Blizzard sues Starcraft II hackers

Developer accuses Canadian, Peruvian users of creating, selling map hacks and cheats for multiplayer real-time strategy game.

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Blizzard ushered in the month of October by showing Starcraft II cheaters the door, suspending or banning roughly 5,000 players of the real-time strategy game for using hacks to gain an advantage in the game. Days later, the company went after some of the people responsible for the cheat programs.

Blizzard is wasting little time cracking down on Starcraft II hackers.

Blizzard last week filed suit in the Los Angeles US District Court against three programmers, accusing them of creating and selling hacks for Starcraft II in violation of the end-user license agreement, Battle.net terms of use, and copyright law.

According to the suit, "Just days after the release of Starcraft II, Defendants already had developed, marketed, and distributed to the public a variety of hacks and cheats designed to modify (and in fact destroy) the Starcraft II online game experience. In fact, on the very day that Starcraft II was released, representatives of the hacks Web site advised members of the public that 'our staff is already planning new releases for this game.'"

Blizzard is accusing the trio of multiple counts of copyright infringement and is demanding damages and disgorgement of any profits reaped by the distribution and sale of the hacks. The company also accused the defendants of inducing others to infringe on their copyright, saying, "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."

"The harm to Blizzard from Defendants' conduct is immediate, massive and irreparable," the suit claims. "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."

The three defendants named in the suit go by the handles "Permaphrost," "Cranix," and "Linuxawesome," with the former two residing in Canada and the latter in Peru. It's unclear what jurisdiction the court has over the accused, although Starcraft II's end-user license agreement specifically states that disputes would be decided by a court within Los Angeles County. Additionally, among the relief demanded by the developer is a requirement that the defendants pull their programs hosted anywhere within the court's jurisdiction. There are other alleged hackers named in the suit, including "Wiggley," "Zynastor," and "Dark Mage," but Blizzard has not included their real identities in the suit.

When asked for comment, a Blizzard representative told GameSpot, "Blizzard Entertainment does not comment on pending litigation."

Discussion

960 comments
Nethemis
Nethemis

i think it's total bs that have to deal with this everyday with certain types of games, it's down right pathetic. What is also sad is that we have hackers that are willing to pay 10-30 dollars for it instead of actually trying to get good at the game and laugh at us the players who actually strive hard to do what we need to do to rank up in the ladder. I'm sorry but this is truly why PC gaming will always be burdened by bs.

Merranvo
Merranvo

On a separate note, it appears that what Blizzard was concerned about was not simple cracking of their software (BOO), but actually the fact that the team was attempting to create their own server that would thus bypass the Battle.NET servers hence allowing pirated copies to play online. Eventually someone will take after destroying all those evil Crackers in this world... but today is not the day :( [case was dropped 10 days after]

Merranvo
Merranvo

In the EULA they specifically state (paraphrased) "You CANNOT MODIFY the enclosed media (StarCraft II) without EXPLICIT PERMISSION from the publishers (Blizzard lld)" *Including caps You cannot say that you don't agree to the EULA because the EULA is what permits you to actually play the game (in otherwords, by playing the game while not agreeing to the EULA you're breaking the law). Nor can you say that you didn't read the EULA and thus aren't liable for it's contents. If Blizzard doesn't want a mod community, they have every right forbid others from tampering with their game. You NEVER BOUGHT the game, you bought a LICENSE. So it's more like you rented a Toyota and you added flames to the exterior...

doodlepigs
doodlepigs

@ Jeremiah, I am sorry but that is all rubbish that publisher is pushing down our throat. No one is saying that we OWN the source-code, but once we bought the software, in terms of fair use, we would be entitled to modify the code to suit our own purpose, as long as it does not entail another commercial transaction with another party. It is my basic right as a consumer to have a product serve my purpose and not one as dictated by the so called producer, so long as it does not impact on the legitimate rights of others. Else it is as good toyota selling me a car and tell me that I have no right to modify any single part of it and MUST always use its original parts and seek repair at its specific dealers simply because I do not own the blue print. So I am sorry but I will fight this to the end and I will boycott all company that tries to enforce such nonsense to the end.

