Bungie tracks down another Destiny 2 cheat maker, hammers him for $16.2M

Destiny 2
(Image credit: Bungie)

It's been a heck of a week for Bungie, which has now scored its third multi-million-dollar lawsuit win against a Destiny 2 cheat maker over a span of just seven days. A week ago the studio won $12 million against VeteranCheats, then on Monday it was $6.7 million against LaviCheats, and now it's notched a $16.2 million triumph over Daniel Larsen, a developer whose downfall actually began a year ago, in Bungie's $13.5 million settlement with cheat maker Elite Boss Tech.

(For those keeping score at home, all of the above follows a $4.4 million win over cheat mater AimJunkies in February. Bungie's on a bit of a roll.)

That settlement was reached in June 2022, but as Torrentfreak explained a few months later, that wasn't the end of it. Several of the defendants in the case had only been identified by their online handles, and Bungie apparently wanted to get its hands on everyone. Thanks to cooperation from Elite Boss Tech owner Robert James Duthie Nelson, it was able to identify two pseudonymous defendants: One, Patrick Schaufuss, responded to Bungie's attempt to make contact and agreed to cooperate in the case, but the other—Larsen—ignored the whole thing.

Bungie's action against Larsen has now ended in basically the same way that its case against LaviCheats owner Kunal Bansal wrapped up earlier this week: With a big default judgment. On May 9, the courts granted Bungie an award $16.2 million, based on:

  • $13,530,000 for violations of the DMCA
  • $300,000 for violations of the Copyright Act
  • $1,999,998 for violations of RICO
  • $267,887.10 in attorney fees and $80,263.92 in costs

That's actually slightly less than Bungie requested, because the court determined that the studio is entitled to statutory damages, it is not entitled to actual damages based on Larsen's alleged profits from the infringement because the complaint does not "provide any basis for the calculations one might use to arrive at the sums requested, particularly since the records contain foreign currencies."

"The Court finds that Bungie has failed to meet its burden to provide admissible evidence of actual damages and the Court rejects the request to enter default judgment in the amount requested," the ruling (via Torrentfreak) states. "But Bungie has asked for $300,000, the maximum statutory award for Larsen’s willful infringement of its two copyrighted works. The Court finds this request reasonable, given the two alleged infringements and the willful nature of Larsen’s efforts to infringe on the copyrighted works."

Even with that very slight reduction in the award, it's still a hell of a pile of money. Whether Bungie will actually be able to collect on any of it, I do not know: Larsen lives in Denmark, which could make enforcing the ruling a little tricky. But more important than the money (which, let's be honest, is a pittance compared to the Destiny cash that Bungie pulls in and throws around), it sends a very strong message to other potential cheat developers that Bungie isn't messing around.

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.