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RuneScape declares new legal victory over botting

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Jagex Games Studio, publisher of RuneScape, War of Legends, and 8Realms, has announced a legal victory today in a case against bot-software developers Mark and Eric Snellman.

The case, which began two years ago, has been settled with a judgment against the Snellmans (“Impulse Software”). The brothers will be required to pay Jagex damages; relinquish websites, domains, source code, and customer details to Jagex; and halt all botting software development for any Jagex game.

In October 2011, Jagex released a special update, nicknamed the “Bot Nuke” or “Cluster Flutter,” that offered new tools to combat botting, which the company claims has had a 98% bot-elimination success rate.

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Jagex Games Studio wins court case against RuneScape bot developers gaining substantial damages
Jagex winning the war on bots after the success of ‘Bot Nuke Day’ and a two-year legal battle with iBot developers
Cambridge, UK –23rd January, 2012 – Jagex Games Studio, a leading independent developer and publisher of online games, today announced its victory in a two-year legal battle with the developers of RuneScape specific macroing/botting software; which had harmed for a number of years until the Bot Nuke in October 2011.

The judgment against brothers Mark and Eric Snellman, who are trading under Impulse Software, resulted in them being ordered to pay Jagex damages. In addition, an injunction was placed upon them to prevent them from ever developing botting software for any Jagex product, helping other people develop or use botting software or discussing Jagex, the lawsuit or RuneScape.

Jagex have been engaged in a number of legal battles over the past couple of years to tackle the botting and gold farming within RuneScape and the adverse impact it has on the game and valued community. The result announced today is a significant win for a games company and could set a precedent for future legal cases regarding this kind of abuse.

Mark Gerhard, CEO & CTO of Jagex, stated: “We began the legal action against the Snellmans over two years ago as a part of our ongoing commitment to ridding RuneScape of bots and gold farmers. Faced with this significant challenge we have continued to demonstrate that we will never shy away from difficult battles, we don’t  compromise on taking the right course of action and, regardless of the time, money or effort involved we always do what  it takes in order to protect our community”. He went on to say: “We have spared no expense fighting this case, as demonstrated by the seven figure bill this action has cost, but the point of this and other cases of its kind, is that we will continue bring to justice those who set out to harm the game or our beloved community. We are delighted to say that we have convincingly neutered them after a very long battle.”

This announcement follows the news that the recent in-game action to combat botting has been a huge success. Jagex developed a suite of code obfuscation tools, code named the ‘Cluster Flutter’ and coupled with various other countermeasures both technical and in-game, have, since their release in October 2011, rendered 98% of all in-game bots obsolete. Neither iBOT nor any other bots developers have been able to publish working updates to overcome the “Bot Nuke” despite their continued efforts to do so.

Mark Gerhard added: “Technically speaking this is a veritable arms race, there is no permanent triumph in cyber security. The only serious long term strategy is to ensure you continuously innovate well ahead of the challenges faced today; that way you should hopefully always be a few steps ahead in the future. I’m happy to say 1337 Ninja’s are already well underway with “Optimus” Jagex’s next generation obfuscation and encryption framework which will be released shortly.”

Speaking about the Bot Nuke , Daniel Clough, VP of RuneScape said: “Jagex have been working on  anti-botting and gold farming measure  for a very long time and have continually been ensuring that the games integrity and community are protected. This action has been central to both our longevity and success over the years and I’m sure it will put us in very good stead for the years to come. We launched ‘Bot Nuke Day’ in October and instantly wiped out 98% of all the bots in the game. We are delighted with the results of our efforts so far and are pleased to hear the positive comments from our players. The economy has settled down over the past few months, the game has truly been flourishing since then and as a result the team and I are all looking forward to a great 2012 for RuneScape.

As a condition of this case the Snellmans have been ordered to give up all websites, domains, source code and customer details to Jagex along with all the details of all those individuals who have developed scripts for iBOT and sold or re-sold those scripts.

Gerhard concluded with: “The result of this case against the Snellmans should serve as a serious deterrent for anyone who continues to be involved in developing botting software or scripts or even maintaining or supporting those involved.”

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