Blizzard sues Starcraft II hackers

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

951 Comments

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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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Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@JimmyJimJim You're continuing to act as if it's a new concept. As if this is the first time anything like this has happened to hackers. You have no knowledge of hackers and their mindset while acting as if you do. That is ignorance.

It hasn't stopped hackers in the past 20 years and it never will.

Avatar image for JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@ RadicalToenail That's funny I'd say the same for you, Clearly ignorance is someone who says "This doesn't scare hackers" after hearing "hacker owes blizzard 100million dollars". Yup ignorance.

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@JimmyJimJim Stop being so ignorant. Hackers have faced that risk since hacking started! Even worse than just losing a ton of money, they can go to jail. All hackers know this. It's not a new threat and isn't going to stop anyone except those who would have been too wussy enough to do anything anyway.

Do you REALLY think that this is a new thing? Suing hackers, going after them by legal means, attempting to punish them in real life, not just online? IT IS NOTHING NEW AND NOT SOMETHING THAT WILL KEEP THEM AWAY

Avatar image for egdekaron09
egdekaron09

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

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holyghost87

Is it so difficult to play fair? Don't understand what'em thinking =="

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will3k3

wow crazy stuff, a new age for hackers

Avatar image for JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@ RadicalToenail Sigh... It's like I have to make EVERYTHING completely palpable to this generation, That wow incident WAS RECENT, This was RECENT. THe more BLIZZARD does this, the MORE the "developers" of said hacks will think twice about possibly throwing their life away. Blizzard hasn't always been this aggressive against hackers, usually it would simply be a ban of the people using the hacks; NOT here's a ban of the said hackers and now were going after the developers for millions of dollars. Stop being so damn credulous please. Hackers before would simply face a ban, now it's "hey I might owe them millions of dollars and my life is basically over" which one do you think sounds worse?. I'll give you a hint, not the latter.

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volume_three

Cheaters never win. Winners never cheat.

Avatar image for razorfett147
razorfett147

@ BessenStock Read the article again. They are suing the makers of this cheat software because it contains components of the proprietary code that constitutes the game's makeup. So, in essence, they are selling a portion of the game engine that they are not licensed to. That is illegal. Stop trying to spin this so it looks like they are suing ppl because they cheat. That is NOT what they are doing. They are suing ppl who are putting together and selling packets containing portions of the gamecode for the explicit use of cheating or dishonestly modifying the game.

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@JimmyJimJim You're completely missing my point. So, they screwed the WoW guy and ruined his life, right? That should keep hackers from wanting to hack a Blizzard product, according to you, right? How come there are these hackers who just got sued for hacking a Blizzard product? Why weren't they scared by them already suing hackers?

Obviously, it does not stop hackers. That is my point.

Avatar image for kiddsilk69
kiddsilk69

wish they would have done this with warcraft 3, the game is literally unplayable and nobody plays it anymore

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lingling1211

Thumbs up for Blizzard for taking action against hackers and cheaters.

Avatar image for JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@ RadicalToenail Screwed the wow guy? so he creates his own servers for the game and profits off a game he didn't make but simply stole and gets the law layed down for it... how is that screwing him?. and that was recent might I add, From what I do know is theirs a lot less hackers in wow than before. It's completely obtuse to say they don't see these actions and think is it worth the risk?.

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@JimmyJimJim ...you just proved my point. Blizzard screwed the WoW guy and destroyed his life, but people still hack it. People hacked their newest game. It might stop the individual, but it won't scare many hackers.

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@einlanzer08 A mod is ANY modification of a game. They can have different uses, but they are all mods if they change the game from the original vanilla version in any way. Adding the ability to have infinite resources is a modification as it was not originally in the game. Mods like that can be considered cheats because they are used for the act of cheating, but they are still mods.

A mod is a modification, simple as that, so no one who calls a hack a mod is wrong. It may cause some confusion to some, but it doesn't change the fact that a hack is still a mod.

Avatar image for JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@RadicalToenail Honestly, Stop and think for a second. Which works better? simply banning people who use the hacks? or doing that and also going after the people who create the hacks with lawsuits? You saw what happened to that world of warcraft guy, he owes blizzard millions of dollars. His life is essentially over, Going after the developer for serious amounts of cash will make them think twice about doing it.

Avatar image for EliteNamedSteve
EliteNamedSteve

@Tekcor and sueing a person in Peru from a US court will do anything?

