Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
cheating, copyright, fortnite, parents, teenagers

Companies:
epic



Epic Decides To Double Down On Copyright For Cheating Lawsuit Against 14 Year Old By Taking On Mom

from the great-PR-you-have-there dept

When Blizzard decided to pretzel copyright law such that cheating in its online games constituted copyright infringement in a novel way that makes no sense, we warned that other game studios would join this insanity party and create a true judicial problem for the courts. Unfortunately for the world, we were right about that, and several other studios began claiming that such cheats broke EULAs and that this somehow resulted in copyright infringement, despite no actual copying occurring. Among those other studios was Epic, makers of the popular Fortnite game, but unique in that it managed to sweep up a 14 year old using a cheat in its lawsuits. The prospect of suing high school freshmen was likely not what EPIC had in mind with its lawsuits and, after the teen's mother responded to the court chastising the company for the lawsuit and also arguing that her son could not have agreed to the EULA as a minor, we noted what a massive PR nightmare this had become for Epic.

On top of all of this, a lawsuit against a fourteen year old simply for using a cheat for a video game is a public relations nightmare. On the other hand, Epic is in a horrible position. It would look odd to simply drop the suit against the fourteen year old because he's fourteen and still pursue the suits against the non-minor parties. Either what was done was either copyright infringement or it wasn't (it wasn't, but that's besides the point). The whole thing just looks... petty.

My assumption was honestly that Epic would run away from this lawsuit, given how horrible it would look taking on a teenager and his mom. Somewhat astonishingly, Epic did the exact opposite, served the teenager with a new version of its suit that redacted his name to his initials, and showed up in court. Neither the teen or his mother joined them and Epic asked for a default judgment. The court, however, refused to do so and instead decided to take the teen's mother's letter to the court as a request to have the case dismissed.

However, US District Court Malcolm Howard wouldn’t allow Epic to cruise to a win that easily. Instead, he ruled that the mother’s letter should be seen as a motion to dismiss the case.

“While it is true that defendant has not responded since proper service was effectuated, the letter from defendant’s mother detailing why this matter should be dismissed cannot be ignored,” Judge Howard wrote earlier this month.

Because of that, Epic again was faced with a choice. It could stop this insanity of suing a teenager for copyright infringement when no such infringement was committed, or it could respond in court to the angry, anguished plea of a teenager's mother. It chose again, unbelievably, to play the villain in this drama, and tripled down on its lawsuit. Its response mostly argues that the mom failed to make a legal claim in her letter, which, duh. It then goes on to claim that the teenager can't claim his status as a minor prevents him from signing the EULA because of all the benefits he got from signing it.

“This ‘infancy defense’ is not available to C.R,” Epic writes, pointing to jurisprudence where another court ruled that a minor can’t use the infancy defense to void contractual obligations while keeping the benefits of the same contract.

“C.R. affirmatively agreed to abide by Epic’s Terms and EULA, and ‘retained the benefits’ of the contracts he entered into with Epic. Accordingly, C.R. should not be able to ‘use the infancy defense to void [his] contractual obligations by retaining the benefits of the contract[s]’.”

I cannot stress enough how crazy this is on multiple fronts. The breaking of a EULA in this way is not copyright infringement. The claim in Epic's response is that the court should consider a teenager capable of entering a binding EULA, one which Epic theorizes cements copyright requirements, just because he played the game for which the EULA is written. And, ever present is the simple fact that Epic is going to all of these lengths to sue a fourteen year old that used a cheat in a video game. That's nearly insane enough to read like fiction, except that all of this has been done in a public court.

How any of this could possibly be worth the PR hit Epic is taking is beyond me.


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 9:53am

    Copyright

    It amazes me how many other articles cover this, but fail to point out that using a cheat is just a TOS violation and calling it a copyright is an incredible stretch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Boojum (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:01am

      Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

      It is DMCA logic. Because you broke the terms of service, your license was immediately revoked. Because your license to use the software was revoked. When you create a video of yourself playing you are copying the stream without having a license to play. Congrats, copyright infringement.