doodlepigs
doodlepigs

And as for this case ... it is all hogwash to me. If they had zeroed in on the cheaters and cheat maker who use/write multiplayer trainers, and perma ban/sue them, all's well. But it seems that in WOW they do not perma ban those cheater automatically (and the effect of cheating in WOW is worse since it is persistent) while in SC2 they are banning (5000) in one short month, some allegedly for single player. In this case, I simple cannot support them. PS. look further into the antics of activision and the court case it is in ... a sense of deja vu. http://kotaku.com/5485703/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-lawsuit-against-activision-the-court-documents/gallery/ http://www.gamepolitics.com/2010/09/21/activision-files-friend-court-brief-scotus-fight http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/880926-activision-court-battle-means-no-dlc-for-mw2/ http://www.1up.com/news/axl-rose-takes-activision-court http://www.qj.net/qjnet/playstation-3/brutal-legend-lawsuit-settled-by-activision-out-of-court.html Also look at how it treated the studios it has bought over ... infinity ward,raven soft, Red octane, neversoft, Budcat, 7 studio and lots more. And look at the speeches by the CEO Kotick .. http://hothardware.com/News/Activision-Blizzard-CEO-Bobby-Kotick-Talks-Gaming-Hates-Happy-People/ And ever more ... I fear that Blizzard is becoming like activision in their business philosophy and is purely concerned about money - nothing else. Neither the player's preference and needs. :(

doodlepigs
doodlepigs

And a disclaimer - I do not own starcraft 2, due to its ridiculous pricing (as I mentioned US$ 82 for non collector version) as well as the various restriction (no LAN, having to buy 2 more expansion to experience the full game, lack of innovation or even some features considered basic in modern day RTS, region lock, having to sign in toe BNet for single player, intrusive checks and more). And I do use cheat, and for those who are wondering, cheats are useful if you are working full time and have a busy schedule .. meaning you can only squeeze in about 4 hours to 6 hour of play time a week and you want to experience the full game with all the character. Thus it is very useful for the second player through to hit things you miss, or to experience another class and you do not have time to go through all the levelling and grinding all over again.

doodlepigs
doodlepigs

As for those supporting Blizzard, think about the wording of their case - technically they make MODs, Plugins, scripts and other things illegal and they can sue the community for it if they choose to. I for one is not comfortable to have such a precedent. If they had made it a clear cut case that it is a multi-player cheating and not ban players for using the cheat in single player, I would not feel so bad about it. but seeing how they try to control the distribution of simple Maps in the game and their seizing of control of everything over the people you play with (LAN and region lock) to the e-sport scene (which doesn't make sense since it cost money to maintain the e-sport and it actually make for free advertisement for the game ... unless greed have taken a deep root in the company psych and they just cannot bear seeing other people having control of even the tiniest thing related to their product), I think this spell bad news for the time to come. Look at how the MOD communities add live to games like Total annilation, Oblivion, Half life and many other game, I think SC2's Mod community is basically f**** unless blizzard changes its tune.

doodlepigs
doodlepigs

Looking at Blizzard's record - inflated pricing, removing features that gamers demanded (LAN, easy offline play for single player, no regional lock etc), the way they mess up the whole league game in korea and this sueing of cheat maker (for single player cheats ... mind you. If it is multiplayer cheat it is another matter), I must say that this company is going down the drain. Was waiting for Diablo 3, but if this continues and they continue with the draconian practise as well as the the ridiculous pricing (US$ 80+ for a non collector version in asia, US$ 140 for collector, in case you are not aware) I think I will give it a miss, as much as it pains me. At least I have fall out 3, Divinity 2, Civ 5, Mass Effect 2 to keep me company until Witcher 2 and Deus Ex : Human revolution is out. I just hope that the other company do not follow suit and start over charging for the games, then I really have to order my games through GOG.com :P.

rugripper40
rugripper40

@World_Skater....the tourists....lmfao....thx for the laugh......this buds for you will take on a whole new meaning

