Blizzard Speaks Against Real Money Sellers

Blizzard posted a strong statement on their site condemning those who buy and sell in game items and money with real money. The threat was both to banning any accounts found doing this and taking legal action against the sellers. Those who have followed our site in the past know that we have taken great pains to turn down the advertising dollars offered by these companies, even when many other sites have willingly run their ads, and even though their offers have been very lucrative. I feel very strongly that these activities ruin the games we play and should be dealt with harshly. Here's hoping that, unlike some of the other game companies, Blizzard follows through with their threats and keeps these sellers out of their game. This is far too good of a game to be ruined in this manner. Here's the full text of what was published on the official site: --------- It has come to our attention that certain individuals are selling Blizzard's in-game property for cash on auction sites such as eBay and on personal websites. The World of Warcraft Terms of Use clearly state that all of the content in World of Warcraft is the property of Blizzard, and Blizzard does not allow "in game" items to be sold for real money. Accordingly, Blizzard Entertainment will take any and all actions necessary to stop this behavior. Not only do we believe that it is illegal, but it also has the potential to damage the game economy and overall experience for the many thousands of others who play World of Warcraft for fun. In order to promote a fun and fair environment for all our customers, we are actively investigating those individuals who engage in this inappropriate activity and reserve the right to take legal action against these individuals to protect World of Warcraft for all those who "play by the rules." If you are found to be selling in-game property (such as coins, items, or characters), for real money, you will lose your characters and accounts, and Blizzard Entertainment reserves its right to pursue legal action against you as well. We also want to remind potential buyers in the game to please refrain from buying in-game property with real money. We understand the temptation to purchase better items, but Blizzard, and not the seller, does own all in-game property. In addition, we feel that characters can find ample equipment and money within the game through their own adventuring and questing. Please understand that if you do purchase in-game property from sellers on eBay and personal sites, we may temporarily suspend your account, and at the very least, delete the offending items. Thank you for understanding our position. Blizzard Entertainment is committed to maintaining the atmosphere of fair play and fun in World of Warcraft.


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The issue of sales
# Dec 16 2004 at 5:03 PM Rating: Decent
39 posts
**** NOTE - before reading this, please understand that I do NOT support the idea of in-game and out-of-game economies being mixed together. Keep the real world out of the game world, please.

A big problem with trying to actually pursue coin/item sellers in a legal court is this:

The items in question never leave the posession of Blizzard.

Blizzard owns everything in the game. The coins, characters and items are not removable from the game in order to be bartered or traded. When any sale is completed, the item is still fully in the possession of the owner, Blizzard.

The holder of Blizzard's property, if they are smart, will state that they are not selling the item, they are selling the service of procuring the item. You do not pay for an item, you pay for time and effort that went into getting access to <x> Blizzard-owned items.

This would be like a library suing a research specialist for locating a book of law/vital statistics/whatever for a client lawyer. The research specialist charges a fee to locate the materials and provide copies of it if need be. If the book in question cannot be copied, then exact instructions as to where it can be found and accessed may have to be sufficient.

This won't stop Blizzard from enforcing their EULA by any means, but if they try to go outside the game itself, into real world courts of law, they would likely be eaten for lunch by decent lawyers.
Hurray for Blizz! ^_^
# Dec 14 2004 at 12:53 PM Rating: Decent
34 posts
From what i can tell of the game so far, Blizzard has done a great job of keeping balance even _if_ people start getting sneaky and find ways to sell money for profit. So far, a need of money hasn't been a major concern in the game for me. You can get many great item drops and enough money from mobs without even needing to deal with other players or their inflated re-sell prices. Its been a rare occasion where i actually sought out something via "ingame" auction house or trade channel. The drops off of mobs have been ecellent. Every kill has such great odds of a good drop that its is like opening a present on christmas. ( Ooh what will I get next?)

Eliminate the need for money, and the sellers have.... nobody to sell to.

I applaud Blizzards efforts, and the multiple directions they are tackling this problem from.

