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Federal court says Epic can go ahead with its lawsuit against teen

By Cal Jeffrey · 33 replies
Jul 16, 2018
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  1. In October of last year, Epic brought lawsuits against several cheaters in its smash-hit battle-royale game Fortnite. To be clear, these were not your average cheaters. These were people who allegedly profited by either providing hacks or promoting them. Most of the suits have already been settled. However, one is proving a little more complicated.

    Unbeknownst to Epic, at least one of the defendants was a minor. Not only does he stand accused of using a cheat that alters Fortnite's code, but he also demonstrated the hack and provided links to download it on his YouTube channel.

    The mother of the cheater (referred to by his initials C.R.) wrote the company a scathing letter “informing” Epic that it was trying to sue a 14-year-old and that their complaint was invalidated because they had publically named her son. She also claimed that C.R. was unable to enter into a contract with Epic since he did not have her permission to agree to the terms — a stipulation explicitly stated in the EULA.

    When it came time to appear in court, C.R. and his mother failed to appear. Epic was going to move for a default judgment, but North Carolina District Court Judge Malcolm Howard said that considering the circumstances the court should at least treat the mother’s letter as a motion to dismiss.

    According to TorrentFreak, most of the arguments put forth in the document were irrelevant because they failed to state a claim. The only complaint that held any water was whether or not C.R. could have entered into the EULA agreement.

    Epic argued that minors cannot invalidate the terms of a contract while receiving the benefits of said contract. In other words, C.R. illegally misrepresented himself as an adult and is therefore still obligated to the contractual terms.

    According to court rules, an accuser’s complaint holds more weight than a motion to dismiss. Judge Howard ruled that the letter from the mother was not enough to throw out the suit.

    “As detailed in plaintiff’s response memorandum, defendant has not shown that the complaint fails to allege sufficient facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. [T]herefore, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, plaintiff has stated a plausible claim, and the motion to dismiss must be denied.”

    The defendant now has two weeks to file a response to the complaint. Failing that, Epic can proceed to ask for a default judgment in the case.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,614   +1,098

    Yay mom! lol

    I know this won't be very popular as Epic has already gotten a lot of hate because of this in the past, but teaching kids that their actions carry consequences will definitely make a difference.
     
  3. Jeff Schmidt

    Jeff Schmidt TS Booster Posts: 88   +59

    Kid creates cheat for online game. Kid uploads cheat to youtube and tells everyone about it. Youtube pulls cheat video, kid re-uploads cheat video. Epic sues kid, Mother gets pissed and says you can't sue kids. Court rules that case can go forward because the child wants to hid behind the EULA saying he was unable to agree to it since he was underage. But he was also not supposed to modify the game in any way.

    Well the company put years and millions into making an online game that is fun for people to play. Kid wants to cheat and have others cheat so they can have fun and ruin the experience for other people.

    Guess what companies have the ability to protect the products they create. It's an investment for them. After playing countless games that are ruined by cheaters. I say this is good and should set an example for other cheaters out there. It's one reason I've moved to consoles. Way to many cheaters on pc. Not that there isn't cheating on console but the people get banned pretty quickly.
     
  4. frostyshield

    frostyshield TS Booster Posts: 87   +89

    This is generally why companies need to invest in protecting against cheating, catching & preventing cheating means companies need to actually develop technology to prevent it but im guessing suing a kid who developed a cheat is cheaper than hiring that kid or developing anti cheat methods. Potentially destroying this kids reasons for legit play and possibly his future.
     
  5. ElShotte

    ElShotte TS Booster Posts: 164   +8

    Dude, did you even read the article?

    He did not create the hack, he just uploaded a YT video on how to use it and provided links to the download. He is only responsible for the promotion of said hack, not the creation. Also, I agree, since the EULA states you do need a parent's permission to accept said EULA, and since he did not have his parent's explicit permission to do so, he posed as an adult when he accepted it, as such, his actions will have consequences. I'm sure Epic won't try to get millions of dollars out of some family, but they still need to make some examples to discourage others. I think this is the best sort of anti-cheat prevention, simply discourage others from making said cheats in the first place.
     
    BMAN61 and dms96960 like this.
  6. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,410   +569

    This is all about teaching that lil whipper snapper a lesson and I say throw the book at him.

    Alot of kids these days need this since you can't "spank them" anymore.

