Blizzard Caught In Legal Fight With Game Cheating Company

Blizzard Caught In Legal Fight With Game Cheating Company

Last week, Blizzard filed a lawsuit against the team behind a series of bots called "Buddy," which allow users to cheat at games such as Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III and World of Warcraft. This week, the creators of those bots are hitting back at Blizzard, claiming the company has stolen their code. But Blizzard says they're not wavering.

As TorrentFreak report, Blizzard's lawyers allegedly approached James "Apoc" Enright — a freelancer working with the bot's creators, a German company called Bossland — and offered him a deal "under which he agreed to hand over the source code for the Stormbuddy software." Stormbuddy is Bossland's cheat bot for Blizzard's MOBA Heroes of the Storm.

Bossland CEO Zwetan Letschew told TorrentFreak:

Today Blizzard acted in a manner as shady as possible for a multi-billion-dollar corporation. We were informed that the deal compelled Apoc to submit the entire source code of Stormbuddy, which is actually the intellectual property of Bossland GmbH, to Blizzard.

Strong words. Letschew says that as a result of the alleged acquisition of the code, and the loss of sales resulting from the fact they have had to stop selling their cheat service, Bossland will be taking Blizzard to court in Germany. They want to get their hands on the details of the deal made with Enright, who as a freelancer was not in a position to hand over code he did not own, they say.

This is far from the first time Blizzard and Bossland have gone (or threatened to go) to court; they have battled since 2011, and earlier this year Blizzard was ordered to pay legal costs in a case involving gold-selling in Diablo III. In May of this year Blizzard banned thousands of players caught using Bossland's bots in World of Warcraft.

Blizzard, as expected, see things in a different light. While not addressing Letschew's specific allegations in this case, a spokesperson for the company tells Kotaku:

Bossland's entire business is based in cheating, and the use of their bots negatively impacts our global player community. That's why we do not tolerate cheating in our games, and it's why our players overwhelmingly support that policy. We've already won numerous cases against Bossland in Germany (where they're based), and despite their tactics to delay the ongoing proceedings and the related repercussions, we're confident that the court system will continue to validate our claims and ultimately stop the distribution of these cheating bots.

We'll continue to aggressively defend our games and services, within the bounds of the law, in an effort to provide the best possible experience for our players. We want to use this as an opportunity to remind players who might not be aware — using bots, such as those distributed by Bossland, to automate gameplay in our games will result in a loss of access to those games.

It's tough mustering much sympathy for people who try to make a living overtly and specifically cheating in a video game. But the courts aren't a place for sympathy, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


Comments

    Wouldn't the more culpable party be the freelancer who sold the stolen code?

      More culpable, sure, but not the most profitable.

    Would depend on if he was under contract or the specifications of his employment. He could of been employed to simply create the cheating program for the the company which would then have the rights to sell it, while at the same time not giving legal ownership of the code to bossland. There is also the matter of even if bossland does own the code of it, if was illegal to give it to blizzard to see. Blizzard aren't going to be creating a clone cheat program and on selling it. Blizzard will simply be utilizing the code to change their own product around it, much like how bossland creates their program to leach off Blizzards, if its not illegal for them to use knowledge of blizzard coding to enhance their own product, how can it be illegal for blizzard to do the same.

      I don't know what company you work for but it's pretty standard practice among most IT companies to include a clause in your contract that any invention or other creation, system, etc, that you create in the course of your employment becomes the exclusive property of your company and you no longer have any rights to it in any way. To sell it to another company is insider trading which is illegal.

        I agree that a clause in the contract to say all materials created on company time is retained as the property of said company is pretty standard (for what it's worth, I worked in recruitment and oversaw plenty of contracts for business of all sizes) - but the meat of his point has plenty of merit. While it certainly seems like insider trading to share internal product information with a third party - the fact that Blizzard is neither a competitor nor going to develop a similar product based on that knowledge is certainly some kind of grey area. Also the symbiotic nature of the original product (Blizzards code) and their product (code to augment Blizzard's) muddies the waters even further. Certainly doesn't seem clear enough for Bossland to claim the moral high ground so emphatically.

        EDIT: Change "symbiotic" to "parasitic" - any potential gains Bossland gives to Blizzard (more retained subscribers, more interest in the game) are toxic by nature.

        Last edited 23/11/15 2:21 am

    I think the main reason they're sung is because once Blizzard knows how their code works they can change things to stop it working.

      The main reason they are suing is because their shady grey hat product breached all kinds of moral lines in the first place and yet somehow managed to maintain a good enough ROI that now they don't want the teat to run dry. If they can't make money OFF Blizzard, they will make money FROM Blizzard. Real stand up guys, what a heartwarming underdog story.

    Promoting a way to cheat at competitive games is shit head behaviour. Simple as that.

    I used honorbuddy to max fishing back in the day, because fuck fishing.

      For 11 years of WoW fishing has been a consistently awful waste of time.

      Having Fishing nets on my navy has been far more enjoyable.

      I have enjoyed fishing in other games, I spent weeks fishing in games like Breath of Fire 3 rather than you know questing because it was so much fun.

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