back to article League of lawsuits: Game developer sues cheat-toting website

The makers of the popular game League of Legends have filed suit against the operators of a site that helps players cheat. In a complaint filed to the Central California US District Court in Los Angeles (yes, the Central California court is in LA... we don't know why either), Riot Games says that 13 people who run the …

  1. Stratman

    (yes, the Central California court is in LA... we don't know why either)

    They're not the only one, England's Central Criminal Court is in London, not Birmingham.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Centralised rather than centrally-located?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Looked it up and it is cenrtal and ot centralized. Its a Federal court district and originally California was divided into a Northern and a Southern district but in 1966 they split into 4 - Northern divided verically into Northern and Eastern while Southern divided mor gorizontally into Central and Southern. So its Central as it between the Nothern and Southern districts.

        1. asdf Silver badge
          Trollface

          fun California fact

          Speaking of breaking up of California (which won't happen). Northern California wants to form the state of Jefferson (which is true). Guess they really liked George and his dry cleaning business.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: fun California fact

            And you'd probably find me* serving in some capacity there should there ever be a breakup. That said, yeah, like that's ever going to happen.

            *: I'm truly am certified as insane, let me enjoy as best I can.

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: fun California fact

            And parts of southern Oregon are also very interested in this and would try to join.

          3. ggray

            Re: fun California fact

            People in Northern California have been trying to split the state with the northern part to become the State of Jefferson for a l-o-n-g time.

            There used to be a certain balance in the legislature when each county had one senator which offset the assembly where population controlled so much. The one county-one senator was ruled unfair so now legislatively it's difficult for concerns of those who live north of San Francisco to get fair treatment.

          4. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: fun California fact

            Speaking of breaking up of California (which won't happen)

            There's this San Andreas matter...

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: fun California fact

            "Speaking of breaking up of California (which won't happen)"

            More likely is splitting Alaska into East Alaska and West Alakska to annoy the Texans who don't like only being the 2nd largest state by making them the 3rd largest state!

          6. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: fun California fact

            I've always liked the idea of the State of Franklin, established briefly more or less where Tennessee is, and which was created by ordinary settlers who resisted, in vain, the take-over of their state and its division into tracts given to big landowners.

            (I am aware that the settlers were, quite often, vicious racists, but hey.)

        2. ggray

          It's further split into:

          Western: San Louis Obispo; Santa Barbara; Ventura; Los Angeles

          Eastern: San Bernadino; Riverside

          Southern: Orange

          https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/jurisdiction

          As far as suing in US Federal Court, I think if they win the case they can use the judgment to get all the US banking interests (banks, credit card companies, etc) to not handle any of the loser's financial doings in the US. Since US banks have a big footprint it could strangle the company financially. Remember when Wikileaks was cut off by US intervention in their funding?

          Since trade is the responsibility of the US Dept of State, there may be ways that the State Dept would also get involved.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Good luck with this lawsuit

    "Cheats" for one, "Performance Enhancers" for others.

    Using the DMCA also sounds dicey, as these tools may subvert anti-cheating devices, but not anti-copying devices.

  3. Rich 2

    Peru?

    I always fail to understand why Americans file law suits in an American court against someone or something outside of America. What the hell do they expect the court to do about it????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Peru?

      You know that US courts have jurisdiction all over the world. Oh, they only think they do. Isn't about time some other countries started doing the same against US companies?

      1. Eric Olson

        Re: Peru?

        Not sure if this is trolling or what, but I would like to point out that regardless of the location of a defendant, if they are engaging with or interfering in the business of the plaintiff, the plaintiff is capable of filing for relief in the home jurisdiction. So if Marvin the Martian is engaging in business practices that interfere with Tom Tucker in Quahog, RI, Tom can sue in whatever court is local to him, and any judgement can be enforced within the borders of that court's power. Sure, Marvin himself might be difficult to get a hold of, but if money flows through the jurisdiction of Tom's court (including banks or corporations), it can be frozen, garnished, etc. Same with non-monetary assets in the jurisdiction. And that's not even getting into any treaties between Mars and Quahog about judgements, extra-territorial powers, etc.

        So while Riot might not have reach directly into L#'s finances since they are incorporated in Peru, I'm sure a number of L#'s customers are in the US or use banks that route through US territory, US banks, US corporations, etc. And while not criminal right now, failure to pay judgements can result in arrest, so L#'s officers, owners, etc., run a risk if they travel through the US for any reason, or find themselves in locations that have an extradition treaty to the US...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Peru?

        In this case they do have jurisduction (under US law) thanks to the long arm statutes.

        Basically: If you "do business" in a state (which is interpreted as dealing directly with customers in that state) then you fall under the state court's jurisdiction.