    And its a wake up call to parents you cannot just leave your children to be idle on a computer connected to the internet without some kinda of supervision cause the **** the do will come back to you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,789   +4,592

    At this point it is no longer about the kid. It is the parent thinking their kid can get away with anything, all because they are underage. It is now a case against the parent, with whom the kid is hiding behind.
     
    BMAN61, Capaill, dms96960 and 2 others like this.
  8. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 443   +296

    If I was the parent, yes, I would be "protecting" my kid from the evil world even though their actions were not the best. Kids do stuff behind their parents back all the time - even "good kids". I would punish my kid myself. How can you tell us the kid's parent's thoughts as fact? Do you know them personally and they told you straight out?

    "C.R. illegally misrepresented himself as an adult and is therefore still obligated to the contractual terms."

    Gee... no kid has ever "misrepresented" themselves... this is a laughable statement. Kind of like kids never click "I'm an adult" to get into an adult site? Men misrepresent themselves as women and win trophies/set records for women-only events. This is a corporation trying to destroy a child's life over a stupid game.
     
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,789   +4,592

    Either way the parent is still responsible for anything the kid does. As for the contract, the kid being underage is irrelevant. Any damages the kid may do while underage are the parents responsibility to make right. The parent is only trying to sidestep their obligations, be fighting to invalidate the contract. This is a very slippery slope, if the judge sides with the parent. For one it will open the door and force game developers to make it mandatory, everyone prove their identity before ever logging in to a game. That would make it mandatory for game developers to track players identity. That is not really a bad thing, until they start sharing data.
     
    Knot Schure and dms96960 like this.
  10. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,351   +1,133

    No but I would bet a lot of money the parent doesn't even know what a hack is, hell I bet even today, if you asked her what "Fortnite" is, she still wouldn't be able to describe it to you. How can you punish your child when you don't even understand what they've done?

    You're right, kids do that, difference is, watching some porn only affects the person watching porn, Fortnite has over hundred million other players, this kid is ruining the experience for the rest of them.

    At the end of the day, the fact the kid was even using cheats says a lot...
     
    BMAN61 likes this.
  11. John Casey

    John Casey TS Rookie

    Does the kid at least get a participation trophy? They seem to be popular these days.
     
    dms96960 and KenAW like this.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,789   +4,592

    More like publicity trophy, instant popularity.
     
    KenAW likes this.
  13. KenAW

    KenAW TS Rookie

    Cheaters on these games can absolutely ruin the game and cause people to stop playing. You just have to look at PUBG to see the effects of cheaters, that game had a ton of players and the game became so rampant with cheats that people started quitting in frustration. I get that this kid is 14 but you have to make an example at some point or the cheating will increase.
     
    Knot Schure, BMAN61 and dms96960 like this.
  14. DonSPa

    DonSPa TS Rookie

    Take care of all the cheaters,nothing worse than running up a hill and u see bullets coming thru the hill and getting killed 1 shot,or being in a building and seeing bullets coming thru walls and ceilings and dying 1 shot deaths.and ive had messages pop up while I was shooting at someone and the message saying you cant do that right now and probally the worse is once I shot and killed someone with a sniper and saw the body reappear just in time to shoot and kill me ,I knew they had a aim bot and a bot to see names of where people are but didnt know about the revive one
     
  15. BonkDaCarnivore

    BonkDaCarnivore TS Rookie

    This will ultimately get thrown out. The legal standard has always been those under the age of 18 can't enter into legal contracts, and misrepresenting yourself as over 18 doesn't suddenly create a situation by which you can be opted in to liability for a contract you couldn't legally enter into. Why? Because the whole reason you can't enter into a contract under the age of 18 is because the doctrine is that you can't fully understand what you're signing up for. In that same vein, if you're under the age of 18, you don't understand the consequences of misrepresenting your age. It's plain common sense.


    The only reason this case hasn't already been tossed is because the mother is ignoring the lawsuit, and only went so far as to send a "letter". The moment she hires a competent attorney, this case goes away, regardless of what one federal judge says. If there's one thing we've learned during "The Trump Years", it's that federal judges very frequently make decisions that go against the law and are ultimately overturned.
     
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,789   +4,592

    The contract really has nothing to do with the damages. The parent is responsible for damages, regardless of contract.
     
