Epic Games has been suing cheaters in its smash hit Fortnite Battle Royale since the game debuted last year. Its first case against alleged cheater Charles Vraspir was over within a couple of months, prompting many to believe its ongoing case against a 14-year-old cheater was soon to follow. Unfortunately, things seem to be getting more complicated, as Epic’s move for a default judgement has been denied and the defendant’s motion to dismiss is currently in dispute.
Upon Epic’s accusation, the 14-year-old’s mother threw shade at the publisher for how things were handled in an angry letter. Some of it chastised the company for publishing the defendants name despite him being a minor, something which Epic retorts with its lack of knowledge prior to publication, however the main point was to highlight that the publisher “has no capability of proving” its claim.
Since the letter has been sent, things have fallen silent on the part of the defendant and his mother, causing Epic to move for a default judgement. This was denied, as the wording of the initial letter was considered a motion to dismiss the case, resulting in Epic countering the new motion by addressing the main body of its points. The full document can be seen here thanks to TorrentFreak.
As cases have proved in the past, “if an infant enters into any contract subject to conditions or stipulations, he cannot take the benefit of the contract without the burden of the conditions or stipulations.” Epic draws attention to a 2008 case in which four minors attempted to sue a software company for copyright infringement due to its anti-plagiarism software holding on to the data and work of participants.
The group claimed that keeping and using this data violated the Copyright Act and that the “infancy defense,” which is a plea of ignorance, made the digital contract formed by clicking “I agree” null and void. The court disagreed, stating that “a valid contract existed between the minors and the software company as a result of the students’ affirmative agreement to the user agreement.”
Furthermore, “The court found that the infancy defense failed because a minor may not ‘use the infancy defense to void their contractual obligations while retaining the benefits of the contract’,” writes Epic.
In turn, Epic hopes to convince the courts that this makes the defendant liable for his actions, with parallels being drawn between the two cases. The defendant in the immediate case retains the benefits of his contract with Epic by supposedly continuing to play Fortnite, prompting Epic to request for the dismissal to be denied.
Epic Games has yet to reveal what it is seeking from the lawsuit, as it claims to have suffered “intentional inducement of others resulted in actual damage to Epic,” but has not outright gone after monetary damages. As with its previous case, there’s a possibility that the studio is simply looking for an apology and assurance that it won’t happen again.
KitGuru Says: This is a particularly ham handed way of dealing with an ongoing problem within competitive games, but it seems that Epic is too far gone at this point. If it backs down, it won’t act as the deterrent it was intended to be and if it continues, then it puts its own reputation on the line. What do you think of Epic’s latest legal actions?