World_Skater
World_Skater

@rugripper40 go smoke a joint and play some Sc2 your obviously not getting enough of either "stop wasting your time defending those who chose there own fate" I'm not going to get into cali legalizing pot But Sh1t that's a couple Million dollars every year from your daily smokers and another few million a year from the tourists who want a nice getaway where they can get high in peace."Really Is a No Brain er`` and whats so wrong with blizzard suing hackers dose nothing to bother me banning CD Keys so they gotta waist more money on another copy "puts a smile on my face =D" BAN HAMMER FTW!!! "justice Has Been Served"

rugripper40
rugripper40

and blizzards filing suit in california...like that state has a brain...legalizing pot...another rediculous thing.,..lets make the children even more crazier then they already are for medical reasons...lmfao...the worlds going crazy,glad im not or am i???...lol

rugripper40
rugripper40

@World_Skater...........not me...just very opinionated...and i dont really care...its a kiddie game like all the rest that make tons of money and they want more...imagine that

World_Skater
World_Skater

Funny how i bet all of you defending the hackers were either caught and sitting on a ban right now... or are now realizing how very little skill you have so out you all come complaining when a company wants and will do what it takes to keep its game free of hacks ^^ Ban Hammer FTW

rugripper40
rugripper40

i know im rambling but i find this kind of interesting to find out gamespot: out of the 5000 or so players that were cheating....how many of them got their asses beat by legimate players....ill bet probably all of them...lol....cause if you have to cheat you suck at gaming anyway...right???

rugripper40
rugripper40

btw n0sferatu............ i let the guy on the corner with that sign install all my games on my pc and have been doing that for years...i told him i dont agree everytime but he always clicks agree....he is half deaf,poor thing.......just gets my goat....baaaaah humbug.....rediculous...who installed the games you play on your pc....only your god knows the answer....lol

rugripper40
rugripper40

and i know my post below will get minused quick but think about pc gamers: how many of you have open a config file in your so called rental,lease game,you bought....lol...and uped the graphics,speed,etc of the game to make the game more enjoyable,prettier and run better on your pc..oblivion comes to my mind btw.....probably all of you....lol......its rediculous and blizzard is not out of pocket one dime....11 million plus copies sold at launch....give me a break

rugripper40
rugripper40

im a gamer...i dont read that crap in the beginning of games plus i have not signed anything,who reads thats nonsense and btw half the people that install games on a pc are children under 18...wtf...crazy....is blizzard going to sue children now over a toy????....unreal,think its not good buss.....let blizzard try, or anyone of them, waste their money on a frivolous lawsuit...if i want to add a trainer,crack for no cd,god-mod...its my choice..i live in the usa and have just as many rights as they do...as long as im not sharing the content,remaking their disks and selling them,im fine...sewing people for a mod to there game is rediculous and the courts will see it the same way...........bioware gives the gaming community mod tools with almost every game so the gaming community can create their own content for people to share with each other....funny thing...bioware isnt whinning like a bioche...lmao.........btw i didnt crack my starcraft 2 game and dont play online anything really...except cod2 ctf and half life 2 deathmatch was a blast...ranking sucks.....i was over chutes and ladders when i was 6 yrs old...lol n0sferatu Posted Oct 25, 2010 9:33 am ET @rugripper40 I have a suggestion for you, don't agree to the EULA? It clearly states the rules and if you want do to adhere to these rules and still play, well then Blizzard can have their merry little way with you

c0sa_n0stra
c0sa_n0stra

@rugripper40 I have a suggestion for you, don't agree to the EULA? It clearly states the rules and if you want do to adhere to these rules and still play, well then Blizzard can have their merry little way with you.

derpdragon
derpdragon

What do you know, the one of the worst gaming company is whining because they can't make a good firewall to keep out hackers. Hacking is only as hard or easy as the company makes it.

Son_Jazrin
Son_Jazrin

Shutting down hackers is like trying to shutdown torrent sites, get rid of one and 2 more takes their place.

World_Skater
World_Skater

Good For Blizzard if only more companies would do the same... as for those of you who disagree with blizzards actions take into consideration there doing it for us "the gamers" who buy and love there product not those select few no skill pubs who desperately need hacks so they can "Try and win" and if all else fails "Drop Hack you" ...i can only hope "bans" are issued for those caught...

