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Epic Games Settles With Cheating Minor To End Lawsuit

from the game-over dept

Update: The original post, retained below, included an error referencing a previous Techdirt article that was about a different case with a different minor in a dispute with Epic Games. While that case dealt with a defendant referred to in court documents only as "C.R.", this case dealt with a defendant referred to in court documents only as "C.B.". I apologize for the error, although the rest of the content in the post remains relevant. Additionally, the case against "C.R." is ongoing.

At long last, the PR nightmare for Epic Games is over. Kind of. You will recall that the company went on a lawsuit blitz over those that develop and/or promote cheats for Epic's hit game Fortnite. While one can understand that the company was salty over cheat enablers for its online shooter, given that disruption by cheaters makes the game less fun and therefore less popular, the fact is that Epic also fought this battle on claims that such cheats violate copyright and the license provided by the game's Terms of Service. These are claims that need to be tested, and hopefully defeated, in court, because they are a twisting of copyright law into the worst kind of pretzel.

One of the cheaters Epic sued, at the time without knowing so, was a 14 year old minor. That young man also appears to have been both rude and brazen throughout the lawsuit process, which at various points involved his mother trying to get the court to dismiss the case and Epic arguing that indeed a minor can enter into a ToS contract with the company. The fact that Epic pushed this so hard and for so long was fairly bizarre, given just what a PR nightmare suing a minor over this sort of thing should have been.

Well, that nightmare is now over, as there is reportedly a settlement between the two parties.

With both sides choosing not to back off, the lawsuit seemed destined for a drawn-out fight. But it didn’t get to that. Behind the scenes, the parties came together to settle their differences without court intervention. This has now resulted in a settlement that’s formalized through an order of approval by the court.

With help from pro bono attorneys and his mother Kari as a General Guardian, C.B. reached a confidential settlement with Epic Games. It’s unclear whether there is a damages amount involved, but both sides have dropped their (counter)claims, effectively ending the dispute.

All claims of what might be in the settlement are pure speculation. That said, it's tough to imagine the young man's family accepting any crippling damages, if any money was exchanged at all. Far more likely is that the settlement includes a promise by the minor to no longer engage in any of the behavior Epic found troublesome and perhaps some legal fees.

Frankly, anything beyond that would be more PR trouble for Epic.

Filed Under: cheating, copyright, fortnite
Companies: epic games


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 6:07pm

    Ummm…

    At long last, the PR nightmare for Epic Games is over. Kind of.

    As long as it doesn't involve the Epic Game Store gobbling up exclusives at the last minute that were going to be on other stores…

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    The Flying Subpoenas Brothers, 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:09pm

    CHEATING. Are you for cheating?

    Well, you mostly rail at Epic if so, Timmy.

    Clearly the kid's "pro bono" attorneys decided that defending a cheater and promoter of cheating is just not worth their time.

    What you think is just awful heaps of bad PR that will damage the brand forever doesn't seem to have affected the game. Maybe you should re-calibrate by getting away from JUST reading gamer's views!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:11pm

      Re: Ignorant motherfuckers are for cheating

      How was your latest 5150 hold bro?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:17pm

      Maybe you should talk about how you feel about corporations using copyright to censor speech. 🤔

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:21pm

      Re:

      If the lawyers decided that defending a kid was not worth their time... why would they not have simply just left him in the deep end, instead of working to make the process finish as expeditiously and painlessly as possible?

      The bottom line is a corporation sued a child. It's the playground equivalent of a bully beating up a weaker kid because he kicked a ball with the wrong foot while wearing glasses. I don't know what universe you think this looks good in, but it is very telling that you stand at the side of the corporation. Hmmm.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:31pm

        You’ll have to forgive Blue Balls. His brain is fried from having to deal with the cognitive dissonance of hating corporate censorship in general but also loving corporate censorship via copyright. With that kind of frazzled mind, it’s no wonder he switches his feelings for corporations depending on how he needs to figuratively hatefuck Techdirt(’s comment section).