      I am a little bit surprised, however, that these articles seem to be trying to diminish what the boy did by saying "For just using a cheat in a video game." On reading the court documents, they are saying he did a lot more than that. That he kept promoting the link to the cheat and telling everyone to use it. That they kept cancelling his account and he kept creating new ones under fake names. So this isn't like he didn't know they objected to what he was doing and it's not like he wasn't promoting the cheat. I agree that suing him is a PR nightmare, but if we are going to talk about a court case we should at least be open about what was being done and not dismiss the actions.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

        It sounds like this kid is his own worse enemy. They should present his own streams as proof of his crimes. I 100% agree that normally it would be bad to prosecute a child, but this child demands it in his actions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:35am

        Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

        Because your license to use the software was revoked.

        Except people don't need a license to use software—"it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided: (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, or".... 17 USC §117 (2011)

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        • icon
          Boojum (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

          The courts don't agree that you don't need a license to use software. Please refer to the many Microsoft cases where people used the Microsoft OS without a license and got found guilty of criminal offense.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

            If a person uses a piece of software without a license and no one knows about it ... does anyone give a shit?

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          • icon
            DeComposer (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 3:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

            Actually, as a former Microsoft employee, I recall training in which the representative from Legal specifically stated that they never wanted to test the EULA in court.

            I strongly suspect that they never have taken the EULA as a legal argument in court and that there are no court cases in which Microsoft relied on the EULA for a victory or settlement.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

        I agree that suing him is a PR nightmare, but if we are going to talk about a court case we should at least be open about what was being done and not dismiss the actions.

        What was and was not being done I'd say. The actions you describe were likely annoying to the devs and other players, and likely violated the EULA, but they aren't going after him for EULA violations, they've going after him for copyright violations, and those are two very different things.

        If they want to go after him for violating the EULA then great, sounds like they've have a slam dunk case thanks to his own actions and words. Going after him for violating a copyright by spinning 'EULA violation=copyright violation' on the other hand is another thing entirely, and stands to cause notable harm outside this one case if a court buys it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

          Except, and this is key, he can not be legally bound to the EULA. And that ignores concerns that EULAs, in general, are only questionably enforceable, due to the leverage the company holds over you by the time you get the EULA's terms, and the non-negotiability of the contract..

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          • icon
            Boojum (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

            Acting as a devils advocate, if you can not legally agree to the contract then you can't legally use the software. If you still use the software you broke the law. If a minor breaks the law, the parent is responsible for restitution in many places. Thus, if your kid breaks someone's window (vandalism) the parents can be forced to pay for damages.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

              Breaking a window is not the same thing as using software without a license. One is vandalism and the other is a civil matter.

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            • icon
              G Thompson (profile), 2 May 2018 @ 2:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright - DMCA Logic

              Actually no,
              A minor can enter into a contract. The contract is just not legally binding in any way if the other party wants to enforce any terms. Unless, and here's the crux, the consideration is for ESSENTIAL purposes.

              Basically what you are looking at is Capacity, and no matter if a contract was signed, accepted, had consideration given or whatever, without capacity there can be no formation.

              As for breaking the law, I'm positive that even the USA under its Restatement (Second) of Contracts, a party cannot be criminally charged other than for exigent reasons having to do with undue influence or unconscionability/fraud.

              Though does EPIC understand s205 of that same restatement?

              tldr: Minors cannot be held to specific performance or breach for non essential contracts. Breaching a contract is NOT a criminal offence. Entering into a contract as a minor is not unlawful. Caveat venditor!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:51am

      Re: Copyright

      Not really.

      I saw this coming back when the US court system put legal contract weight behind "If you use this you agree to..." all or nothing EULAs. You break the TOS/EULA the contract is revoked which is the only grant of copyright you have via this sort of setup, therefore further use of the software is disallowed.

      This is basic contract law under the UCC. It's the same principle that allows the GPL to function.

      While these EULAs can certainly be onerous (Oracle's no benchmarks without us giving permission clause comes to mind) , no one is holding a gun to people's heads and saying "You WILL click ok and sign over your arm and leg". It's also not unreasonable to place anti-cheating language in a TOS/EULA to be able to legally ban cheaters. In short, if you don't like it, don't buy it.

      Richard Stallman was remarkably prescient in where copyright and corporate greed was headed in the software industry.

