Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Alyson Reeves et al
United States District Court, Central District of California
Case No. 2:2009cv07621, Filed On October 20, 2009

In October of 2009, Blizzard brought suit against Alyson Reeves for operating a private server for the popular MMORPG, “World of Warcraft.”  Usually, a player buys the WoW game software and pays a monthly subscription fee to use the service.  The copyrighted software, or “game client,” allows the user to access the game and will only connect to authorized servers.  Likewise, the server software is copyrighted by Blizzard and will only recognize authorized game clients.  Before being able to access the game, users must also agree to Blizzard’s End User’s License Agreement and Terms of Use. After agreeing to both contracts, the user must finally pass Blizzard’s anti-piracy system that authenticates the user’s game client before allowing access to the game content.

In its complaint, Blizzard alleged that Reeves had violated its copyrights, circumvented copyright protection systems, and engaged in unfair competition among other claims.  Blizzard alleged that Reeves violated its copyrights through the operation of a website called “scapegaming.”  Users of scapegaming’s services did not have to pay a subscription fee and the service allowed users to access unauthorized servers that emulated Blizzard’s own. Furthermore, scapegaming allowed pirated or unauthorized game clients to access its servers since it did not use an anti-piracy system.  Blizzard alleged that scapegaming achieved this by reverse engineering code taken from Blizzard’s game client and servers.  Users were able to access WoW content through these servers and could make donations to scapegaming to keep its servers operational.  Between July 22, 2007, and September 26, 2009, Reeves received approximately $3,052,339 from donations and transactions through Paypal’s “shopping cart.”

After the initiation of this lawsuit, Reeves failed to appear and did not respond to the complaint.  Blizzard filed a motion for default judgement that was granted on August 10, 2010.  Blizzard was awarded  $88,594,539 in damages:  $3,052,339 in disgorged profits, $85,478,600 in statutory damages, and $63,600 in attorneys fees.  The statutory damages appear suspect, and could be overturned on appeal, but in view of the default judgment it doesn’t appeal likely that will happen.

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