Blizzard sues StarCraft 2 hackers for selling cheats

Blizzard claims it's suffering "serious and irreparable harm" as a result of online hacks.

Not content with simply banning cheaters, Blizzard has filed a lawsuit against those responsible for creating and selling a popular line of cheats for StarCraft II.

The lawsuit was filed on April 19 in a United States District Court in California. According to a copy of the suit obtained by TorrentFreak, Blizzard claims these hacks "not only disrupt or impair the online experience for purchasers of the computer game, but, as set forth more fully herein, cause serious and irreparable harm to Blizzard and its products."

The "ValiantChaos MapHack" cheat is specifically targeted. Sold by way of access to a VIP forum for 62.50 AUD (roughly $58), the hack does a number of things, from showing enemy units that should be hidden to revealing what users' opponents are building to automatically handling certain tasks. It also includes features that make it difficult to be detected, even by those watching a replay of the match.

Blizzard hasn't identified any defendants by name because, at this point, it doesn't actually have their names. Even so, Blizzard claims the hackers agreed to the game's EULA (the long, legalese-laden document you undoubtedly agree to without reading when first playing a new game) and are therefore infringing on its copyright.

"Defendants are well aware that they do not have any license, right, or authority to engage in any of the foregoing infringing activities," the lawsuit states. "It is well-known to the public, and Defendants certainly know, that Blizzard owns the copyright in StarCraft II, and never has authorized Defendants to develop and/or distribute Hacks or other software that modifies StarCraft II or its online components."

Blizzard not only wants an injunction preventing the hackers in question from continuing to distribute hacks, it's also seeking damages and the profits the defendants have made selling hacks (or $150,000 "for each copyright infringed"). And--just for good measure--Blizzard wants the hackers to pay its legal fees, too.

This isn't the first time the StarCraft maker has gone after those creating hacks for its games. In 2010, it went after another group of StarCraft II hackers for copyright infringement, which evidently wasn't a strong enough indication of Blizzard's willingness to take down cheat distributors.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

Want the latest news about Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty?

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Follow

Discussion

300 comments
Exia2004
Exia2004

fuking cheaters no wonder they were able to shoot on high groud with no units there to spot

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

WELLDONE BLIZZARD u are the only one who cares about gamers a lot.

DEATH775
DEATH775

Well if the hacking is causing problems to the game then Blizzard should sue them.

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

Are are morons, but i think that the ones that buy it are even worst.

Nodashi
Nodashi

Good measure. While using a cheat is harmful, a ban seems enought. But making profit by selling it... they deserve the beating.

SapSacPrime
SapSacPrime

Good I hope Blizzard cripple those that distributed the code.  It's such a shame that there are gamers so pathetic and selfish they have to resort to this kind of behaviour -- I mean honestly: you must still close the game down in the knowledge you fail.

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

Oh no. Now thanks to the lost revenue, there are two less staff who can swim in Blizzard's recreation of the Scrooge McDuck Vault Pool. Blast those hackers...




j/k (for those who can't detect sarcasm). Given the use of AUD in the article, I'm going to assume these hackers are from Australia. Wonder how much money in Australian they're going to lose from this lawsuit...

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

When hackers though are selling cheats for this much money the quality of the cheats gets pretty high. Usually that makes it hard to stop because you get good hackers doing it as a business. Blizzard has every right to sue them.

vadagar1
vadagar1

can i sue blizzard for lying about D3 game-play ?!

wespunk
wespunk

I don't care what anyone says you hack something whether you pay for it or not  it is a breach of copyright, all rights reserved, illegal and so so  so dumb. And these hackers spoil it for the truthful people like myself that doesn't even use a cheats book  for any game, so I am at loss at what is their gain at this other than stupidity at wasting money to cheat, so I have come to the conclusion that maybe their whole live has been cheating in everything 

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Good ridance. Let's hope this will be an example to others.

demondogx
demondogx

Hope those hackers dont have a dime left after blizzard is done

yoda101280
yoda101280

I don't really understand the point of spending money to use a hack.  I mean it's not like you're going to be able to compete in esports that starcraft has using hacks so you can't actually win any money.  I mean if you like to hack so you can feel bad-ass in a game to each his own but to pay money, especially 60 dollars I just don't get that.  60 bucks isn't a crazy amount of money in general but 60 bucks for some hacks?  Even if I were the type I wouldn't spend that on this type of thing.

svaubel
svaubel

People were making money off selling hacks. 

