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Blizzard wins case against goldseller.

ZorvanZorvan Member CommonPosts: 8,912

virtuallyblind.com/2008/02/01/peons4hire-blizzard-injunction/

 

 


Blizzard v. In Game Dollar CaptionBlizzard’s lawsuit against virtual item and power-leveling company In Game Dollar (doing business as Peons4Hire) has settled, resulting in a permanent injunction (.pdf) that essentially shuts down In Game Dollar’s entire World of Warcraft operation. Though no monetary damages are specified, the injunction represents a complete victory for Blizzard. The news is likely to be well received by the World of Warcraft player community, which voiced widespread support for Blizzard’s move when the lawsuit was filed.

Blizzard brought the lawsuit against In Game Dollar in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California last May. The Complaint (.pdf) alleged that In Game Dollar violated World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement by spamming chat in World of Warcraft with advertising. This, Blizzard alleged, diminished players’ game experience and cost Blizzard subscribers, bandwidth, employee time, and ultimately, revenue.

Blizzard claimed six causes of action, including violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, interference with contract, and trespass to chattels.

Peons4Hire was not the largest virtual property dealer in World of Warcraft, but it was well known for aggressive in-game marketing via chat spam. The lawsuit could be seen as a shot across the bow of larger sellers.

The key provision of the injunction specifically prohibits In Game Dollar from “engaging in the sale of World of Warcraft® virtual assets or power leveling services.” In Game Dollar is also permanently enjoined from:

Bag of LootMaking any use of the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system to advertise any website, business, or commercial endeavor, including any business associated with In Game Dollar, LLC or www.peons4hire.com.

Sending messages to the World of Warcraft® servers, the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system or any other computer used by Blizzard in connection with the World of Warcraft® game, if such messages mention or advertise the website www.peons4hire.com, In Game Dollar LLC or any other commercial endeavor.

Making any unauthorized use, or obtaining any unauthorized access to Blizzard’s computer systems or network.

The injunction also prohibits In Game Dollar from investing in a new operation doing any of the enjoined acts, and authorizes the court to award damages in the event that the company violates any of the terms. Essentially, the injunction puts In game Dollar out of the World of Warcraft virtual item and power-leveling business. The Peons4Hire website is down.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard has taken what is arguably the most aggressive legal stance in the industry against gold farmers, chat spammers, third-party bot providers, and others who violate World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. The company’s actions have been widely praised both by players and by commentators who follow legal issues in games and virtual worlds. Blizzard was represented in this lawsuit by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.

The injunction is part of a settlement, so it does not carry the precedential weight that a decision on the merits would carry. However, it joins last year’s default and consent judgments resulting from intellectual property claims in Second Life as yet another example of a court entering a judgment regarding virtual property (here, “virtual assets”) without comment or apparent concern regarding the subject matter of the agreement. For those watching this space, it represents another small step toward recognition of virtual property.

The Court retains jurisdiction for the purposes of enforcing the injunction, but the case is otherwise concluded.

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Comments

  • OwynOwyn Member Posts: 337

    A powerful step forward.  This is excellent news.  A shame it was a settlement, and they didn't push for more than that, but still potent as a warning to other borderline-illegal RMT businesses that the foundation of their business is built on slippery sand.

    Owyn
    Commander, Defenders of Order
    http://www.defendersoforder.com

  • ZorvanZorvan Member CommonPosts: 8,912
    Originally posted by Owyn


    A powerful step forward.  This is excellent news.  A shame it was a settlement, and they didn't push for more than that, but still potent as a warning to other borderline-illegal RMT businesses that the foundation of their business is built on slippery sand.

    True, they settled. But not only did the Blizzard get the injunction plus whatever the undisclosed settlement amounted to, but this is the first case to have the EULA and ToS of a game validated in a court of law. So now all the buyers and sellers who come here saying "EULA don't mean squat" have just been effectively wtfpwned.

  • JayBirdzJayBirdz Member Posts: 1,017

    I hope other company's watched, learned, and are ready to follow suit now that someone has lead the way. 

    It still does not combat oversea's goldsellers. Altho its a great step in the right direction.

  • ZorvanZorvan Member CommonPosts: 8,912

    Heh, I just tried their site for kicks. "Server cannot be found". Heheh, Blizz shut 'em down completely.

  • dikkydikky Member CommonPosts: 261

     

    Originally posted by Zorvan

    Originally posted by Owyn


    A powerful step forward.  This is excellent news.  A shame it was a settlement, and they didn't push for more than that, but still potent as a warning to other borderline-illegal RMT businesses that the foundation of their business is built on slippery sand.

    True, they settled. But not only did the Blizzard get the injunction plus whatever the undisclosed settlement amounted to, but this is the first case to have the EULA and ToS of a game validated in a court of law. So now all the buyers and sellers who come here saying "EULA don't mean squat" have just been effectively wtfpwned.

     

    ??

    how does this have to do anything with the EULA? They went to court because they broke actual laws, not for breaking the EULA.

  • paulscottpaulscott Member Posts: 5,613

    this is any companies grand chance.  make money off gold sellers and look like heros to the player base.

