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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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« Grokster Predictions | Main | Patry on the More Discerning Observer Test »

June 20, 2005

Oral Arguments in Blizzard v. BNETD

Posted by Ernest Miller

If there is a decision in Grokster later today, this news will probably be lost in the shuffle. That would be unfortunate.

Later today, the Eighth Circuit will hear oral arguments in the case of Blizzard v. BNETD, which involves EULA and DMCA issues regarding internet services, in this particular case, a videogame. The outcome of this case will likely be an important precedent.

EFF represents three open source programmers who reverse engineered the protocol used by Blizzard's client games to communicate with the game server. Thus, the open source programmers were able to create their own server.

Read EFF's press release: Consumers’ Rights at Stake in Eighth Circuit Videogame Case.

Groklaw explains why this case is important to open source programmers (Blizzard v. BnetD Hearing Tomorrow Morning).

LawMeme has a brief piece (Blizzard v. BnetD on Monday).

My analysis of the district court decision here: Major DMCA/EULA Loss - District Court Clueless in BNETD Case.

I was one of the first to write about the case extensively, beginning with the cease and desist letter sent back in 2002. LawMeme: Analysis of BNETD and Blizzard.

I think there is a reasonable chance for some sort of victory here as the lower court probably went too far. Of course, I wouldn't want to be arguing the case today ... the Grokster decision might have some impact (though it might not).

UPDATE 0950PT
C|Net News' Declan McCullagh reports on the story, adding his usual (ridiculous) claim that EULAs should be enforceable so long as the terms are commonly expected, thus allowing copyright holders to decide what is enforceable (Putting the DMCA on Trial).

UPDATE 2035PT

I've linked to a couple of reports on the Blizzard v. BNETD oral arguments (Report on Oral Argument in Blizzard v. BNETD Case). Now you can listen to them yourself via Joe Gratz, who has made a handy MP3 file (BnetD Oral Argument Audio Available).

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