Activision has filed a lawsuit against Germany-based cheat provider EngineOwning, focussing in on the cheats and hacks that they provide for Call of Duty games.
The civil suit filed with the US District Court for the Central District of California was posted yesterday, 4th January, with Activision claiming that EngineOwning has “violated Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), 17 U.S.C. § 1201(b)(1), by selling, importing, offering, providing, and otherwise trafficking in technologies that circumvent or evade anti-cheat technologies used by Activision to protect the integrity of the COD Games.”
It’s the anti-circumvention portion of the law that Activision is leaning on here, calling for damages and injunctive relief against EngineOwning that would surely wipe them out financially if the court rules in their favour.
As for how they can go after a German company through the US courts, Activision asserts that EngineOwning’s website is available in English, has servers within the US and has made sales to individuals within California.
While Activision has had an awful lot of bad press over the last 12 months and is a company with deeply rooted issues that they need to work on, this is a pretty clear cut case where they’re the good guys. Cheating in multiplayer video games sucks. Call of Duty is not the only video game that EngineOwning provides cheats for, but it is absolutely the most high profile game series that they target. There’s cheats available for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Vanguard and, of course, Call of Duty: Warzone.
“Because the COD games are so popular, unscrupulous individuals and companies such as [EngineOwning] frequently seek to exploit the games for their own personal gain and profit by selling cheats, hacks, and other malicious software, knowing full well that they are ruining the experience for other players and harming Activision,” the lawsuit notes.
Warzone is really the jewel in Activision’s, but as a free to play game it is also the one that is most easily targeted by cheaters. Instead of having a fee for entry into multiplayer games to ruin, all that’s really needed for playing Warzone is the ability to create a new account.
Suing cheat creators is not the only measure that Activision takes, regularly banning the accounts of those found to be cheating, and creating a new kernel-level anti-cheat software for Call of Duty games. Ricochet anti-cheat was added to the games at the end of 2021, first being introduced for Warzone with the start of the WWII themed update in December.