/cheer Blizzard ^_^
In game selling
# Dec 14 2004 at 12:44 PM Rating: Decent
33 posts
Having paid attention to this thread and being a hardcore farmer in FF11 (who will never own Archer Ring's.../cry), I love this announcement made by blizzard. However (sadly) no sooner do I go searching around the web to see if its true than I become disappointed ;; I found multiple websites already offerring to sell players gold for their WoW character. What makes this suck even more is that these sellers are the same ones who sell money in FF11 and EQ >.< Hmm...blizzard makes a strong statement but it has to back up them words >.< If you want to check it out yourself, go to cannotlinkto and look up the seller yantis! I'm already pretty ticked @ FF11 players who comment "why don't I have a vermillion cloak" to which I reply "well geezz...i dont buy gil sorry to disappoint you >.<" As much as I want a fun mmorpg to play, I ain't moving to WoW when it looks from my perspective that the in-game selling that ruined FF11 will not change =( And if the same crowd that went into FF11 goes into Wow...I'll just stick it out and pray the game becomes better in FF11 ;; (if I can get a drop from Jaggedy Eye Jack 1/51 times, then miracles can come true! lol XD)
# Dec 13 2004 at 10:17 PM Rating: Decent
45 posts
They'll go after actual users who sell gold, not the websites that facilitate it. They'll just go with a breach of contract, using the End User License Agreement which subjects those who use the game for a commercial purpose to civil liability.

Maybe I shouldn't have tried so hard to forget Contracts. I need a drink.
FFXI bodycount:

Try #1: Borgan - 24 Galka WAR/MNK of Pandemonium (Retired 12/07/04)

Try #2: Pacobird - 26 Tarutaru WHM/BLM of Alexander (Retired 2/10/04)

Try #3: Melendi - FFXI 56 Mithra RNG/NIN of Hades (Retired 10/25/04)

Try #4: Pacobird (v. 2.0) - 38 BST/WHM of Hades (Retired 2/5/05)

Try #5: Scaevola - 75SAM/52NIN/37WAR/36DRG/31DNC/etc. of Hades(Current)

cookies are <i>nifty</i>
Wait; they're SUING?
# Dec 13 2004 at 8:46 PM Rating: Decent
45 posts
Ok, this has bothered me for a while and since Blizzard has brought up the possibility of pursuing legal action against gold-sellers, I have to wonder how well that claim would stand up in court. More to the point, I have to wonder if Blizzard would risk pursuing the claim to the point that they get an adverse decision handed down, which they should be rightly afraid of; the RIAA and MPAA went after Grokster and KaZaa recently and it blew up in their faces.

Lets have a look at the law. From the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106:

106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works36

Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

A copyright holder is often said to have the "right of reproduction"; that is, they have the right to control the production and distribution of copies of their works of authorship. Now, how exactly is the REsale of gold "created" by Blizzard the distribution of a copy? The fact is, it's up in the air as to whether it is or not.

IGE (assuming they would be the primary defendant here) could make a very convincing argument based on the "first sale" doctrine, articulated in Lee v. A.R.T., that once a person buys the physical manifestation of the copyright work (i.e., a CD), they are completely free to resell it (note your local used CD store) because the copyright holder has already been compensated at the value he has set.

In this context, IGE (or whomever is selling them gold) has paid for the game and the subscription fee, so any in-game gold Blizzard provides them with is something they are free to do with as they choose. Blizzard asked $50 and a $15 monthly fee for access to their intellectual property. IGE has anted up, and it may be that Blizzard cannot do anything to stop them.

Again, this does NOT mean that Blizzard is not free to ban whomeevr they choose, but legal action is dangerous turf that I don't think Blizzard's representation is willing to explore. Think about it: what if a judge bought this argument? GOLDSELLING WOULD BE LEGAL. Blizzard, and any other MMORPG provider, can't risk that, because then IGE could just turn around and attack their Terms of Service on fair use grounds, win, and then goldselling would be all over the place, completely unchecked.

