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The Lawbringer: 5 ways trade chat can get you in trouble


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?

There's this place downtown that I know. You've probably been warned about it -- a seedy place of corruption, danger, intrigue, questionable math, and Tempest Keep runs where the Ashes of Al'ar are on reserve. You'll never be able to link Thunderfury last. This article is not for the faint of heart, so if you are easily offended, I would advise turning around 180 degrees and walking away. We're talking trade chat.

This week, we talk about five ways trade chat can get you into some trouble with Blizzard. From naming violations to impersonating and scamming players, you can strand yourself out on some pretty thin ice with the GMs at Blizzard by violating the Terms of Use. For the sake of everyone else in game, don't.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The possible outcomes of Blizzard's Glider lawsuit

Terra Nova put a quick post up about putting the Blizzard vs. WoW Glider case (and the Public Knowledge amicus brief) in the larger context of whether or not End User License Agreements are "good" or "bad," but even better than the post is the comments section. Lots of MMO heavies, including Richard Bartle, show up to break down just what Blizzard is trying to do with their claim against the botting software, and what they might end up doing to the industry at large.

No one is against Blizzard's goal of trying to stop cheaters. But the way Blizzard is going about it puts their stance in jeopardy -- they're saying that cheating in their MMO is a violation of copyright, and that is a completely different issue. Even Bartle himsef says this is an "ends justify the means" argument -- Blizzard is just using the copyright issue to get the judge to say that cheating is bad. As we posted the other day, Public Knowledge believes that any decision that says "yes, Glider breaks copyright law," could then be used as a precedent for calling any EULA violation a copyright violation.

Adam Hyland, in the Terra Nova thread, has the breakdown of outcomes: either a judge rules completely in favor of MDY/Glider (thus leaving every software maker open to EULA violations -- very unlikely), or a judge rules either narrowly in favor of Blizzard (saying that yes, cheating is wrong, but it's not a copyright issue), or wholly in favor of Blizzard (which Public Knowledge fears the most -- if breaking the EULA is a copyright violation, everyone who names their character XXNoobz0rXX is breaking copyright law). We'll have to see what comes out of this case, and hope that it's for the best for both Blizzard and their players.

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

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