Son_Jazrin
Son_Jazrin

So what if people grow "dissatisfied and lose interest" in the game, people will still play it, new customers will still buy the game and since you can't return software for a refund, Blizzard still keeps all their money. Sounds like they're just complaining for the sake of complaining. Need proof? How about the rampant cheating in Counter Strike and Modern Warfare? The hackers didn't hurt the bottom line of either company one bit, and this game was more anticipated and lauded than the both of them combined. Like I said, complaining for the sake of complaining.

made_u_look
made_u_look

Good for Blizzard now only if Infinity Ward would follow up on Modern Warfare to remove those annoying ass aimbotting jackasses.

rugripper40
rugripper40

this is what im talking about in previous posts....its rediculous.....whats next comrade blizzard....freaking crazy....still will buy your single player games and do what i want with them...like i said,i bought it,its mine and i live in the usa not russia behind the iron curtain ...lol......next they will be sending a guy to your house to make sure you play their games under their standards.....unbelievable...but on the other hand 3rd party anything might be littered with spyware,adaware,virus s,etc...but thats my choice not anyone elses really dannyatkinson Posted Oct 20, 2010 3:43 pm ET Blizzard threatens Single Player Gamers who use Cheats. http://www.megagames.com/news/blizzard-use-starcraft-ii-single-player-trainers-your-own-risk

Coolmgh
Coolmgh

Take that you game ruining scum.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

From Destroyeur: "@VarietyMage - in sc2 multiplayer matches your computer "knows" what your opponents are doing, therefore a simple hack to remove the fog and show them onscreen was developed." Then what needs to happen is a paradigm shift in client-server gaming. The node computers (the home installations) need to only know what the server wants them to know, and the servers restrict information sent accordingly. That would lop off the low-hanging fruit, at least. Mathematically, if the home computers know everything about what's going on in the game map, it takes a fixed amount of update packets over the net to update the client map. It would theoretically take less bandwidth, and therefore lower the response time over the net, to only update the movements on the client map being shown outside the fog of war. Just my two cents.

importpower
importpower

I would do anything to be the judge of that case. Now that would be fun.

sir_simon77
sir_simon77

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

24k_Solid_Gold
24k_Solid_Gold

I'm glad that these criminals are getting what they deserve. And let's me honest, they ARE criminals. They violated the EULA, while is ILLEGAL. I'm glad that Blizzard follows up on these things.

rugripper40
rugripper40

maybe im a rich dude...maybe not...maybe i work at night,maybe not.....one day you might be like me,maybe not...lol....children are a funny thing....game on man Kravyn81 Posted Oct 18, 2010 3:50 pm ET rugripper40 wrote: "spelling is over ratred...who cares...you dont neet to spell to make money in this world..." Oh clearly. That's obviously what's kept you on the fast track of success in your life. That's why commenting here is what you're doing on a Monday afternoon when other adults are at work. Good call. You just keep besting me with all that 40+ years of experience of failure. And I will tell my teacher, thanks. I'm sure we'll get a good laugh at your expense again aside from what you're providing for me now

Slagar
Slagar

Honestly? I don't agree with either the hacking or the extremity of Blizzard's response.

gdiza
gdiza

Good example of Blizzard having too much money and wasting it on stupid stuff like this.

RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@SirMordredX I see your point. I was mostly just defending the use of the word "mod" to refer to hacks, as many people seem to be saying that a hack and a mod are two completely different things when they are not.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

@RadicalToenail That wasn't my point. The person on topic showed a degree of hostility towards Blizzard for upholding the law in the Starcraft 2 community, and said that they should not do so simply because they don't for a game released about a decade ago called Diablo 2. This was a sign that the person had no clue as to what they were talking about. Not nearly as many people buy or play Diablo 2 in comparison to Starcraft 2 - therefore Blizzard care more about the state of affairs [currently] in Starcraft 2. People should be grateful to Blizzard, not bash them. Case closed.

tuggythetugboat
tuggythetugboat

I'm surprised they were able to bring something like this to court. Plus hacking is stupid, I don't get why people feel the need to do that.

wyan_
wyan_

I hope Blizzard KO's these cheating, hacking, scum eating losers to the fullest extent of the law.

rugripper40
rugripper40

yep your right....if you love gaming you ll play it till you beat it no matter how hard it is.....especially starcraft...why do you need a hack...freaking starcraft 2 is almost the same as starcraft 1 with better graphics and videos and nnow achievements which is fun to conquer....ive got alot of minius s on all my posts but i did support blizzard and buy starcraft 2 and also will buy and have bought every single player game they made except wow....mmo s suck Blood_Diamond Posted Oct 18, 2010 7:47 pm ET why do people feel the need to "hack" a game? It's because they are all d***less and can' "hack" being beat... damn noobs

