Blizzard has won the latest stage in a continuing court battle over the reverse engineering of its closed Battle.net
game server software. The company originally shut down
the BnetD project, a piece of free software which emulates Battle.net to allow the playing of games such as StarCraft
, Diablo II
, and WarCraft III
without using Blizzard servers, back in early 2002.
However, the company invoked the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) to do so, also referencing Blizzard Games' end user license agreement (EULA), but legal battles regarding the move have raged since then. In particular, the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken up BnetD's case, arguing that "programming and distributing BnetD was fair use. The programmers reverse-engineered Battle.net purely to make their free product work with it, not to violate copyright."
The court judgment in St. Louis, Missouri ruled that "the individual defendents... breached the [Blizzard] license agreements in this case", but the EFF has vowed to appeal the case, "challenging the court's ruling that creating alternative platforms for legitimately purchased content can be outlawed."