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 RuneScape  developer wins suit against 'bot' maker

RuneScape developer wins suit against 'bot' maker

January 23, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

A U.S. court ruled in favor of Jagex Games Studio over the firm's two-year lawsuit against Impulse Software for developing and selling macro/bot software for its MMORPG RuneScape.

The British independent developer and publisher called the ruling a victory for game companies battling bot makers in their titles, and said it could serve as a "serious deterrent for anyone who continues to be involved in developing botting software or scripts or even maintaining or supporting those involved."

Impulse Software's iBot allowed users to automatically complete tasks and level up in RuneScape without needing to actually play the game. It's a practice frowned upon and prohibited by most publishers, and popular games like World of Warcraft are aggressive in banning players suspected of using bots.

Jagex filed its lawsuit against Florida-based Impulse Software in February 2010, accusing the company of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and of copyright and trademark infringement. The publisher said iBot had harmed its game and player community for a number of years.

The court has ruled that Impulse Software must pay Jagex "substantial damages," and has placed an injunction preventing the company from developing or helping anyone develop bot software for any Jagex product.

Furthermore, Impulse Software was ordered to give up all its websites, domains, source code, and customer details to Jagex. It must also provide details for all the individuals who developers scripts for iBot and sold/re-sold those scripts.

Along with its legal efforts, Jagex has recently made strides in fighting bot makers and users in-game. Last October, the publisher rolled out a RuneScape update designed to make most bots obsolete, and banned some 7.7 million bot users in a week. It claims no bot maker has managed to circumvent the new security since the update.

"We have spared no expense fighting this case, as demonstrated by the seven-figure bill this action has cost," says Jagex CEO and CTO Mark Gerhard. "But the point of this and other cases of its kind, is that we will continue bring to justice those who set out to harm the game or our beloved community."

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