  17. CanonC

    CanonC TS Rookie

    Sounds like the parent is trying to claim ignorance of the child’s behavior. Ignorance is not a valid defense in criminal law, shouldn’t be in this case, either. Parent should be aware of what their child is doing online, because ultimately the parent is responsible for the consequences of whatever mischief their child is doing online. Judgment for the plaintiff, Epic. Parent will also have to pay attorneys fees for the plaintiff. Ouch. Lesson learned, parents, monitor your kids online activities, should be a no-brainer.
     
  18. BubbaGumpShrimp

    BubbaGumpShrimp TS Rookie

    Epic disclosed the name of a minor. Hopefully the parents counter-sue them. The company makes millions of dollars per month from Fortnite and they pay programmers that are borderline retarded to code their game. I can attest to that statement because their lame anti-cheat app crashed my game several times and cost me wins. They literally copied their game entirely from other games, minus the building aspect. Anyone who gives this company money is borderline retarded as well.
     
  19. Jehosaphet

    Jehosaphet TS Rookie

    I don't know...cheaters are the bane of the online game-playing world...they're a cancer, they're the kryptonite of these peoples' business and something HAS to be done. Even if its a 14 year old kid...ESPECIALLY if its a 14 year old kid...I would imagine that underage kids make up a lot, if not the bulk of online cheaters and what else can game companies do? Its likely only a matter of time before people are able to work around whatever anti-cheating software they're able to come up with.

    As a parent, I think my response would likely involve taking some time to sit down with my kid and pen out an honest and earnest apology letter, a hat-in-hand kind of scenario, I think. The way this Mom reacted...I'm kind of hoping there's a penalty she'll have to face, but I sure hope this kid learns his lesson.
     
    Cal Jeffrey, Knot Schure and BMAN61 like this.
  20. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,139   +1,564

    I was always taught that if the child does something stupid the parents have to pay.
     
    Knot Schure and Capaill like this.
  21. Disruptor

    Disruptor TS Rookie

    When you use a hack, trainer, or other form of cheat in an online game, you're modifying the game code and thus in violation of that game's Terms of Use(TOU from here out for simplicity). Every game that has an online component has a TOU, and all of them have a section that pertains to hacks, trainers or other forms of cheating or modifying the game code.

    Sucks to be this 14 year old kid, but legally Epic is well within their rights. As was the judge when he said he was going to take time t consider the mother's letter. Unfortunately for the kid, his mother's letter didn't hold enough weight. I'm not saying Epic should sue this kid for millions, that would be ridiculous and we all know that. But they should definetly make an example out of him and make it known that age be damned, cheating in their online games will not be tolerated. Teach him a lesson that his mother is apparently incapable of teaching him - do things legit or there are gonna be consequences. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually the consequences will catch up to you.
     
    Knot Schure, BMAN61 and Kibaruk like this.
  22. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 692   +344

    It's not a stupid game. It's a hugely profitable business commodity protected by numerous legal agreements, licenses, etc. Once you **** around in the legal world you get the book thrown at you. It's the lesson these parents are about to learn. Maybe they'll even pass the lesson onto the kid.

    Why not? I've read of people torrenting 12 songs worth about $15 and they got sued for millions of dollars, presumably as a lesson to everyone else. Why not hit these parents with a multi-million dollar fine?

    I think the parents should be hit with a fine of at least $100,000 and do it to more families so that maybe after about a thousand court cases, the parents start to get the damn message: If you can't manage what your kids are doing online, don't let them online.
     
    Knot Schure likes this.
  23. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,614   +1,098

    I think this is taken to an extreme, but the idea is there.

    It's the same as going through a red light, if there was no penalty or no one enforcing it, not a lot of people would abide.
     
  24. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 443   +296

    A little butthurt over me calling it a stupid game? All games are stupid. They provide nothing constructive - like bitcoin mining. I am a gamer myself. It's a total waste of time. Legal agreements are ridiculous and are getting worse. Nobody has time to hire a lawyer to read them in English. They might as well throw in "we own your first born" and nobody would notice. Heck - this is happening with this case. How many millions are they going to sue this kid into the hole? Might as well take him for slave labor. Why single this kid out, too? Think how many cheaters there are out there. Why not sue them all? Realistically they can just ban accounts as other common sense companies do.
     
  25. JamesLorello

    JamesLorello TS Rookie

    Imagine: People being held accountable for their actions. Now we will have to go through a age verification check every time we agree to an EULA.
    Find in favor of the plaintiff. Don't let the kid off with a technicality. Don't destroy the kid, but make it painful enough to remember. Learn the lesson.
     
    BMAN61 likes this.

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