Avatar image for Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

Normally i would say this is an over reaction from Blizzard, however, in this case it is important that any game that is going to classify itself as an Esport (growing sport of sponsored online tournaments and viewership), all cheats must be dealt with harshly to encourage growth. In Korea, StarCraft is a professional sporting event with players making lots of money, so its no surprise developers have to take these cheats a bit more seriously now that its becoming international.

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@JimmyJimJim Yeah, because this will actually stop them...

If stuff like this scared hackers, then hackers would cease to exist. Hackers will hack. If anything, they will work harder to cover their tracks. Hell, some might lash out very viciously at Blizzard for this.

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SmartGhost

I agree about online multilayer there should be no cheats or hacks thats just worng

Avatar image for Tekcor
Tekcor

@EliteNamedSteve Different kind of hack. Companies hire hackers to help find security holes. These kinds of hacks modify the applications themselves. It is unavoidable. Implement all the security you want, it is impossible to protect the byte code. These game hacks don't exist because developers leave security holes, they exist because the hackers literally change the game to do whatever they want. Very different thing. Hiring hackers in this case won't bring any security to the game. The hackers will be able to stop their own hacks, but new hacks will come onto the scene regardless. The only thing hiring hackers would do is give us a few weeks of improved protection. Not even close to worth it.

Avatar image for JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@ Hear-No-Evil Going to far? stopping hackers doesn't actually STOP THEM, it just delays them. If you want to stop anything you go the source, the developers. Make an example of it so any future exploiters know they pay a heavy fine if they get caught. Making them think twice of doing it

Avatar image for EliteNamedSteve
EliteNamedSteve

@Tekcor Use their knowledge to stop hacks. The governments use hackers all the time because they know they are smarter than them. its better to have them working for you than against you.

Avatar image for importpower
importpower

Let's see them try to hack their way out of this one.

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oneusairman

Im in no way support these kinds of activities by hackers. I will also be the first to tell you that there is no room for them in gaming too. With that said let me explain to you alittle about suing a foreign national. It can not be done in the US. Foreign Nationals are not bound by our laws when they are not in the US. Example Mexican Drug Dealers. Also if Blizzard where to Sue these guys they would have to file suit not in California but in the country that these people live in. You can not sue a foreign national when they did this act in another country where they live. Unless you follow the legal system of that country. Blizzard is just trying to scare these guys.

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RazorBlankGiga

@Mitashki It might seem a little extreme, but program hackers are all pricks. They tend to try to essentially bribe companies into paying for their knowledge of the breach, so I say skip the hackers for distributing the hack. Blizzard probably didn't pay them so they probably distributed it. Not that I'm a fan of Blizzard, but I've been a loyal customer for years, and hate hackers who think they can "Expoit every thing cuz theyz UBER 7337" and think they're protected by the law when they're obviously doing something that goes against the law, or in this case the terms of use policy they agreed to.

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coal_james

I hope they get there asses sued off, and put in dept for the next 20,000 years. Always the only thing that make's my good online games turn to crap, It's those inconsiderate asses that spoil everything.

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Thunderstarter

A lot of this discussion is the difference between a mod and a cheat/hack. Blizzard supports mods for SC II, the stuff that takes the game's elements (characters, weapons, locales, etc. etc. etc.) and makes them do something different for everyone to enjoy (for example, there is a mod where you can play chess with the units from the game) whereas a cheat is something that one person benefits from, and it's normally in a non-modded version of the game (an example would be infinite credits for units). That's just my understanding.

Avatar image for Tekcor
Tekcor

@EliteNamedSteve The only problem is hiring the hack developers would actually only produce more hack developers. If Blizzard starts hiring hackers, more people will start producing hacks hoping to get a job themselves. Blizzard hiring these people would be a bad move in the long run. It's a no-win as even the hackers won't be able to stop other hackers. The operating systems are currently too vulnerable, there is absolutely no way to protect an application 100% without support from the operating system.

Avatar image for Tekcor
Tekcor

@edblevins Right, which is why I said it'll never happen. It would be similar to Apple's App Store model, which I think we can all agree wouldn't be as successful on the desktop. Users's might go for it, but developers never will. There are solutions, but those solutions come with compromises which we cannot accept.

Avatar image for Tekcor
Tekcor

@tehepicpwnzor Learn what you're talking about. A code generator has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. I'm talking about RSA signatures. With a strong enough private key, the public key will not be factored for decades, and cannot be spoofed.

Avatar image for Mitashki
Mitashki

banning them ok, but suing them?? Billion dollar game company suing some ordinary people to dry them out of cash. I think its a little bit too far.

