Cheat Seller Appeals $3.6m DMCA Violation Loss Against Bungie

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The legal battle between game developer Bungie and cheat seller AimJunkies is far from over. In addition to unresolved copyright infringement claims, AimJunkies has just appealed the $4.4 million in damages and fees that were awarded in arbitration earlier this year.

aimjunkiesTwo years ago, Bungie filed a complaint at a federal court in Seattle, accusing of copyright and trademark infringement, among other things.

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

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

AimJunkies Won Fist Battle

Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly handed an early and partial win to AimJunkies. The original complaint didn’t provide sufficient evidence for a plausible claim that the ‘Destiny 2 Hacks’ infringed any copyrights, the Judge concluded.

This was a setback for Bungie, but the court allowed the game developer to amend its complaint, which it promptly did. As a result, the copyright infringement dispute is currently ongoing and progressing through the legal process.

During 2022, Judge Zilly referred several of the non-copyright-related complaints to arbitration, including allegations that AimJunkies’ cheats violated the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision and were illegally sold to third parties.

Arbitration Judge Sides with Bungie

The arbitration process was conducted behind the scenes and resulted in a resounding win for the game developer; Bungie was awarded a total of nearly $4.4 million in damages and fees.

The bulk of the award was DMCA-related damages. According to arbitration Judge Ronald Cox, the evidence made it clear that AimJunkies and third-party developer James May bypassed Bungie’s technical protection measures in violation of the DMCA.

In addition to breaching the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, the defendants were also found liable for trafficking in circumvention devices. Or, put differently, selling and shipping the cheats.

The DMCA circumvention and trafficking violations total nearly $3.6 million in damages with the remainder of the $4.4 million consisting of fees and costs.

Aimjunkies Files Appeal

AimJunkies opposed the arbitration outcome but U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly ultimately denied these objections and confirmed the arbitration order last month.

That could have been the end of the road for this part of the lawsuit, but the cheat seller is not quick to concede. It recently filed an appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, hoping for a better outcome.

“Defendants, Phoenix Digital Group LLC, Jeffrey Conway, David Schaefer, Jordan Green and James May hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” attorney Philip Mann writes.

aimjunkies appeal

In addition to the confirmation of the arbitration order, the defendants also appeal the associated permanent injunction that prevents them from creating and selling similar hacks and cheats in the future.

Battles on Multiple Fronts

AimJunkies has yet to file its opening brief at the Court of Appeal. The deadline to do so is in October, so the matter won’t be resolved anytime soon. Meanwhile, there are other battles to fight as well.

Bungie’s copyright and trademark infringement claims remain pending and the countersuit, where third-party cheat developer James May accuses Bungie of ‘hacking,’ theft, and DMCA violations, also remains outstanding.

These issues are expected to be resolved during a multi-day trial, currently expected to take place later this year.


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