        Any decision against a foreign entity has to be endorsed by courts in that foreign jurisdiction to be enforced but that is seldom refused - because there's a reciprocal principle of commerce at work and things would get very messy, very quickly. Even notionally "unfriendly" countries usually uphold commercially-related legal decisions.

        The only way to avoid this kind of long-arm stuff is to specifically state you won't do business with people in XYZ areas - and this does happen. The effect is to push responsibility onto the customers for making a false declaration (however if it's just a smokescreen and the company makes no effort to verify location then they're still covered)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Peru?

        Excuse me? Are you questioning the validity and jurisdiction of this Court? That will be 28 days for contempt.

        Don't you know only the US courts are allowed to decide these things, even when non-US citizens dealing with non-US company? (c)!Judge Preska

  4. Camilla Smythe

    IDDQD.. #IPBill

    If you leave, or put in place, 'back doors'... Someone will find and make use of them.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      IDSPISPOPD

      Doors? Where we're going we don't need doors!

  5. Nuno trancoso

    Just came from a game where it was 2 people vs 8 bots... Sigh.

    For one, how is DMCA gonna affect Peru and Germany? Seems RIOT's lawyers are as clueless as their developers. Which brings us to two, how can they fail catching bots that don't even try to go unnoticed? The sad things do the same s**t over and over, even a braindead anti-cheat could catch that...

  6. Snafu1

    The whole principle sounds stupid to me

    If the alleged cheaters have found a way around the game's system (& have apparently set up a company to do so) then hire them! They can fix game holes while improving their OL notoriety..

    1. 142

      For games, knowing how to make cheats and find exploits isn't the same as being able to stop them. The issue is server performance. You simply can't do all the checks required, and still have a responsive, playable game.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Heavy hand

        When cheats start, they start with bugs.

        Let them cheat, detect them wait a month , and ban them forever bases on windows licence, etc

      2. Clive Galway

        You simply cannot do all checks on all users at all times.

        It is generally totally feasible to do SOME checks on all users all the time, and if those checks turn up something fishy, then increase the logging level for that account. Hell, you could even have human-initiated logging (Reporting of users).

        Hell, you do not even need software to do this - a player gets reported via email, then an admin watches that player in a game, maybe even sends them messages ("Please respond to confirm you are actually at the keyboard")

        So saying "We cannot solve this problem because it would impact performance for everyone" is a cheap cop-out.

  7. Chronigan

    On filing in American Court

    Both companies operate in America, so they are bound by American laws. Would you want foreign companies to operate in a country not to be bound by any law of that country? American companies are sued in the UK and EU all the time.

  8. P. Lee Silver badge

    Sue all you want

    but you have to build technical preventions.

    Even assuming the best possible outcome for LoL, they could release the code out of spite.

  9. Shane McCarrick

    Grease monkey anyone?

    Sounds like a simple script for automating repetitive tasks.

    I used have whole folders of them for test purposes (on proprietory closed systems which shall remain nameless). Its not rocket science- and its what any sane person in the IT industry on the development or testing side uses on a daily basis. Its simply a mechanism for automating specific testing (typically involving a set set of keystrokes, screen presses, manipulation of GUI etc etc).

    I don't see how or why this is considered to be hacking by anyone- its a simple tool for automating processes- applicable to any program with a GUI- for the purpose of speeding up set sequence testing etc.

    Sounds like the company in question have done up a series of scripts valid for set tasks in the game. If you wanted to stop them- you'd have to randomise how specific tasks are carried out- removing the standard key presses/screen manipulation etc- aka present a unique screen experience to each user.

    Regardless of whether the company succeed in court or not- you could have any group of teenagers put out their own version the following day if they were so inclined- and of course, money is a good incentive.

  10. alain williams Silver badge

    This cheating is morally, not legally wrong ...

    I do have some sympathy with Riot Games in that they want their players to have a level playing field. Unfortunately: being a cheat is rarely illegal.

    It is interesting to think what the consequences of Riot winning, would that imply that cheaters in other fields should also be had up ? ''Cheating'' in this context being acting to covertly tilt the odds in your favour. Some it would be nice to see, we could start with politicians...

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: This cheating is morally, not legally wrong ...

      They should detect cheats and ban them, like GTA 5... son in law got banned 3 times on that title, lost his account for.... 20 years. Should not be too hard to tell apart.

      But going after the source, in this case the cheater company seems fair as they are earning money on the back of cheaters. They are making money on the back of LoL devs... not fair, and, making money helping cheaters, even worse!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going after the wrong party?

