Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Since its release in 2004, Blizzard Entertainment's ("Blizzard") World of Warcraft ("WoW") has become the world's most infamous and popular massively multiplayer online role playing game. The company's strong anticheating policy culminated in the Ninth Circuit's decision in MDY Industries v. Blizzard Entertainment, where the court held that the rights holders could use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") to prevent circumvention even where there is no actual copyright infringement involved. Although cheaters are not a sympathetic group of people, the Ninth Circuit's decision strays from similar decisions by other circuit courts and potentially grants rights holders like Blizzard the ability to control far more of the enduser experience than copyright has traditionally allowed. This paper explores the impact that this decision will have on the video game industry in light of its decision almost ten years earlier in Lewis Galoob Toys v. Nintendo of America. It argues that the Ninth Circuits' decision creates a dangerous precedent that allows rights holders to exert control far beyond the scope of copyright law and puts forth several proposals in light of this decision.