Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Legal battle over Warcraft 'bot'

Warcraft
Combat forms a core part of the game play

The makers of World of Warcraft are locked in a legal battle with a firm that has produced a tool to automate many actions in the virtual world.

Blizzard is suing Michael Donnelly, the creator of the MMO Glider program, which performs key tasks in the game automatically, such as fighting.

Both sides have submitted legal summaries to a court in Arizona.

Blizzard says Glide is a software bot which infringes the company's copyright and potentially damages the game.

In its legal submission to the court last week, the firm said: "Blizzard's designs expectations are frustrated, and resources are allocated unevenly, when bots are introduced into the WoW universe, because bots spend far more time in-game than an ordinary player would and consume resources the entire time."

'Infringed agreement'

Blizzard argued that Michael Donnelly's tool also infringed the End User License Agreement that all parties have to adhere to when playing the game.

More than 100,000 copies of the tool have been sold, according to Mr Donnelly. More than 10 million people around the world play Warcraft.

Mr Donnelly said the first time had had been aware of potential legal action over his program was when a lawyer from Vivendi games, which publishes Warcraft, and an "unnamed private investigator" appeared at his home.

In his legal submission, he detailed: "When they arrived, they presented Donnelly with a copy of a complaint that they indicated would be filed the next day in the US District Court for the Central District of California if Donnelly did not immediately agree to stop selling Glider and return all profits that he made from Glider sales."

"Blizzard's audacious threats offended Donnelly," according to the legal papers.

Mr Donnelly says his tool does not infringe Blizzard's copyright because no "copy" of the Warcraft game client software is ever made.

Blizzard has said the tool infringes copyright because it copies the game into RAM in order to avoid detection by anti-cheat software.

The two parties are now awaiting a summary judgement in the case.


SEE ALSO
Video game giants in $18bn merger
02 Dec 07 |  Technology
The high cost of playing Warcraft
24 Sep 07 |  Technology
Gamers explain Warcraft's appeal
20 Oct 05 |  Technology
A walk in the World of Warcraft
30 Sep 05 |  Technology

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific