Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The 9th Cir. has released their opinion in the case of MDY Industries v. Blizzard Entertainment and determined that MDY violated the DMCA.

MDY sought a declaratory judgment to determine whether their Glider, a bot that automates the actions for early leveling allowing the WOW user to leave his PC, infringed Blizzard's copyrights.

"The district court found MDY ... liable for secondary copyright infringement, violations of DMCA §§ 1201(a)(2) and (b)(1), and tortious interference with contract. [The 9th. Cir] reverse[d] the district court except as to MDY’s liability for violat[ing the] DMCA § 1201(a)(2) and remand[ed] for trial on Blizzard’s claim for tortious interference with contract."

In finding that MDY violated the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, the 9th circuit concluded that MDY's Glider attempted to evade Blizzard's anti-bot detection system (Warden).

Below is the full opinion:

Original District Court Order:
MDY v. Blizzard (District Court Order)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Charges Dropped Against Xbox Modder

Matthew Crippen was being charged with 2 counts of violating anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Mr. Crippen was allegedly running a chip-modding business where he would modify an Xbox so that it could run copies of games. Normally, and Xbox can only run official copies of games, and games that are burned to DVDs will not play. Modifying allows the Xbox to play backup copies of games you already own, but it also allows you to play pirated games you downloaded from the web.

Needing to prove Mens rea, that the defendant willfully broke the law, the Prosecution's first witness testified that he secretly videotaped Matthew Crippen modify an xbox and tested the mod job with a pirated copy of a game. While relevant, the testimony that Mr. Crippen tested his modification with a pirated game was not first submitted to Mr. Crippen's attorneys, a huge procedural misstep. In addition, the act of secretly videotaping the defendant was likely in violation of California's privacy laws.

Prosecutor Allen Chiu admitted that the evidence should have been shared with the defendant's attorneys beforehand and requested the case be dropped for “fairness and justice.”

This was an interesting case and I will dig deeper into the facts and pleadings in later installments.

See also Wired's reporting of the case.