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ars technica

How seriously does Blizzard take the operation of private World of Warcraft servers? On August 10th the company was awarded a stunning $88,594,539.00 judgment against a woman who operated a business running her own WoW server and selling items via Paypal. That may seem steep, but over $3 million of that amount came from “inappropriate profits” the woman made from running the server. That’s right: her private server, run under the name Scapegaming, was a multimillion dollar business. It also made her a very attractive target for litigation.

The server in question was not a small operation—at one point it hosted 32,000 players in a single day according to court documents. In June 2008 there were 427,393 members in the website’s community. If you think the money awarded to Blizzard seems high, this is where the math comes in.

“Based on these allegations, it is reasonable to infer that Defendant has provided each of its users with anti-circumvention products or services on at least one occasion,” the document states. “Although Plaintiff is unable to prove this fact definitively, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff’s favor on account of Defendant’s failure to participate in the litigation process.”

That’s right, since the woman in question never showed up in court, she was slammed with a DMCA violation for every single one of her users. After making a few million from running a private server, you’d think it would be a good idea to save a little back just in case the company in question decides to come after you.

  1. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    Did Blizzard hire some of the RIAA attorneys?

  2. NiktheElectrician says:

    If she was just running a private server, that is one thing; still technically illegal but I doubt Blizzard really cares. If she is making money on selling virtual WoW items, that is a whole different issue.

    Was this money awarded to Blizzard or just a fine to the court as the title implies?

    [RTFA… It’s a combination of fines and damages. – ed.]

  3. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    #2 “By agreeing to the EULA, you promise not to “host, provide or develop matchmaking services for the Game or intercept, emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Blizzard in any way, for any purpose, including without limitation unauthorized play over the internet, network play, or as part of content aggregation networks.” Playing on a non-Blizzard server is a clear violation of this agreement.”

    Just playing on an unauthorized server breaks the EULA. Running the server is turning the knob up to eleven.

  4. canamrotax says:

    I guessing by the lack of her attendance to the court, that she is sipping drinks on a beach, in a non-extradition country. Who cares how much the award is, if she never sets foot in North America again?

  5. msbpodcast says:

    The award is so large as to be unenforceable.

    I agree with #4 (canamrotax)

    I just hope she’s sitting on a beach somewhere, out of the insanity that lawyers cause.

    Shakespeare was right: “First thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers”

    To the literary carnage, I’d add the accountants who measure product safety in terms of “people killed or maimed who are likely to sue us” as well.

    What a bunch of semi-simians troglodytes.

  6. deowll says:

    Got to agree. She never made that kind of money so how do they expect to collect?

    They can take everything she owned if they can locate it but beyond that? At some point she may throw a rock through a store window and live off the state.

  7. Lou Minatti says:

    Righthaven is a much more important issue.

  8. Mr. Fusion says:

    It’s a lot. But if there is that kind of money then expect to see a few more off shore servers.

  9. scadragon says:

    Is this real money, or in-game currency?

  10. Killa Gorilla says:

    There is something wrong with a game that cannot be won in 3 hours with GodMode on.

  11. jman says:

    the more frightening aspect is that there are that many people playing pretend in these stupid games

  12. raintrees says:

    Time for her to do as Eric Schmidt recommends: Change her name, change her past!

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