Avatar image for EliteNamedSteve
EliteNamedSteve

Sue some hackers and be mod free for a day. Hire some hackers and be mod free for a lifetime. ^.=.^

Avatar image for karnis
karnis

yeah I know SC 2 hackers exist on this site & I'm pretty sure I lost due to hackers. So go blizzard make the game fun & sue the hackers I just want a fair online experience. thumbs down me all you want I won't give a crap. nope still don't care cheaters/hackers

Avatar image for KILLROYIIII
KILLROYIIII

Owned?

Avatar image for KuRf
KuRf

why do you want to cheat in multiplayer???is not like the zergs are coming by the dozens like in campaign mode...sigh

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Stesilaus

Twelve years of coding and they still couldn't make it hack-proof? :roll:

Avatar image for Salehjamal
Salehjamal

While I am all ok for banning the idiots, I find suing them and claiming all these irreparable damages just funny. Yeah, there are some damages but once they announced the mass banning, it's fine. Gamers know better than ditching a game when the company behind it supports them (i.e. banning hackers). In fact some gamers are so hardcore they wouldn't care :P Gotta love the dramatic suing we hear about every now and then from corporates against individuals.

Avatar image for einlanzer08
einlanzer08

There's line between modding and cheating. A modded multiplayer game allows EVERYBODY to play a different kind of game on an even playing field. (i.e. Dota, there are even cheats for that). Cheating on the other hand gives you an unfair advantage over other players that circumvents the rules of the game. They are clearly not related And besides. Mods add value to the game. Half-life wouldn't have sold so much without Counterstrike. Warcraft 3 wouldn't have sold a certain amount of copies without Dota. Battlefield 2 had Project Reality. Game companies realize this, that's why some of them intentionally release libraries or APIs so modders can easily gain access to their game and create a cult hit.

Avatar image for RoseFlambe169
RoseFlambe169

@Rajian: Well, Starcraft II is the newest article here, so Blizzard will focus on that. When Cataclysm comes out, they'll be more focused on that. It just depends on whatever has the potential to make the biggest sales. Plus, I'm not sure about this, but I heard that when something appears on the news, its sales go up. That may be another reason.

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tehepicpwnzor

@Tekcor ever heard of a "code generator"? Your argument has been rendered invalid. *INVALID STAMP*

Avatar image for edblevins
edblevins

@Tekcor I feel denying all software that falls under those guidelines would only complicate things for allot of advanced users.

Avatar image for Tekcor
Tekcor

Unfortunately, while I agree with Blizzard, this will just make the hacks and hackers go further underground. What we truly need is support from OS vendors. If Windows and Mac OS refused to run software that was not signed by a certificate verified by a root CA, this problem would go away almost entirely, as cheaters would then also need a modified version of the operating system, which they are less likely to install. Still not fool-proof, would make developer for the little guys more difficult, and it'll never happen. But one can dream.

Avatar image for DoctorThumbs
DoctorThumbs

I'm glad to see this happen after Bungie banned cheaters. I REALLY hate people who exploit game glitches or play with hacks online. Why can't they just be good at the game and not rape it?

Avatar image for edblevins
edblevins

Good

Avatar image for RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@SirMordredX Mods are against the ToU for some games, especially some trainers and hacks, which are considered mods.

Rajian is most likely referring to Diablo hacks as mods, which they are. You may see mods as something different, but any modification of the game is a mod. Don't call them a noob just because you don't fully understand them.

Avatar image for Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

I'm not sure where I stand, one hand, I hate it when I play a game like TF2 against people who hacked their characters (EX. I found a spy with a Minigun, and it wasn't disguised or anything) but on the other hand, these people weren't making money off of their mods. If I played Starcraft II I'm sure I'd side with Blizzard. But right now I don't have a side. I hope we see more on this, I'm intrigued.

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importpower

It would be great blizzard hosted a live stream of the case. I wanna see those 3 losers cry and poop their pants.

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destroyeur

What if the three hackers had been Americans, but never bought the game; copyright laws don't protect from game exploits, that's why it's in the EULA, how would they make their case against someone who never had to agree to the EULA and ToU in the first place, what if the hacker's brother installed the game. I guess every developer should sue every modders who are distributing game modifications, wich are distributed with trademarked game assets in them contrary to hacks. Blizzard should sue everyone who didn't opened Starcraft 2's box properly and ripped the front artwork, creating a derivative work and exceding their limited license. And the world should sue the USA, for reinventing savage capitalism every day and transforming trade into a rape artist.

Avatar image for Germandude2
Germandude2

lol i dont think those hackers would have expected to get sued by blizzard idk i just think its hilarious that it went from some loser cheating on a game to actually getting sued lol i wish every multiplayer game had that much balls