Bungie and Ubisoft have filed a lawsuit against five individuals said to be behind Ring-1, the claimed creator and distributor of cheat software targeting Destiny and Rainbox Six Seige. Among other offenses the gaming companies allege copyright infringement and trafficking in circumvention devices, estimating damages in the millions of dollars.
Filed in a California district court, the lawsuit targets Andrew Thorpe (aka ‘Krypto’), Jonathan Aguedo (aka ‘Overpowered’), Wesam Mohammed (aka ‘Grizzly’), Ahmad Mohammed, plus John Does 1-50. According to the plaintiffs, these people operate, oversee or participate in Ring-1, an operation that develops, distributes and markets a range of cheats for Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Seige, among others.
Ring-1 is said to largely operate from Ring-1.io but is also active on hundreds of forums, websites and social media accounts selling cheats that enable Ubisoft and Bungie customers to automatically aim their weapons, reveal the locations of opponents, and see information that would otherwise be obscured.
“Defendants’ conduct has caused, and is continuing to cause, massive and irreparable harm to Plaintiffs and their business interests. The success of Plaintiffs’ games depends on their being enjoyable and fair for all players,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the lawsuit, the cheats developed and distributed by Ring-1 are not cheap. Access to Destiny 2 cheats via the Ring-1 website costs 30 euros per week or 60 euros per month while those for Rainbox Six Seige cost 25 euros and 50 euros respectively, netting the defendants up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.
The plaintiffs believe that Ring-1 or those acting in concert with them fraudulently obtained access to the games’ software clients before disassembling, decompiling and/or creating derivative works from them. These tools were then tested on Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Seige servers under false pretenses by using “throwaway accounts” and false identities.
Copyright Infringement Offenses
Since the cheating software developed and distributed by Ring-1 is primarily designed for the purpose of circumventing technological measures that control access to their games, the plaintiffs state that the defendants are trafficking in circumvention devices in violation of the DMCA (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2)).
In addition, it’s alleged that the defendants unlawfully reproduced and displayed the plaintiffs’ artwork on the Ring-1 website, adapted the performance of the games, and reproduced game client files without a license during reverse engineering and similar processes.
In the alternative, Ubisoft and Bungie suggest that the defendants can be held liable for inducing and contributing to the copyright-infringing acts of their customers when they deploy cheats that effectively create unauthorized derivative works.
In addition to the alleged copyright infringement offenses, Bungie and Ubisoft say the defendants are liable for trademark infringement due to the use of various marks on the Ring-1 website and elsewhere. They are also accused of ‘false designation of origin’ due to false or misleading descriptions that suggest a connection with the companies, and intentional interference with contractual relations by encouraging Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Seige players to breach their licensing conditions.
Wow, this seems to me to be a stretch. Nobody likes playing online against a cheat but calling it copyright infringement and creating derivative works seems like a stretch, as does saying people might think the cheat creators (which to me seems like original work) might be mistaken as being affiliated with the companies. Even Trump and QAnon followers aren’t that stupid. Then as for the licenses imposed: yes, people click yes on the usage licenses but I’m pretty sure almost no-one has any idea what they are clicking yes to.