Epic Games, the developer of the incredibly popular Fortnite shooter, was at the center of the scandal after filing a lawsuit against 14-year-old player Caleb Rogers, who abused abuse of cheats in the game. Many have condemned this decision by Epic Games, and Caleb's mother even filed a return statement, accusing developers of incompetence and demanding immediate withdrawal of their baseless claims.
To begin with, a small introduction. After the launch of the shareware Fortnite Battle Royale PvP mode in late September, Fortnite quickly gained popularity both on consoles and on PCs. Earlier this month, developers announced that the total number of unique players in this free mode has exceeded 20 million. That is, Fortnite's "Battle of the King" by popularity surpassed PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, another hit in sales, the success of which, without a doubt, was inspired by the developers Epic Games. Needless to say, as the popularity of the game grew, the number of fans of dishonest gaming techniques proportionally increased. Initially, Epic Games blocked thousands by cheats in thousands, but then moved on to more decisive actions: it filed lawsuits against two creators of cheat programs and, as it turned out, against at least one player using cheats.
As the resource of The Verge notes, the feed a lawsuit against a specific user instead of a simple lock is a non-standard and highly controversial move, as it repeats past mistakes of music industry representatives in the not ending fight against piracy. Actually, this parallel was spent and the mother of the accused in the cheating of the boy in his response to the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina. Here is a copy of the application:
Note that the modification of the program code is prohibited by the terms of the user license agreement Fortnite and the law on copyright in the digital age (DMCA).
The mother of the boy, the text of the suit, or she is a lawyer, or has a relative / acquaintance with a legal entity, or just a very thorough study of the matter, gives a very convincing argument in defense of her son. In general, the defense is built on the fact that her son did not develop cheats and did not distribute them. He just uploaded them from a popular site with cheats and just broadcasted his own video using cheats. In addition, the mother claims that Epic Games does not have evidence of his guilt, and the user agreement to which the developer refers is not legally binding. The agreement states that minors can only accept the terms of the user agreement with the permission of their parents or legal guardian.
"Please note that Caleb Rogers did not receive parental consent to play this free game developed by Epic Games," – notes the mother of Caleb.
But the lawyers of Epic Games are also not bastards. They are not claiming that Caleb Rogers used cheats in violation of the Fortnite user license agreement, but advertised this illegal software on YouTube. The suit of Epic Games says that the company asked the author to remove the video, which, in fact, was a visual aid to the use of cheat codes, but he refused. And this is a gross violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In fact, it was this video and the author's reluctance to meet the company's demands.
And 14-year-old Caleb himself significantly increased the chances of Epic Games to win when he shot the second video, where he admitted cheating, streaming video of the game process from using cheat codes and unwillingness to remove video on Demand Epic Games.
If Epic Games can prove it right, it will be able to claim damages up to $ 150 thousand. For a huge gaming company like Epic Games, this is a small amount, but for the usual average America This is huge money. Such a fine could easily ruin the family. It's unclear if Epic Games knew about Caleb's age when she filed a lawsuit. It is also not known whether Epic Games plans to go to the end, or the company plans to make a little noise to once and for all to discourage others from trading like that. But in itself, the case creates an important precedent and once again shows how important it is to read all the terms of the user agreement about the use of a particular service, and not just automatically tick in the appropriate field. Not for nothing they say, warned – means armed.
Source: The Verge