Court dismisses AimJunkies’ hacking claim against Bungie * TorrentFreak

Court dismisses AimJunkies’ hacking claim against Bungie * TorrentFreak

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A federal court in Seattle has dismissed the hacking and DMCA circumvention claims filed by AimJunkies against game developer Bungie. The cheat seller filed the claim in a retaliation move after it was sued for copyright infringement related to the Destiny 2 hack. The order is a clear victory for Bungie, but the legal dispute is not over yet.

aimjunkiesLast year, Bungie filed a complaint in federal court in Seattle, accusing AimJunkies.com of copyright and trademark infringement, among other things.

The same allegations were also made against Phoenix Digital Group, the alleged creators of the ‘Destiny 2’ cheat software.

AimJunkies denied the allegations and claimed that cheating is not against the law. In addition, it refuted the claims of copyright infringement; these lacked substance because some of the referenced copyrights were registered well after the cheats were first made available, AimJunkies said.

The court dismissed Bungie’s copyright claim

In May, US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly largely sided with AimJunkies. The original complaint did not provide sufficient evidence for a plausible claim that “Destiny 2 Hacks” infringed any copyright, the judge concluded.

This was bad news for Bungie, but the court offered the company an opportunity to file a new complaint to address these deficiencies, which it did soon after.

In an amended complaint, the game developer added more details about copyright infringement and more information about the roles of several key people also allegedly involved. That includes James May, who Bungie describes as a third-party cheat developer.

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Hacking Counterclaim

AimJunkies responded to the updated complaint, denying that it violated the law. Instead, it turned the tables on Bungie, accusing the game developer of hacking when it allegedly accessed May’s computer without permission. In addition, the cheaters claimed that Bungie violated the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

Bungie described these claims as false. There is no evidence it downloaded anything from May’s computer, the company said. And even if it had accessed his computer without permission, AimJunkies failed to argue that any hacking damages exceeded at least $5,000.

Similarly, Bungie also asked the court to dismiss the DMCA circumvention claims as AimJunkies failed to show that the allegedly infringing content was copyrighted and that the files were protected by a technological measure.

Claim rejected

After weighing the evidence from both sides, US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly sided with Bungie and dismissed the counterclaims.

AimJunkies failed to plead a hacking case as it did not provide proof of loss. There is also no evidence that Bungie accessed May’s computer without permission.

“May has not sufficiently alleged that Bungie accessed her personal computer and files without authorization. To support his claim that Bungie had access to his personal computer, May relies on a document that Bungie allegedly produced during discovery in this case.”

“However, May does not explain what this document is or how it proves instances where Bungie allegedly accessed his computer without authorization and downloaded personal information,” added Judge Zilly.

hacking claims

The anti-circumvention claims by May and Phoenix also fail. AimJunkies did not demonstrate that the files they allegedly accessed were copyrighted or protected by technological measures, as required.

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“Importantly, neither May nor Phoenix Digital alleges that Bungie had access to any copyrighted work,” Judge Zilly notes. “Unfortunately, Phoenix Digital has not pleaded any facts to support that the ‘loader software’ was protected by a technological measure.”

Is the game over?

The termination is a major setback for AimJunkies, but the matter is not quite over yet. Judge Zilly agrees with Bungie that there are sufficient grounds to dismiss the counterclaims with prejudice, meaning AimJunkies will not have a chance to repair the deficiencies.

The petition for modified deadlines expires later this month, so AimJunkies have an opportunity to amend their counterclaims and take another shot at Bungie.

A copy of Judge Zilly’s order dismissing the counterclaims without prejudice is available here (pdf)

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