In the summer of 2021, game developer Bungie filed a complaint targeting three well-known cheat sellers; Elite Tech Boss, Lavicheats & VeteranCheats.
The case against Elite Tech Boss has been the most eventful thus far. Within a few months, this resulted in a consent judgment where a key defendant agreed to pay $13.5 million in damages.
That judgment didn’t settle the matter completely as Bungie still has other targets in its crosshairs. Meanwhile, there are other cases to resolve.
LaviCheats and VeteranCheats failed to answer the complaints filed in the United States. As a result, Bungie requested a $12 million default judgment against the latter a few days ago, shortly followed by a similar, albeit lower, claim against Lavicheats.com.
You’ve Been Served
Late last week Bungie filed a motion for default judgment against LaviCheats at a Washington federal court. The game company asked the court to rule on the matter without hearing the defendant, as they apparently have no interest in making a court appearance.
Bungie believes that LaviCheats is operated by India-resident Kunal Bansal, AKA “Lavi”. However, no known address exists for this person. To alert Bansal to the legal proceeding, Bungie sent an email and posted a message in the LaviCheats forums.
These unusual serving options were authorized by the court and proved successful. Although there was no response in court, Destiny 2 cheats were removed from the LaviCheats website.
In a message posted on the website, LaviCheats explained that it will no longer sell Destiny 2 hacks because of the lawsuit. At the same time, however, LaviCheats advised people to buy cheats at Cobracheats instead.
The referral is not a coincidence; Bungie believes that Bansal is also the driving force behind this cheat shop, as well as others.
“[A]fter receiving notice of this lawsuit, Bansal moved his unlawful activities with respect to the Cheat Software to one or more other websites believed to be owned and/or operated by him, including the websites located at cobracheats.com, lavicheats.org, and protocolv.com,” Bungie explains.
$6.7 Million Default Judgment
As the defendant failed to show up in court, Bungie moved ahead on its own. In the motion filed last Friday, the company requests a total award of $6,700,973.34. This figure comprises damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs.
The bulk of the proposed award relates to Lavicheats’ alleged violations of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. The game developer believes it’s entitled to $2,000 for each of the 2,790 cheat copies that were downloaded.
“Bansal’s […] ongoing conduct demonstrates a willingness to continue with his illegal activities, as to warrant a statutory damage award of at least $2,000 for each of the 2,790 Cheat Software for Destiny 2 that Bansal’s own website admitted were downloaded, for a total of $5,580,000.”
Bungie further alleges that Lavicheats infringed its copyrights, so is entitled to claim the maximum $300,000 in statutory damages for two titles. In addition, Bungie seeks $579,270 in damages for trademark infringements, an amount that equals Bansal’s Destiny 2 cheat profits.
High But Warranted
The $6 million figure is high but justified, Bungie tells the court. Stressing that the company had to spend millions of dollars to fight cheaters, it’s appropriate to send a strong message.
“[A]lthough the total amount Bungie seeks may be considered large, the damages are proportional to the harm caused by Bansal’s flagrant and willful violation of Bungie’s rights,” Bungie notes.
In addition to the damages request, the motion also seeks a permanent injunction, barring Bansal from engaging in any Bungie-related cheating or infringement activities going forward.
The Washington federal court has yet to review and rule on the motion. Without a defending party, however, little stands in the way of another Bungie victory.
A copy of Bungie’s motion for a default judgment against Kunal Bansal (LaviCheats) is available here (pdf)