Activision wins another $14 million in lawsuit against creators of Call of Duty cheats, but the situation is more complex than it appears.

Microsoft’s American publishing subsidiary, Activision, has claimed its second victory in an ongoing litigation against EngineOwning, a developer and distributor of cheat codes for the Call of Duty series, that began in 2022.

In January 2022, Activision initially sued EngineOwning, and by February 2023, a judge had decreed a payment of $3 million to the Call of Duty publisher from two suspects involved in creating the cheat codes.

Given that Activision’s original claims targeted far more than two people, the company continued its legal battle against EngineOwning.

EngineOwning builds cheats not just for Call of Duty, but also Counter-Strike, Battlefield, and Titanfall

Recently, a district court in the US ordered EngineOwning to pay $14,465,600 as compensation to Activision and handover the domain, along with issuing a permanent injunction on the group’s “unlawful activities”.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald found EngineOwning, its founders, and other members guilty of breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which laid the groundwork for the $14 million fine:

  • Activision successfully proved that EngineOwning continued to bypass its security systems and sold harmful software in contravention of the DMCA;
  • The minimum statutory damage under the DMCA violation stands at $200;
  • This amount was multiplied by the approximate number of cheat programs EngineOwning downloaded in the US (72,328) to get the amount of $14,465,600.

It’s worth noting that this win for Activision is essentially on default, given that representatives from EngineOwning did not respond to the legal requests. The cheat code developers do not acknowledge the claims on their domain, although they have backup plans ready.

The question of whether Activision will be able to receive the compensation it deserves and gain control of the EngineOwning website hangs in the air. As of this writing, EngineOwning, which operates outside the US, continues to trade cheats.

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