That is grounds for a lawsuit. Anyone will tell you that.


However if they were not making money, all Blizzard could do is have their site shut down. Though that begs the question, is Blizz going to actually do something about it and patch the game so that those hacks are no longer usable?

elwapo2004
elwapo2004

It's sad that someone would spend $58 just to cheat. I can see Blizzard getting upset about it, but I don't think a lawsuit is the best way to stop this. Make the hacks useless and permanently ban anyone who tries to use cheats and hacks.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

this is the very definition of 'too little, too late.'

and isn't this more of a manufacturer's shortfall? 

JoInfo
JoInfo

Both hackers, and Blizzard can go take a long walk on a short pier.

Jd1680a
Jd1680a

EULA doesn't trump any other countries own copyright law. The hack is a kind of a cheat that let someone on a match have an unfair advantage if they could see units on the map that should be hidden.

hoyholyhoy
hoyholyhoy

Blizzard is such a piece of garbage company. 

Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

I hope all hackers start to get sued! Tired of playing multiplayer games where hackers run the show......all a bunch of losers IMO.

jZangetsu21
jZangetsu21

I was wondering when they would come up with some excuse to delay the next Starcraft.

jemoedr
jemoedr

@vadagar1 Depends on what way you would call it lying. They haven't lied if you ask me, and they deffenitely didn't scam you or something. So no, unless you have proof of this you aren't able to sue them :P 

hofuldig
hofuldig

@wespunk you mad bro. i bought i game i can do whatever i want with it. this sort of shit has NEVER held up in court and blizzard will lose the case.

bobbo888
bobbo888

@Warlord_Irochi Nothing has come of it yet... the lawsuit was just filed. They even said they have no idea who's doing the hacking. Did you read the article? haha

hofuldig
hofuldig

@demondogx im sorry hacking is completely legal at least here in the united states. Blizzard will not win considering the hundreds of other cases where this has happened and the US Govt says its legal.

hofuldig
hofuldig

@svaubel if the hacks were completely new code and not a re use of any code used in the game then the hackers can sell it all they want. its completely legal and cases similar to this have gone through the US court and been thrown out. mostly because people are not downloading the game illegally. they OWN it. they purchased it. so they can do whatever they want with it.


One case i saw the judge compared it to owning a car. You buy a car from Ford and you can modify it and do whatever you want to it because you paid for it. its yours. same applies to software. if you bought it, its yours to do as you please. blizzard will not win the case.

yoda101280
yoda101280

@elwapo2004 actually a lawsuit is the best way as that's the best deterrent to keep other's from doing the same.  And they can't make the hack "useless." 

BuBsay
BuBsay

@Crush_Project Show me a large, competitive, multiplayer community on the PC with no hackers.

Now, show me a game that has hackers where the company actually cares enough to try and stop them.

GhostDog8
GhostDog8

@hoyholyhoy how? because they make near perfect games and have a great online system(much better than steam in every way)  that hackers try to ruin?

hofuldig
hofuldig

@Dizzy1976 you know what would be great? instead why dont the game creators find new and creative ways of blocking hacks. perhaps they just need to TRY HARDer LOL

jemoedr
jemoedr

@hofuldig @demondogx It is, you are breaking in the game itself, which is Blizzards intelectual property. So yes, they can sue them for this.


