Published: Tue, November 28, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Epic's lawsuit against Fortnite cheaters just got more complicated

Epic's lawsuit against Fortnite cheaters just got more complicated

As we reported last month, Epic Games named two Fortnite players in a lawsuit against cheaters in Fortnite: Battle Royale.

She claims that by going after individual players, rather than the websites selling/providing the software necessary to cheat in an online game, Epic is "using a 14 year-old child as a scapegoat".

The mother makes a case that Epic shouldn't be suing them, but rather, the companies that offer the cheating software instead, and wants the case thrown out.

Essentially the pair were in Epic's crosshairs for their association with the website Addicted Cheats, and were allegedly using software in Fortnite that, according to the developer, had "the deliberate intention of ruining the game for other players and players who watch streamers".

She called that the judge, Malcolm Howard in Civil Action Case Number 5:17-cv-534, dismiss the case. "Under these circumstances, the law requires that we file suit or drop the claim". Do you think the developers might be taking it a step too far here?

Also at issue is that notion that Epic says that it had experienced a loss of profits from the cheaters.

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Epic's lawsuit against Fortnite cheaters just got more complicated

Not only that, but the mother makes a convincing argument that it would be hard for Epic to prove in court that her underage son was bound by its end user licensing agreement (EULA) given that Fortnite is a free-to-play game and its EULA did not contain an option for underage users to obtain parental consent, which she says she never gave. One of the players on whom the countermeasure was implemented turned out to be a minor only 14 years old.

The mother also alleges Epic is "using a 14-year-old child as a scape goat to make an example of him".

In a YouTube video made by the boy himself discussing the legal action, he said he cheated "for fun" and that the cheat he used was freely available online. Almost every piece of technology, including both hardware and software, carries with it some type of murky agreement regulating the behavior of consumers, whether it's to prevent them from modding a video game, jailbreaking a smartphone, or using a product in some way its creators never intended.

On a grander scale, the lawsuit speaks to the contentious debate around the legal enforcement of licensing agreements and terms of service contracts.

Epic said that the video is the big issue, as once the company had the video taken down via DMCA claim, the boy then filed a counterclaim.

The minors mother also said that if the lawsuit was based on profits/revenue than the company might not have any grounds to prolong the case since the game is already a free-to-play video game.

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