14-Year Old Video Game Cheater Sued, Mom Says He's A Scapegoat

Oct 25, 2017
7,457
#1
https://kotaku.com/14-year-old-video-game-cheater-sued-mom-defends-him-1820752579

Last month, Epic took the unusual step of not just banning two Fortnite players from the game for cheating, but taking them to court. It’s since been revealed that one of the accused is only 14 years old, and his mother is not happy.
She has addressed the court directly through a letter, which attacks Epic’s handling of the case on a number of grounds.

  • She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent.
  • She says the case is based on a loss of profits, but argues that it’s a free-to-play video game, and that in order to prove a loss Epic would need to provide a statement certifying that Rogers’ cheating directly caused a “mass profit loss”.
  • She claims that by going after individual players, rather than the websites selling/providing the software necessary to cheat in an online game, Epic is “using a 14 year-old child as a scapegoat”.
  • Finally, the mother says that by releasing her son’s name publicly in conjunction with the move that Epic has violated Delaware laws related to the release of information on minors.
There’s also the matter, as TorrentFreak point out, that you can’t actually sue a minor directly, raising the possibility that Epic didn’t even know the full identity of the accused before going ahead with the case.
The cases began last month, when Epic began taking action against individual users who had used the site Addicted Cheats to obtain “aimbots” that would give them a competitive edge in the game
Mod Edit:
Additional information regarding the offenders role in this:
According to the complaints, both defendants seem to offer technical support for AddictedCheats.com and, with cheats the site provides, monitor streams and intentionally prevent streamers from winning. This practice, which is known as “stream sniping,” has been a semi-frequent and much-derided fad among the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds community—a game that Fortnite’s new battle royale mode expressly took some cues from. While Battlegrounds explicitly forbids cheating and stream-sniping in its rules of conduct, Fortnite’sonly explicitly forbids cheating. One defendant had been banned from playing Fortnite nine times. In response, he allegedly registered several other accounts with different names to continue playing Fortnite and stream-sniping. According to the complaint, when asked why he stream-snipes, the defendant said, “Because its [sic] fun to rage and see streamers cry about how loaded they are and then get them stomped anyways.”

When Epic Games altered Fortnite’s code to prevent further cheating, the second defendant allegedly found a work-around with, adding, “Now method is exposed . . . Epic Eat my ass.” Over Discord chat, both defendants declined to comment. Over Addicted Cheats’ Discord channel, an affiliate said that they’re not offering refunds to Fortnitecheaters who purchased their services.

YouTube Commentary from copyright attorney Leonard French discussing the letter the mother penned:
OP should probably be updated with the full complete story. Also heres the time link. https://youtu.be/G5lMFjME9qI?t=5m46s
 
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Oct 25, 2017
6,179
Wisconsin
#7
Why would you ever sue individual users of a cheat rather than suing the makers of the cheat that are charging money for it? Epic's lawyers got greedy
 
Nov 4, 2017
244
#8
From what I can recall, the kid was trying to actively harm the playerbase by killing streamers using cheats and giving them an unpleasant experience, causing their audience to leave with negative impressions of the game.
 

Tecnniqe

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Oct 25, 2017
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#9
She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent. That's... Would it hold up in court?

She says the case is based on a loss of profits, but argues that it’s a free-to-play video game, and that in order to prove a loss Epic would need to provide a statement certifying that Rogers’ cheating directly caused a “mass profit loss”. Well, duh, cheating will make people angry, sour and quit and therefore wont spend any money... However, proving that might not be easy...

She claims that by going after individual players, rather than the websites selling/providing the software necessary to cheat in an online game, Epic is “using a 14 year-old child as a scapegoat”. Actions have consequences. You can argue this or not, but at the end of the day he's the one who committed the offense and they might not be able to go after the site itself.

Finally, the mother says that by releasing her son’s name publicly in conjunction with the move that Epic has violated Delaware laws related to the release of information on minors. That's not good.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,283
#10
Finally, the mother says that by releasing her son’s name publicly in conjunction with the move that Epic has violated Delaware laws related to the release of information on minors.
Yeah. This could go poorly for Epic.
 

Lord Brady

Banned
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Oct 26, 2017
8,395
#11
From what I can recall, the kid was trying to actively harm the playerbase by killing streamers using cheats and giving them an unpleasant experience, causing their audience to leave with negative impressions of the game.
Killing streamers seems like time well spent.
 

Krejlooc

Dreamcast Porno Party
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Oct 27, 2017
12,807
#13
Really, really stupid move on epic's part. Remember when the MPAA and RIAA would go after children for pirating music? This feels a lot like that, except the "crime" is way less illegal.

EDIT: And in addition to releasing his name being illegal, it also opens him up to all sorts of cyber harassment.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,963
#15
She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent. That's... Would it hold up in court?
I get the feeling that most ToS aren’t legally binding but very few people challenge them due to the legal fees.
 
