DrZ says:

      I can’t speak for all commenters, but I’m mainly raging against point 6, as it is the key point of the article, as shown by the headline. EULAs are an entirely different matter, though no uncontroversial one, but at this point I think the foremost point of the whole affair is that Blizzard (as others have tried before) appear to intend policing what may or may not happen to their code/data once it’s in your computer’s memory, and given this it seems perfectly natural to me that some degree of public outrage occur. Indeed I’d be scared if it did not.

      Do not misunderstand me on the word ‘policing’: Obviously they are not taking legal action against players using the hacks (as banning is no legal action), but by trying to portray it as unlawful to create programs manipulating their code on player’s computers, what they do, in effect, is the same thing — they are trying to extend the notion of copyright, claiming to own not just the abstract code/data they wrote, but also its individual manifestations in your computer’s memory. This is nothing which should be taken lightly, because it’s a fundamental legal game-changer.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem in a nutshell is: you buy the game you legally are allowed to play, but thats about it, you actually dont own the game acording to most of the EULA’s of the games. You’re merely using the software for the time being. So one big WTF, when i pay for a TV i own it. When i pay for a game i want to own it in its full rights. For example i can dismount/dissassemble the TV sell it, brake it etc. With the PC games the most you can do is just play. Legal backups out of the question. No FUN. Plus Blizzard was always about the money (no you can’t proove wrong here), so baning accounts is in their interest i’m sure i didn’t cheat, but what if the fucking Warden flag me (cause its scanning the whole system memory and probably a conflict with another app could trigger it)? Then what? Do i have any rights here, no just quiet acception.

  31. skalpadda says:

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

    John, I love you and all, but as others have pointed out here you’re perfectly free to use the built-in cheats in Starcraft 2. This is very different, although it seems that’s not clear to either you or a lot of the people posting here.

  32. Unaco says:

    Fairly sure this isn’t a new tactic. I’m quite sure I’ve seen legal arguments previously being made that, by loading into RAM (and then making changes), it validates TOS etc, but it was the loading into RAM part that they pushed specifically as the ‘illegal’ act. Possibly the Copyright breach thing is new… but I (vaguely) think I may have seen a very similar argument before, but for commercial software, and not necessarily a game.

  33. pipman3000 says:

    after the people who made those trainers are driven into debt, poverty, and finally homelessness we can finally rest easy knowing starcraft 2 is safe once again!

  34. oatish says:

    seriously fuck cheaters –

    but, I absolutely agree with Dominic above saying that this will be massively destructive to the individuals brought to court. I mean, they will face complete financial ruin in the face of a large, professional team of lawyers. Because someone is attempting to create / maintain an “e-sport”, I do not believe they have the ethical grounds to push these cats into oblivion.

    This situation is being, sadly, exploited by Blizz as they not only have the precedent but the will to enforce their corporate aims at the expense of a few shady coders. Yeah I’m sure the hackers have broken the EULA a 100 times and I think it is wrong for them to attempt to profit from distribution of hacks but this seems a tad like excessive force.

    Also, the dudes in Canada (as a Canadian myself) are likely to be fully subject to American law. Take a look at our current governments change in alignment to a more “American” styled copyright system but also the recent extradition of a Canadian citizen to the US prison system for crimes not committed in the US. In fact, those “crimes” are not even illegal here in Canada were the acts occurred… I’m talking bout Marc Emery if you ain’t from BC…

  35. Nick says:

    Seems to me a lot of people think they are suing the cheaters rather than the people making and (more importantly) SELLING the cheats.

    I would love all the groups that profit off ruining other peoples games to get sued to oblivion. Fuck them.

  36. Mako says:

    Oh well. If Blizzard wants to screw with how people play their games single player, they’re only hurting their own sales.

    I miss the old days when you could mod, hack, and screw around with a game to your hearts content and no one had to get sued or banned. You don’t buy games anymore. You buy “limited licenses” to -play- those games. Do something the license doesn’t allow and no more game for you!

    And with this kind of attitude towards their customers, they wonder why piracy is up.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Oh well. If Blizzard wants to screw with how people play their games single player, they’re only hurting their own sales.”

      In case you’ve missed it, maphacks and drophacks have nothing to do with single player.

    • Jeremy says:

      I don’t even know how someone can write that after reading the article… assuming of course you read the article?

    • Mako says:

      Yes, I read the article. Did you?

      ” 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.”

      I realize that a large portion of the players banned were cheating in multiplayer. I don’t care about that. You cheat online, you should expect to be banned from official online play. But it’s not just online play that these kids are getting banned from, now is it?