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:12am

          Re:

          That's why he bounces through so many names. He had to develop multiple personalities to support his conflicting opinions.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 9 Oct 2019 @ 8:54pm

    I'm sorry..

    But, not details, no story. You have to do better than this.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 9:36pm

      There are details, just not ALL of them

      TD has covered the story in the past over the course of multiple articles, not covering that it had ended just because the settlement details weren't made public would be rather absurd and set a standard that would bar reporting on a great many things just because TD didn't have access to every little detail.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 11:59pm

      Re: I'm sorry..

      The full story is linked from this one. I'm sorry you're too lazy to click it and instead expect people to type everything over and over to save your delicate fingers, but there we are.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:39am

      Re: I'm sorry..

      The details don't support the author's narrative about the case though, so...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 9:30pm

    If my kid ever got to the point that a gaming company sued him for his aggressive online cheating and major violations of TOS. He would get a perma ban from playing that game after his month long ban from playing any video games.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 6:40am

    I wonder how much Epic had to pay to get this to go away without admitting defeat..

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      Zero dollars, aside from eating most of their own legal expenses. Epic got everything they wanted with the settlement, and the kid's mom probably paid some token legal fees.

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

      • icon
        crade (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re:

        Reference?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The TorrentFreak article linked by Timothy.

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

          • icon
            crade (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 2:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, it says the settlement is confidential and they don't know what is in it.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2019 @ 6:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I understand you like to imagine this as some kind of David vs Goliath scenario and want a kid to best the big evil company. But think for a moment about this particular kid and his mother's behavior right up until the settlement.

              They have been utterly unrepentant and firm in their belief that Epic has no recourse to prevent the kid from continuing to abuse their game. They have pro bono legal counsel, and even if Epic won at trial they were never going to get a big monetary judgement.

              I think it's incredibly unlikely that a 14-year old troll and his self-righteous, enabling mother would agree to a confidential settlement if things were proceeding in their favor, especially not when the kid has now ceased all infringing behavior despite refusing to do so before.

              Epic got everything they wanted. The kid's cheat site is down. He's not uploading videos anymore, and his mother is now directly on the hook to ensure he abides by the terms of the settlement.

              I'm curious what leads you to imagine Epic would settle and actually reward this family for their behavior, when they had no real reason to do so.

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

              • icon
                crade (profile), 11 Oct 2019 @ 7:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I don't know any more about it than you do, it's just by the way you made that assertion you made it sound like you weren't guessing and I thought I had missed some actual facts listed in there.

                I'm not imagining, I'm just always suspicious whenever there is a confidential settlement who wants to cover the result of the settlement and why. I figure Epic is almost guaranteed to be the one pushing for it to be confidential in this case. This is not a standalone case for them so I also figure if the settlement actually punished the cheaters in basically any way whatsoever they would want that public to deter future cheaters.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2019 @ 8:16am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  My mistake for assuming, apologies.
                  You are most correct that this is not a standalone case. The other suits seemed to also include confidentiality and the condition that all infringing behavior cease, which is really the only thing we know has happened here. It may be that the kid has simply agreed to abide by Epic's original terms now for some reason.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 6:53am

    You guys keep calling this a PR "nightmare" for Epic, but I have literally never heard it brought up by anyone but tech news sites. I do a lot of gaming, and I've had to sit through a lot of rants about Epic, but nobody seems to care about this kid being sued. At all.
    I actually respect Epic more for not backing down. The kid acted like a complete shit, and his mom was no better.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:53am

    Headline should actually read "Cheating Minor Settles With Epic Games To End Lawsuit".

    Epic pushed for settlements with all of these lawsuits right from the start. The kid's cheat sites are down, and he is no longer posting cheat videos on YouTube, which is exactly what Epic was after.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Oct 2019 @ 10:04am

    BAN HIM!

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 10:59am

    Epic. isnt it?

    I love the idea that its a closed case and Now we cant see the outcome of who did what...
    WHICH would give other cheaters a way out.

    I still say they should take all the cheaters and Stick them into a cheaters server.. It would be great.

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


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