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Epic Games sues former QA contractor over Fortnite leak

Thomas Hannah admits breaching NDA but files defence against lawsuit as he claims leak was out of his control

Epic Games has taken legal action against a former Fortnite tester over leaked information about recent events in the world-conquering Battle Royale game.

But the defendant, former QA contractor Thomas Hannah, has also filed his defence and is urging judges to dismiss Epic's demands, insisting he did not orchestrate the leak himself, Polygon reports.

The dispute centres around spoilers for the fourth season of in-game events in Fortnite Battle Royale. The comet that appeared in the sky above the arena towards the end of the third season reshaped an area now known as Dusty Divot, and season four also introduced a superheroes theme.

Epic alleges that Hannah provided these secrets and others to an unnamed third party, who then published them to a Subreddit forum (although Polygon notes that both the original post and the account that created have since been deleted).

The firm filed a lawsuit against Hannah on May 7th, claiming that the leak means Epic "has suffered and is continuing to suffer irreparable injury", demanding damages under both state and federal trade secrets laws - plus legal fees.

However, Hannah has filed a defence calling for these claims to be dismissed, instead insisting that the information was shared in a private conversation and he had no control over what followed.

He claims the unnammed third party "pumped [him] with a series of questions and guesses regarding where the meteor would hit", and stresses that the Subreddit post's promise of future spoilers and predictions was done without his knowledge or participation.

That said, Hannah does acknowledge that having this conversation and sharing the information violated the non-disclosure agreement he signed with Epic, and that those statements were made without Epic's authorisation or consent.

Epic has been staunchly defending Fortnite since the free-to-play title took off last autumn, including taking legal action against a 14-year-old cheater.

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James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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