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Blizzard wins $88m private server ruling

Pirate made $3 million in micro-transactions with community of half a million

Blizzard Entertainment has won a court judgement against the operator of an unofficial World of Warcraft server, winning $88 million in damages as a result.

The World of Warcraft creators had accused Scapegaming, run by defendant Alyson Reeves, of a number of copyright infringements, as well as unfair competition and circumvention of copyright protection systems.

Scapegaming did not respond to the lawsuit and as a result Judge Margaret M Morrow of the California Central District Court found in favour of Blizzard by default.

The $88 million total is comprised of more than $3million in lost profits, $85.4 million in statutory damages and $64,000 in legal fees. The ability of Scapegaming to pay the damages, including interest, is unknown.

Pirate servers for massively multi-player online games are not uncommon, offering users free access to games and often allowing faster character progression.

Scapegaming was found to have made more than $3 million via PayPal micro-transactions for items and character levels. The community that arose around the pirate server had reached almost half a million by the time of the lawsuit. This figure was used to calculate the level of statutory damage due to Blizzard.

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