Blizzard Awarded $88M Default Judgment Against Unauthorized World Of Warcraft Host
from the seems-a-wee-bit-excessive dept
Slashdot points us to the news that Blizzard/Activision have won a default judgment against the person behind Scapegaming, which ran an unauthorized World of Warcraft server for profit. The court ordered the site’s owner to pay “$3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney’s fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages.” The low number for attorney’s fees is because it was a default judgment (the server owner basically ignored the lawsuit), so there wasn’t much lawyering needed. The high number for statutory damages are because statutory damages in copyright law are insane and totally disproportionate to the actual acts.
The case has some similarities with the Blizzard/bnetd case, which still seems problematic to many. In the Slashdot comments, a bunch of folks have been quick to side with Blizzard, since Scapegaming was a for-profit entity, but at least one user notes that it was only via Scapegaming that he became a subscriber for Blizzard’s official World of Warcraft servers:
Played on it a long time ago when it was still known as WoWScape. It was the whole reason I actually started playing on retail, me and a good portion of my friends. Blizzard would have lost out on thousands of dollars from me and my friends if it wasn’t for them…. I honestly wonder about how much did Scapegaming make blizzard compared to how much it cost them. Wouldn’t be surprised if it did them more good than harm.
It’s a good point. I’ve never quite understood why these companies get so upset about unauthorized servers. It’s as if they’re admitting that they can’t offer service quite as good. Most people want to be on the official servers anyway, and as long as they keep improving the game and offering more value, people will keep coming. Let other servers run — even for profit — and use it as a way to recruit more people to the official servers. Suing them out of existence seems pointless.