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Posts with tag DMCA

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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Scope of copyrights


Welcome to the Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a newly minted J.D. acting as your crossing guard.

Greetings from the other side of graduation! The sun is shining, tons of Cataclysm spoilers await and now I don't have to arrange my WoW-ing and writing around my study schedule. Given that, it's time to get back into our examination of copyright law.

Two weeks ago, we looked at what can get a copyright, namely: literary works; musical works and accompanying words; dramatic works and accompanying music; pantomimes and choreography; pictorial, graphical and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. But knowing what can be covered by a copyright doesn't explain what a copyright gives an author.

A copyright is actually a bundle of separate rights:
  1. right to make copies
  2. right to distribute copies
  3. right to create derivative works
  4. right to perform or display
  5. right to anticircumvention of the measures taken to prevent copying
  6. moral rights, including rights of attribution and the right to avoid mutilation

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Blizzard responds to the Glider decision

Blizzard (via Nethaera) has released a nice long statement on the Glider outcome over on the forums. She basically runs through the history of the case and why Blizzard is against what Glider is doing, and why going through the courts was the only route left to them. She says that Warden (though called only "security measures") was enabled in response to player concerns about bots, and that when the MDY/Glider people circumvented Warden, their only recourse was to seek an injunction through the courts, which, as we've reported recently, they plan to have soon.

She does say that Blizzard won based on the judge's decision that MDY did violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but Neth doesn't go any further into the issue, and doesn't elaborate at all on what might happen if this case is used as a precedent against other types of Terms of Use violations. As you might expect from an official Blizzard telling of the tale, the case is seen as a victory for Blizzard and their players -- for them, it's all about keeping bots out of Azeroth, and this decision will definitely help them do that.

And that's obviously not a bad thing -- most players will agree that MDY was allowing players to cheat (by letting the game play automatically without them in control), and thus preventing the client from being used in-game is a good thing. It's just that DMCA issue that might be a nagging problem -- we'll have to see what happens with that in the future.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The Glider outcome and copyright law

Well, as you may have heard, Blizzard has all but finished off Glider -- pending one more appeal (which doesn't seem likely to win), Glider is getting shut down for good next week. Good news for Blizzard, but not so good for copyfighters? Blizzard used a controversial argument for copyright in its case -- they claimed that by circumventing the ToS, the Glider folks were actually breaking copyright law, and an interest group called Public Knowledge didn't take kindly to that. They argued that a decision for Blizzard would mean that any software developer could then prevent any customer from doing anything they didn't want to do, just by calling it a copyright infrigement. Blizzard responded that "buying" your WoW software was actually "licensing" it, but of course that didn't settle anyone down.

And now, Glider has lost -- so what next?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Blizzard legal targets private servers

Privately run WoW servers have been dropping like flies in the last day or so after receiving letters from Blizzard's lawyers under the DMCA. They've been shut down so quickly and rapidly that it's being heralded as "the end of private servers" by quite a few people. The biggest and most well known servers such as Toxic WoW and Ani-WoW are more or less all gone already, and it seems that it's only a matter of time before the smaller ones go down as well. Supposedly, this letter has a pretty long list of sites and servers that are to be taken down.

Some of these sites have just called it a day, shut down their servers and will move on with their lives, but a few others are already talking about starting them back up elsewhere, 'underground.' It's the internet, and at this point, that just seems silly. Blizzard is watching, and it seems this issue has moved up a notch on their priority list. My advice? Don't tempt fate.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard 1, BC rumor sites 0


The pluralization is a bit pre-emptive here, as only one site I know of has had its contents pulled offline due to Blizzard's requests. That site, the Caverns of Time, was a great compilation of rumors and occasionally legitimate information about the upcoming expansion (the screenshot above, pulled from the site, was obviously not an accurate representation of the druid changes). They've received notice from Blizzard giving them 48 hours to remove contents of the site or else face "formal action," and they seem to have complied. You can check the site, still, for a copy of what I assume is Blizzard's complaint. Ah well -- I'm sure three sites will spring up tomorrow to replace it, thus providing us a steady stream of interesting Burning Crusade gossip!

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions

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