Video Game Law Blog

September 02, 2005

Last year we reported that Blizzard Entertainment had won its lawsuit against Internet Gateway Inc. and various individuals who reverse engineered Blizzard's software and protocols to create the bnetd project, a free and unregulated alternative to Blizzard's arena.  The lower court ruled that the defendants' activities violated US copyright law and also violated Blizzard's software licences and online terms of use. The Court of Appeal (8th Circuit) upheld this decision yesterday.

When the defendants agreed to Blizzard's Terms of Use and End User Licence Agreement, the defendants contractually agreed not to reverse engineer any of Blizzard's software. The Court of Appeal ruled that this contract was binding and enforceable, and that the defendants had breached it. Also, the Court of Appeal ruled that the defendants had breached the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision (by allowing gamers to play unauthorized copies of Blizzard games on bnetd) and one of the DMCA's anti-trafficking provisions (by developing the bnetd emulator for the purpose of circumventing Blizzard's copy protection). 

The decision is available here