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Apr 13, 2010



Greg, isn't this Tiffany v. eBay redux? Eric.


PlayerAuctions would like that, but I think Zynga is hoping for a repeat of Sega v. MAPHIA.


A lot of people are thinking this is a bit like Blizzard vs Glider or Peons4Hire, however the legal angling is unique here.

Blizzard never sold gold in World of Warcraft.
In Zynga, everything that people are trading amongst each other for cash, is also available from the game publisher, also for cash. - Suddenly, they have a more strongly established right and case to sue for damages.

Take for example this scenario. If Blizzard had made a robot for their game that did the same thing Glider did, but it cost $10,000 per month to license it.. they would have been able to hit Glider for a judgment that would have dwarfed what they actually received. - It would have also completely changed the angle of the case.

I've spoken about a few sneaky tricks game publishers can pull on my website. e.g. Another one would be if Blizzard sold Warcraft gold for $1,000 per piece. They would be able to have a completely new angle on any company that dared sell Warcraft gold to Blizzard's user base.

What happens with Zynga vs PlayerAuctions may set a precedent that could really affect the 'secondary market' industry of facilitating player to player trade. The industry is increasingly shifting toward game goods which belong to publishers that actually have official channels for selling their game goods. Blizzard and the host of others before this case didn't have official sales channels for getting the same goods.

i.e. this is monumental. It will be looked back on, and hopefully PlayerAuctions will be playing hard ball with strong lawyers because it could very easily end up in a judgment that later 'affects the rest of us' in the RMT industry.


"Greg, isn't this Tiffany v. eBay redux? Eric."

Somewhat, yes. Because both PlayerAuctions and Ebay are Customer to Customer (C2C) marketplaces that facilitate trade between customers rather than businesses.... Yet, most of the sellers are INDEED businesses. And it's about intellectual property.

Although one key difference. The Tiffany Rings were fakes. This stuff is the real deal. If you buy Zynga goods through PlayerAuctions, you're getting exactly what you paid for. Immitations are absolutely impossible... although it's very common for torts to include language that cites that goods are 'illegitimate' 'fake' 'replicas'

But consider this. If Warcraft has a Flaming Sword of +10 damage, the only way to have a fake Flaming Sword of +10 damage is for the PUBLISHER to actually make the fake. It's just the nature of digital goods.

The only way to 'fake' something in a video game is to duplicate it by hacking vulnerabilities within the game code. (So it's possible to have a fake item, but highly oh so highly, extremely.. unlikely.)


I can totally sympathize with Zynga, and I understand why they would want to protect their IP. But that begs the question--does suing an auction site like this really protect their IP, or cause greater harm?

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