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Posts with tag EULA

The Lawbringer: Glider's Neverending Story

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Back in October, I made the case that Blizzard was in the best position to fight for a stronger EULA because it has the money, industry sway, and a very specific set of lawsuits pending that could allow for stricter End User License Agreement provisions. In the simplest terms, EULAs are hard to hold up in court. They aren't airtight -- yet. Game companies would love to strengthen EULAs since enforcement of their provisions would then be easier.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Euro-ver my head, contract law edition

Welcome to the Lawbringer, your weekly stop at the intersection of law and Warcraft. I am your crossing guard, trying desperately to not get run over myself.

First, I want to apologize for being a day late, but my week was spent preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. Unfortunately, the test was channeling Illidian. If I get a letter in a few weeks saying that I'm not yet responsible enough to be a lawyer, I will not be surprised.

Anyway, on to this week's promised topic: European Contract Law. We'll be approaching the same topics we covered on my side of the pond: contract formation, contract termination, and unfairness. These concepts form the basis of players' relationship with Blizzard, just like they do in the US. Whether Blizzard has the right to publish information about your avatars, ban you from the game, delete your achievements, or force you to resolve disputes in a mediation are all affected by the laws of the country in which a player resides.

The first challenge in this column is that there traditionally has been no "European" contract law; these issues were decided at a national level through the home country's common or civil law system. Trans-nationalism being all the rage, however, the politicos of the European Union have formed the Commision on European Contract Law which has drafted Principles of European Contract Law. A Common Frame of Reference "toolbox" to help various European legislatures standardize the various laws of contract across the continent to match these Principles. What this means, though, is that this law is in a state of flux -- and I am not a barrister, abogada, rechtsanwalt, advokat, or avocat. Take everything in this column with a big grain of salt. And possibly a margarita to wash it down.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Contracts and player bans


Welcome to The Lawbringer, where we investigate the intersection of law and Warcraft and answer such questions as what do you call a raid of lawyers in the Maelstrom. Answer? A good start.

Last week, we looked at what is private about our armory profiles. Hint: not much. But, life has a funny way of providing a use for things we thought were annoying. Check out this email we received Saturday:
"Two days ago I lost my wedding ring. Of course my wife of 4 years finds it odd and starts to question what I do at night while she is at work. After hours of arguing, I remember about the WoW Armory. I rush to the PC and show her almost minute by minute what I was doing at night. She knows my characters and knew it was my character, and the Armory showed her everything."
So remember, guys and dolls, the Armory can convert your spouse's infidelity aggro to regular WoW aggro. Use at your own risk.

Today, we're going to look at losing the ability to play WoW, such as with player bans like the one given to Ensidia a few weeks ago. However, just as understanding how one gets into a contract helps in understanding how that contract affects players, learning about how to get out of a contract helps in understanding how bans affect players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Contracts and the achievement tracker

Welcome to this week's episode of the Lawbringer! Each week we'll dive into the intricacies of law and the World of Warcraft. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to slay demons of ignorance for the benefit of your fellow denizens of Azeroth. Demons of ignorance slain: 1/4782*.

*Number of ignorant demons may be subject to nerfing.


So last week I introduced y'all to a bit of legal theorizing about how law and WoW might mix if they got pugged together. (Hint: not very well.) Y'all also were clamoring for my dissertation on gold farming. I want to give a big thank you to commentator Arnold for his excellent suggestions for improvements to make, and I promise I will be making those corrections soon. This week we'll be moving into some more concrete topics, prompted by a email from my mailbag:
The new armory prints out date and timestamps for every little move you make in game. Run a heroic, it will show the date and time for every boss you kill. I didn't mind when it printed a date for achievements. But such fine-grained detail being so publicly available is .. invasive of privacy.
This is an excellent issue, Wendy, and a subject of much qq-ing on the forums. However, before we can look into what privacy Blizzard may be invading, we need to understand our relationship with Blizzard; to do that, we need to look at a bit of contract law.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

15 Minutes of Fame: Members only

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

As Blizzard re-imagines old Azeroth, sweeps tired systems out the door and injects new ways for players to connect and work together, we can't imagine why anyone would not want to take advantage of what this top-notch MMO and company have to offer. There are players, however, who choose a different path. These players game on private servers, where conditions range from near-original mirrors to god-mode gameplay with super-GM abilities.

We don't condone private server play, which is clearly against Blizzard's Terms of Service and EULA. Still, there are plenty of players who believe differently, and we were curious why they've chosen the private server route. We visited with a player who plays on a relatively tame private server featuring near-"normal" game play. What can he do that we can't? And what do we have that he doesn't?

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

The Queue: You ain't nothin' but a Core Hound


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

There's a few good questions today of various voluptuous varieties: raiding, legal ToS (TNG > ToS, by the way), and new gaming hardware. Yummy.

Start me off, Delks...

Edit: Please be sure to listen to Fly Me To The Moon by Ol' Blue Eyes during today's Queue, or you can listen to the title's name sake song.

Delks asked...

"What's the point of running old world raids and instances?"

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: From Hell's heart I stab at thee...


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

To the last, I will grapple with thee...

From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!

For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!

Iceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Stooooooone!

Dyluck asked...

"I was wondering, do the EULA and TOS really change each patch?"

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Filed under: The Queue

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

SteelSeries WoW mouse dangerous in no uncertain Terms (of Use)

We had an article here not too long ago about the SteelSeries WoW mouse, purportedly das ubermaus, replete with glowing fissures and lookin' all like a Templar helmet. We actually had kind of a hard time finding out just how the mouse performed -- it was advertised months before it came out, and it doesn't appear that many gamers actually got to use the mouse prior to pre-ordering it and did so based on Blizzard's official licensing of the WoW name on the product.

The few that did use it, those that played around with it at BlizzCon, actually reported to us that it felt cheap, flimsy, and about to break. That was a bit disconcerting to read, of course, and it wasn't actually an isolated incident--all of the emails we've received about it thus far have been negative reviews. Folks complained of broken buttons or strange key reassignments with the accompanying software.

Now, our sister site Engadget just released their own impressions on the device and they appear to like it, offering a large size, good weight, and robust software among their list of pros.

The inconsistency in reviews of the product thus far isn't what really bothers me, though. It's the fact that the mouse is a WoW-licensed product that performs functions that are against Blizzard's policies.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

Blizzard wins lawsuit against bot makers

You may recall the long running Blizzard vs. MDY battle from various reports here on WoW Insider. In short, Blizzard sued MDY, the makers of the MMOGlider bot (formerly the WOWGlider bot), claiming that the bot violated Blizzard copyright by writing portions of the game to RAM in order to work (since you only have a license to run the game files, and do not actually own them, unauthorized copies are against the EULA). They also claimed that the bot tortiously interfered with Blizzard's customer base. MDY sued them right back, claiming they had every right to sell and distribute their bots.

MDY received a crushing blow yesterday as the court ruled against them, Virtually Blind reports, declaring them guilty of copyright infringement and tortious interference (Apparently, bots stealing your kills is now a legal issue, which is sort of cool). The ramifications of this decision are still being discussed in various corners of the net and legal world.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, News items, Account Security

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