MDY Industries vs Blizzard Inc Case Analysis
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MDY Industries vs Blizzard Inc Case Analysis

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MDY Industries vs Blizzard Inc Case Analysis MDY Industries vs Blizzard Inc Case Analysis Presentation Transcript

  • MDY Industries vs. Blizzard LLC
    The case and how it applies to VXGaming LLC
  • VXGaming Background
    Software development company that plans to develop a gaming system where players can play game tournaments from home with cash prizes
    Profits by charging a 10% commission on each game played
    The more players, the more profit
  • Hackers / Cheaters
    AIM-Bots
    Wall hacking
    Modified player models
    Ruins the credibility of the company
    Accounting nightmare of refunding players
    Tolerating any sort of cheating will destroy the business
    The Issue
  • Blizzard Entertainment has been dealing with similar issues in World of Warcraft
    People run “bots” [programs that play the game for them by itself] in order to gain in-game currency that they can sell for real money
    Have been fairly successful in shutting down people creating unauthorized 3rd party software for WoW through Cease and Desist letters
    I’m not the only one
  • Warden is World of Warcraft’s anti-cheat mechanism
    Operates by scanning the memory of a computer for known signatures of unauthorized software [similar to what a virus scanner does]
    Prevents the player from running WoW if unauthorized software is found and reports the account to Blizzard so they can suspend/ban the player
    Terms of Use state that it is illegal for players to run 3rd party programs that modify the behavior of the game.
    Warden and ToU
  • Creator of WoWGlider, a popular bot for World of Warcraft
    Allows the player to level up and acquire items while being away from their computer
    Michael Donnelly is the one and only employee of MDY Industries
    MDY Industries LLC
  • Blizzard’s attorneys show up at Michael Donnelly’s door and serve him with a Cease and Desist, where he has to immediately stop distribution of WoWGlider and hand over all profits
    Michael Donnelly refuses to stop distributing WoWGlider
    Mr. Donnelly proceeds to the court house and files a civil case against Blizzard in order to get a declaratory judgement that it is not infringing any rights, copyright, or otherwise owned by Blizzard Entertainment
    The Case
  • Tortious Interference with Contract
    Contributory Copyright Infringement
    Vicarious Copyright Infringement
    Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    Trademark Infringement
    Unfair Competition
    Unjust Enrichment
    Alleges that MDY Industries is the alter ego of Michael Donnelly
    The Counter Claim
  • Blizzard argues that ‘Warden’ is a copyright protection device because it prevents the game executable from being launched when unauthorized software is detected
    WoWGlider circumvents ‘Warden’
    Blizzard has copyrighted the code for their game client
    Blizzard argues that because ‘Warden’ is circumventing the copy of the game from the hard drive into RAM [Random Access Memory] is an unauthorized copy
    Copying a program into RAM is something that happens no matter what application you launch as it is the way the operating system is designed
    The Trick
  • Michael Donnelly found GUILTY of counts I, II and III [Tortious Interference with Contract, Contributory Copyright Infringement, Violation of the DMCA]
    Personally held liable for $6,500,000 in damages to Blizzard
    If he is successfully in appealing any one, or two of the counts in Appellate Court, then the remaining count will cover the entire $6.5 million
    The Judgment
  • Copyright the code
    Add in Terms of Use that the user is not allowed to modify the software in any way
    Bundle the software with a ‘copyright protection device’
    This will give me the ability to go after cheaters legally by using the Blizzard case as a precedent
    How do I apply it to my business?
  • Questions or comments?
    Thank You