Any thoughts?
FFXI bodycount:

Try #1: Borgan - 24 Galka WAR/MNK of Pandemonium (Retired 12/07/04)

Try #2: Pacobird - 26 Tarutaru WHM/BLM of Alexander (Retired 2/10/04)

Try #3: Melendi - FFXI 56 Mithra RNG/NIN of Hades (Retired 10/25/04)

Try #4: Pacobird (v. 2.0) - 38 BST/WHM of Hades (Retired 2/5/05)

Try #5: Scaevola - 75SAM/52NIN/37WAR/36DRG/31DNC/etc. of Hades(Current)

cookies are <i>nifty</i>
Just to clarify...
# Dec 13 2004 at 1:50 PM Rating: Decent
Don't want anyone slandering the wrong company on this just so ya know...its cannotlinkto NOT! is a very nice gaming site..go check it out...LOL!

cannotlinkto are the bad guys...the plat sellers.
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Go Blizzard
# Dec 13 2004 at 1:24 PM Rating: Decent
36 posts
Amen to Blizzard who set the standard for onling gaming back with D2. FFXI is a complete joke now with the gil sellers.

This one's for Blizzard!
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Server: Cenarius
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What would be cool.
# Dec 13 2004 at 9:14 AM Rating: Good
57 posts
Ok I dont think any one from blizzard actually reads this but it would be REALLY REALLY cool if blizzard posted a coppy of their sease and disist letter they send to IGN <assumeing ign sells gold in wow ive never bothered to look>
# Dec 13 2004 at 2:19 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Blizzard's willing to punish the players as well as the companies committing the crimes. SE's afraid that punishing the players will result in people quitting (which makes some sense considering the much greater effort put into an XI char versus a WoW char). Unfortunately for SE, they're getting nowhere. I commend Blizzard for acting without hesitation to limit a problem that has effectively ruined aspects of XI for months past and months to come.
It can be done
# Dec 12 2004 at 8:29 PM Rating: Decent
28 posts
It can definitely be done... UbiSoft actively and successfully stopped out of game sales of Shadowbane so I am sure Blizzard can though maybe not as fast or as thoroughly since WoW is much more widely played than SB was... Anyway Go Blizzard!!
Montem the Dwarf Paladin...helping the Undead of Burning Legion see the Light.
More power to Blizzard
# Dec 12 2004 at 5:14 PM Rating: Decent
4 posts
I'm so glad that Blizzard proved that something could be done about this. There is no reason SE should have just sat by and let gil selling happen, it was the final straw that finally made me quit FFXI... I simply refused to believe that SE had no legal right to put a stop to gil sellers. More power to Blizzard and a big F U to SE for doing nothing to protect a great game.

Good Day
Just play the game...
# Dec 12 2004 at 2:27 PM Rating: Good
56 posts
What's the point to buy the game & at the same time buy your way out of it...

Just play the game, you will receive the fun factor that goes with it !!!

Hope to never see such site again, who want to destroy the gameplay of many honest player

# Dec 12 2004 at 1:53 PM Rating: Decent
120 posts
Blizzard did the one thing SOE refused to do. Sweet. /cheer
Phegus Pally of <Rar> - Doomhammer
# Dec 12 2004 at 2:07 AM Rating: Decent
127 posts
I think reading this has swayed me into buying this game .... buying plat ruined a lot of EQ .... I really hope Blizzard can keep WoW free of that crap

/salute Blizzard
Go team!
# Dec 12 2004 at 12:02 AM Rating: Decent
51 posts
I hope to God that Blizzard takes some action, unlike some companies *COUGH SE COUGH*. Its not that hard to do, go buy the cheapest amount, see who its sent by, and with that character name I believe they can get all other information that they need, yes?

Or they have their own methods, either way :)

Im just glad to see a company that wants to help their players instead of just be like "We are going to add some stuff... it wont really mean anything, even though we are telling you it will" etc etc... *COUGH SE COUGH*

... ps yes Im an FFXI defect (Lv64 Samurai) :P
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Way to Go!
# Dec 11 2004 at 11:49 PM Rating: Excellent
Three cheers for Blizzard. It's good to see them going after these companies and the people who use them not letting WoW fall victim to these economy ruining practices.
"With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it."
# Dec 11 2004 at 9:21 PM Rating: Decent
99 posts
/cheer Blizzard!

