Online Game Company Sues ‘Cheater’ Web Site

     BOSTON (CN) – An English company that claims its RuneScape is the world’s most popular free massive multiplayer online game sued two Florida brothers, claiming they and their company, Impulse Software, have “a history and pattern of owning and operating cheating Web sites, including cheating sites for … RuneScape,” in violation of copyright, trademark and computer fraud laws.

     Jagex demands treble damages and a federal injunction against Impulse and Eric and Mark Snellman, of Indialantic, Fla.
     “Defendants are responsible for the development and sale of ‘Nexus’ and ‘iBot,’ software programs (‘Bot’ or ‘Bots’) that enable RuneScape® users to circumvent RuneScape(s) security measures and infringe Jagex’s intellectual property rights in its RuneScape® game. Defendants’ unauthorized code then enables its users to cheat fellow players by completing in-game tasks and advancing characters with little or no human participation, thereby giving Bot users significant unfair and contractually prohibited advantages over legitimate players,” the complaint states. (Parentheses and other marks as in complaint.)
     “The Bot software downloads a copy of the RuneScape® game client from just as would a legitimate player using a Web browser. Once downloaded the Bot software uses a process called reflection to examine the operation of the RuneScape® client, which is otherwise normally hidden from layers. The Bot software then uses this information in conjunction with color sampling techniques to identify objects within RuneScape® that the Bot software wishes to interact with, such as trees, mining spots or monsters.”
     Jagex says this violates terms of use to which all participants must agree before downloading the software needed to play the game.
     It adds, “Via the website, Defendants actively market and promote the Bots with knowledge that they are encouraging and enabling Bot users to breach their contracts with Jagex.
     “Defendants sell the Bots for various prices between $5/week – $5/month, depending on subscription length. A lifetime subscription is also available for $200. Defendants’ actions have unjustly profited Mark Snellman and Eric Snellman while negatively impacting the experience of millions of legitimate RuneScape® gamers and causing significant damage to Jagex, e.g., including but not limited to loss of player revenue due to reduction in the amount of legitimate RuneScape® players who quit when their playing experience was negatively impacted by the defendants’ Bots; employee time investigating and addressing user accounts using Bots; employee time responding to complaints from legitimate RuneScape® players regarding others’ use of the Bots, and the like.”
     Jagex’s lead counsel is Peter McDermott, with Banner & Witcoff of Boston.

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