A Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) is where players assume the role of a fictional character and take control over many of that character’s actions. But if you don’t want to spend hours sitting in front of your PC “levelling-up” then there are programs available that will control everything for you – for a fee, of course.
The damages award comes after Blizzard won the fist fight against MDY Industries in July 2008. Blizzard embarked on the case against MDY claiming that its World of Warcraft ‘Gilder’ software encroached on Blizzards copyright.
Proving pretty popular, the Gilder software lets Warcraft players automate much of the games repetitiveness, such as levelling-up by killing monsters and scavenging loot.
In July US District Court Judge David Campbell ruled that the MMOGlider, which the software is now known, broke the terms of the license that players are forced to agree with before the begin to play the game.
The software was developed by MDY founder Michael Donnelly, who reportedly sold over 100,000 copies of the program, which retailed at £14 ($25). Which if my maths is correct, makes £1.4m.
Although sizeable, the damages award could have easily been bigger, but MDY managed to argue the cost of its infringement down. This was also helped by admitting that they were in the wrong.
However, MDY still has cause for panic, because Blizzard may well appeal for double or even triple the amount. The case will be dragged out until January 2009 when remaining issues in the legal conflict will be discussed.
These issues include whether MDY broke the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and whether Donnelly will have to pay damages from his own pocket. But he’ll have to dig pretty deep to find that amount of cash.
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