Bnetd v. Blizzard


Law and IT
39 minutes, 18.1mb, recorded 2004-10-14

Ernest Miller, Michael Madison and Seth Finkelstein

In order to play popular Blizzard videogames such as Diablo and Starcraft over the Internet, you have to connect through Blizzard's proprietary Battle.net service. Dissatisfied with Battle.net for a variety of reasons, such as flamers, lamers and cheaters, a group of programmers dedicated to free and open-source software reverse engineered Battle.net by analyzing the packets the player copies of the game shared with Blizzard's servers. Their work resulted in the bnetd project, which let anyone run their own Battle.net-like service. Blizzard sued, of course, and the district court found the programmers guilty of violating the End User License Agreement (EULA) as well as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

What does this mean for open-source and free-software programmers, technologists and consumers? Law professor Michael Madison and programmer Seth Finkelstein look closely at the decision.

Michael Madison is a professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh.

Seth Finkelstein, an anti-censorship activist and programmer and recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award.

This program is one of a series, The Importance of...Law and IT, hosted by Ernest Miller.


This free podcast is from our The Law and IT with Ernest Miller series.