Private servers are a big no-no most of the time, so those who use them tend to keep things on the down low. Unfortunately for one person, Blizzard happened to find out that they were running private servers for World of Warcraft. A little background, first. Back in October 2009, Blizzard filed suit against Scapegaming and its owner, Alyson Reeves. She was not only running private WoW servers, but she was using micro-transactions on the servers, thus making a profit from Blizzard’s hard work. This, my friends, is copyright infringement, no matter how you slice it.
It seems a judge agreed with Blizzard, and ordered Scapegaming to pay an amount that would make any normal person cringe – a total of roughly $88,000,000. This includes $85.5 million in statutory damages, $3 million in inappropriate profits and, of course, a nominal fee for the attorneys Blizzard had to hire. There may be appeals from Reeves, but, like I mentioned, this is a pretty clear-cut case of copyright infringement, and it likely to have any appeals overturned.
What did we learn from this, folks? Besides not to mess with Blizzard and/or Activision, we learned that trying to make a profit off of someone else’s hard (copyrighted) work is a bad thing. Don’t do it, no matter how much you want to. I would imagine this case just might put the fear of god, er, Blizzard, into many private server operator’s hearts.