MDY Industries v. Blizzard Entertainment: Preventing the Use of Software Robots in an Online Game With Copyright Law

June 16, 2012

In MDY Industries v. Blizzard Entertainment, the United States District Court of Arizona had an opportunity to clarify the concept of ownership in software copyright law. The MDY court held that users of Blizzard’s computer video game do not own the physical copies of the game software and thus can only load the game software into their computer’s memory, subject to Blizzard’s license. Several players of Blizzard’s computer video game used software manufactured by MDY Industries in conjunction with the game—a use prohibited by Blizzard’s license. The MDY court held that, by violating Blizzard’s license, these users committed copyright infringement. MDY Industries was also found liable for contributory copyright infringement. Although the MDY court stated that they were applying Ninth Circuit precedent, the court actually applied a significantly more expansive test for determining ownership.