Nov 9, 2017
6,168
#17
I feel like between this and Blue Hole's mulling over suing Epic for making a game with similar mechanics, there has been some confusion among these companies that Battle Royale logic also applies to legal defense.

Guys: You don't get airdropped into a courtroom and have to sue the first person you see.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,941
#19
She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent. That's... Would it hold up in court?

She says the case is based on a loss of profits, but argues that it’s a free-to-play video game, and that in order to prove a loss Epic would need to provide a statement certifying that Rogers’ cheating directly caused a “mass profit loss”. Well, duh, cheating will make people angry, sour and quit and therefore wont spend any money... However, proving that might not be easy...

She claims that by going after individual players, rather than the websites selling/providing the software necessary to cheat in an online game, Epic is “using a 14 year-old child as a scapegoat”. Actions have consequences. You can argue this or not, but at the end of the day he's the one who committed the offense and they might not be able to go after the site itself.

Finally, the mother says that by releasing her son’s name publicly in conjunction with the move that Epic has violated Delaware laws related to the release of information on minors. That's not good.
Are you seriously arguing in favor of litigation against minors...for using aimbots in a free to play game???
 

Lord Brady

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Oct 26, 2017
8,395
#22
She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent. That's... Would it hold up in court?
In the US I believe you can't enter into a contract with a minor, so if she didn't approve him playing it, Epic can pack this up and go home.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,063
#25
Your move Bluehole.

Yikes, I can only hope quite a bit of this process was automated. With only two cases I would expect something more thorough particularly if you're taking this to court then it was definitely worth parsing over.
 
Oct 25, 2017
360
#26
Suing someone... for cheating? The fuck...

They better not have a case, and it sounds like the opposite is true given the laws Epic may have violated.
 
Oct 31, 2017
4,301
#27
This is dumb as fuck on Epic's part. You go after the creators/distributors of the cheats, not the end users themselves.

It's the same with pirating. The government isn't going to waste time going after the millions of people who download a pirated game. You go after the pirate groups or distribution sites.
 

Tecnniqe

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Oct 25, 2017
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#28
Are you seriously arguing in favor of litigation against minors...for using aimbots in a free to play game???
No, but I can see why they go after users, as they are the one actively inflicting harm to their brand/games which in the end damage their income.

The cheat company might not even be US based, making everything much harder to go for them rather than the users.


I don't think going after a minor is a good thing, I hope they didn't know which I'm not sure is better or worse but "scapegoat" as a excuse just cause its a minor don't really work, as they are indeed damaging a business.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,941
#32
No, but I can see why they go after users, as they are the one actively inflicting harm to their brand/games which in the end damage their income.

The cheat company might not even be US based, making everything much harder to go for them rather than the users.


I don't think going after a minor is a good thing, I hope they didn't know which I'm not sure is better or worse but "scapegoat" as a excuse just cause its a minor don't really work, as they are indeed damaging a business.
Punishing users is fine in my book, especially because there is already a convenient tool publishers can use to do so: banning. Why they felt the need to sue is beyond me.
 
Oct 27, 2017
8,624
#34
I mean, sure, screw that kid for cheating but banning him is enough.

Taking him to court for it is just ridiculous. Its over, you already dealt with him.
 

Tecnniqe

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#35
Punishing users is fine in my book, especially because there is already a convenient tool publishers can use to do so: banning. Why they felt the need to sue is beyond me.
Banning players still allow for them to do damage. If this was one of the "stream ghosters/snipers" and actively trying to kill them it would be seriously off-putting for the viewers and I do see Epics view of trying to make an example in an attempt to sway people away from doing it to begin with rather than play catch-up.

But... they really screwed themselves going after a 14 year old in the process...
 
Oct 30, 2017
171
#36
What the hell?

Ironically this news story is probably going to affect them more negatively than one guy messing with twitch streams. Completely over the top response.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,379
#42
Filing legal claims using somebody's legal name isn't against the law. And I think they pretty obviously weren't aware that it was a kid.

Also, if this is in fact the action referenced by the second article, then this kid was not "just" cheating.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,078
#47
Do we know where the cheat providers are located?

Are they US based? It's not like Epic could go after someone in Russia or China as easy...
That's not a reason to go after kids because they cheat in a game. Just ban accounts and work on your cheat detection instead. They gain nothing by taking a kid to court and the mom basically seems like she will be fighting them alright. So they will get bad press and in the case they even win they won't get money from a 14 years old kid to compensate the profits lost on a game played by millions of people.
 

Tecnniqe

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Oct 25, 2017
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#50
That's not a reason to go after kids because they cheat in a game. Just ban accounts and work on your cheat detection instead. They gain nothing by taking a kid to court and the mom basically seems like she will be fighting them alright. So they will get bad press and in the case they even win they won't get money from a 14 years old kid to compensate the profits lost on a game played by millions of people.
Question I'm asking have nothing to do with the kid, simply trying to understand Epic's side for suing to begin with.