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

rugripper40
rugripper40

dude you can talk to me till your blue in the face how precious the entertainment industry is but im the hard working middle class man that hates suits ....lol.... but theres no lambo sitting in my freaking driveway......so they make something,takes a year to make,a yr to program and make 10 milliion dollars and then sue cause they dont like the dudes underwear.....come on....a tweek is nothing....and if they prove that these dudes made alot of money....all they should get is royalties cause they bound it to a copywrited game...thats it...like you said the software itself is the person that made it....so inturn that tweek in property of those 3 guys....how do you like that logic..lol..dude blizzard will not win this battle chest here....they need to move on and release diablo 3....lmfao.......like the last dude said.....blizzard the billionaires vs the $6.75 an hour dude or a broke dude living in mom and dads basement.....lol.....this artical reads like a americas most wanted poster child....give me a break....and the lawsuits being filed in los angeles....ha....and the dudes live in canada and peru....are you freaking kidding me.....well arnolds the gov there... i guess anythings possible there....lol....ill be back @jeremiah06

rugripper40
rugripper40

lmfao...but thats what im saying...what could these guys have made...and how many of these 5000 people really bought it from these guys and how many pirated it off the net for nothing....who knows...tough one to prove in any court i think.....so now what will happen is, these kids making no money at all, pirating software will be sued by blizzard and they bought this game.blizzards got to understand.... kids will be kids...god mode hell yeah...my 13 yr old does it all the time....its a screwed up messed up world we live in since the net was mainlined in 1995 to the peeps everywhere....maybe the net should get shutdown and then i wont have to listen to these whinning billionaires anymore....lol......on the other hand if these dudes made 100,000 bucks on this venture....blizzard should get some royaltiies but thats it...its these programmers tweek not blizzards.....not sue them for every penny they made and more @OmegaTau...multi million vs 6.75 and hr

jeremiah06
jeremiah06

@rugripper40 A game isn't just a game... A game is very expensive software. It takes time and lots of money to make. Programming is among the most rigorous professions. It takes many years with dozens of people with millions of lines of code to make a big game such as Starcraft II. Taking that and tweaking it could take all of 4-5 days... Thats not right at all to make money for their hard work. You say you're a gamer with decades of experience I expect you more than anybody else to appreciated the hard work put into a fond pastime of yours... I can't tell you what blizzard's intentions are but I can say that profiting from them by selling illegal hacks should be taken seriously.

OmegaTau
OmegaTau

Whats the point really, cheating is bad but come on one big business vs little people is that what capitalism as become. multi million vs 6.75 and hr

rugripper40
rugripper40

@jeremiah06....you make sense to me totally but a game is a game...these dudes seemed to me were selling a tweek tool...not reinventing starcraft 2....theres tweek tools everywhere.....hey but i dont really know who these peeps are...maybe there criminals,maybe not...but i usually give everyone the benifit of the doubt....im not a fan of any kind of hack or cheat to make a game easier but i see them all the time but i do get the gist of what you are saying....i think the problem is starcraft online isnt as good as the wow numbers so their looking for a scapegoat

MariusSE
MariusSE

Awesome, if only Activision was as serious about CoD.

flyinghogshow
flyinghogshow

Blizzard will be suing the hackers for millions.....Blizzard is going to end the lives of the hackers.

jeremiah06
jeremiah06

@rugripper40 I'm not a kid either... However, being in the software industry I can tell you this is a necessary process. We program and sell the end result. We DO NOT sell the programming its self... That would be similar to buying a babysitter... You don't purchase the person, just the abilities they have to preform a service. If you bought that person, then you could make them clean your feet and cook dinner. However, just leasing their abilities for a service, you only get whats agreed upon. Its different than conventional "buying" but its not really different from other "unique" transactions. If people were allowed to buy the actual code then different games could be made by just tweaking things around. This is what happens when you hear of a game using the unreal engine... The company that bought rights to use that engine paid good money for it. If things were how you say they should be, then any company could just buy a copy of the game then pick it apart for their own game use. That would be like me bringing my kids over your house after you left so your babysitter could watch them too...