      So that little part where cheating wasn't copyright infringement thing? I wouldn't lay any wagers. The courts routinely uphold TOS/EULA as contract violations, contracts that are expressly intended to convey a limited copyright grant.

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      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re: Copyright

        This is basic contract law under the UCC.

        Nope.

        I mean, sure, in some instances. But not in the case of all those EULAs people see only AFTER they make a purchase. Or AFTER they open the packaging on software or a print cartridge. (Including the Lexmark agreement that states that you can't resell the cartridge you purchased because by opening it you agree that you don't own it.)

        Good luck upholding the EULAs on many web sites. American Airlines once required visitors to their website to click "I accept" on an EULA with 181 paragraphs. Even mentioning this probably violates the agreement, but somehow I don't expect to be sued for a copyright violation.

        Sure, the customer would have a hard time fighting say, any privacy violations that the agreement allows. But at the same time the web site owner would have a hard time going after the customer for anything IT didn't like, based on any assumption that the customer read the whole damned EULA. Or had an obligation to.

        In the news today here in Canada, a cable customer just won a victory over an EULA. He'd been quoted and agreed to a monthly price by Bell Canada. Then he was emailed an EULA stating that the promised price could be raised by Bell at any time. He wasn't having it, an neither was the court.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Copyright

          Can you imagine the outrage if someone were to purchase a new automobile only to find out after having read the EULA that they are not allowed to drive said vehicle in certain locales at certain times, must get all maintenance thru dealer, can not modify said vehicle in any way without permission and can not sell said vehicle without permission.

          As they add more software bullshit to the automobiles we drive, the above will happen. Now, how you react will determine our future. I like older vehicles for many reasons.

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          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 1:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright

            I'm honestly surprised (and happy) that we're not seeing more of this. "Chipped" oil filters, windshields, tires and whatnot based on precedents made where fewer people were paying attention, like "chipped" print cartridges.

            I expected much of this to show up with the switch to electric cars. With "Electric car!" being the response to people complaining that they never had to put up with it before.

            I suspect that Elon Musk has done us a big favor by not going down that path.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 7:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright

            ...must get all maintenance thru dealer, can not modify said vehicle in any way without permission...

            Which explains why the Magnuson-Moss Act was passed. It was because these things were being done. The old "Sorry, your motor is not covered under warranty since you did not use the dealer do the oil changes."

            Enacted in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service.

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    • identicon
      Bruce C., 30 Apr 2018 @ 1:04pm

      Re: Copyright

      Well, the downside of calling it a TOS violation is that if the violation is egregious enough, it could fall under the CFAA. Yes, some TOS violations have been ruled to not invoke the CFAA as a consequence, but that's not the same as saying any TOS violation is immune from CFAA prosecution. Using a cheat in a game is something that changes the behavior of the application in ways that (potentially) harms the developer and publisher running the servers -- they lose plenty of customers once their game gets known as a haven for cheaters.

      All of which makes me wonder why they're going after this family under copyright law in the first place?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:08am

    How does something that starts as a right to produce and sell copies get morphed into total control over all uses of all copies, along with insane penalties for minor issues. Does something to do with the very rich thinking that money entitles them to exercise control over everybody who has less money that they do?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      Yes, some actually think that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 2 May 2018 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      By way of saying "If you don't agree to this license, we won't let you have a copy in the first place", and then having the license say "By accepting this license, you contract not to use the copy we give you in any way which this license does not say is OK".

      That way, even though you don't initially need permission to use the item, you can't get the item without binding yourself to a requirement to have permission.

      If you violate the license, you've thereby violated the contract, and the penalty terms of the contract - which require you to cease using the item, and probably to destroy it - kick in. By the standards of contract law, those penalty terms can be enforced by a court.

      No actual copyright violation is involved at that point, although the companies will often pretend (and may sometimes convince a court) that one is; it's purely a question of contract law.

      The idea that such licenses can be valid and enforceable contracts is questionable, but if they can't, the companies which use such license agreements have apparently managed to avoid getting that tested in court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jinxed (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:16am

    "How any of this could possibly be worth the PR hit Epic is taking is beyond me."
    No one cares about this 14 year old cheater, which is why this isn't a "PR hit".

