Ninth Circuit Says DMCA Anticircumvention Provision Gives New, Access-Prevention Right to Copyright Owners – MDY v. Blizzard, Part II

4 01 2011

As we related in Part I of this post, Blizzard Entertainment, distributor of the World of Warcraft game software and the operator of the servers that enable online game play, sought to block the use of automated game playing software by deploying anti-bot software, WoW Warden. But MDY Industries, the distributor of the Glider bot software, countered that move by re-engineering Glider to evade detection by Warden and enable users to continue access WoW’s servers while using the bot. This feature of Glider is the basis for Blizzard’s claims that MDY violated the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prohibit trafficking in software and other devices that enable circumvention of copyright protection technologies.

In MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., the Ninth Circuit commenced its analysis of the DMCA issues by parsing the complex interconnection between the two parallel prohibitions in the anticircumvention provisions: the prohibition in Section 1201(a) against the circumvention of a technological measure that “effectively controls access to a work protected under this title,” i.e., a copyrighted work; and the prohibition in Section 1201(b) against the circumvention of a technological measure that “effectively protects a right of a copyright owner.”

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