Blizzard Pursues Developers Of “StarCraft II” Game Cheats

Starcraft_IInextVideo game publisher Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (“Blizzard”) filed a lawsuit in federal district court yesterday, claiming that several unidentified defendants unlawfully created and distributed “hacks” and “cheats” to its popular game title “StarCraft II.”

StarCraft II features “multiplayer” modes which enable multiple players to compete against each other through the Internet.  This competitive aspect, Blizzard maintains, is one of the driving forces behind the sales and success of the game.

Blizzard alleges that the defendants developed certain software products designed to modify (or “hack”) StarCraft II in order to give users unfair competitive advantages–or in other words, to allow players to “cheat.”  One such product, according to Blizzard, permits its users “to view areas of the game ‘map’ that are normally obscured, to monitor the other player’s unit movements, and to access other information that is normally not available to the player.”  Blizzard maintains that defendants’ creation and distribution of the software infringes its copyrights in the StarCraft II game and software code, violates or causes game players to violate Blizzard’s Terms of Use (which expressly prohibit the use of “cheats” in the game), and is in violation of 17 U.S.C. section 1201.  (Section 1201 generally prohibits persons from circumventing technology designed to control access to copyrighted works.)  Blizzard claims that the “cheats” are detrimental to the user experience, and ultimately work harm to Blizzard.

Blizzard has so far not identified any specific defendant, claiming that their true identities are presently unknown and generally veiled by Internet aliases.  The Case is Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Does 1 through 10, inclusive, Case No. 8:14-cv-00781 (C.D. Cal. May 19, 2014).