    Today's gamers are stupid beyond words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      Easy 'not to care' when you don't know about it, which I imagine most don't(I certainly would have never have heard about it if TD hadn't covered the case), it has nothing to do with intelligence or lack thereof.

      It's certainly true that a section of 'gamers' don't care about what the company they're buying from do, but the same could be said of movie goers, people who buy music from major labels, buy from large non-game companies... why, it's almost as though it's a 'stupid' people problem rather than a stupid gamers problem, yet while articles like this are all but guaranteed to gather at least one 'stupid gamers' comment, the same response for those other groups tends to be rather sparse if not lacking entirely.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      Today's gamers are stupid beyond words.

      Really? There's what, millions of people who could be classified as "Today's gamers"? Some of which compete professionally and are considered experts and masters of their respective games they play (by definition not stupid), and you're going to sit there and call them ALL "stupid beyond words"? Not to mention many of these people also are extremely smart in other areas of life as well.

      One 14 year old does not an entire people group make.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Yup, it makes things much easier for those lazy folk to simply pigeon hole everyone into stereotypes that they know about rather than bothering their brain with attempting to understand the world around them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      The voice of ignorance making an opinion about something they know nothing about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:24am

    There just being tough on crime

    Why didn't they charge him with a CFAA violation? that's what he did, lock him up , better yet send him to GITMO that's where these sorts of budding super predators belong

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:36am

    This kid is a POS

    I initially was questioning why Epic would be doing this, but after reading through the case, 100% agree with them.

    This kid is a giant asshole and his mother enabled him to become this blight on humanity. She tries to ignore the summons and court paperwork not realizing that if her delinquent child is not responsible, she is.

    He is actively cheating and streaming himself cheating while linking to the cheat he uses and advocating its use.

    He thinks that his age will protect him from consequences and his mother is under the same delusion. I hope they both end up unable to use electronics for years as a result.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:44am

      You don't punish one jerk by being a bigger one

      So if he's an asshole for cheating in a game, something that in the end of the day isn't going to impact much beyond that, what does calling for the kid and his mother to lose the use of all electronics for a year, something which has much wider impact on personal and professional levels qualify as?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 11:50am

        Re: You don't punish one jerk by being a bigger one

        he just needs a way to prove he is an even bigger POS than that kid.

        All they need to do is just ban the kids... that is it! No need to go after the Mother, they both sound like the kind of people that will make their own lives miserable without any additional help.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: You don't punish one jerk by being a bigger one

          They tried. They specifically banned this 1 specific kid 14 different times that they know of.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:48pm

      Re:

      The fact remains that the kid is a minor and can not legally enter into a contract. Trying to use that as a way to go after him or his mother is stupid and a really bad idea.

      Now, I'm not saying that the kid should necessarily get away with what he did but there are already tools in place to deal with this. Like BANNING his user account from the game. The kid didn't technically break any laws, certainly not copyright laws. He just cheated. He should be banned and perhaps his mother should have a long talk with him about honor and good sportsmanship.

      Past that, do we really want to go down the road of criminally punishing teens that simply cheated in a game? What counts as cheating? Using third party tools? Or just making use of easter eggs or glitches in the game that haven't been patched yet? Does that mean that all beta testers are now criminals? What about the guy who accidentally discovers the glitch and reports it? Is he criminally liable now too?

      This is like saying grade school bullies should have criminal rap sheets because they did and said mean things on the playground. Major overreaction to a stupid kid doing stupid things that affect no one outside the game. Grow a thicker skin, ban his account, and move on.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re:

        To stave off the inevitable "civil not criminal" comments, yes I understand copyright laws are a civil not criminal matter in most cases. However, it doesn't matter. It's still a major overreaction and if it sticks it will affect the kid and his mom/family likely for the rest of their lives.

        Or do you think forcing the kid (and ultimately his mom, because let's admit it, the kid probably doesn't have a job, nor any money) to pay tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars is not going to drastically change their lives? Not to mention it will set a dangerous precedent that we will all come to regret down the road.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:49pm

      Re: This kid is a POS

      “Blight on humanity.” A little over dramatic and rather undermines anything else your pearl clutching, fainting couch having, snowflake ass has to say.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 4:22pm

      Re: This kid is a POS

      I hope Epic pays you more than you deserve for posting this comment.

