Blizzard Wins bnetd Case

Blizzard wins lawsuit on video game hacking. If you are not familiar with this case, basically Ross Combs and Rob Crittenden are two guys were fed up with Battle.net being unresponsive and decide to reverse-engineer their own version of it called bnetd.

My take? Just from the article, it sounds like if it wasn’t for the DMCA, the reverse-engineering wouldn’t have been considered that much of a problem. Of course, when you install Starcraft, you agree not to reverse-engineer anything anyway, so they are in violation of the EULA, but I think it is just another case of the DMCA being abused.

Blizzard obviously has a right to make sure that people aren’t playing with pirated copies, and they obviously have the right to dictate how people play online with their games. Apparently they have the right to tell people that they can’t find better service elsewhere. It wasn’t about piracy. The bnetd project had asked for assistance from Blizzard to make it possible to verify the copies used aren’t being pirated, but they were refused.

Power. Blizzard owns the copyright, and so they have the exclusive power to dictate what can be done with their copyrighted works. That’s fine. They want to control it and have the right to do so. But bnetd was not about allowing people to pirate the games. It was not about creating new games using Blizzard’s copyrighted works. It was about making it possible for people to play the game when they would otherwise have a high amount of lag. It was about a customer taking matters into his own hands to make it possible to enjoy the game he loves to play.

I personally think that bnetd was perfectly fine since it wasn’t software meant to facilitate copyright violations but to “interoperate” with Blizzard’s software. I mean, how is this situation different from the SAMBA project?

Some people have decided to boycott Blizzard games. I haven’t made that decision yet, but they don’t make Gnu/Linux games anyway so I guess I don’t have to worry about anything. I’m just getting tired of copyright owners thinking that they are also “customer owners”.

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