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Fresh off its summary judgment victory against the creator of MMO Glider (a “bot” program that lets people play World of Warcraft unattended), WoW creator Blizzard has now asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona for a permanent injunction (.pdf) which would functionally shut down Glider’s WoW presence.  In addition, Blizzard has asked the court for a relatively unconventional order prohibiting MDY from making the source code for its MMO Glider software available to the public, and prohibiting MDY from helping people develop other World of Warcraft automation software.

Blizzard had previously asked the court to shut down MDY’s WoW operations in its motion for summary judgment, but the court’s summary judgment order did not address Blizzard’s request.  Blizzard’s requests to prohibit open-source release of MDY’s software and prohibit MDY’s assistance in development of independent WoW bots are new to this motion — and seem likely to raise eyebrows in the open source and digital rights advocacy camps.

MDY originally brought this action seeking an order that it did not violate Blizzard’s copyright by selling MMO Glider, but instead, the court ruled in Blizzard’s favor before the case could get to a jury.  For the full background of this suit, see Virtually Blind’s complete coverage of MDY v. Blizzard.

From the current motion for an injunction:

Blizzard respectfully requests that the injunction preclude MDY, Michael Donnelly, all employees and agents of MDY, and any person acting in concert with them from marketing, selling, supporting, or developing Glider or similar software for use with WoW. To ensure that MDY cannot circumvent the injunction and to provide redress for Blizzard’s injuries, Blizzard requests that the following specific prohibitions also be included.

First, the injunction should specifically enjoin MDY from continuing to operate its authentication server. [...]  Enjoining MDY from continued operation of the authentication servers would have the effect of rendering all existing copies of Glider useless, and would effectively protect Blizzard’s rights under this Court’s summary judgment order.

Second, in order to prevent MDY from circumventing this prohibition and to prevent further infringement of copyright and interference with Blizzard’s contractual relations, Blizzard respectfully requests that MDY be enjoined from developing or maintaining Glider. MDY constantly updates Glider to ensure its continued success in cracking Warden’s evolving detection and access control technologies. [...] If the injunction prevents those updates, it will reduce the harm to Blizzard by allowing it to forego constant security updates caused by Glider use.

Third, the injunction should preclude MDY from releasing the Glider source code to third parties, especially those located abroad and over whom it may be difficult or impossible to gain jurisdiction in the United States. [...] Some Glider users have suggested on internet forums that MDY provide the Glider source code as “open source” software—free for use. Ex. C, Shumway Decl. at Ex 4. If MDY is allowed to distribute the source code, Blizzard will be faced with numerous parties around the world infringing its copyright—and possibly doing so without a revenue stream with which to compensate it for damage to WoW.

Finally, the injunction should specifically enjoin MDY from providing assistance to third parties in developing their own botting software for use with WoW. While Glider is far and away the most popular botting software used in WoW, other bots do exist. Blizzard SoF ¶ 218. Numerous other individuals around the world, many of whom may be difficult to sue in United States courts, would undoubtedly be interested in picking up Glider’s mantel and continuing to provide an equally successful bot for use in WoW, something that has thus far proved beyond the ability of anyone other than MDY. Preventing MDY from not only releasing the source code, but providing advice to those individuals creating their own bots would prevent the irreparable injury that could result from the creating of botting software by disparate individuals and companies from whom a judgment might be difficult or impossible to collect.

The exhibits mentioned in these excerpts are available here (.zip).  MDY has said it plans to appeal the original ruling (via Information Week) and would, presumably, seek to stay any injunction pending appeal.

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23 Responses to “Blizzard Seeks Permanent Injunction Against MDY, Asks Court to Prohibit Making Glider Open Source”

  1. on 30 Jul 2008 at 2:41 amDan

    On the mmoglider forums, it seems that mercury (donnelly) is relocating himself and the business to Antigua. Blizzard did put up a good fight though.

  2. on 30 Jul 2008 at 7:48 amMichael Donnelly

    I’d love to see where that was posted, Dan. I have a pretty good connection with the guys at MDY, particularly with Mercury. ;)

    There are no plans to move the business that I know of.