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    • icon
      JMT (profile), 1 May 2018 @ 8:58pm

      Re: This kid is a POS

      "This kid is a giant asshole and his mother enabled him to become this blight on humanity."

      He cheated at a video game. Say that repeatedly to yourself until the worldly insignificance sinks in. I love gaming but appreciate how low it ranks in the the list of things humanity is blighted by.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:07pm

    "Accordingly, C.R. should not be able to ‘use the infancy defense to void [his] contractual obligations by retaining the benefits of the contract[s]’.”"

    If only there were some way to remove his ability to gain the benefits of the contract.

    Maybe one day someone will discover a way to restrict a user's access to a program.

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    • icon
      Boojum (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 12:58pm

      Re: Blocking users

      According to the court documents, they DID block him dozens of times. He kept creating accounts using fake data and streaming the game.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re: Blocking users

        Right. Their inadequate systems failed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 2:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

          Oh please, don't act like you wouldn't be clutching your pearls at scary privacy concerns if they instituted some form of real ID requirement to play.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

            You got some proof for that accusation? Or are you just clutching at pearls yourself?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 3:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

              That's not really how that works, but I'll bite your line to expand on my quip. The OP in this string implied that banning the user should have been the end result of the user working around the EULA, to which it was explained that the user is dodging the bans using faulty info.

              He then said it was the fault of their inadequate systems, to which I am saying that short of instituting onerous data collection and retention requirements, it's not *that* unreasonable to escalate to litigation to keep a habitual and obsessive abuser off their platform. Also with TechDirts commenters ideas about privacy and data collection in mind, a RealID-like approach would be seen as overly intrusive to the non-offending playerbase, especially in the shadow of Facebook's fiasco.

              So if we go with the OP's logic, that leaves A) Lawsuit, B) Do nothing and let this kid keep up his garbage ruining matches for thousands of players. If you think B isn't an issue, please refer to the myriad of complaints regarding PUBG's lack of action towards their cheating population.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 5:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                So you’re saying your hypothetical is a hypothetical. And you also jumped a whole lot of steps in putting words in the ACs moth. And you overreacted, as if you were clutching at something. Glad we got that sorted.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 6:27pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                  What's it like? Picking fights over a point only you seem aware of, that is.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 3:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

            Yes, the only two methods of blocking users are definitely "block their account and do literally nothing else to prevent them from making another account" or "implement real ID requirements."

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 4:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

              Throw some shit at the wall, let's see what sticks. You start.

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              • icon
                Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 4:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                OK, not the AC you relied to, but rather than a lawsuit why not an algorithm that 'dumps' people who are using the 'cheat'? The cheat must have some characteristics that are recognizable, so recognize them and log them off. Let them log back in as often as the can find a new ID and/or IP, but then just dump them when the 'cheat' is recognized. This company has some programmers...right? Put them to work, instead of the courts.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 5:08pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                  Cheat detection works on pattern recognition, but not the kind that you can just whip up an if then and call it a day. We're talking patterns that only differentiate themselves from a good player after a while, meanwhile they're ruining games the entire time. This way is effective at making sure you're hitting cheaters and not legit users, but is very very slow and is criticized by users a lot.

                  The other way is much maligned (for good reasons or not, depending on your privacy opinions. 'round here it's bad), where they look at things like your active processes or what's accessing memory to see if you're using known cheats. This way is a lot more effective, but is more on the cat-and-mouse game side of things, as if you ban too quickly, the hack makers know what you're looking for and adjust. So typically these go out in banwaves, which is slow as well, but also keeps your cards hidden so as not to tip off what it is you're spotting.

                  Neither of these are effective at stopping people like this kid. As an aside, I just want to point out that you pretty much said Epic should nerd harder to stop game cheaters. It's not that simple.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 5:49pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                    Thank you for the response. I am not a programmer, so to some degree I was guessing. In the end though, I do think that in instances like these there might be some way to 'nerd harder' rather than going to court. I don't know the answer, but this isn't like breaking encryption either, where there is no 'nerd harder' answer. There might not be here either. But I wonder about how player identification takes place, and if there isn't an opportunity there. That is, in such a way that one does not piss off their entire community.

