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.

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  1. icon
    DigThatFunk(Scottie V) (profile), 17 Aug 2010 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I agree with some of that, for sure, "...offering new and unique content," always a good idea, and as someone already said, one of the finest methods of implementing DRM in a non-intrusive way. But the problem comes in, I think, in that there's only so much that gamers will care about enough to pay that extra service fee per month.

    On the first point, I think that "Running the official server", simply isn't enough for a lot of people. It's almost a moot point, as a lot of gamers aren't honorable enough to play the server, simply because it's "official".

    Ease of access and use is definitely important, but I think that if they don't litigate here, then wouldn't ease of access/use increase for, at least this specific server site, if not all unofficial servers? That's what I imagine they're attempting to impede.

    Now, I agree in that I think Blizzard mishandled this. They would've been much better off seeing this demand for more/different servers, and incorporated this into their current system. But, they must have their reasons, silly or not...and being bad at business decisions doesn't make a company evil, just stupid haha.

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