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 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."

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