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Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. v. Alyson Reeves et al
United States District Court, Central District of California
Case No. 2:2009cv07621, Filed On October 20, 2009

In October of 2009, Blizzard brought suit against Alyson Reeves for operating a private server for the popular MMORPG, "World of Warcraft."  Usually, a player buys the WoW game software and pays a monthly subscription fee to use the service.  The copyrighted software, or "game client," allows the user to access the game and will only connect to authorized servers.  Likewise, the server software is copyrighted by Blizzard and will only recognize authorized game clients.  Before being able to access the game, users must also agree to Blizzard's End User's License Agreement and Terms of Use. After agreeing to both contracts, the user must finally pass Blizzard's anti-piracy system that authenticates the user's game client before allowing access to the game content.

In its complaint, Blizzard alleged that Reeves had violated its copyrights, circumvented copyright protection systems, and engaged in unfair competition among other claims.  Blizzard alleged that Reeves violated its copyrights through the operation of a website called "scapegaming."  Users of scapegaming's services did not have to pay a subscription fee and the service allowed users to access unauthorized servers that emulated Blizzard's own. Furthermore, scapegaming allowed pirated or unauthorized game clients to access its servers since it did not use an anti-piracy system.  Blizzard alleged that scapegaming achieved this by reverse engineering code taken from Blizzard's game client and servers.  Users were able to access WoW content through these servers and could make donations to scapegaming to keep its servers operational.  Between July 22, 2007, and September 26, 2009, Reeves received approximately $3,052,339 from donations and transactions through Paypal's "shopping cart."

After the initiation of this lawsuit, Reeves failed to appear and did not respond to the complaint.  Blizzard filed a motion for default judgement that was granted on August 10, 2010.  Blizzard was awarded  $88,594,539 in damages:  $3,052,339 in disgorged profits, $85,478,600 in statutory damages, and $63,600 in attorneys fees.  The statutory damages appear suspect, and could be overturned on appeal, but in view of the default judgment it doesn't appeal likely that will happen.

Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Textron, Inc. et al 
U.S. District Court, Norther District of California
Case No. 3:2012cv00118, Filed On January 6, 2012


Electronic Arts has filed an action seeking declaratory relief for non infringement in the Northern District of California against Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopters.  Bell Helicopter designs and manufactures the AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and V-22 helicopters that can be seen in Electronic Arts' game, Battlefield 3.  This first-person shooter game allows the player to simulate military combat while using military vehicles such as the helicopters at issue.

This is not the first time that these two parties have met in court.  Back in 2008, Textron and Electronic Arts were involved in litigation over the use of intellectual property in EA's Battlefield 2: Bad Company 2- Vietnam.  The parties settled out of court that same year, and in 2010, Electronic Arts entered an agreement with Textron to license intellectual property for its preexisting Battlefield games.  In 2011, Electronic Arts sent Textron a letter stating that they intended to use the helicopters in Battlefield 3, however Textron did not believe that this game was covered under the settlement agreement. Electronic Arts then determined that it did not need a license agreement for the helicopters in Battlefield 3 because it considered its usage expressive, and therefor protected by the 1st Amendment.  Textron responded by sending Electronic Arts a cease and desist letter, threatening legal action.  Electronic Arts filed its action for declaratory relief for non-infringement on January 6, 2012.  On February 24, 2012, Textron filed a competing suit in the Northern District of Texas against Electronic Arts for trademark infringement and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, unfair competition and misappropriation, and injury to trademarks.

On April 27, 2012, Judge William Alsup of the Northern California District Court denied Textron's motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer the action.  Textron argued that Electronic Arts had engaged in a race to the courthouse and forum shopping when it filed for declaratory judgment.  The Judge reasoned that Electronic Arts acted to seek a determination of its rights and that it did not have to wait until Textron decided to sue.  The court further rejected Textron's argument that Electronic Arts engaged in forum shopping.


Kenneth W Penders II v. Sega of America Inc et al 
United States District Court, Central District of California
Case No. 2:2011cv08173, Filed On October 3, 2011

A dispute over copyright ownership of contributions to the Sonic Comic Book Series continues [Link] with a Judge for the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California dismissing the suit against Sega and Electronic Arts without prejudice.  On May 31, 2011, Penders decided to initiate a lawsuit against Sega and Electronic Arts in the Central District of California Western Division court, alleging that the two companies infringed upon his copyrights when they used characters and details he created in Sonic video games (such as Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood).  The court dismissed the case without prejudice on September 26, 2011, stating that Penders could re-file the action after the conclusion of the Archie Comic case.  Instead, Penders decided to re-file the same action on October 3 in the same district.  Furthermore, Penders did not file a Notice of Related Case.  To this, Judge Wright commented that "such procedural maneuvering is not well taken, nor will it be tolerated." On February 23, 2012, Judge Wright dismissed the case without prejudice.  Since Penders' rights would be affected by the Archie Comics case, the Judge felt that it was more appropriate to dismiss the case rather than stay it, again noting that Penders could file again after the conclusion of the Archie Comics case.

Penders has since filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 26, 2012.

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