Oh, and they are also earning money of it and not paying Blizzard, which is another reason why Blizzard can sue them for it.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@hofuldig @demondogx They are selling and profiting off software blizzard made. They never got permission from Blizzard so how is that legal to do?

kyphe
kyphe

@hofuldig @demondogx if you think hacking is completely legal in the US you don't know the law. if you hack a comp and do nothing to it yeah, but as soon as someone can show you did something that caused a negative effect to others you can be held accountable. People wrongly think it is legal as typically you will only get banned, but that is simply the companies wanting to pursue laws where there are not clearly defined precedents. most shops in the UK do not prosecute shoplifters but that does not make it legal, .

bobbo888
bobbo888

@hofuldig @svaubel idk about you man but I remember when Blizzard shut down Squadron Tower Defense because they tried to advertise when the game was loading... This wasn't even hacking and it got shut down until the advertising was removed. 
If the hacks were "completely new code" then how could it effect the game in any way? It has to modify the games code in order for it to work. It's not like the game has a built in map hack that players can find hidden deep in some code and turn on and off... it's not in the code.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@hofuldig @svaubel Its not quite the same though as that car because your playing the game competitively against other people so what you do does affect others. 

Any code has to interact with the game somehow and it says you cant reverse engineer, modify the game at all without their consent.

elwapo2004
elwapo2004

Of course they can. It's called a patch. International lawsuits against internet only companies are lengthy, expensive and often fruitless.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@BuBsay @Crush_Project Here's a cut from the article ("Gibson" is the president of a developer called Tripwire):


Gibson told me that, legally, it’s not worth going after sites like Ultra Cheats. Most of them are based out of Russia, China (Ultra Cheats is registered in Beijing), or other places where extradition is, in Gibson's words, “questionable.” At the very least, Tripwire would have to pay another lawyer in that country, making it prohibitively expensive and complicated.


Criminal justice systems, perhaps understandably, aren't preoccupied with people cheating in online games. “Especially when it’s international,” Gibson said. “Then you’re talking about the FBI and Interpol. If someone stole $10 million in diamonds, call them. If someone is hacking your game, they don’t care.”


If Tripwire, Valve, or other developers want to reduce the number of cheaters, they have to do it themselves. Note that it’s “reduce” and not “eliminate.” Like Newell, Gibson knows that this isn't a battle he can finish. “It’s like the Wild West,” he said. “It’s more about managing the risk and hacks without inconveniencing your legitimate players too much.”


Tripwire’s anti-cheat strategy is three-pronged. The first is technical, using both VAC and Punkbuster. This is one topic Gibson was secretive about, but he said Tripwire uses both because “they handle things in different ways.”


http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/04/30/hacks-an-investigation-into-aimbot-dealers-wallhack-users-and-the-million-dollar-business-of-video-game-cheating/2/

yoda101280
yoda101280

@GhostDog8 @hoyholyhoy heh, how is Blizzard and steam even similar?  Blizzards online stuff is strictly for the games they produce, steam is an online retailer for games, they're not even the same thing,


Far as them making perfect games...to this day D3 is still often laggy aside from all the other issues it's had since launch there's nothing perfect about that.  That's no knock to Blizzard all companies have issues but that's simply me saying your comments are stupid. :)

Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

@hofuldig @Dizzy1976 

Yeah great idea!  Spend more time on it so the game costs even more for the people who actually pay for the game and support the developers!  Why didn't I think of that!

yoda101280
yoda101280

@elwapo2004 Yes but there are certain things that just exploit systems that already exist in a game, you can't patch that away.  Like when people hack in shooters and they teleport etc, there's no patch to stop that.  


Far as the lawsuit, yes it can be drawn out and expensive but it's often worth the statement and Blizzard actually has a pretty good track record thus far of winning their lawsuits or at the very least getting injunctions which bar the people from using said objects while the litigation is ongoing, which in effect shuts them down.  


Bans are kind of pointless, if you're willing to pay 60 bucks for a hack I think you'd be willing to buy the game again if you love it that much and there's no leveling in Starcraft so it wouldn't even be any wasted time, just hop right back in with your hacks.

AnimeFreaks
AnimeFreaks

@domisbatman because that is only his opinion. if you agree that is also only your opinion, but it could be shared by many others. calling it truth is not accurate. 

when your statement edges towards the extreme - "near perfect" is pretty extreme, you are more likely to be judged a fanboy.