     

    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 5,866
    Originally posted by teiohFromSWG

    how does this have to do anything with the EULA? They went to court because they broke actual laws, not for breaking the EULA.



    Did you bother to read the opening post before posting?



    "The Complaint (.pdf) alleged that In Game Dollar violated World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement by spamming chat in World of Warcraft with advertising. This, Blizzard alleged, diminished players’ game experience and cost Blizzard subscribers, bandwidth, employee time, and ultimately, revenue."
     
  • SpiritofGameSpiritofGame Member UncommonPosts: 1,329

    Originally posted by Zorvan


    So now all the buyers and sellers who come here saying "EULA don't mean squat" have just been effectively wtfpwned.
    LOL!

    Sheeped, feared, stun-locked, snared, rooted and nuked!

  • GishgeronGishgeron Member Posts: 1,287

    Originally posted by Vrika
    Originally posted by teiohFromSWG

    how does this have to do anything with the EULA? They went to court because they broke actual laws, not for breaking the EULA.

    Did you bother to read the opening post before posting?



    "The Complaint (.pdf) alleged that In Game Dollar violated World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use and End User License Agreement by spamming chat in World of Warcraft with advertising. This, Blizzard alleged, diminished players’ game experience and cost Blizzard subscribers, bandwidth, employee time, and ultimately, revenue."

     

    While I do feel this is a great step in the art of substantiating a EULA in court....

    This does not actually show the law upholding a EULA.  What it DOES show is that Blizzard proved to a court that these VERY extreme sellers actually did cost them revenue, either potential or earned, and that their acts would continue to do so if the court did not step in.

     

    Again, Peons4hire were VERY aggressive.  That Blizzard won against this group and not ANY OTHER ONE, shows clearly that it took a great deal of stupidity on the part of the farmer before they actually crossed the line to a point strong enough to prove to a court that this "video game" was actually being deeply affected financially.  This group did not just spam general chats....it spammed mailboxes, private tells, e-mail inboxes if it could.  They would harass players constantly, and for hours.  They also stages their "attacks" in large numbers as well.

     

    I wouldn't start hoping that this case will set a new precedent in courts for a EULA by any means.  There are an obscene amount of sections in those things that no judge would EVER honor in a court of law.  But it DOES open the door to prosecuting severe gold selling issues, and dealing with the bigger problems in this area.  You will see more of these types of things coming into court soon if the RMT do not act quickly to take themselves out of the spotlight.  There a several ways peons4hire could have dodged this bullet and still be selling gold.  Now other RMT groups will have to stick to the shadows twice as hard as they would have because this situation has come to pass.

    image

  • TorakTorak Member Posts: 4,905
    Originally posted by Zorvan

    Originally posted by Owyn


    A powerful step forward.  This is excellent news.  A shame it was a settlement, and they didn't push for more than that, but still potent as a warning to other borderline-illegal RMT businesses that the foundation of their business is built on slippery sand.

    True, they settled. But not only did the Blizzard get the injunction plus whatever the undisclosed settlement amounted to, but this is the first case to have the EULA and ToS of a game validated in a court of law. So now all the buyers and sellers who come here saying "EULA don't mean squat" have just been effectively wtfpwned.

    Making any use of the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system to advertise any website, business, or commercial endeavor, including any business associated with In Game Dollar, LLC or www.peons4hire.com.

    Sending messages to the World of Warcraft® servers, the World of Warcraft® in-game communication or chat system or any other computer used by Blizzard in connection with the World of Warcraft® game, if such messages mention or advertise the website www.peons4hire.com, In Game Dollar LLC or any other commercial endeavor.

    Making any unauthorized use, or obtaining any unauthorized access to Blizzard’s computer systems or network.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unfortunately,

    This didn't do anything at all to discourage a gold seller from doing anything but using an ingame chat system...maybe. How long did this case take?

    This does not hit on the key issue with is the legal status of virtual items.

     

     

  • tunabuntunabun Member UncommonPosts: 666

     

    It's not the first time a EULA has been enforced in court, Blizzard won a case against a company which had made private server software.  Don't ask for a link as I made a great post on the subject, long and fully explained the legal aspects of the case, I guess some posters got out of hand and instead of simply locking the thing it was permanently deleted, absolutely lame so ya, I don't care to actually do any work to find the case.  That case actually meant something as it actually was a win and called out several specifics in the EULA that were broken, this case on the other hand means nothing outside of the two parties involved as it never got to trial, it's a simple Consent Order and would have no bearing on future hearings.

    I think people will think this case matters more than it actually does.  International companies especially in certain locals will most likely never have to deal with this.  Even if this was someday deemed illegal internationally, it still wouldn't stop a lucrative secondary market, design changes are the only thing that will.  I however would love the big companies to keep focusing on this, as any use of their resources in areas of futility is of great help to the small designer.

    - Burying Threads Since 1979 -

  • ianubisiianubisi Member Posts: 4,201

    Tempest in a teacup. It isn't going to change much of anything.

  • QuantumQrackQuantumQrack Member UncommonPosts: 81

    The only reason Bliz won this lawsuit is because they prosecuted it in the U.S. where laws are respected.  Try doing that overseas bitches.

