Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 31, 2007
 
Blizzard sues Peons4hire

Blizzard announced on their forums that they were sueing the gold-selling company Peons4hire in a federal lawsuit, but failed to say on what grounds. They only mentioned they asked them to cease and desist in-game spamming. Intelligent commentary from my favorite lawyer.

The one thing Blizzard *isn't* sueing the gold sellers for is for gold selling. Because you can't go to court on that issue without tackling the difficult question of whether something like virtual property even exists. And if the courts would come to the conclusion that it does, based on the existing trade in it, that would open a vast can of worms which could kill the MMORPG industry. So you can't sue the gold sellers for selling gold, and have to get them for spamming. Reminds me of Al Capone, who ended up in jail for tax evasion, not the numerous crimes he committed.
Comments:
I suppose if this can actually stop them, it matters little what reason Blizzard use as the basis of their case.

Mind you, after 2.1, i got 3 or 4 spams the first day, and havn't had one since. Whatever they did on their side has certainly worked so far, though it is only a matter of time before spammers work out what that is and get a workaround.
 
I don't know that I agree that going to court on gold selling would kill the MMORPG community.

In the end, it is just another consideration to work around. If the game rules clearly state no gold selling/buying, then those that break the rules are simply cheating and depriving fellow participants in the game world of the implied game state according to those same rules.

Selfish cheating should be defended against.

For those that disagree, remember that MMORPGs are an optional activity, if you believe you MUST buy/sell gold, you should be choosing an MMORPG that supports it.
 
That's not what I meant. The problem is that if WoW gold becomes recognized in a court of law as a form of legal property, Blizzard becomes responsible. If your WoW character is your property and has a value, and Blizzard has some technical problem that deletes your character, you could sue them for the value of your virtual property. If one day they want to stop running WoW and close down the servers, you could sue them too. Plus if WoW gold is worth something, you'd probably need to pay taxes on your virtual earnings, which would drive a lot of customers away.

The current situation in which virtual property legally doesn't exist suits companies like Blizzard just fine, and they can't afford that status to change.
 
Didn't blizzard sue some bot maker as well? I'd hate to be on blizzards bad side...forget the ban axe, they gonna hit you with the law suit axe. Does anyone know the outcome of the wow glider case? I doubt it went anywhere...more of an intimadation method I think.
 
I think Blizzard's main concern about virtual property becoming legally recognizable is that the EULA and/or TOS state that everything in-game belongs to Blizzard and/or Vivendi, not the player. This means that any tax on virtual gold would not be levied on the player, but on Blizzard themselves.
 
Peons4hire were a major pain in the backside until the last patch shut them up. I used to get dozens of spam whispers off them every day (and before you say 'why didnt you just install Spamsentry or the like', why should I have to resort to an add-on?).
I hope Blizzard take them to the cleaners. How about Verbal Harassment as one of their crimes?
 
I thought they should allow an option in the UI to ignore all whispers from level 10 and belows. No more spam...

I imagine they are using free trial accounts. So once they hit enough ignores, they make another character. Before the /report dept gets the complaint they have closed that account and are on another trial account.

As to whether Blizz should sue, I would say no. They will never be rid of people trying to make money off their games. Where there is a will there is a way--just find ways to circumvent the problems.
 
"That's not what I meant. The problem is that if WoW gold becomes recognized in a court of law as a form of legal property, Blizzard becomes responsible."

Which also means you've signed an agreement that you recognize Blizzard's ownership and therefore have no right to benefit financially from THEIR property and you are RENTING it.

Perhaps recognition of virtual property may actually improve the situation.
 
As for what Blizzard is sueing them for is that P4H are making money off World of Warcraft, which goes against the TOS and EULA. It is almost like if you were to make copies of a CD and sell them, which is a big no no.
 
i really hated peons for hire. i ended up turning my whisper channel off because of them. glad to see them getting it from blizzard.

as far as protecting virtual property, all intellectual property can be defended such as characters and such from novels or movies. in the terms of the warcraft license, everything in the game is owned by blizzard, even the characters themselves. i don't see why they can't sue someone for making money off their property.

and i have often wondered why they don't create other genre mmorpgs. a gangster and copper one or a wild west one would be great. i have TONS of ideas for mmorpgs. 8)
 
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