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The Lawbringer: A rookie's guide to the TOU

Welcome to the Lawbringer, Wow.com's weekly guide to the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm Amy Schley, a new law school graduate and your tour guide through the rabbit hole of contracts, copyrights and other craziness.

Greetings again! We're on part three of an examination of the various legal documents to which we must consent in order to play our beloved World of Warcraft. Parts one and two examined the End User License Agreement; this segment will look at the Terms of Use ("TOU").

The first thing you'll notice as you examine the TOU is that it is quite similar to the EULA. This is by design -- while one of the EULA's provisions is to agree to the Terms of Use, the repetition increases the likelihood we'll actually read it. There are quite a few differences, including the code of conduct and the naming policy.

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The Lawbringer: This MMO is too addictive! I'm suing!


Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly guide to the intersection between law and the World of Warcraft. I'm Amy Schley, newly graduated law student and your tour guide through the quirky world of copyrights, contracts and crazy lawsuits.

One of the many joys of going to law school is that you know every lawyer joke known to man, and your friends and family feel a need to inform you of the latest crazy lawsuit. While nothing will ever top Mayo v. Satan and His Staff for sheer silliness (by both plaintiff and judge), a new case making the rounds comes close. Someone is suing an MMORPG for being addictive.

That's right. A Mr. Craig Smallwood, former player of Lineage II, is suing NCsoft for negligently creating an addictive game, for failing to warn him that the game was addictive and for blocking him from the game, causing him to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms that prompted hospitalization and thrice-weekly counseling sessions. More facts and analysis after the break; all information comes from the judge's recent opinion.

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The Lawbringer: Rookie's guide to the EULA, part 2

Welcome to the Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly examination of the intersection between law and the World of Warcraft. Your tour guide is Amy Schley, recent law school grad.

Last week, we looked at the first half of the EULA -- the license limitations, the steps to terminate the agreement and a few other provisions. This week is the back half of the EULA -- the warranties, conflict resolution provisions and miscellaneous provisions.

Export controls

Section 8 prohibits the export and sale of the game to countries the United States has embargoed or persons that are on the "Specially Designated Nationals" list, essentially a list of terrorist organizations. Alas, this means that we won't be settling the War on Terror with world PvP death match.

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Private server company forced to pay Blizzard $88 million

A judge in the California Central District Court ruled Thursday that Scapegaming, also known as Alyson Reeves, has lost its lawsuit against Blizzard. Scapegaming had set up private Blizzard servers that included a microtransactions market. Blizzard sued them in October 2009 for copyright infringement.

As we've covered here before, private servers are a violation of license limitations of the EULA. Blizzard considers any violation of those license limitations to be copyright infringement and sues people for such. Furthermore, Blizzard established in the "Bnetd" case that crafting software to set up a private server is a copyright infringement all on its own.

The total reward of $88,594,589 comes from $3,053,339 of inappropriate profits, $63,600 of attorney's fees, and $85,478,600 of statutory damages. Statutory damages are damages required by law that are increased for willful and commercially based infringement. Scapegaming may appeal the amount.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

The Lawbringer: A rookie's guide to the EULA


Welcome to the Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly exploration of the intersection of the World of Warcraft and the law. Acting as your tour guide is Amy Schley, just returned from Hell the bar exam.

Hello again! To kick off the return of the Lawbringer, we're going to move into rookie guide territory. Now, I know, I know -- your rogue "High Warlord Pwnyoo" is ready and willing to gank my mains, my alts and even my husband's toons for calling you a rookie. But by a show of hands, how many of you have actually read the EULA instead of just scrolling down to the bottom to click "Accept"?

Given the paucity of hands raised out there, I figure it's time for a rookie's guide to the End User License Agreement.

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Around Azeroth: Goodbye, Mirage Raceway

The sun is setting on our beloved racetrack. No more will we be running around it, collecting debris, scaring humans disguised as chickens and eating Tigul and Foror's Strawberry ice cream. Goodbye, Mirage Raceway!

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, Val'kyr on mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran. Older screenshots can be found here.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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The Lawbringer: New Battle.net TOU


Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly examination of the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a new law school grad, acting as your tour guide when I manage to steal a few hours from my bar prep.

The times, they are achangin' ... Spring goes to summer, people graduate, and new patches come out. Sometimes, though, it's not just the code being updated. If you've logged onto Battle.net in the last few weeks, you have been greeted by banners announcing this change. This week, we'll be examining what has changed in the Battle.net TOU.

(Mea culpa -- I promised that this week we'd be looking at the MDY v. Blizzard arguments. I should be able to get to them next week, but finding linkable source material is proving difficult. If anyone from MDY or Blizzard is reading this, would you be so kind to post your appellate arguments online and send me a link?)

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The Lawbringer: MDY v. Blizzard Q & A

Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a new law school grad, acting as your tour guide after escaping the rapping, taco-eating armadillos of my bar prep class.

Last week's timeline of the MDY v. Blizzard case seemed to prompt more questions than it answered. Therefore, I want to take this week to go through the many questions and comments that were left on the site or emailed to me.

Sean asked:

"Can you explain the unfair competition claim? As the only one that MDY won (far as I can tell), it's interesting in its own right."

Blizzard alleged that MDY's business practices of selling a product that encouraged people to violate their EULA & TOU was a willful and knowing violation of Arizona's Unfair Competition Law. MDY moved for summary judgment and Blizzard didn't oppose the motion. MDY "won" by default.

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The Lawbringer: The history of Blizzard and MDY (Glider)

It's a Glider! Sorry, that's as good as the jokes are going to get. Greetings from The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection between law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a newly minted law school grad acting as your tour guide between bar prep sessions.

In the last two weeks, we looked at the difference between purchases and licenses. This is of vital importance as a major bit of cyberlaw plays out in the Ninth Circuit, namely the next stages of MDY v. Blizzard, Vernor v. Autodesk, and UMG v. Augusto. Today seems like an excellent time to review the case of MDY v. Blizzard, as we've covered the other two a bit. My source for this history will be the excellent collection of files at Justicia.com, which includes all documents filed in the district court of Arizona in this case.

Let's get started!

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The Lawbringer: License v. Purchase -- Sgt. Joe Friday Edition

Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a recent law school grad acting as your tour guide and trying not to think about the Bar Exam in a few weeks.

Last week's discussion of seems to have left many of y'all rather confused. The occasional hazard of having an idea that is fun to write is discovering that it isn't always as much fun to read, so I apologize for that. This week we'll be skipping the dramatization about License v. Purchase issues to get just the facts, ma'am.

(If you were one of those who really enjoyed last week, you might want to check out my fiction.)

We'll begin by noting that the program of World of Warcraft comes with an End User License Agreement. While vocabulary isn't everything, one has a difficult time arguing that the relationship isn't a license when one has signed a license agreement.

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