Bungie’s Destiny 2 fraud lawsuit will be decided by a jury this week

The jury trial between Lot 2 Developer Bungie and maker and distributor of fraud software AimJunkies filed the lawsuit Monday, nearly three years after the lawsuit was filed by Bungie lead attorney Jacob Dini in a Seattle court. It’s been a long, complicated journey to this point: AimJunkies, owned by Phoenix Digital Group, countered Bungie in 2022, claiming that the Sony-owned company illegally gained access to James May’s computer and gained access to his copyrighted material. Then, in 2023, parts of the lawsuit – anti-circumvention and human trafficking violations – were resolved in arbitration, with Bungie winning $4.3 million. Months later, AimJunkies filed an appeal against the decision. arguing that the arbitrator “blatantly ignored some rules in making his decision.” That appeal is still ongoing. This week, Bungie and AimJunkies are in court to settle the claim that AimJunkies violated Bungie’s copyright.

Opening statements began Monday after eight jurors were selected. It’s probably the first time a video game cheating lawsuit has made it this far in the legal system attorneys who spoke to Game File. The point is that cheating is not explicitly against US law. The arbitrator found that AimJunkies violated the anti-circumvention rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing Bungie’s security measures And by trading (or selling) software designed to circumvent these measures. Now Bungie wants to prove that AimJunkies also broke copyright law.

Bungie’s lawyers accuse one of the defendants, James May, of hacking Lot 2 to copy the code to create the cheating software sold by AimJunkies, according to court documents. Bungie said May will share revenue with Phoenix Digital’s Jeffrey Conway and Jordan Green. Bungie has reportedly found records showing that Phoenix Digital paid May “more than $700,000 for his work,” Bungie attorney William C. Rava said during the opening statement: as reported by Law360. But sales data provided by Phoenix Digital only documented $43,000 in sales. Bungie’s lawyers claim the company has removed cryptocurrency and other transactions. That’s why they’re asking the jury to consider “tampering with evidence,” court documents show. This means Bungie’s lawyers are asking the jury to believe the defendants destroyed evidence that could incriminate them.

The evidence that Bungie says has been deleted likely includes forum posts, cheat software data, and sales information. Bungie claims May “wiped four hard drives that (May) claims Bungie unlawfully accessed in connection with this lawsuit.” Phoenix Digital’s lawyers don’t want Bungie to ask the jury to consider this, they said in their own filings.

In addition, Bungie told the judges about several other confusing details, such as that of Phoenix Digital alleged sale of AimJunkies for 7,000 bitcoins, worth more than $480 million, to a company called Blome Entertainment in 2022. Phoenix Digital founder David Schaefer told Bungie’s lawyers that he made the sales press release to see Bungie “run around in circles and look like fools to see’. (Phoenix Digital was ordered to pay $5,000, plus attorney fees, to Bungie “as sanction for Schaefer’s harassing and unprofessional conduct” in a March 2023 deposition, according to court documents.)

On the side of Phoenix Digital and AimJunkies, attorney Philip P. Mann said in his opening statement that May the Lot 2 deception, and that the Lot 2 creator had subjected Schaefer to 16 hours of interrogation in a “campaign of discovery to find out who Bungie thinks is behind this international conspiracy to develop cheats,” according to Law360. Mann said Bungie doesn’t have much evidence. Mann added that the lawsuit has effectively bankrupted Phoenix Digital and put May out of work, while Bungie goes after the alleged $10,000 in profits the company made. Lot 2 cheat software – suggesting this is a David and Goliath scenario.

Mann’s argument focuses on the fact that cheating is not illegal, and that no copyright infringement was committed by the cheat makers, because May didn’t even create the cheats. AimJunkies.com is a cheat marketplace, the lawyer said, and not a cheat creation. company. Phoenix Digital also claims that May is not an employee of the company, but simply a person who sells cheats – crucially, not Lot 2 cheats, according to Phoenix Digital – on the platform.

For example, the cheating software in question allows players to see through walls and see where their enemy is, giving the cheating party an advantage. There are also cheats to aim better or reduce the recoil of a weapon, for example. Again, it’s not necessarily illegal to cheat in a video game, although Bungie claims this could be an infringement Lot 2‘S terms of service even for the player – but it is It is illegal for a cheat maker to use copyrighted code to create the cheat software. It’s an argument Bungie and its lawyers are familiar with: Bungie has sued numerous fraudulent software makers and vendors in recent years. Often wins by defaulting or reaching a settlement before proceeding to trial.

Court resumed at 9 a.m. PDT on Tuesday and is expected to continue throughout the week. While the lawsuit will resolve the copyright issue, Bungie and AimJunkies will also have to settle the arbitration appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at a later date. On appeal, Mann describes this move is the first step by a company to “actually stand up to Bungie and seek a decision on the merits of whether ‘cheating’ in computer games is unlawful in the absence of an actual violation and existing intellectual property right.” The appeal is currently being considered for oral arguments in a Portland, Oregon court in August or September. Polygon has reached out to lawyers from Bungie as well as Phoenix Digital and AimJunkies for comment.