    • Jeremy says:

      I did, but this article was about Blizzard suing the creators of the hacks, not banning people using the cheats for single player… which, let’s be honest, isn’t really what’s going on. Nobody downloads external hacks to dominate a single player campaign. People only say that when they get caught cheating.

    • Mako says:

      The original RPS article, the one before this one, was about people getting banned from single player for hacks. But, anyhow.

      The thing I take issue with is that there’s no distinction as far as Blizzard is concerned. A trainer’s a trainer, and an account is an account. Someone hacks? Ban them. This used to be fine, but as far as I’m aware, a valid Battle.net account is required to play the single player campaign, isn’t it? Though, if one was careful I’m sure trainers and hacks could be used single player in offline mode or whatnot.

      As for going after the folks who make the hacks and trainers, I think that’s a bit much. I use trainers for lots of games. Cheat codes don’t always cover everything. Sometimes there’s an annoying time limit to be halted, or something like movement speed or jump height. There shouldn’t be any precedent for making these sorts of programs illegal, or something that could bring a lawsuit down on the hack programmers.

      I just think it’s overkill. Fix your anti-cheat programs to recognize these things, ban or suspend the offending accounts from online play, but leave the singleplayer game and all the trainer/hack programs be.

    • Mako says:

      I just did a bit of checking up on my favorite trainer site, and it appears many people are in fact being banned for using trainers in single player game modes. You can read the article along with letters from Blizzard to the offending account owners.

      link to cheathappens.com

  37. HeavyStorm says:

    I think that’s probably how Nazism began.

    Meaning, where is the o-so-called liberty that we had to create mods, TCs, etc.?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Godwin’s law, excellent!

      But anyway, mods and TCs are still fine, always were. The “liberty” you claim to be missing here is using hacks to screw people over in online multiplayer. There’s another word for that sort of liberty: “anarchy”.

    • DrZ says:

      I wouldn’t say modding would be still fine if Blizzard were serious about their ‘integrity of program code in memory’ approach and had their way (which they probably won’t). At least, it would then be illegal to make a mod which relies on any form of patching or manipulating original content and redistribute it. And with some feat of imagination you could then extend the notion of intellectual property to the mechanisms by which content is loaded within the game. It would then not only be illegal to release a program which changes existing code and data, but also to release a program which replaces original code or data. And I don’t think this is a feat of imagination inconceivable in the mind of a copyright attorney. Of course in most cases a company would see no need to persecute creators of mods, but there would be no difference in principle. And I don’t think the case that some attorney is invoked to persecute makers of mods for some old game, driven by the belief that mods for an old game cannibalize on sales of the new game, is that far fetched really.

      But after all, I still think it highly doubtful that this will hold up even in the US. For the EU I’m highly certain there is no case.

    • DrZ says:

      To add something: Indeed it seems highly natural from a legal standpoint to think of mods in terms of ‘derivative works’, once we admit the concept of ‘derivative work’ as Blizzard would have it.

  38. Stoned says:

    Congrats Blizz, another costumer down the drain >_<

  39. Silence of the Clams says:

    I’ve been watching this thread sorta unravel throughout the day in my breaks between actual work (talking textual politics at the uni where I work, mostly). Like a lot of these intellectual property violation cases, I think the real point at issue is a matter of control: Blizzard, in effect, want to control the ‘game experience’ that SC2 offers. This can be both positive and negative, in that on the one hand they want to avoid people developing the game into something that they feel their core user base wouldn’t want, but on the other they are attempting to quash a certain kind of development of their game which could potentially include many positive features.

    My own interpretation of this would be that Blizzard (or whoever is ultimately responsible for this move) want to make it very clear that there are only certain ways their games should be played; it does very much feel like they are penning their users in so that they won’t stray too far from Blizzard’s, er, monetising structures. I’d compare it with, for example, Ministry of Sound’s recent declaration that they will now pursue legal action vs. people who download the music they publish. You could even characterise it as another skirmish in the ongoing battle between porprietary and popular distribution of media. Or not.

    I’ll go back to lurking now methinks.

    • skalpadda says:

      Silence of the Clams:

      Out of curiosity, what positive features? I’m not saying there aren’t any, but if you want to mess around with the game outside the scope of how it already works I can’t think of anything a third party program would do that you couldn’t do perfectly legitimately with the included editor.

    • Silence of the Clams says:

      I was thinking along the lines of, for example, people modifying Blizzard’s code to allow the game to be played outside of BattleNet, or building their own modding tools; but I don’t think they’re the best examples since the best examples would be, er, so creative I wouldn’t have thought of them.