                    I only 'played' one online 'game', and it wasn't a game so much. There were hundreds of thousands users, worldwide for this game, but politics came into the middle and I lost interest. While I miss the worldwide community that was formed around this 'game', my leaving was their loss, not mine. I could have created another ID and rejoined, but...

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 6:35pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                      There's definitely room for improvement, for sure. However it seems the avenue right now seems to be more invasive computer searches. There are anti-cheat programs that take some unique approaches (one sends screenshots every now and then as evidence gathering) but it remains a plodding science.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 6:28pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                    " you pretty much said Epic should nerd harder to stop game cheaters."

                    Well .... Epic is the one who wants the nerd harder end product - not the poster to which you replied.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 6:37pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                      I'm afraid I don't follow, could you explain what I missed?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2018 @ 2:13am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                        You don’t understand, well anything about this thread. Maybe you should stop posting tour ignorance and crack open a book or two c

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    aaron, 1 May 2018 @ 6:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blocking users

                    Easy, bro. Not everyone's technical. And by the way, it really is that simple. If they want to protect their game, Epic's going to have to invest a sizable amount in "nerding harder."

                    If they want their game to stay premium status, they need to hire the best programmers/consultants out there to stay a step ahead of these kids. Again, it is that simple. It's just that expensive (and that's the point).

                    Epic is doing the right thing in pursuing this kid. His code could spread like wildfire, especially if someone buys it off him and distributes it for free.

                    Fornite is all the rage right now, and if things progress as expected, it will stay that way for a very long time. On the other hand, if cheating gets out of control, this game could be an afterthought within months. A shift even the slightest in that direction is a loss in hundreds of thousands, and quite easily millions of dollars of future profits.

                    Make no mistake, their game is at major risk. It's not easy being at the top, it's even harder to stay there.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon E Mouse, 30 Apr 2018 @ 1:06pm

    "Simply for using a cheat" is a bold lie. Looking at the court documents shows the kid doing a lot more than that. In short, he's a terrible human bean and deserves something bad happening to him.

    On the other hand, this is definitely not what copyright is for. I believe Justice Howard is going to make Epic weep.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2018 @ 2:06pm

    like MS over the backup disks and every other big company, it is gonna do whatever it takes to get a win! none of them like or are willing to lose and while you've got stupid, really ignorant judges presiding over cases they have absolutely no understanding of, they will win and will continue to win! and dont forget, the USA is a company/corporation/industry paradise now and it will stay like that as long as you have someone in charge who thinks only about businesses!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Apr 2018 @ 5:12pm

    The twinkie defense, the Wookie defense now...

    The Letter from Mom defense.

    It must happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nonymous, 30 Apr 2018 @ 5:15pm

    He's a kid for christ's sake

    He can't be held liable for a contract (period). I predict the judge will come to that conclusion as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2018 @ 9:23am

      Re: He's a kid for christ's sake -- I doubt he's for Christ!

      He can't be held liable for a contract (period). I predict the judge will come to that conclusion as well.

      Had you READ and UNDERSTOOD, "nonymous": it's not allowed to at same time get benefits from a contract if ineligible to make contract. The situation has already been met and countered in law.

      I predict an Epic win.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        aaron, 1 May 2018 @ 6:18pm

        Re: Re: He's a kid for christ's sake -- I doubt he's for Christ!

        I do too. I just hope they don't go after money. They'd be screwing his parents. Give him one last warning in front of a judge. If he does it again, sue him blind.

        This kid is a major threat to Epic. And what he's doing is clearly violating the EULA. I don't even care that there's precedence with failed 'infancy defense.' even if there werent precendence, the judge should create it here.

        Epic win guaranteed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 2 May 2018 @ 9:43am

          Re: tl;dr

          This kid is a major threat to Epic. And what he's doing is clearly violating the EULA.

          Then why is Epic suing him for copyright infringement?

          I don't even care that there's precedence

          Obviously. If you cared about precedent, you'd know what it was called.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2018 @ 11:49pm

        Re: Re: He's a kid for christ's sake -- I doubt he's for Christ!

