What just happened? The long-running legal battle between Bungie and cheat-maker AimJunkies in which both sides launched lawsuits against each other has seen a win for the game developer. Bungie has been awarded $4.3 million in arbitration, though the copyright infringement aspects of the case are still headed to trial later this year.
Bungie launched its lawsuit against cheat seller AimJunkies.com and the alleged creators of the Destiny 2 hack software, Phoenix Digital Group, in 2021, alleging copyright and trademark infringement.
TorrentFreak writes that AimJunkies argued that cheating isn’t against the law. It tried to avoid the copyright infringement allegations by noting that some of the referenced copyrights were registered after the cheats were made available on its website.
US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly mainly ruled in AimJunkies’ favor last year, deciding that Bungie didn’t offer enough evidence to support its copyright infringement claim. However, the court did allow Bungie to amend its original complaint, which is expected to go to trial later this year.
The parts of the case not related to copyright were referred to arbitration by Zilly, including allegations that the cheats violated the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision and were illegally sold to third parties.
Arbitration Judge Ronald Cox decided that AimJunkies and Destiny 2 Hacks developer James May were guilty of DMCA violations based on evidence that they bypassed Bungie’s technical protection measures. May previously testified to connecting reverse engineering tools to Destiny 2 to create cheats for the game.
May also admitted that after Bungie banned him for these actions, he attempted to bypass the bans and circumvent the protections Bungie had in place to prevent reverse engineering.
May is not an employee of AimJunkies or its parent company Phoenix Digital Group, but since they sold and profited from his creation, the two entities are liable. They’re also liable for selling the loader used to inject cheats into Destiny 2.
AimJunkies sold over 1,000 copies of the cheats and over 1,000 copies of the cheat loader. Cox noted that AimJunkies owner David Shaefer tried to conceal the exact number of sales. “Given respondents’ egregious and willful conduct, including their ongoing concealment of sales, Bungie is entitled to the full statutory damages available,” Cox wrote.
Bungie was awarded $3.65 million for the DMCA-related violations and $700,000 for fees and other costs, bringing the total to $4,396,222.
AimJunkies has countersued Bungie over accusations the developer violated its ToS and breached the terms of its contract for reverse-engineering its cheat software. Bungie will use its success in the arbitration to defend itself against the counterclaim.
AimJunkies had also accused Bungie of hacking May’s personal machine, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, but that claim was dismissed last year.