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