        You try so hard, blue. It's almost cute to watch you cocksuck for corporations if it wasn't already so miserably pathetic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 1 May 2018 @ 1:29pm

    All this about blockibg and realID and what not at tge user end.
    No mention of the nature of the so called cheat and what if anything the dedigners have done to button their drawers agaìnst such an exploit. Oh wait that takes time money and actual technical competence, the latter surely lacking on the administration side. Spend money on lawyers and not bother fixing the leaky boat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Aaron, 1 May 2018 @ 6:11pm

    Sounded Absurd, then I read the case document...

    I highly doubt the author read Epic's response to C.R.'s motion to dismiss. This isn't one kid typing in a few cheat codes....

    This is a kid that is not only hacking into Epics SERVERS and modifying the game (and thus ruining the game for everyone he encounters (thousands of players)), he's spreading the hack all over the GLOBE through his youtube channel. This is a HUGE DEAL for Epic.

    This case is absolutely legitimate. I've never played the game, but I've seen it being played. I tell you, this is a masterpiece in software form. Thousands of hours of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software...Millions in potential profit (They are in pseudo-beta phase still)

    Many games like it have been shattered by hackers in this same way. The residual effects could ABSOLUTELY be losses reaching millions of dollars. That is absolutely not hyperbole.

    That said, they should't lay the hammer down. Give the kid one last warning. No need to do that to his parents. Plus, the message will be loud and clear for all other hackers as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 1 May 2018 @ 6:54pm

      Re: Sounded Absurd, then I read the case document...

      Hmmm...if kid-hackers are ruining games all over the place then it sounds like a security problem. Given we're not seeing banks getting crashed by servers left and right maybe it's time to implement better crypto, rather than blaming children.

      Oh wait, in the US High-Bandwidth ISP providers have decided to put all their money into buying out the government rather than upgrading their bandwidth...

      So maybe its time to start investing into single-player games again, rather than (again) blaming children for corporate failings.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        aaron, 1 May 2018 @ 7:27pm

        Re: Re: Sounded Absurd, then I read the case document...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Aaron, 1 May 2018 @ 7:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Sounded Absurd, then I read the case document...

          You'd have my vote! I've given up on video game for the most part because I suck terribly playing online.

          You make valid points - that said, it's no one group's fault. Exploiting gaming software is a reality in any online multiplayer. Just like there will always be criminals who exploit businesses, people, there will be cheaters who exploit the software for personal gain and at the detriment of the game itself.

          If anything, this is a result of a lack in technological innovation. Infrastructure is outdated, deadlines need to be met, so we stick with the same development paradigms that have been around since the beginning of the internet.

          Banks are a whole 'nother story. They are federally mandated to have a certain level of security. Not to mention, their data is static. It just sits their with the exception of highly secured money transfers, withdrawals.

          In games, out systems are receive and sending data in mass. When a player presses a button and performs and action, the other player 1000 miles away needs to register that action immediately. The integrity of the game (the game itself) only exists with seamless integration. Tightened security inevitably bottlenecks the systems and renders the game unplayable.

          Always remember, were talking about an international company with 700 employees. It may just be a game, but that's 700-ish families that this game, in large part, is supporting.

          Out of control cheating ruins the game and players will simply move onto the next - unless it's under control.

          What this kid is doing is not innocent. It's highly malicious - he's SELLING the exploit. Make no mistake, he's a significant threat to the company.

          They aren't chasing him with this lawsuit for fun....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Johnny travolta, 2 May 2018 @ 8:29am

    The kid is 14 epic you fucked for this god damn you a bunch of headasses that’s like sueing your own kid but whatever

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 3:17pm

    Epic stupidity!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 12 May 2018 @ 4:52pm

    When Blizzard decided to pretzel copyright law such that cheating in its online games constituted copyright infringement in a novel way that makes no sense, we warned that other game studios would join this insanity party and create a true judicial problem for the courts. Unfortunately for the world, we were right about that, and several other studios began claiming that such cheats broke EULAs and that this somehow resulted in copyright infringement, despite no actual copying occurring.

    Copyright infringement is now anything the copyright owners decide it is. If they don't like this article, it's copyright infringement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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