For those that think to argue the point, the Terms and Conditions Agreement that ALL players agree to before starting the game expressly prohibits any such action.

There is nothing unamerican or unethical about the TaC... it's Blizzard's product, and the law supports their position.
"Walk in the light, and you will be seen. Walk in the dark, and you will surely stumble over the unseen."
# Dec 11 2004 at 8:43 PM Rating: Decent
10 posts
Go Blizzard!
I play to have fun
# Dec 11 2004 at 7:00 PM Rating: Good

ME TO .!

Thanks to Allakhazam as well
# Dec 11 2004 at 6:28 PM Rating: Excellent
25 posts
I don't have to look at the ads since I actually subscribe to this site, but I do want to take a moment to thank Allakhazam for not taking dirty money from the plat sellers.
RE: Thanks to Allakhazam as well
# Dec 13 2004 at 4:10 PM Rating: Decent
7 posts
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Blizzard has already deleted 300+ accounts for running 'bots (according to the 12/7/04 announcement on their site) so I'm very hopeful they will carry out on this threat and hurt plat vendors in the pocketbook.

Thank you again Alla -- wish more companies had morals like you.
#Anonymous, Posted: Dec 11 2004 at 6:09 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) I don't get why can't we sell money its ours isn't? After all we took the time to get money, we should benefit!!!
RE: UN-American
# Dec 13 2004 at 1:54 PM Rating: Decent
35 posts
You obviously didn't read the article too horribly well.

No, the money IS NOT YOURS. It is the property of Blizzard, as stated in the End User License Agreement (ie, the contract VampyreKnight mentioned). Selling someone else's property is illegal, and if Blizzards stands behind this (please please do!) they will take legal action against it.

They can even do a strong-arm tactic that I heard another company using. Just put in the papers to sue, then offer a settlement around one or two thousand dollars. People will often take the settlement simply because it's cheaper than lawyer fees, especially when they know they won't win!

And actually, Blizzard are the ultimate capitalists. They're not only making money from the game, but they're keeping everyone else from making money at it as well. So even that part of your argument is flawed.

Have a nice day!
Shiva Server - Soulfire LS
68RDM - 37BLM - 23NIN - 20WAR - 14THF - 10MNK - 1SAM - 1BST
Main: 68RDM/34BLM
MND (includes skills and such) - INT - MP+ - Melee
RE: UN-American
# Dec 11 2004 at 6:27 PM Rating: Excellent
4,520 posts
You do know you sign a contract when you first enter the game right? that little thing you just scrolled through then hit the accept button?
Bah, signatures
RE: UN-American
# Dec 11 2004 at 6:10 PM Rating: Excellent
351 posts
Not if it has a negative impact on everyone else.

Secondly Blizzard's stance will have the added benefit of keeping the kiddies without a regular source of income out of the game.

Edited, Sat Dec 11 18:12:57 2004
Let's help them!
# Dec 11 2004 at 6:04 PM Rating: Excellent
351 posts
If Blizzard needs volunteers with good, long-standing eBay feedback ratings, I for one will volunteer to help them bust eBay WoW money sellers.

I have a good rating dating back to the early days of eBay, and if they need me to bid on those gold auctions I will do it.

Somebody's got to mail me the gold, thus revealing their identity.

I've sent them an e-mail offering to help.

Edited, Sat Dec 11 18:33:27 2004
Thank You Blizzard
# Dec 11 2004 at 5:46 PM Rating: Excellent
3,777 posts
If any staff of Blizzard reads this I say THANK YOU with my deepest empathy. You truly are leading the way and defining standards for online gaming. I humbly applaud your efforts to maintain a fun environment for all the players like myself who play fair so that I can continue to enjoy your game to its best. Your dedication to customer service and morals has won me over. Keep up the good work.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.
# Dec 11 2004 at 5:39 PM Rating: Excellent
185 posts
Great news.
Dub - LvL 58 Hunter - Demon Soul
Dub - LvL 60 Warrior - Dark Iron - 8/8 Might
Malfader - LvL 60 Mage - Gurubashi
Malfador - LvL 60 Rogue (Deathwing)
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