IGN Brings Hammer Down On BioShock Queue Jumpers

HAMMERDOWN.jpgPeople are keen for the PC version of BioShock. They're gagging for it. This being the internets, some were bound to try and bend the rules to get hold of it early. That's what happened on IGN's Direct2Drive, where a bunch of people found a way to pre-purchase the game AND start playing it, without waiting for the game's official release date. Some may have pulled it off, but most had their downloads cut off when IGN detected the loophole. End of story, right? These were all paying customers, this is the internet, Direct2Drive improve their security and we move on. Right? Nope! IGN have tried to bring the hammer down, sending the following email to all users they detected jumping the queue and trying to get the game early.

Dear ******: I am legal counsel for IGN Entertainment, Inc. ("IGN"), a subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media, Inc. and owner of the Direct2Drive.com digital store. We understand that on or about August 19, 2007, you accessed IGN's private database and servers (the "Servers") to obtain an unauthorised copy of the videogame BioShock (the "Title") without IGN's permission. As you know, the Title is a copyrighted work that is protected by the laws of the United States, including 17 U.S.C. §101, et seq., and your unauthorised copying of the Title is a clear violation of copyright law and may subject you to civil and criminal penalties, including possible monetary damages .

Notwithstanding any payment you may have made to IGN, you did not obtain any right to receive or copy the Title other than as specifically authorized by IGN, and your copying of the Title from an unauthorised location prior to the time of distribution was clearly beyond the scope of rights that you may have received. The limited licence to use the Direct2Drive.com service and to receive a copy of the Title was subject to limitations, and you have violated your license. Moreover, the Servers are not intended for public access, and your accessing and copying of material from them violates the Direct2Drive Terms of Service 1. Either of these actions may subject you to legal action for breach of contract, including possible monetary damages to IGN and/or its licensors.

IGN views your conduct as a serious violation of our and our licensor's rights. In order to avoid further, and even more egregious and willful infringement, IGN hereby demands that you refrain from any reproduction, distribution, or transmission of the Title, or any components of the Title, such as screen shots, images or videos of or from the Title, to any third parties, including to any forum, discussion board, web sites or peer-to-peer networks. In addition, you must delete any copies of the Title already in your possession. You are on notice to retain any and all documents (including electronic documents, e-mails, and any correspondence) that are or may be related to this matter, and we trust that you will advise others involved of our position on this matter and their document retention obligations.

Please confirm in writing by August 21, 2007 that you have, and will, comply with the above. This letter is not a complete statement of the relevant facts or of IGN's civil or criminal claims with respect to this matter, all of which are reserved.

Sincerely,

Todd Murtha Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs IGN Entertainment, Inc.

In other words, even though they paid for it, IGN are now threatening these users with legal action if they don't delete the game. Their defence? That using Direct2Drive subjects you to certain conditions, of which jumping the queue violates. Which may be legally sound, I don't know, I'm not a lawyer. But as an exercise in customer relations? Yeah, not so hot.

[Thanks to those who sent this in!]


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