  3. on 30 Jul 2008 at 8:46 amKarma


  4. on 30 Jul 2008 at 10:18 amName Hidden

    Yummy, blizzard doesn’t give up. I think their effort is valiant. But, there are ways around everything.

  5. on 30 Jul 2008 at 4:18 pmAnonymous

    I resent any attempts by large corporations to control other corporations, whatever the field. As someone who enjoys open source software (and sees it as a tremendous benefit to society), I can only see disaster in establishing a precedent that lets winners of a suit control the other party’s property.

    I’ve played in only one MMORPG, and have gone through all but the first of phases in which most players find themselves captured: defense of “gold buying” (for the fun of the game), persecuting “gold selling” (for the longevity), then persecuting “gold buying,” and finally a collapse into either of two camps: the quiet botter or vocal “moral” gamer–neither of which is a solution to the problem of keeping the game fun for everyone. All of my experience and comprehension of the issues yield a simple sad fact: it is not the players, but the game construction itself that promotes botting–often taking small inequities and snowballing them into what I like to call “uncompetitive competition.” Some may argue it “necessary,” and some a “plague,” but the fact is, whether you agree with it or not, it is there for a reason.

    Truthfully, the time has come to move online games back into the realm of offline games–where cheating exists, but ultimately destroys the fun of the game for the cheater alone. The only true way to control automatic game play is to control the device on which the game is executed, and the only method of input (which may include controlling the player’s physical being itself). So, rather than spend tireless hours scouring for “botters” and filing expensive counter-suits, perhaps it would be better to simply engineer a game in which players’ cheating had no effect, direct or indirect, on other players of the game–just like an offline game. I’d rather let someone else play how he/she desires, so long as I don’t need to be affected by it.

    Game companies seek profit, players seek fun–so far the balance has yet to be found in the market of online games. Personally, I’ve given up on MMORPGs until these issues are resolved (an online game can be both fun and profitable). Nevertheless, if this is the kind of company Blizzard wants to be, then they will never have my business.

  6. on 30 Jul 2008 at 5:05 pmxiSpirT


  7. on 30 Jul 2008 at 8:31 pmPaks

    I don’t think this latest is going to go well for Blizzard, but how far are we as rational human beings going to take this rage against THE MAN thing? Sometimes it’s just ridiculous.

    Blizzard is trying to protect their interests as anyone would and should do.

    So if Blizzard were a small business like MDY this would be OK? Or what if MDY was the large company still infringing on Blizzard’s interests, then those raging would automatically switch to Blizzard’s side right? Right? I wonder, actually.

    In my opinion it shouldn’t make any difference whether a company is large or small. It should be the issue at hand that’s looked at and weighed for it’s merits.

  8. on 31 Jul 2008 at 8:24 ammike

    What i dont get is how blizz is losing so much money trying to find bots in-game as they have 10,000,000 X $15per month =$150,000,000 income per month. Also isnt it a role playing game? What if ppl want to play the roll of a bot? Or a discount supplier of goods that are usually so outrageously priced? Since the most recent banwave prices in the auction house have climbed pretty high. But this is good for blizz as the longer it takes to get gold to buy stuff the more you have to pay them to play the game right. This all amounts to the greed of a large corporation.

  9. on 31 Jul 2008 at 1:53 pmPaks

    As opposed to the greed of individuals trying to capitalize (read: exploit) off of someone else’s work, which is exactly what the MDY guys are doing along with anyone engaged in RMT?

    If WoW didn’t exist MDY wouldn’t exist. Sure they’re trying to expand into other games, but the my point remains the same.

    They’re selling software they specifically created to enable players to violate Blizzard’s ToS … but that’s ok because Blizzard is a giant corporation trying to keep the little guy down…

    And do we really know how much keeping botters and other RMT ilk out of the game is costing Blizzard? No, we do not.

    For the record I don’t play WoW but believe whole heartedly that what the MDY guys are doing is wrong. It makes no difference whether a game is poorly made, unfun, etc, if something isn’t allowed (against the ToS) take the responsible mature approach and don’t do it, or move to a game where you can do whatever it is you want to do. What I find hard to understand is why that’s such a hard thing for MMO gamers to deal with, which I guess maybe is more of a moral issue, but still…

    If you want companies to start making more fun, less grindy (or whatever is your beef) games that suit your needs for enjoyment then start by not catering to games that clearly don’t offer what you’re looking for.