  • TorakTorak Member Posts: 4,905

     

    Originally posted by Calcedon


    The only reason Bliz won this lawsuit is because they prosecuted it in the U.S. where laws are respected.  Try doing that overseas bitches.



    All they "won" was getting these peon guys to stop using their general chat channel to advertise. (which is fine, we take what we can get) 

     

    There are no "laws" in regards to virtual property to "respect".

    A billion dollar a year company now (http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6185347.html?tag=latestnews;title;1) and thats the best they can do, win a case against a single gold seller  for spamming in a chat channel....not a good sign in my opinion.

     

  • SamuraiswordSamuraisword Member Posts: 2,111

    Originally posted by ianubisi


    Tempest in a teacup. It isn't going to change much of anything.
    Wrong. Spamming and in-game soliciting of goldselling and powerleveling is very offensive to most players and an intrusion on one's enjoyment of the game.

    Not only does Blizzard stop these aholes from ruining the game and costing Blizzard subscribers, but this is fantastic positive PR for Blizzard as a game company willing to fight for the integrity of the game and it's players. SOE had ample opportunity to take advantage of their early entry into the MMOG market and lead the cause against goldsellers, but SOE has proven itself to be all talk and now is sponsoring RMT in their games themselves.

    I for one hold Blizzard in high regard for this action and would not hesitate to play another Blizzard game. I certainly don't  feel that way in regards to SOE.

    image

  • slannmageslannmage Member Posts: 540

    It's funny how Blizzard came into the mmorpg genre and took over and now they're leading the way. I wish all mmorpgs were made by Blizzard because atleast they'd actually be high quality and polished.

  • QuantumQrackQuantumQrack Member UncommonPosts: 81
    Originally posted by slannmage


    It's funny how Blizzard came into the mmorpg genre and took over and now they're leading the way. I wish all mmorpgs were made by Blizzard because atleast they'd actually be high quality and polished.



    Are you kidding?  Competition is good, it offers more variety of gaming, and one company having a monopoly on MMO's is bad for all gamers.  That is a seriously stupid comment man.

  • slannmageslannmage Member Posts: 540

    Originally posted by Calcedon

    Originally posted by slannmage


    It's funny how Blizzard came into the mmorpg genre and took over and now they're leading the way. I wish all mmorpgs were made by Blizzard because atleast they'd actually be high quality and polished.



    Are you kidding?  Competition is good, it offers more variety of gaming, and one company having a monopoly on MMO's is bad for all gamers.  That is a seriously stupid comment man.

    So what other mmorpg is currently worth playing other than WOW or EVE? None....... Then you have all the upcoming mmorpgs by Bethesda and Bioware which you know will be on the console so will suck. The only companies that'll keep it to the PC are Valve and Blizzard and CCP.

  • Death1942Death1942 Member UncommonPosts: 2,587

    don't mess with a 600 pound gorilla that rakes in millions a week and thus can get one of THE best lawyer teams in the world.

     

    i say let the gold farming pwning begin

    MMO wish list:

    -Changeable worlds
    -Solid non level based game
    -Sharks with lasers attached to their heads

  • DialtraxDialtrax Member Posts: 38

    I'm all for it. I sincerely hope that peons4hire are out of business for good, and that they die in a little hole somewhere. I'm sick of gold sellers, and buyers for that matter.

  • TorakTorak Member Posts: 4,905

     

    Originally posted by Death1942


    don't mess with a 600 pound gorilla that rakes in millions a week and thus can get one of THE best lawyer teams in the world.
     
    i say let the gold farming pwning begin



    Did you read it?

     

    All the "600lbs gorilla" was able to do was make one company stop spamming in chat.

    While that is "super" in some minds, it does nothing, zero at all, to stop and prevent RMT.

    Hooray for us, its actually very disappointing news. Now we can all count getting bombarded with even more  /tells and spam mail.

  • KazzerKazzer Member Posts: 648
    Originally posted by paulscott


    this is any companies grand chance.  make money off gold sellers and look like heros to the player base.
     

    so true

  • IllisonIllison Member Posts: 40

    damn i just bought gold from them to

  • GodliestGodliest Member Posts: 3,486

    Now I don't know how long this stuff has been going on I still wonder if isn't a bit late? Wouldn't it have been better to do this earlier as they've been pestering the chats pretty much since the game started.

    image

    image

  • uncusuncus Member UncommonPosts: 528

    Originally posted by Torak


     
    Originally posted by Death1942


    don't mess with a 600 pound gorilla that rakes in millions a week and thus can get one of THE best lawyer teams in the world.
     
    i say let the gold farming pwning begin



    Did you read it?

     

    All the "600lbs gorilla" was able to do was make one company stop spamming in chat.

    While that is "super" in some minds, it does nothing, zero at all, to stop and prevent RMT.

    Hooray for us, its actually very disappointing news. Now we can all count getting bombarded with even more  /tells and spam mail.

    I disagree - it appears that they are barred from ALL communication, with fines attached if they do.  Screenshot 'em and turn 'em in!

    Thanks OP for the post!

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