Blizzard discussion…

This started as a semi-private convo, based on one of my blog entries, but I wanted to open it up to you guys. Naturally I asked permission, because that’s just the kind of guy I am.

Dan: (original post here: Dan’s Post)

Me
well yeah… #1 does kinda make the rest of it pretty pointless.

As for #2, you neglect to mention that the bootleg Bnet also does not do any serial key validation, which means it’s wide open for pirated
copies to play all they want. Pretty sure Blizzard has the right to defend against that. (Yes I know, they asked Blizzard for the algos to handle
the CD-keys… but that’s part of their livelihood… I wouldn’t give it up either.)

Dan:
yup…you’re totally right about the cd keys.
they do have an absolute right to protect that.  i would too.
and its sucky that one aspect of the bnet tool is pirated usage.
but theres also the issue of what is the end user entitled to do with a product?  its a really gray area.  I wish they could have worked something out without having to sue the developers.
I think that shutting the doors on custom engineering is short sighted somewhat.
Piracy will always be a problem, but i think that going after these guys was the wrong approach.  other companies have embraced this kind of involvement from users and have just rolled with the fact that people will play a bogus copy with it.
i think the meltdown will be terribly exciting tho.  have a good time.  glad to see you’re registered and ready!

me
Not being a part of the entire proceeding, I naturally have no idea about specifics. However, I have heard/read that Blizzard asked these guys to stop (cease and desist) several times before actually filing suit.

Software companies have a right (and in many cases, a legal obligation to shareholders) to vigorously defend their Intellectual Property. In fact, not doing so can cause them to lose such protection. Our legal system has made it an unfortunate necessity to “sue first, ask questions later” in order to ensure all your bases are covered. Companies like Blizzard get a bad rap in the process, but unfortunately it’s the nature of the business.
In this case though, I am reluctant to believe that the decision to sue was reached lightly. Of course, when a company grows to Blizzard size, the corporate culture varies greatly from department to department. In this case, the legal department probably (hopefully?) has a very different opinion of end-user developers than their own development teams do…
You are correct that piracy has always been a problem, and it’s one that Blizzard has been fighting for as long as I’ve known of them. The bnet tool is an interesting alternative for local play, and of course in the event Blizzard ever pulls the plug on Battle.Net. Unfortunately though, at this point it’s not a legal option. Blizzard could alleviate some of the issue by pushing out there own standalone “LAN party in a box” version of Battle.Net. They wouldn’t have to share the authentication algos with anyone. Just a thought! Of course, there would still be some unhappy people, due to the inability to play pirated games.
On that note, I think Blizzard should also deprecate the authentication requirements on any games more than x years (or versions) old. Seriously, once Diablo VI ships… is it really mission critical to keep validating the protection on Diablo II? Maybe from a legal standpoint it is… I don’t know.

But yeah, Meltdown is going to rock!!

Dan:
You’re absolutely right!  If they would supply a self installed server app, then I would definitely say that BNet would have no recourse but to stop.  And that would be such an easy fix to do, for the sake of their corporate reputation.  Others have done it and with smashing success.I’m still concerned about what the consumer does or does not have a right to do with a purchased product. I understand that there are intellectual rights involved.  But modification and enhancement (in my opinion) should be acceptable, provided the modifier doesnt profit from their endeavor.
I like to think of this situation as it would apply to other retail products.  Say for instance, you bought a truck from chevy.  Now lets say that you’re interested in towing a trailer, so you go down to the local trailer shop to get a trailer hitch put on.  Only you cant.  Chevy has sued the shops to put an end to hitches stating “having a hitch on your truck would allow you to to steal other peoples trailers.”  Well you stop to think “I’m not interested in stealing trailers, i just want to tow my own.”  So you build your own hitch and soon after Chevy comes after you.

Blizzard has said ‘we dont want you reverse engineering the product because you might want to use it with pirated software.’  Well I dont want to use it with pirated software, I want to use it with my own.

So yeah…its a fine line between consumer rights and companies legally protecting their stuff. I’ll be interested to see who wins out in this.

At this point… I’d like anyone else with an opinion to jump in and comment. Stupid and abusive posts will be deleted. Sorry. Keep it on topic.

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