    People subscribe to games, complain about X and try to justify buying gold, botting, etc, by citing X as the reason, yet they still play that game. Who’s really at fault here?

  10. on 31 Jul 2008 at 3:30 pmthe oober botter

    Sell it Mercury take your profits and sell the company to all and everyone to keep the botters going strong! Do it know before they say you can’t.

    Two options:

    Sell your software code to china farmers and other non copyright infringed countries, and keep the code authentication and forums going.

    secondly, Destroy WOW if they want to ruin you Mercury you have the power in your hands to bring them down to the ground! Sell it to everyone and it will get so out of control that wow will no longer be a game with net monthly incomes of over 100 million.. YOU can do this and only you…

    If they are going to bring you down the do it back to the twice as hard!

  11. [...] recently won its case against MDY, the makers of Glider, a program that played the World of Warcraft game by itself.  The [...]

  12. on 01 Aug 2008 at 10:14 amtim

    What I don’t understand about this whole business, as a WoW player, is how does it really hurt anyone?

    I have never used Glider, and I probably won’t because I don’t want to lose my characters. BUT. I don’t see a big problem with it. Bots are not smart or effective players. They can’t clear out an area of monsters because they lack the flexibility to play smart. I have seen bots in action, while I was farming fire elementals, they didn’t get in my way as much as I got in their way.

    That said… the prices of all of the materials that the farmers were farming have gone through the roof since the last banwave.

    This doesn’t encourage me to play more, it discourages me from playing.

    There haven’t been any motes of air on our auction house for a week and the price is skyrocketing.

  13. on 01 Aug 2008 at 10:28 amMatt

    There’s no way to stop software distribution. Considering people can reverse engineer existing copies someone should point that out to the judge.

  14. on 01 Aug 2008 at 12:42 pmAnonymous #2

    I wonder … is there really a difference between this and so called “search engine optimization”. An (artificial, computer) interface made to read from human input and to present output to humans is subjected to automated parasiting in order to exploit real humans in one way or other.

    The whole value of internet is in communication with live unpredictable people – one needs to be (mildly) retarded to find fulfillment in interaction with some code written years ago.

    Establishing mechanisms that can detect live people is essential. I don’t think these mechanisms should be in the legal domain.

  15. [...] 0. 1. Popularity: unranked [?] Listen to this podcast  Print This [...]

  16. [...] down MDY’s Glider was not included in the summary judgment, Blizzard has since filed a motion asking for a permanent injunction. While they were at it, they included wording that would prohibit the open sourcing of the [...]

  17. [...] MDY’s Glider wasn’t included in the summary judgment, Blizzard has since filed a motion asking for a permanent injunction. While they were at it, they included wording that would prohibit the open sourcing of the [...]

  18. [...] such a decision, as Slashdot alerts us that beyond just seeking an injunction against the software, Blizzard is specifically seeking an injunction against him revealing the code of his software, such as by open sourcing it. If the court agrees, this effectively gives Blizzard control over [...]

  19. on 08 Aug 2008 at 10:56 amDrArkaneX

    What i’m trying to figure out is how does a button mashing bot program infringe on their copyright’s? How is this possible? Please someone enlighten me on this.

  20. [...] משפטיים*, MDY נלחצה והגישה את התביעה קודם באריזונה וBlizzard ביקשה צו שגם יאסור על הפיכתה של Glider לתוכנה בקוד פת…, מה שהיה יכול לגרום לכך שלא יהיה ניתן לעצור את המשך [...]

  21. [...] Blizard threatened legal proceedings*, MDY tried to file first sought the Arizona Courts. Blizzard later sought an injunction to preven t Glider’s release under open source, which could cause that inability to enforce the injunction for [...]

  22. on 03 Feb 2009 at 3:15 amZigtog

    blizzard makes enough money as it is they don’t worry about us

  23. on 24 Feb 2012 at 8:03 pmLinks of the Day, 8/1/08 | Fan To Pro

    [...] of Warcraft parent Blizzard is seeking a permanent injunction against against the creator of MMO Glider, a “bot” program that lets people play World of [...]

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