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Blizzard wins online game suit

Federal judge rules the company can block unauthorized servers from running online competitions based on its games.

Game publisher Blizzard Entertainment, a division of media conglomerate Vivendi Universal, has won a closely watched intellectual property case, with a federal judge ruling the company could block unauthorized servers from running online competitions based on its games. The case revolved around BnetD, free software created by St. Louis Internet service provider Internet Gateway that allows users to host online matches of popular Blizzard games such as "StarCraft" and "Diablo II." The tool is meant to bypass Blizzard.net, the company's online gaming service, which many players have complained is erratic and overrun with cheaters.

Judge Charles Shaw of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued a summary judgment Sept. 30, agreeing with Blizzard's arguments that BnetD violated the end-user license agreements for the games and provisions of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The ruling prohibits any further distribution of BnetD software.