Blizzard has to battle with cheaters, hackers, bot makers and gray market (re)sellers all the time. Their latest escapades into the murky territory of botting and gold selling involves a German company named Bossland, who is attempting to sue Blizzard for copyright theft.
Originally Torrent Freak reached out to Bossland after they expressed anger over their code allegedly being stolen by Blizzard after they struck a deal with a freelancer who worked on a bot for the company. According to the CEO of Bossland, Zwetan Letschew, Blizzard had no right to lift the code off the freelancer named James “Apoc” Enright, since the code belonged to Bossland not Enright.
Letschew explained to Torrent Freak...
Activision Blizzard is fully aware that Bossland GmbH, and not Apoc, is the owner of the intellectual property of Honorbuddy, Demonbuddy and Stormbuddy, considering that there are six cases that are still in progress […] in Germany,
According to Letschew, they will be suing Blizzard for stealing their code since they had no rights to the content and Enright was not given permission to sell or give the code away.
Kotaku managed to receive a press statement from Blizzard about Bossland's attempt to take them to court over the bots that have been used to disrupt gameplay in World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and Diablo 3, stating...
Bossland’s entire business is based in cheating, and the use of their bots negatively impacts our global player community. That’s why we do not tolerate cheating in our games, and it’s why our players overwhelmingly support that policy. We’ve already won numerous cases against Bossland in Germany (where they’re based), and despite their tactics to delay the ongoing proceedings and the related repercussions, we’re confident that the court system will continue to validate our claims and ultimately stop the distribution of these cheating bots.
Blizzard has been dealing with bots, gold sellers and middle-market peddlers since the days of Diablo 2. They tried to combat these individuals originally by attempting to usurp gray market sales through the use of the Real-Money Auction House in Diablo 3. The controversial market play left them in hot water in some regions regarding financial policies and banking regulations, and even saw Diablo 3 prohibited from being sold in South Korea until the RMAH was removed. They also later removed it altogether from every other regional iteration of Diablo 3.
In this case, the company is attempting to shutdown the disruptive botting that has affected their games in a very negative way. Bots can cause anything from a team not being able to play correctly because the bot is only farming gold/resources for the account, to completely slowing down servers by building up a lot of junk data due to creating increased load on the servers.
There's a stiff debate about whether or not what Blizzard did is correct, but most seem to side with Blizzard in this case, since no one likes having their game bogged down by cheaters and botters.