Two Fortnite players sued by Epic for making cheats

This man isn't the victim of a cheater, he's just got bad aim

Epic Games, creators of survival-ish zombie game Fortnite [official site], are suing two players for allegedly making and using cheats for the crafty cartoon game, and for “ruining the game playing experience of others who do not cheat”. TorrentFreak got a hold of two complaints filed in a North Carolina court, both of which suggest the developer is bringing out the big lawguns when it comes to hackers and cheatfolk.

Fortnite isn’t a good game but it recently started a Battle Royale mode, a decision that attracted some quasi-controversy in itself, as well as some new players. Despite this new mode also being not that good, Epic became dedicated to getting rid of as many cheaters as they could find – a difficult task in a free-to-play game where, as a banned player, you can easily make a new account and start cheat-o-killing all over again.

Law is weird

Well, it looks like Epic have upped the ante, or whatever gambling analogy you want to use to describe sending in the lawyers. The defendants here are accused of violating copyright and the ever-vague “breaking the game’s End User License Agreement”. They’re also accused of working for a website called AddictedCheats, where they give other players the ability to cheat in exchange for money. According to Epic, one of the defendants “writes code for the cheats, which the cheat provider sells to its subscribers” while the other “bragged that he is working on his own cheat to use in Fortnite”.

On top of this the lawsuit claims they specifically target streamers with their hacky ways in an effort to get more attention and sell their warez. How do they claim responsibility during these livestreams? According to the legal complaints:

…by posting comments like “Yes I got them!” and “LOL I f*cked them.”

So, aye, all in all it’s a bit of a gong show. My favourite line from the complaints is point 52: “Nobody likes a cheater”. Law is a strange faraway place of which we know little. But the defendants face a possible fine of $150,000 in damages, says TorrentFreak, the website who loves all this murky stuff and from whom I just plain stole this news story.

Thanks, TorrentFreak!

16 Comments

  1. fearandloathing says:

    Serves them right.

    • 2lab says:

      That’s not a good legal argument though.

      And if the case is won it’d be bad news for modders of games that don’t want modders.

      • ChrisT1981 says:

        In my view the whole concept of software as a service, that you acquire a license for usage for, needs to be done away with at least for gaming if not across the board.

      • zaldar says:

        Except that those games have a right to not want modders and to keep mods out if they desire to do so. The person who owns the game owns the copyright and has the right to control how the copyright is used. Also not reading the end user license agreement is stupid and people need to start doing it.

        But then I am a lawyer so it is not a far off land of which I know little to me.

  2. aepervius says:

    My understanding is that if they are not distributing part of the software or circumventing copy protection of fortnite, the copyright claim wont hold, as it is fair use to do whatever with the copy you have in memory as long as you do not circumvent copy protection.

    The EULA angle might hold if they are US citizen though.

    • Viral Frog says:

      “The EULA angle might hold if they are US citizen though.”

      I doubt it. We’ve never actually had any EULA issues reach a judge to decide if they’re enforceable or not. They generally get settled long before litigation. At this time, an EULA is just something everyone agrees to but, as far as anyone knows, they hold absolutely no weight.

      • zaldar says:

        Two things (1) the fair use issue is very much an open question AND only applies to US Law so if they are breaking other countries copyright law it will not help them. (2) Until a court says the contracts (which is what the EULA are) do not hold wait, they do. A US court certainly is likely to assume they do hold wait as CD license agreements have been held up by courts. Contracts of adhesion (which is what they are called) generally hold up in court.

  3. Horg says:

    ”Epic have upped the ante, or whatever gambling analogy you want to use to describe sending in the lawyers”

    In poker this would more accurately be compared to ”flipping the table”.

    • Ghostwise says:

      First, you have to find a lootbox and it has to give you the blueprints for a table. Then you have to mine trees to craft the table.

  4. April March says:

    That excerpt looks like something David Malki! would write as a Victorian Guide to Honourable Gaming.

  5. geldonyetich says:

    Cheating offline is fair enough, you’re only cheating yourself.

    Cheating online is a mythantropic jerk move, screwing strangers so you can “win” or just for the schedenfruede. It’s hard to justify, and certainly isn’t “sticking it to the man.”

    That said, suing a few cheat makers won’t stop it from happening. Some other schmucks on the Internet will just make theirs.

  6. racccoon says:

    Yeah i dunno about it as it is a bit much.
    If they have had 20 captures or so warnings fine, as there is due cause of a destruction.
    I do think a little more compassion needs to applied as with brute force its not going to work.
    Once something like this starts rolling, the future will become that tiny things get lawsuits, which will kind of suck to our futures on the net as then we can’t breath at all & what happens then…as humans we’ll create another thing other than gaming & internet.
    So i think we need to tread very careful about how we handle such annoying things & hold off on the lawsuits.
    If it were my company I would be smart and be offering those guys/gals a job as they know the loopholes in our game.
    Being tough and cruel is not always the way. You’d be better off in negotiations as these people are an asset not always a encumbrance.
    Remember its the domino effect that falls into place with kind of things.

  7. waltC says:

    I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for Epic–none. “Cheating” is something that anyone who makes a multiplayer game in this *crowded* genre has to contend with–it’s no different from any other requirement a developer faces. I find Epic highly amusing with all of the assumptions the company makes (actually, that Sweeney makes) as to how most things in life should be built around what he himself & Epic find personally convenient and advantageous. Epic is just paying lawyers to throw paper at these guys to frighten them into quitting–and if I was them I’d knuckle under because Fortnite or whatever it is surely isn’t worth the hassle…;) Ugh.

    Sweeney’s a guy who years ago dumped the PC because of exceedingly bad judgment about the coming ubiquity of dedicated game consoles over desktop PCs–what happened instead is that the game consoles became PCs and desktops became ubiquitous…;) Ah, the fruits of bad judgement never stop paying their dividends it would seem. Here’s a clue for Epic: want not to have worry about “cheating” and all of that silly nonsense? Try doing single-player games in which it hardly matters! Try having a bit of *depth* once and awhile. Tim had a lot more sense immediately after developing Unreal than he has since demonstrated, unfortunately.

    • zaldar says:

      They are breaking agreements they made with the company and breaking laws in the process. As such going after them is perfectly acceptable – simply because everyone else is doing it does not mean it should be accepted. By that argument the blatant copyright infringement of things like napstar should have been ignored. This is of course a ridiculous and asinine argument.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Gnarl says:

    Epic Sue defeats all others!
    You can’t imagine what she can do!
    Epic Sue!

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