League of Legends, the famous MOBA video game for PC by developer Riot Games Inc., made headlines last week when Riot filed a complaint in federal court against an alleged cheating software named LeagueSharp. According to their website and social media accounts, LeagueSharp innocently brands themselves as developers of “a tool for League of Legends which allows the user to inject assemblies into the game.” Once a user pays the subscription fee, which ranges from $15 to $50 depending on the type of account, they have full access to use LeagueSharp on League of Legends. Is your infringement-sense tingling yet? The complaint filed in court tells a much different story than what LeagueSharp markets itself to be.
Riot claims in their complaint that LeagueSharp “have engaged in repeated attacks on Riot’s game servers, have counseled their customers about how to cheat in LoL without being caught, and have advised customers to fraudulently dispute their in-game LoL transactions.” Does that sound like a user friendly tool to you? Additionally, Riot claims that LeagueSharp users can “automate gameplay to perform in the game with enhanced or inhuman accuracy; and accumulate levels, experience, and items at a rate that is not possible for a normal human player.” Riot will utilize Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in their suit, claiming that LeagueSharp has been selling, importing, offering, providing, and otherwise trafficking in technologies that circumvent or evade Riot’s sophisticated anti-cheat software.
This appears to be an easy win for Riot, even if it happens to go as far as an argument on the merits. It didn’t have to be this way though, as Riot insists they reached out to the creators of LeagueSharp to resolve the conflict but LeagueSharp never responded. That will most likely turn out to be one expensive ignored phone call.
Author, Chuck Coulter, is a rising second year student at Pace Law School, where he specializes in corporate law and intellectual property. Chuck is an avid video gamer, golfer, entertainment guru, and bona-fide geek. When he’s not busy at work for Morrison/Lee, you can find him on Twitter @Coulter_Legal.