In Davidson & Assoc. v. Internet Gateway, a court rules that reverse engineering software to host multiplayer online games violates the DMCA and contractual prohibitions in an end-user license agreement (EULA.)
Ernest Miller calls this decision “clear evidence of a judge who doesn’t get it” and explains in further detail: Major DMCA/EULA Loss – District Court Clueless in BNETD Case
The basic facts are that a group of open source developers reverse engineered Blizzard’s “battle.net” so that people could run their own servers to host multiplayer versions of Blizzard games, such as Diablo and Starcraft. The reason was that Blizzard’s servers had many problems and didn’t allow people to organize games the way they desired. Of course, such a project threatened the executives at Blizzard and so they sued with many different copyright, trademark, contract and DMCA claims. After many procedural issues, the EULA and DMCA claims were all that was left.
This case follows the reasoning of Bowers v. Baystate Technology, which upheld a clickwrap contract prohibiting reverse engineering. Bowers is one of the most reviled recent opinions in software law, and that is saying something. Basically, this decision, like Bowers, holds that clickwrap contracts against reverse engineering are binding. It is hard to believe that this bit of ridiculousness continues to be upheld by judges.
Seth Finkelstein: Blizzard v. BNETD (Davidson v. Internet Gateway) Fair Use/DMCA horrors: “In sum, it’s a horror on every item, and rules solidly against programmer’s interests.”
Discussion at Freedom to Tinker: DMCA Ruling in BNETD Case