By Jared Newman | Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm
The old question of whether you own or merely license software got another answer in a U.S. appeals court, which ruled partly in favor of World of Warcraft maker Blizzard.
The court was ruling on a two year-old lawsuit by Blizzard and Vivendi Games (now Activision-Blizzard) against MDY, whose Glider software automatically plays the game on behalf of users. The point is to get through the grind of leveling up in World of Warcraft without paying attention or exerting effort.
Blizzard argued that Glider violated the game’s terms of service and should be banned, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed, upholding the decision of a lower court. But Blizzard also wanted MDY — and by extension, its users — to be liable for copyright infringement.
What does this mean for WoW’s unscrupulous players? Exactly what it should: If you cheat at World of Warcraft, you run no risk of getting sued, however unlikely that was in the first place. But you are playing in Blizzard’s house, so if you get caught breaking the rules, you might get kicked out. As with any online gaming service, membership is a privilege, not a right.
Of course, with the court upholding an injunction against MDY, World of Warcraft cheaters will have to find another way to coast through the game.