(via B2fxxx and Terra Nova) Back in March we reported on an important suit involving World of Warcraft and software developers MDY (I don't know why I'm using "we", it's only me writing this). The suit involved cheating autopilot exploit which allows a player to gather gold automatically by using intelligent agents and bots to control an avatar. MDY distributes software advertised specifically to serve as an exploit, which represents a serious problem for WoW developers Blizzard Entertainment because it affects legitimate players who put time and effort into levelling and gathering gold.
“Generally, a copyright owner who grants a nonexclusive license to use his copyrighted material waives his right to sue the licensee for copyright infringement and can sue only for breach of contract. If, however, a license is limited in scope and the licensee acts outside the scope, the licensor can bring an action for copyright infringement.”Similarly, this case is not only about MDY, it is about all MDY users. Blizzard's argument is that each user who is installing MDY's cheating software are in breach of their ToU, therefore in breach of the licence, and therefore are infringing copyright. MDY therefore is guilty of contributory and vicarous copyright infringement, akin to Grokster and other P2P providers. The District Court of Arizona therefore ruled in Blizzard's favour, and therefore MDY will be held liable accordingly.
So, next time I see someone misbehaving in Ironforge's bridge, I can say in the chat box: "Pardon me chap, but are you aware that your actions may constitute copyright infringement?"