Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Blizzard documents in the MDY case

I'm awfully sorry that these documents can only be found on the Glider website, but here are the legal documents asking for summary judgement filed by Blizzard themselves: version 1 and version 2 and exhibit 1. Most of Blizzard's statement seems quite clear to me, describing the damage that Glider bots cause the game. The strange part is the one about copyright infringement, where Blizzard says that Glider creates a copy of WoW in the computer's RAM, and that it is this copying which is the copyright infringement. That confuses me a bit, because every time I play WoW I create a copy of it in my computer's RAM and I wasn't aware that this could be a copyright infringement. Without loading WoW into your RAM, WoW is just another shiny coaster.
Maybe they are using the fact that Glider is profiting from this as a strong platform to launch this copyright infringement claim. It might also be in fine print in some license that claims we the players have rights within some set parameters that this bot is violating.

I hope this deters future botting. More than likely it won't, but one can hope.
Blizzard was most likely covering all of the bases. If one of their claims is thrown out by the court, they have several remaining. And because they only need one of them to stick, there's no harm for them to take a page from RIAA's playbook. If WoW Glider users/WoW Glider claims that Blizzard's EULA is invalid or they never agreed to it, that copy in memory was done without Blizzard's permission. Therefore, copyright infringement.

You, on the other hand, have agreed to the EULA, and therefore you have Blizzard's permission to make that copy in memory in order to play.
I believe it's the 'shotgun' approach to litigation. You throw a whole bunch of **** at the wall, and see what sticks.
MDY is gonna win.
You are mistaken. You, Tobold, do not create a copy of WoW in the RAM. WoW does when you execute it. Their contention is that Glider copies the WoW data in RAM, making a second copy and then uses that data to run. According to them, the WoW executable is the only authorized application for the WoW data in the RAM.
If you look at it at the technical level it is you who makes the copy. The way computers work is that a program can't run until it is loaded in memory. So when you start WoW, Windows (or OS X) opens the executable file, loads it into memory and then starts to execute it. Only at that point does WoW itself get control. And the OS only starts top copy the file into RAM becuase you requested it (double clicked it). So it is yo who makes the copy (by proxy).

I think that by putting this claim in the lawsuit Blizzard might open a whole can of worms. Because if the assert that you can only copy the program into RAM once, I would breaking the EULA if I start WoW a second time while the first is still running (and thus making a second copy). Now I'm sure WoW itself prevents that, but there are ways around that.

I think the copyright claim is stupid. They could however claim DMCA. Because WoW Glider obviously only works after the creators have done some reverse engineering and the DMCA prevents that (at least in the US).
FYI - I am now hosting these directly and running some lengthy excerpts at Virtually Blind. I've also posted Edward Castronova's expert report filed in behalf of Blizzard (MDY will likely file their rebuttal report, which appears to be coming from Koleman Strumpf at the University of Kansas, with it's opposition to Blizzard's motion.
Not sure if that link worked... here's the URL if not:
Yes, you do make a copy of WoW in your RAM whenever you run it; however, you are licensed to do so. I'm no expert, but from what I've learned in licensing classes, my impression is that's exactly what the EULA is all about - granting permission to perform acts that otherwise violate copyright law (here, copying the software into RAM). Blizzard waives its copyright claims against your action so long as you conform to the EULA. Glider does not conform to the EULA (under several clauses, I'm sure, but no need to list them here) -- as soon as the permitted party (the user) breaks the EULA, not only is that a breach under contract theory, but it is a violation of the terms by which the user was given permission to violate Blizzard's copyright, leaving the breaching user open to full copyright infringement liability.
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