United States District Court for C.D. Cal.
Case No. SACV07-0589-JVS, Filed May 22, 2007, Settled January 28, 2008
On May 22, 2007, Blizzard Entertainment, the creator and operator of the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, brought suit against In Game Dollar (IGD). IGD was the parent company of www.peons4hire.com which offered power-leveling and virtual gold-selling services. Power-leveling allows a player to pay to have his virtual character advanced to the agreed-upon level by a third party using the player’s account. Virtual gold sales consist of a player paying real-world money then having his virtual character meet the merchant’s character in-game to transfer the virtual gold. IGD advertised its services in the game by constantly sending spam messages to players though WoW’s chat system.
- Violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act
- Violation of the California Computer Data Access & Fraud Act
- Intentional Interference with Contract
- Trespass to Chattels
- Unjust Enrichment
- Unfair Competition
IGD decided to avoid prolonged litigation and essentially agreed to shut down its business in exchange for Blizzard not seeking monetary damages. The case was settled on January 28, 2008 with the court issuing a Consent Order. The order consisted of a permanent injunction preventing IGD from engaging in any future WoW virtual asset sales or in-game marketing communications.
Because this was a settlement rather than a court decision on the merits, the result doesn’t serve as binding precedent. Still, the result of forcing a gold spammer to cease operations within a game has acted as a major milestone.
Read the full Complaint here.
Read the full Consent Order here.