After going after people who sold cheats, the game company Bungie has sued an American gamer who uses cheats. At first, Bungie thought that “MiffysWorld” was another cheater who tried to avoid getting banned. But when they looked into him, they found out a lot more. It turns out that saying they wanted to burn down Bungie’s offices wasn’t the worst thing they found out.
In the early 2000s, when it sued thousands of people who shared files, the RIAA was well within the law. But it didn’t look good in the wrong way.
Corporate lawyers beating up everyone from students to parents was bad for PR. In the social media-driven world of today, it would have been terrible.
Surprisingly, a new lawsuit that Bungie filed against a guy who initially seemed like an average person may end up having the opposite effect on its gaming community. It is that bad.
After going after cheat developers, Bungie has changed its strategy.
There’s only one thing worse than being bad at an online game: coming in last place because other players cheated. This small group of people has the power to turn a competitive but fair gaming environment into a place where unfairness rules. It’s easy to see why that’s a massive issue for players and game companies.
Live-streaming Destiny cheater @inkcel, who runs the Twitch channel “MiffysWorld,.” He will find it miserable and regrettable to follow rules that are much harder to break.
Bungie filed a complaint against Luca Leone on July 15 in a district court in Washington. Bungie says that the Californian with the Twitter handle “@inkcel” plays Destiny 2 and often streams himself using cheats to get an unfair advantage over other players.
The squeaky wheel gets greased.
There seems to be a lot of history between Bungie and Leone. Bungie says that users can only play Destiny 2 if they agree to a Limited Software License Agreement (LSLA). One of the rules is that Bungie can ban a player if they cheat. Leone is said to have fooled a lot, which is why he got banned.
Bungie says Leone committed serial fraud by making new accounts. Also, by agreeing to the terms of the LSLA over and over. Legally, that can be a severe crime, but other accusations are much more disturbing. Leone’s fight with Bungie seems to be about him, and there were times when it looked like it might spread into the “real” world.
There’s not much need to keep track of every ban Bungie gives. But it’s safe to say that many of them involve Leone using an account to stream himself using a cheat suite. Bungie is using tools to find the account cheating. Leone made new accounts with names like Hoehitter, Bungie, bungiemad, and hahahalolxd. The time between when he made a new account and when the account was banned got shorter. Then things began to get worse.
Ban After Ban After Ban
On May 18, 2022, Leone tweeted a picture of Dylan Gaffner, who worked for Bungie. I just realized I’ll be moving to a place 30 minutes away from dmg,” he wrote. “he is not safe.”
“it’s a warm summer day in Portland, and Dylan has just woken up from his restless slumber. He rolls over to pick up his phone, so he can check Twitter as he sees someone cheating with his full government name as their Bungie id [sic]. “DYLAN GAFNER LMDOAOAOAOAO.”
In later tweets, Leone talks about being banned by Bungie. She often teases the company with comments like “bungie will NEVER be able to stop me if I persisted in my actions” and “k let’s just remember this all started from a clip of me flying with infinite ammo walls and aimbot and then let’s stop replying ok? Ok”
On July 4, 2022, after temporarily moving to Washington State, Leone doubled down.
A little more than a week later, Twitter banned Leone’s account after she tweeted that “twitter celebrities deserve to die.”
Bungie’s Decision to Sue Was “Easy”
Bungie already had enough proof to file a civil suit, but its investigation revealed something surprising.
“Leone is an active member of the ‘OGUsers’ account hacking and selling forum, where he sells (presumably stolen) social media accounts – and also ‘sells’ Destiny 2 emblems,” the complaint notes.
Bungie’s LSLA is broken every time a Destiny symbol, a digital art badge that can’t be given away is sold. But Bungie says that how Leone transferred emblems was a way to get around the technical measures to stop fraud. Even with the defendant’s alleged bad behavior in the past, this also seems to worsen by affecting the charity work of the Bungie Foundation.
“[A]mong the emblems Leone sells are emblems Bungie makes available only to players who donate to selected charity drives; thus, not only is Leone lining his own pockets in violation of the LSLA, but he is devaluing an award Bungie grants for charitable giving and thereby harming the Bungie Foundation’s ability to fund charitable causes,” the complaint continues.
Bungie says that on July 6, 2022, Leone offered two “donation links worth $100 each for $50 each,”. She added, “I’ve already used mine.” They say that the links to donate led to emblems that could only be used by people who gave $100 to the Bungie Foundation. Bungie linked Leone’s email address, which he used to buy things from the Bungie store to the OGUser account “Knight.”
“That combination of conduct makes Bungie’s decision to bring this lawsuit easy. As Bungie has repeatedly demonstrated, it will not allow its game, community, or employees to be abused, defrauded, or threatened. Leone has done all three, and this action is the consequence.”
Causes of Action
The terms of the LSLA are a legally binding agreement between Bungie and each Destiny 2 player. Bungie says Leone broke his contract by hacking or changing Destiny 2. The reason is to get an advantage (Anticheat Provision), making money off of Destiny 2 by selling or giving away emblems, and making new accounts to avoid getting banned.
If you agree to follow the terms of the LSLA when you know that wasn’t what was meant, that’s fraud. On copyright issue, Leone’s cheat software is said to have made visual elements shown on top of and inside the Destiny 2 visual display.
“As such, Leone infringed Bungie’s copyright in Destiny 2 as an audiovisual work each time that he used cheat software to create an unauthorized derivative work of Destiny 2,” Bungie says.
The screw is turned again, and again, and again.
Leone made new accounts after being banned and always planned to break the LSLA. This means that Leone never had a valid license to play Destiny 2. So, whenever he downloaded or used Destiny 2, he died Bungie’s copyrights.
Bungie says Leone violated its rights every time he started the cheat software. Also, when she streamed Destiny 2 gameplay without a license.
Bungie says that all of the infringements were done on purpose. The owed damages are in an amount that will be shown at trial. The company could also ask for $150,000 in statutory damages for each stolen copyrighted work. And that’s not all.
“By using cheat software to access data Bungie engineered the Destiny 2 software to withhold from players, Defendant bypassed technological measures Bungie put in place to control access to Destiny 2,” Bungie explains.
Under the DMCA’s anti-circumvention rules, statutory damages are “just” $2,500.00. But that’s $2,500 for every time the cheating software is used, or “circumvention.” The complaint doesn’t say whether or not Bungie can put a number on that, but it seems more than likely that they can.
Lastly, Bungie is asking for an injunction to stop Leone from doing all of the above, including “harassing, stalking, or otherwise making unwanted or unsolicited contact with Bungie, its employees, or Destiny 2 players.”