Epic Games, developer of survival shooter title “Fortnite,” is now in legal trouble after taking legal action against a fourteen-year-old child for admitted cheating. The child’s mother has filed a legal note demanding for the suit to tossed out. While some have praised Epic and others shake their heads in dismay at using the courts for excessive point-making, the whole scenario has the makings of a new precedent in the reaction of developers for future violations of EULAs.
Fortnite focuses on a multiplayer scenario of up to 100 players in a single-round elimination contest. Because of the high stakes, some unscrupulous players have looked into cheating programs, such as being able to automatically hit moving targets. While Epic has previously engaged in arms race with cheaters, they have escalated things by suing the suppliers of cheating programs and a teenage boy. Some remark that Epic’s actions mirror those of the MPAA, suing people using software to illegally download and upload mp3s.
Lauren Rogers, the child’s mother, filed a legal document expressing that her child is guilt-free for neither developing nor distributing cheating programs; he only downloaded them from a vendor and streamed their use. Rogers further claims the suit would be difficult to uphold as her child is a minor; Fortnite’s EULA contains no option for minors to acquire parental consent and that Epic would be hard-pressed to explain how cheating imperiled their profits when Fortnite’s revenue is limited to microtransactions. Lastly, Epic may have violated disclosure by naming the child and suing him-both illegal in certain states.
Epic’s defense is their suit is pertinent to promoting cheating; the child ignored Epic’s DMCA takedown notice and even created a second video confessing to his willful disregard of Epic and the streamed use of cheating software. While Epic can seek up to $150,000 in damages from the boy for violating their EULA and refusing to remove his video, it remains unknown whether Epic will follow through.