Blizzard seeks $8.5 million in lawsuit against Buddy Bots maker

Last summer, Blizzard filed a lawsuit against Bossland, the German-based maker of bots that enable cheating in World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. It accused Bossland of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and DMCA violations, saying that the bots "destroy the integrity of Blizzard Games, thereby alienating and frustrating legitimate players and diverting revenue from Blizzard to Defendants." 

Bossland, as noted in this filing (via TorrentFreak), first attempted to have the case dismissed over jurisdictional issues. When that didn't work out, Bossland notified Blizzard that it would default rather than defend against the action, a move Blizzard characterized as an attempt to avoid financial penalties. 

"Bossland's decision to default is a calculated and bad-faith tactic designed to shield its unlawful conduct from the reach of United States law. By defaulting, Bossland apparently hopes to block Blizzard from taking any discovery into its conduct, thereby concealing from Blizzard the scope of its unlawful conduct, the amount of revenue it has received from the Bossland Hacks, and the whereabouts of its assets," the filing says. 

"Bossland also hopes that by hiding this information it may avoid a monetary judgment or render any judgment that may be entered against it either unenforceable in the courts of Germany or uncollectable. Thus, Bossland hopes that it will be able to continue to conduct business as usual, and that Blizzard will be unable to avail itself of the relief to which it is entitled." 

Blizzard is therefore seeking a default judgment against Bossland to the tune of roughly $8.5 million, which it said represents the statutory minimum penalty. Or, in other words, it's going upside Bossland's head with Doomhammer. 

Bossland had previously submitted evidence indicating its software had been downloaded at least 119,000 times since July 2013 in the US alone, and "while it is certainly the case that Bossland's Blizzard-related products account for the vast majority of its sales ... for purposes of this motion Blizzard is prepared to assume that all of the products are of equal value."   

That means that "at a minimum," roughly 36 percent of Bossland's sales in the US are for bots that work in Blizzard games, and thus "it is fair and reasonable to assume that at least 36 percent of those downloads were of the Bossland Hacks, and not Bossland products for use with other games." 36 percent of 118,939 downloads works out to 42,818 individual cases of infringement; at $200 each (again, the statutory minimum for a single offense), the grand total comes out to $8,563,600, although Blizzard noted that "it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks." 

Blizzard supported its claim by referencing its 2010 lawsuit against Scapegaming, in which a court used similar calculations to award it statutory damages of more than $85 million. Whether it will be able to collect on any judgment is another matter entirely, but the point is obviously to put Bossland out of the Blizzard business, and that would appear to be a very likely outcome.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.