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Re: [dvd-discuss] Blizzard / Battlenet FAQ

Response below.

                    Steve Stearns                                                                                               
                    <sterno@bigbrother.net>           To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu                                   
                    Sent by:                          cc:                                                                       
                    owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.h       Subject:     Re: [dvd-discuss] Blizzard / Battlenet FAQ                   
                    02/22/02 11:01 AM                                                                                           
                    Please respond to                                                                                           

>On Fri, 2002-02-22 at 10:05, tneu@smithmicrotech.com wrote:

>> The Intellectual Property Peddlers did it again.   They got me riled up
>> enough to write another anti-FAQ.
>> As usual, please post any recommended improvements.
>You focus a lot on Blizzard taking this action because the emulated
>servers provide "competition" for Blizzard that they don't want.  If you
>want to make this point, perhaps you could explain how this really
>competes with them.  Without indicating how this software would
>negatively impact Blizzard, the competition argument seems rather
>As I understand it, the blizzard network is provided for free.
>Furthermore, if anything, blizzard benefits from the availability of
>this software because it reduces the burden on their servers.  The only
>problem that these servers pose is directly attributable to copyright

It's all about control.  They may gain financially but they loose in
control.  I'll see if I can work that in.

>It seems that what triggered this attack was that some people were
>playing the new warcraft beta on-line illegally because they were able
>to use these unofficial servers that didn't check the keys.  While I
>understand their concerns, I think that this is the wrong approach to
>things because this server software has substantial non-infringing uses.
>What might be a better approach for Blizzard to take is to work with the
>creators of this software to provide a CD key authentication system.
>Basically set up a mechanism by which the Blizzard servers can be
>queried remotely about the validity of a CD key.  This would permit
>securing their copyright and allow these independent servers to flourish
>to the benefit of Blizzard and their customers.  At that point, they
>might have better legal ground if somebody then proceeded to rip out
>that CD-Key check that Blizzard had helped to incorporate.

That may be their best approach, but that is not what they have chosen to
do.  According to their FAQ, they are worried about disclosing how the
authentication works.

>Overall I think the software authors have a pretty good case if they can
>overcome one barrier.  Why is there a need for this software?  What
>benefit is it providing to people?  I mean the software allows people to
>operate their own blizzard servers but why would anybody want to do this
>seeing as blizzard does it for free.  I personally understand the sort
>of hacker motive of reverse engineering something for fun, and the joy
>of running your own server just because you can.  The trick of course
>would be convincing a court of this value.

I don't think it is necessary for someone to prove that there is a need for
something before creating it.   Lots of inventions came about because of
people doing things for their own fun and/or benefit.

I agree, though, that it may difficult to get the courts to understand.

It's really not the developers' fault that the company refuses to disclose
its authentication mechanism.  If they asked for assistance in creating the
authentication in their product and were refused, that might be more
interesting.   I don't see a legal requirement per say that they should be
forced to use the authentication mechanism anyway.

It just goes back to the "Good Hammer/Bad Hammer" discussion.   It pounds
nails, and murders people.  Is it good or bad?