When a kid gets busted for cheating while playing video games, usually the worst that can happen is a little well deserved temporary social ostracism from friends. However, for one determined and unlucky 14-year-old Fortnite player, the worst might be a $150,000 worse than anyone, including his mother, expected.
That’s because this 14-year-old is being sued by Epic Games thanks not only to his repeated cheating leading to repeated banning from the game, but also for posting multiple YouTube videos showing off his prowess at cheating while also teaching others how to do the same via hacking the game. And, in typical 14-year-old gamer style, the boy’s mother sent a letter to the court in an attempt to excuse the child’s grievous copyright violations.
That Ain’t the Way to Have Fun
While the boy’s mother may have sent a strongly worded, and rather impressive, letter attempting to persuade the court to dismiss the case, it likely won’t be enough. She relies on the fact that her son did not read the terms of service, or end user agreement, and that it can’t be binding on a minor. Additionally, she asserts that the freemium game can’t allege a profit loss because it’s a free game.
Unfortunately for the gamer’s mom, Epic Games filed a not so epic reply to her letter, explaining that there is ample precedent for holding minors liable under an EULA, particularly when the minor stands to benefit from the agreement, such as by being granted access to software. Additionally, as Epic points out, not only did the disobedient gamer cheat and violate the EULA, he made multiple YouTube videos to teach others how to cheat, even after Epic sent a cease and desist, and take down notice.
Like Winning a Lawsuit Against a Child
Though the makers of Fortnite have been dealing with rampant cheating on their platform for some time, their move to litigate against a minor is curious. Although the minor’s mother suggests it was done to set an example (and what an example that would be), this seems unlikely as the lawsuit was originally filed against the minor publicly, using his actual name. The company quickly moved to correct this error upon learning that the defendant was but a mere teen.