Fortnite is an Early Access co-op survival sandbox game currently being developed by Epic Games and is set to see a full release in 2018. Whilst the game has been remarkably popular, especially for its recently released Battle Royale mode, it has caused some controversy after Epic Games decided to sue two players who were accused of using the website Addicted Cheats to gain an unfair advantage.
Lawsuits are never a pretty thing, especially when it’s a developer suing a player, but it has at least been announced that one of the two lawsuits has been settled. Epic Games filed civil complaints against the two players back in October and claimed the two players had reverse engineered the game’s code, an act which violates Epic Games’ Copyright Act.
The first lawsuit, filed against a player named Charles Vraspir, who is known as ‘Joreallean’ on Fortnite was settled after, as TorrentFreak reports, Vraspir agreed to a permanent injunction which will see him fined $5,000 if broken. Vraspir was apparently banned from Fortnite nine times but persisted in creating new accounts. A full copy of the injunction can be read via TorrentFreak.
The second lawsuit is perhaps more controversial as it was filed against a 14-year-old and is still to be concluded. Caleb Rogers, known online as ‘Sky Orbit,’ was accused of cheating and of uploading videos onto YouTube showing how he cheats. Epic Games issued a DMCA take down which Rogers contested, prompting Epic to take legal action.
Epic told Polygon: “This particular lawsuit arose as a result of the defendant filing a DMCA counterclaim to a take down notice on a YouTube video that exposed and promoted Fortnite Battle Royale cheats and exploits. Under these circumstances, the law requires that we file suit or drop the claim.”
Rogers’ mother, Lauren Rogers, responded to the lawsuit, writing to the court: “This company is in the process of attempting to sue a 14-year old child. They are claiming he prepared derivative works based upon a copyrighted work and publicly performed and displayed this as such. They are also claiming he ‘modified their game’ to use a cheat and live streamed it. This would, of course, fall under the Copyright Act if he did in-fact modify their game.”
“Epic Games Inc failed to legally bind underage users with their EULA agreement which is a contract between the licenser and purchaser, establishing the purchasers right to use the software. This being said, the game itself was in-fact free. No purchase of said game occurred.”
She has asked the court to dismiss the case. Epic Games has responded (via TorrentFreak) by stating it was unaware of Rogers’ age when the complaint was filed. Epic Games will now only use the child’s initials, though his name has already been outed by his mother. It remains to be seen how the court will come down on this pending case.