    So I actually read the EULA (End User License Agreement) and it has some interesting point there. For example, what it's saying about mods:

    III Additional license information, people (players) agree that they will not:

    E. Use any unauthorized third-party programs that interact with the Software in any way, including but not limited to, “mods,” “hacks,” “cheats,” “scripts,” “bots,” “trainers,” or automation programs, or any third-party programs that intercept, emulate or redirect any communication between the Software and Riot Games, or that collect information about the Game by reading areas of memory used by the Software to store information about the Game.

    It looks to me as if they should go after those players who use this, not the website which provides all this.

  12. Leeroy Silver badge
    Joke

    Lol scripts

    Please don't sue the cats !

  13. Dwarf Silver badge

    Devops

    On one side we have people moving to automation, which is touted as a good thing and banded as part of Devops.

    Yet in gaming, apparently scripting is a bad thing. Even my Logitech keyboard supports macros. Is that a cheat too ?

    Thinking back, Quake supported macros too, there is nothing new here.

    Bottom line - If there is an API for something, don't be surprised when people use it !

    1. Nuno trancoso

      Re: Devops

      That is true, but RIOT is incapable of even catching the equivalent of a "stuck key" bot, nevermind the ones that actually can play 1/2 decently.

      This lawsuit is basically smokes'n'mirrors. They don't give two tweets about it and aren't willing to fix it, down to the broken reward mechanics that allow said bots to level up, and the community is getting pissed at this state of affairs.

      Cue in lawsuit to make it look like you do give two tweets while you still do no work at all to fix things. Brilliant.

      1. Ropewash

        Re: Devops

        Takes me back to Diablo.

        Hacks were easy since player data was stored in local memory. Every time Blizzard "did something" to fix it all that was done was to move which value was stored in which block. A little time with a hex editor and your hacks were back up.

        Bliz was a pretty large and powerful company by that time and they STILL couldn't be arsed to fix the way their game stored character data. If RIOT is barely breaking even (I haven't looked up their financials at all) then there's no way on earth that they are going to spend the cash and hours required for a fix.

        1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

          Re: Devops

          Riot is not barely breaking even. They are sooo busy counting the money...

          Detecting the bots is very easy...

        2. PaulR79

          Re: Devops

          Breaking even would take a long period of negative income. I don't recall the figures but they are happily pulling in millions PER WEEK and this is for a free to play game where you can now earn everything by playing. Granted, skins are not guaranteed but you can at least now obtain them without money even if it would take a huge amount of time to do so.

          For those saying ban users, bots etc it isn't that easy. Why? Free to play. They can ban the accounts but the bot makers just turn around and create more accounts. Since bans are done in waves there are bound to be some that escape the ban. Scripts may not be anything new but without them being made available to every player they end up giving some an advantage over those that don't pay for scripts / don't have the knowledge to create their own scripts.

    2. Allan 1

      Re: Devops

      "Even my Logitech keyboard supports macros. Is that a cheat too ?" - Using the logic Blizzard apply to world of warcraft, yes. If a keyboard can execute more than one commend per keypress, then yes, its a bot , and its a hack, and its bannable.

  14. noddybollock

    Script based cheating tools.....

    It's only a fecking game, BUT will the same court ruling apply to the cheats on wall street et al...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bah

    It's online cheaters like this that saw me throw-in server-based gaming years ago.

  16. Maty

    fun with bots

    Many bots are easy to spot. They have names apparently created by smashing one's face against a keyboard, and - for example - single mindedly whack away at an ore node no matter what is going on around them.

    In my MMORPG the correct equitette is to attack the nearest hostile, and then lead it to the bot. Stand back and let bot get gibbed (they are crap at fighting back) and then rez the bot. Since the bot loses a bit of armor every time it dies, it's not uncommon to see re-animated corpses standing around in their underwear regularly getting shredded.

  17. Medixstiff

    Sounds like someone needs to spend a little time and effort on their game.

    I don't play LOL but if part of the problem is leveling characters, can't they just implement some checking in the background and if they see a toon has gone from level 1 - 20 in a certain amount of time, send a warning to the account owner that using cheat's is against policy and another infraction would mean either closure or a ban for X time frame?

    Or if a toon has been playing continuously for X day's and no-one can do that without serious medical issues, send the notification to the account owner?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Filing Country/State

    For the people claiming filing in the US is pointless: see Blizzard. They've sued and won against foreign companies in US courts (specifically California) consistently for decades. It turns out foreign countries, whether you like it or not, are often willing to enforce US laws/rulings. Or at the very least extradite people.

  19. deconstructionist

    fix the game

    Riots client is shocking and piss poor and they know it , all they will do is push it underground or somewhere else this wont stop the music ...so the dance continues until they man up and fix the client glad I am dota player.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    huh...

    Jumped in reading mid-story, somehow.

    "It is absolutely imperative to riot and to the future of LoL that the game provides ..."

    It just caught my Eye.

    Imagine my disappointment.

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