Bungie ran into a bit of a snag in its legal campaign against Destiny 2 cheat sellers in May when a Seattle judge dismissed its copyright infringement complaint (opens in new tab) against cheat maker AimJunkies. Bungie had argued that the development of cheats was an infringement of its copyright, while AimJunkies defends its software as an original creation—and the judge agreed with AimJunkies.
That wasn't the end of the matter. Other elements of Bungie's lawsuit remained intact, including allegations of trademark infringement and "false designation of origin," and the studio was given time to restate the copyright infringement portion of its case. A few weeks later it did just that, alleging that AimJunkies "reverse-engineered and copied the software code for Destiny 2" in order to make its cheat software.
To make the cheat software's ESP feature, for instance, which enables users to see other players through walls, Bungie alleged that AimJunkies "copied the Destiny 2 software code that corresponds to the data structures for player positioning [in] Destiny 2, and reverse engineered the software code for Destiny 2’s rendering functions."
The revised complaint is definitely more detailed, but AimJunkies isn't backing down—in fact, according to a new Torrentfreak (opens in new tab) report, the cheat maker is stepping up its own legal action in defense of its software and the right to sell it. The site says AimJunkies is issuing subpoenas to Valve, PayPal, and Google, seeking information that it apparently hopes will prove that its cheats did not cause damage to Bungie, contrary to what the studio has claimed.
In a press release posted on the site, AimJunkies also defended its Destiny 2 overlay, saying it's no different than the one in Steam.
"It is our belief OUR offering of software product was just doing what Steam and countless others do with overlays. The Steam overlay and others like [it], we believe are not derivative works also," AimJunkies wrote. "Bungie also claims that we caused grievous harm to their game when in fact some of their most popular months of player counts and sales were during the time AimJunkies offered their software products. We believe and intend to gather actionable proof of that and disprove another one of their wild assertions."
Interestingly, AimJunkies also suggested that it's going to pursue legal action of its own against an employee or contractor who allegedly purchased the AimJunkies cheat software and then turned it over to an "unnamed company" to be decompiled and analyzed—an act that AimJunkies says is in violation of its terms of service. It also accused Bungie of attempting to make cheating illegal "because they cannot govern their own players."
"They are looking to the courts to do what they 'Bungie' are impotent to do on their own, even with the vast resources and technologies at their disposal," the press release says. "They would rather suffer death by a thousand cuts than admit this is not the way to fix the problem.
"We at [AimJunkies parent] Phoenix Digital Group have offered to work with Bungie to acquire multiple solutions to their problem. Foremost we believe would be to implement our features in a version of their game for distribution, but their pride and bully mentality prohibits them from thinking out of the box."
It's a bit of a bizarre and rambling statement. It's not clear what Bungie would get out of distributing a version of Destiny 2 with built-in cheats, or why it would need to partner with another company to do so—or if the expectation is that, as cheat makers themselves, they'd be in a better position than Bungie to effectively stamp out cheating.
Typically, when Bungie (or any game company) brings legal action against a cheat maker, things tend to wrap up quickly with a settlement and a shutdown: Companies like Ring-1 (opens in new tab), PerfectAim (opens in new tab), Elite Boss Tech (opens in new tab), and 11020781 Canada (and, of course, the individuals behind them) have all folded their tents in the face of litigation, eager to avoid being heavily hammered by the courts. But AimJunkies, for now, is standing its ground. At the very least it'll be interesting to see what happens next.
Bungie declined to comment on the matter. I've reached out to AimJunkies for comment, and will update if I receive a reply.