U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
Case No. 11-cv-01045, Filed June 22, 2011
Square Enix has filed a new lawsuit against unknown Italian individuals who infiltrated its preview of the new “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” game, downloaded the game, and distributed the preview to third parties.
According to the complaint, and as is common in the video game industry, Square Enix arranged a limited preview of an unpublished version of the game for select members of the video game press. These selected entities could access the game distribution platform through a secret, protected Internet portal. The reviewers were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, prohibiting any distribution of the game preview, and limiting the information they were allowed to disclose about the game.
One of the video game reviewers authorized to view the game preview was an Italian video game review magazine, GMC. Unknown individuals logged into the restricted internet portal to view the game preview using GMC’s access information. According to the complaint this was done without the permission or knowledge of the GMC reviewer, and came from an IP address not associated with GMC. The unknown defendants then proceeded to copy the game preview, and distribute it to other unknown third-party defendants using peer to peer file sharing.
Square Enix is claiming direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement. It has also brought claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, citing a provision that allows for claims against unlawful access to information on a “protected computer” used in interstate or foreign commerce. Square Enix contends that its protected internet portal satisfies the description of “protected computer” found in the act. They cite damages in excess of $5000, and are seeking a permanent injunction of copying and republishing against defendants, as well as actual and statutory damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. We’ll update you on future developments in this case.