  40. Tei says:

    link to gaming.stackexchange.com

    “The SC1 AI knows where everything is. It will still need line of sight for things like siege tanks to fire, but it knows what’s there. If you’d like to confirm this yourself, play a 1v1 on an 8 player map and watch the replay after. The AI beelines all attacks for you without ever having scouted the other spawn points.”

    The AI in Starcraft cheat. Use a maphack to see all the map.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The AI in Starcraft 2 no longer cheats, actually.

      Also, “ha ha”, I guess.

  41. Steve says:

    No, Dell do that already. THIS is like Dell suing the guy who sold you that screwdriver you used. Or Ford suing the people who sold you the petrol.

    Since this they’re suing Cheat Happens who don’t make ANY multiplayer cheats, I’m not buying any singleplayer Battlenet games again. I only bought SC2 when I saw there was a trainer for it. 3 lost sales already. Which doesn’t mean I’m not going to play them. I use my money to reward developers. I’ve got two copies of Pathalogic and I’ve bought four each of Psychonauts and Uplink (once on disc, once on steam, and two Steam gifts.)

  42. idos says:

    yea um simple thing here DONT HACK NOOBS LEARN TO SWIM

    go blizz sue everyone that has to do with hacking an your games wish more games would do the same then maybe the asses makeing the hacks will die out finnaly

    … ppl seriously just need to learn how to play

  43. sana says:

    Not a single fuck was given by this reader, the only thing generated was annoyance at petty games journalism writing such sensationalist bullshit.

    There are in-built single-player cheat codes for StarCraft 2. They allow you to cheat, but disable Achievement progression for obvious reasons. Those that were banned for “single-player cheating” were banned for deliberately using third-party software instead of the in-built SP cheats. Anti-cheat software does not discriminate between “good hackers” and “evil hackers”, so they got banned for using the software. They were well aware of the implications of using hacks in an Anti-Cheat enabled game and did it anyway.

    They got what they deserved. Hacks get detected by anti-hack software, affected accounts get banned. For those who complain about being locked out from offline play: It was made clear from the VERY START that StarCraft 2 is heavily Battle.net-dependant. Those hackers that got banned have ample possibilities to acquire the single-player game without buying a new copy anyway (considering they already managed to track down cheat software), so they have even LESS to whine about.

  44. Caddrel says:

    I’m really happy that part of the money I spent on Starcraft II is paying for this legal action.

    Or not.

    This move makes me consider whether I will continue buying Blizzard products. I don’t think the legal system should be used in this way. However, if other people want to continue funding Blizzard’s legal campaigns, they are welcome to do so.

  45. _Jackalope_ says:

    I did think it was a bit silly, especially remembering the fun cheat codes in the Warcraft games. But Starcraft 2 has cheats for people who may need them and they deactivate the online achievements. If these hacks do affect online play then it’s fair enough to block them. i think suing is taking it a step too far though.

  46. jalf says:

    How is it cheating? Who’s being cheated? Is it also cheating if I place all the pieces on a chess board and then move them randomly? It certainly doesn’t follow the rules of the game, but if I’m not playing against someone who’s being cheated, does it matter? Is it even cheating then?

    If I “cheat” in a singleplayer game, where’s the loser? Is it cheating if no one is cheated?

    • Klaus says:

      Is it cheating if no one is cheated?

      You’re cheating yourself!

  47. Cirno says:

    Blizzard’s attention whore. No, srsly, fuck you blizzard. They should be busy working on D3, not wasting time on such damn horseshit.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Heh, lawyers developing Diablo 3. Now there’s a reason for fan outrage.

  48. geldonyetich says:

    If they have this much money to hunt down people doing wrongful conduct in this game, I have to wonder why they haven’t hunted down and murdered the people who keep sending me phishing mails to recover my WoW account information.

  49. JimmyJames says:

    I’d feel robbed if I was banned for using a cheat in single player but I completely understand the line of thought that cheating causes immediate irreparable damage to a competitive game. Most recently APB (I concede that this was only one of it’s many faults) did nothing about cheats in a visible way and the view of most people I talked to and many forum-goers was that cheating was the reason they stopped playing it.

    I don’t know about the whole RAM argument–it sounds pretty weak, but I could see even going through the act of putting up a fuss about cheating could offset damage done by a negative perception of the cheating situation.

  50. rly? says:

    I really hope these other companys start hopping on the wagon. I am tired of running into 2 or three hackers when I log into Counter-Strike: Source or even Left 4 Dead 2 and you have to admit that yes VAC does do its job in banning people that are caught using public cheats but what about these people that go to Organners website by a subscription to their private cheats and don’t get caught?