The operator of GatorCheats has agreed to pay a two million dollars ($2,000,000) copyright settlement to Riot Games, Inc. and Bungie, owners and publishers of two of the most popular online multiplayer video games in the world: “Valorant” and “Destiny 2”, reports TorrentFreak.
For those unaware, in January this year, “Riot Games, Inc. and Bungie” (Plaintiffs) had filed a joint lawsuit in a U.S. court against the operator and creator behind a number of cheats and hacks for Valorant and Destiny 2 over copyright infringement offenses.
The two companies had alleged in the lawsuit that Cameron Santos (defendant), is the owner and operator of the GatorCheats Website, and at times does business under other names, such as “Honeyhacks” and “Voidcheaters.” Under one or more of these business names, Santos markets, advertises, promotes, and otherwise facilitates the sale of the Cheating Software.
The lawsuit claimed that Santos engaged in the development, sale, distribution, marketing, and exploitation of a portfolio of malicious cheats and hacks for popular multiplayer games, including Valorant and Destiny 2. It also alleged that Doe defendants “Hal,” “Matt,” and “Megan” provided or previously provided customer support for GatorCheats customers (i.e., users of the Cheating Software) via various online chat and messaging platforms.
“Via the GatorCheats Website and other related websites and social media accounts, Defendant and those working in concert with him sell a Valorant cheat known as “Gatorant” and a suite of software cheats for Destiny 2 (the “Destiny 2 Cheats”) (collectively, the “Cheating Software”). The Cheating Software enables players to manipulate Valorant and Destiny 2 to their personal advantage, such as by automatically aiming weapons, revealing the locations of opponents, and allowing the player to see a vast array of information that otherwise would be obscured,” the lawsuit stated.
Both studios claimed Santos’ products gave Destiny 2 and Valorant players “unfair competitive advantages,” and caused “irreparable harm” to their reputation and businesses.
“The success of [Destiny 2 and Valorant] depends on them being enjoyable and fair for all players,” reads the lawsuit. “[Both studios] spend an enormous amount of time and money to ensure that this is the case.
“[Santos’] Cheating Software has caused [both Riot and Bungie] to suffer irreparable damage to their goodwill and reputation and to lose millions of dollars in revenue.”
Riot and Bungie believe that Santos has made “tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars from their distribution and sale of Gatorant and the Destiny 2 Cheats.
On November 11, 2020, Bungie’s legal counsel had served Santos, GatorCheats’ principal, with a cease and desist letter regarding the Destiny 2 Cheats. On or around November 18, 2020, the Destiny 2 Cheats were removed from public-facing pages of the GatorCheats Website. However, Santos continued to offer the Destiny 2 Cheats, or some derivation thereof, for sale in a “private” section of the GatorCheats Website open to members of the public that inquired about certain software products. Moreover, despite the public removal of the Destiny 2 Cheats from the GatorCheats Website, information about the Destiny 2 Cheats remained accessible on the GatorCheats Website for weeks thereafter.
As a result, both the companies in their lawsuit seek damages, injunctive relief, and other equitable relief under the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1201, and the laws of the State of California.
On March 24, 2021, Santos filed a response to the civil lawsuit filed by Riot and Bungie denying most of the allegations stating that the information provided by both companies was insufficient to admit or deny the claims made by them. Santos demanded a jury trial stating that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the First Amendment and the doctrine of Fair Use.
However, on March 30, 2021, both the Plaintiffs and Defendants agreed to a permanent injunction and the payment of a considerable amount to settle the case.
The injunction prevents Santos from taking any steps (including assisting others) to create, distribute, advertise, market or make available the software products: Gatorant and Destiny 2 Cheats, or any software whose use infringes copyrights, patents, or trademarks owned or controlled by Riot Games, Inc. and Bungie.
Santos is not allowed to obtain, possess or access or use cheating softwares’ listed in the complaint or any software when it infringes the plaintiffs’ Intellectual Property, including by circumventing technological measures as prohibited under the DMCA. It also bars Santos from selling, reselling, or processing payments for cheats, and/or sharing, copying, transferring, or distributing cheats to third parties, whose use infringes the plaintiffs’ rights.
The defendant is further prohibited from operating, assisting or linking to any website designed to provide information to assist others in accessing, developing or obtaining the cheating softwares’ or any software whose use infringes the plaintiffs’ rights. It disallows Santos from investing or holding any financial interest in a cheating business, and/or reverse engineering, decompiling, packet editing, or otherwise manipulating without authorization any game owned by the plaintiffs.
Further, Santos shall take all necessary steps to disable, remove, or otherwise shut down any social network accounts under his control dedicated to distribution or promotion of cheat softwares’ as well as remove any information on any non-dedicated (e.g., personal) social network accounts under his control used to distribute or promote any of the foregoing. That leaves the direct financial cost to Santos.
“Judgment shall be entered against Defendant in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000), due and payable solely pursuant to the terms set forth in the Parties’ Confidential Settlement Agreement and Release,” the joint stipulation reads.
The court has yet to sign the agreement to settle the case which has the consent of the parties involved. Keep watching this space for more updates!