Over the past several years, a wave of copyright infringement lawsuits has targeted alleged cheaters and cheat makers.
Several game companies including Take-Two Interactive and Epic Games have taken cheaters to court in the United States. More recently, American video game developer Bungie has been rather active as well.
Bungie is known for the Halo and Destiny series, which have millions of fans around the world. The popularity of these games also attracts cheaters and cheat sellers, including “Elite Boss Tech” and “AimJunkies.com.”
How these sellers have responded to legal pressure varies considerably. Earlier this year Elite Boss Tech accepted a loss by signing a consent judgment, agreeing to pay $13.5 million in copyright damages. AimJunkies, on the other hand, is doing everything in its power to fight back.
Bungie vs. Veterancheats
Bungie’s case against Veterancheats has gone in another direction. After the lawsuit was filed against the cheat seller in 2021, not much has happened. The site’s alleged operator, Romanian resident Mihai Claudiu-Florentin, didn’t answer the complaint in court.
A few days ago, this lack of action prompted Bungie to request a default judgment totaling roughly $12 million in damages for copyright infringement and circumventing Bungie’s technological protection measures.
According to Bungie, the defendant sold several Destiny 2 cheats, including “Razor”, “HLBOT”, and “Render.” These allowed “unskilled” and “unethical” players to gain an unfair advantage, effectively ruining the fun for everyone else.
“Cheat software negatively impacts the gaming experience of Bungie’s community of honest players who enjoy playing and winning fairly using skill and developed through practice,” Bungie writes.
It’s a sentiment shared by many affected gamers, and Bungie lists several instances of people publicly complaining about Destiny 2 cheaters.
Veterancheats remains online and is aware of the lawsuit. The cheat seller previously removed the Destiny 2 cheats from its site in the hope that would settle the matter. However, Bungie is pressing on.
The game company obtained subpoenas to request financial information from Coinbase, PayPal, and Stripe. The Stripe information was particularly useful as it revealed thousands of cheat sales, including 5,848 separate subscription transactions that could be linked to Destiny 2 cheats.
These transactions brought in roughly $146,000 in revenue, which Bungie demands as actual damages for copyright infringement. In addition, the game maker seeks $2,000 for each of the 5,848 sales for circumventing the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision – $11,696,000 in damages overall.
Adding attorneys fees to these two figures pushes total compensation above $12 million.
The damages are warranted for a variety of reasons, according to Bungie. The company has spent more than $2,000,000 on cheat mitigation while Veterancheats and Claudiu-Florentin willingly broke the law and then failed to respond to Bungie’s complaint.
Interestingly, Claudiu-Florentin did briefly communicate with the game maker’s legal team. When Bungie tried to get the transaction data from Stripe, Veterancheat’s operator offered to stop selling cheats going forward, if Bungie would stop pursuing the case.
Claudiu-Florentin instead pointed a finger at competing cheat sellers, who continued to offer similar software. In addition, he drew Bungie’s attention to the developer of the cheat.
“The one who should be sued is the developer of the product, not a small seller like me. Why they dont try to identify the developer of the product instead? ring-1,” Veterancheat’s operator wrote.
“I request a withdrawal of information request and if you accept, i will stop distributing the destiny 2 software (Skycheats,Battlelog,Privatecheatz has sold Destiny 2 software for more than 1 year and they did not got sued by Destiny 2,” he added.
This diversion attempt didn’t help, it appears, as Bungie continued with the case and now demands millions of dollars in compensation.
The court has yet to rule on the default judgment and damages request but without an official defense from Veterancheats, little stands in the way of a successful outcome for the game vendor.
A copy of the motion for a default judgment against Veterancheats/Claudiu-Florentin and the associated memorandum is available here (pdf)