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The Lawbringer: Glider's story ends

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, 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?

Deathwing isn't the only great beast to be impaled to death in an End Time this year, it seems. The tale of Glider, one of the biggest and most famous automation bot software packages for World of Warcraft, is effectively over. Based on reading various blog links (sent by a reader, thank you much) and a hefty amount of Internet Wayback Machine research, it appears that the lawsuit was settled and Glider is no more. What were the terms of the settlement, and why did Glider settle after the news back in 2010?

When I last updated you all about the Glider case back in December 2010, the courts reversed much of the decision in regards to the EULA copyright infringement claims but not with respect to violations of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, as Glider circumvented the Warden software to essentially hack Blizzard's software. MDY Glider was not victorious per se, but it was definitely in a better position than it would have been had the copyright infringement stuff stood.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

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: 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: 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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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Glider down for the count

We knew this would happen after that last big Glider decision, but the judge's ruling has turned into action, and Glider has suspended their sales and operations. They're still hoping to bring it back up at some point -- there's still an appeals process to go through -- but that seems unlikely. Keep in mind that using Glider or any other botting software like it is a breach of Blizzard's terms of service and will most likely get you banned from the game.

The company also has a FAQ up (which includes a PDF link to the latest ruling), and they sound hopeful there as well, saying that they'll know in a little while whether they'll be "back within a month or... gone for at least a year." Just in case you have (against Blizzard's rules) purchased and used Glider and are concerned that your information is being passed on to Blizzard, worry not -- they say that the ruling doesn't require them to give up any sales information, just shut down their operations and sales of the program.

As Blizzard posted last month, they see this as a clear victory for both the company and players of the game -- Glider undermined both the wishes of the designers and the experience of other players in the game. Blizzard apparently feels the battle is over, while we're sure Glider is planning to continue the legal fight for as long as it takes. It seems unlikely that we'll see this software (or any bot software) back up for sale legitimately again, but if we do, we'll let you know.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

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

Jonathan Lee Riches has a better imagination than you, sues Blizzard

A man sitting in a South Carolina prison serving time for wire fraud has decided to file a third-party motion in the MDY v. Blizzard. Jonathan Riches is accusing Blizzard of "...causing [me] to live in a virtual universe, where [I] explored the landscape committing identity theft and fighting cybermonster rival hacker gangs."

I probably don't need to say anything else, and he probably doesn't either. I'm pretty sure most judges would just throw the motion out right there. But, the motion continues...

"Riches was addicted to video games and lost touch with reality because of [Blizzard]. This caused Riches to commit fraud to buy [Blizzard's] video games. Riches chose World of Warcraft over working a legit job. Riches mind became a living video game."

Wow. Just wow.

Is that all that bad? I would love to live my life as a video game. Maybe one day my girlfriend will show up as an Eredar Twin or Pirate. That wouldn't be so bad. Or perhaps she'll be riding around on a giant turtle. With pink elephants.

He has also sued the Eiffel Tower, and lost.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Humor

Blizzard against open-sourcing Glider code


It ain't over yet. Blizzard Entertainment, who won a lawsuit against MDY, the makers of the infamous Glider bot program, has asked the ruling court for a permanent injunction that would functionally eliminate the program from WoW. Blizzard has also issued an unconventional request preventing the open-sourcing of the MMO Glider (formerly known as WoW Glider) code and prohibiting MDY from helping other people develop World of Warcraft automation software.

Blizzard's case against MDY has already sparked some debate, and this latest request may catch the attention of open source and digital rights advocates. Blizzard has always taken a hardline stance against users of the program, even banning countless users back in May. Automation is clearly against the EULA, so players who flirt with bot programs such as MMO Glider should proceed at their own risk. A complete coverage of the case between Blizzard and MDY can be found over at Virtually Blind.

Filed under: Cheats, Blizzard, News items

[1.Local]: The under-the-radar edition

[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

With Wrath of the Lich King beta upon us, who has time to read comments from the past week's worth of posts? Little ol' [1.Local] would be a sad panda if we weren't positive that the meta-fans who love to comment about comments are still circling. So here ya go, guys – this Bash Ale's for you.

Up for discussion this week: making Spellcloth without danger ... your vision of a perfect world for crafting ... a reader's new feature request answered ... a dissection of drama-queen tanks ... chatter over the recent anti-botting court decision ... and what might just be the final word on Horde vs. Alliance faction choices.

Join us after the break for this week's meatiest reader comments here at WoW Insider. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

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Filed under: Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Wrath of the Lich King, [1.Local]

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

Blizzard responds to Public Knowledge about WoW Glider

As we've been posting on WoW Insider, Blizzard is entangled in a lawsuit with the makers of WoW Glider, a bot program that is against WoW's terms of service. And there's been a wrinkle in the case -- an advocacy group called Public Knowledge has filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit arguing for Glider, and saying that if Blizzard wins this case, it could set a precedent for copyright law that would make any copying of a computer program (including the simple act of copying it for an install to the hard drive) be illegal at the IP owner's will. That's unacceptable, says Public Knowledge, so even though they agree that Glider may be against the ToS, they don't think Blizzard should win the case.

And now Blizzard has responded to Public Knowledge, and their argument isn't all that new. They claim that when you "buy" your WoW software, you don't actually own it -- you're just "licensing" it to use it on your computer. This is an argument that's long been used by copyright owners to claim that end users don't have the right to hack or otherwise modify their software, and it opens up a whole other can of worms, not least of which is that Blizzard is claiming if Glider wins this case, then all software "sales" ever really will give end users the ability to hack or modify it at will (something that a company like Microsoft, with their Windows OS, wouldn't want to happen).

As we've said before, there are a few ways this case could pan out, and it's likely that it won't end with either of the doomsday scenarios that Blizzard and Public Knowledge are describing -- the court could still rule narrowly in favor of Blizzard, stopping Glider but staying away from the other messes brought up here. Oral arguments in the case started this week -- we'll keep an eye on what happens next.

[via Massively]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

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