April 29th, 2008 by Benjamin Duranske
Blizzard and MDY have filed responses to last month’s Motions for Summary Judgment in their lawsuit over the popular World of Warcraft automation program “WoW Glider” (now “MMO Glider”). Exhibits include an expert report supporting MDY from Koleman Strumpf (PhD, Economics) of the University of Kansas School of Business.
The Strumpf report counters Edward Castronova’s (PhD, Economics) expert report filed with Blizzard’s motion for summary judgment last month. Strumpf concludes that there is no convincing evidence that Glider harms World of Warcraft or Blizzard — and even argues that Glider my actually benefit Blizzard by increasing playing time and subscribers. Blizzard, obviously, disagrees. The responses also address copyright and contract claims, among other issues.
Here are the documents:
- MDY’s Response to Blizzard’s Motion for Summary Judgment (.pdf)
- MDY’s Response to Blizzard’s Statement of Facts (.pdf)
- Blizzard’s Response to MDY’s Motion for Summary Judgment (.pdf)
- Blizzard’s Response to MDY’s Statement of Facts (.pdf)
- Impact of Glider on World of Warcraft, Koleman Strumpf, PhD (.pdf)
VB has also obtained the complete exhibit packages for each of these motions.
For the background of this case, see VB’s complete coverage of MDY v. Blizzard. Very briefly, Glider is a program that users run along with World of Warcraft. It automates key tasks in World of Warcraft, making it possible to play the game essentially unattended. Glider users can thus both harvest resources and generate high level characters without actually playing. MDY originally filed this lawsuit in federal court in Arizona seeking a declaratory judgment that MDY does not violate Blizzard’s intellectual property rights by selling the Glider program. Blizzard counterclaimed, alleging trademark and copyright infringement, as well as a handful of business torts. The case is now at the summary judgment stage, where the judge will decide any issues that are sufficiently established as a matter of law that they need not go to the jury.
I typically run excerpts from documents like these, but I am on the road this week and unable to do the task justice. Rather than do it poorly or wait a week to share these, I’ll post them now and leave picking through the responses and exhibits to readers. I have read the responses though, and I must say that both sides put forth creative, compelling arguments as to why Glider does or does not violate Blizzard’s copyright and why Glider does or does not cost Blizzard money. These are some of the strongest briefs I’ve read since I started covering game and virtual world lawsuits. Additionally, the exhibits contain a goldmine of information — including deposition excerpts, forum posts, and more.
The best way to read these documents is to start with the responses to the motions, and then move to the responses to the statements of facts — those reference the exhibits directly in context. Note that there may be one or two exhibits missing from the exhibit packs — those were filed under seal and not available to the public.
Download the full documents and exhibit packs if you are interested, and if you find anything particularly compelling, please post a note in the comments.
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