In this Aug. 30, 2016, photo, a man plays a computer game at a PC cafe in Seoul, South Korea. The maker of a video game that pits players worldwide in a fight for survival on virtual terrain has used U.S. courts to successfully chasten cheaters from Ukraine to Minnesota. (AP Photo/Jungho Choi)

Video game maker using courts to stop online game cheaters

RALEIGH, N.C. — The maker of a video game that pits players worldwide in a fight for survival on virtual terrain has used U.S. courts to successfully chasten cheaters from Ukraine to Minnesota.

North Carolina-based Epic Games has in the past two months squeezed promises from men in Minnesota, Sweden and Russia to stop cheating and spoiling revenues from its popular “Fortnite” online multiplayer game. The company also closed its case against a Louisiana boy with a confidential settlement.

Only the Minnesotan faces a $5,000 penalty if he resumes cheating. Epic Games spokesman Nick Chester would not say Wednesday whether that’s because the company can’t enforce financial penalties against foreign copyright violators. Chester would not say how much Epic Games estimates it has lost because of this cheating.

The company has sued three Americans and seven foreign gamers for hacks that undercut the game the company’s lawyers say is played by more than 30 million people worldwide. The company accuses the hackers of using and sharing covert code “that allows players to obtain game currency without paying for it” and making YouTube videos showing how well they are able to overpower opponents.

“Fortnite” players “explore, scavenge gear, build fortified structures and fight waves of monsters who want to kill the player and her friends,” company lawyers said in suing a New Zealand man earlier this month. The winner is the last one standing.

Cheating gamers are able to overpower their opponents by using tools that allow them to see through solid objects, impersonate other players and make moves other players cannot, according to one lawsuit. Up to 100 people can play the game at a time.

“Fortnite” costs nothing to play online but generates revenue by charging players for cosmetic options, like different outfits for their virtual character, which don’t give players an edge against rivals. Game currency can be purchased in packages of up to $100.

Cheaters “obtain items for free that other users must purchase or obtain limited-distribution game tools without earning them,” one lawsuit said. Cheaters who win regularly make the game less appealing and less likely players will shell out real cash.

The lawsuits, which were filed in North Carolina and California, allege violation of the game’s copyright and terms of use contract. One of the targets is a 14-year-old Delaware boy. Other accused cheaters in Russia and Canada have so far escaped receiving official notice of the lawsuits against them.

A 1990s-era update to federal copyright law sets up procedures where companies can demand that online service providers like YouTube remove material that violates the companies’ rights. The person or company that posted the challenged material can counter with a statement that the material isn’t illegal. But challenging the takedown notice can give U.S. courts jurisdiction over foreign residents in the dispute.

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read