Last month, news broke that Epic Games was filing lawsuits against two people — one of whom was a minor — who had been cheating in Fortnite Battle Royale. Now, according to court documents, the first of those lawsuits has been settled and before Epic Games moves on to the next one, it has a message for the mother of the defendant.
Based on what Epic Games has done thus far, it appears that the point of these lawsuits is to set an example to dissuade other people from cheating, rather than to leave the offenders destitute.
The first of these lawsuits was against Minnesota resident Charles Vraspir, a.k.a. “Joreallean,” who was accused of copyright infringement and breach of contract, by injecting unauthorized code in order to cheat. Specifically, the complaint stated that Vraspir was accused of being banned from the game at least nine times but repeatedly creating new accounts in order to continue cheating. Furthermore, he was also suspected of having written code for the cheats:
“Defendant’s cheating, and his inducing and enabling of others to cheat, is ruining the game playing experience of players who do not cheat.”
Yet despite the complaint including all the elements for a prolonged legal battle, both sides chose to resolve the case without much of a fight with both parties informing the court that a settlement had been reached.
Though there is no mention of a settlement fee or fine, a permanent injunction has been proposed which forbids Vraspir from carrying out any copyright infringements in the future, to destroy all cheats, and to never cheat again. As such, among other things, he is prohibited from “creating, writing, developing, advertising, promoting, and/or distributing anything that infringes Epic’s works now or hereafter protected by any of Epic’s copyrights.”
Vraspir will have to pay $5,000 if he breaches the agreement — a far cry from the $150,000 penalty that copyright infringement usually allows.
Meanwhile, as Epic prepares to move on to the second lawsuit, it issued a statement to the mother of its defendant.
As you might recall, the mother herself made headlines due to her “legal savvy” after accusing Epic of taking a minor to court and making his personal info known to the public. However, this new letter argues that she is wrong on both counts.
The letter alleges that the company had no idea of the age of the defendant when it filed the complaint and that by handing over his full name and address in the unredacted letter, she exposed her son. This is an important detail because the crux of her argument was that Epic intentionally revealed a minor’s name to the public which is against the law. However, as there is no way for the company to verify the defendant’s age, Epic views the mother as the one who committed this offense.
In either case, Epic says it will stick to the initials going forward:
“Although there is an argument that by submitting the Letter to the Court containing Defendant’s name and address, Defendant’s mother waived this protection […] we plan to include only Defendant’s initials or redact his name entirely in all future filings with the Court, including this letter.”
This case hasn’t been heard in court yet, but considering how quickly a settlement was reached in Vraspir’s case, chances are it will also be resolved without much additional damage — so long as both parties can come to an agreement.