Bot-Busting Update: Legal Proceedings

Hi everyone,

As most of you know, Bot Nuke Day has been a resounding success, with 98% of bots removed from the game, and we’ve struck a crippling blow to gold farmers. The overwhelmingly positive feedback and noticeable improvement to RuneScape has been truly tremendous. In addition to the various technological measures Jagex recently implemented, many of you will be aware that Jagex has for some time been engaged in a number of legal procedures aimed at stopping bot developers and the most serious bot users. These legal procedures have been the subject of a significant amount of speculation, which we will attempt to address in this post.

Some third party bot websites have been making various statements alleging that Jagex is doing a number of things that are unlawful or dishonest in some way or the other. We cannot comment on everything that is said in real time despite our deep desire to keep you abreast of matters as we need to be careful not to compromise our strong legal position.

To be very clear - a lot of things that have been said, and that will continue to be said about Jagex in relation to legal matters, are untrue. Third parties making these statements are, quite simply, trying to portray themselves in a positive light or desperately instil some sort of confidence into their rapidly dwindling supporter base by trying to suggest that Jagex is somehow acting dishonestly or unlawfully. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, the Court found that Jagex had not engaged in any unlawful actions in ruling in Jagex’s favour in the most recent series of such allegations raised by these parties. Jagex takes its lawful and ethical obligations extremely seriously and would never knowingly do something dishonest or unlawful. Remember, that some of these statements are coming from people that offer a “No Ban Guarantee” with their bots, a guarantee which we all know is untrue.

Are you suing IBOT?

Absolutely. Jagex is engaged in ongoing legal proceedings against the developers of IBOT – with formal proceedings being initiated in the US (Massachusetts) some time ago. Trial is currently scheduled for mid 2012. Jagex is confident that it will prevail in this litigation and the developers of IBOT will eventually be forced to stop interfering in the game environment envisioned for legitimate players.

Is Jagex suing its players? If so, what gives?

Yes, Jagex is suing certain players who choose to disregard the terms, conditions and agreements entered into by them and continue to use bots, but it is also offering them a one-time amnesty. Jagex filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California in 2011, against unnamed persons (the technical terms is ‘John Does’, like in CSI!) who were themselves botting in RuneScape. These are the people playing RuneScape who are using third party software to bot, unlawfully getting round our technological measures designed to stop bots, and breaching our terms and conditions and the longstanding rules of RuneScape. Jagex received Court permission to ask PayPal for enough data to identify these people.

Once it had Court permission, Jagex then asked PayPal to provide enough information to identify who these people are so Jagex could name them as potential defendants in the lawsuit and otherwise enforce Jagex’s rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). PayPal provided this data, as ordered by the Court.

Jagex emailed these people to offer them a one time opportunity to reform, stop botting, and settle out of the lawsuit. While Jagex hopes that these people will reform and stop botting, it ultimately is up to these people who are botting to decide whether they want to take the olive branch Jagex is offering or alternatively continue to unlawfully bot. Jagex is trying to give these individuals a simple one-time opportunity to do the right thing and stop. Remember, 99.97% of gold farmers use bots.

Has Jagex unlawfully or dishonestly taken or misused player information?

Jagex always takes its legal obligations very seriously. It has acted consistently (and is continuing to act) in accordance with both US law and with European Data Protection Laws (including our terms and conditions and privacy policy). Jagex has always upheld the highest standards of personal information security and privacy and at all times, and has acted fairly, lawfully and in a justifiable manner.

Some third party bot websites have been making various statements and posting documents that have re-posted, linked to and commented alleging that Jagex is doing a number of things that are unlawful or dishonest in some way or the other. The opposite is in fact true. The developers of IBOT appear particularly upset with Jagex’s recent actions, including the fact that their bot and their business have been worthless since Bot Nuke Day. In ruling in favour of Jagex on a motion filed by the IBOT developers in the United States regarding such allegations from the IBOT developers, the court found that Jagex had not engaged in any such improprieties and that while “[t]he dire consequences predicted by defendants may transpire, but there are no legitimate grounds upon which this Court is authorized to forestall them.”

Quite simply, Jagex has always acted lawfully and honestly and the allegations levelled by the bot developers against Jagex, have been found to be without support.

What happens now?

Jagex is continuing to focus its efforts on restoring RuneScape back to its very best following a successful Bot Nuke Day. Jagex may continue to do other technical and/or legal things in the meantime, but won’t always be able to tell you all the details or specifics of any ongoing lawsuit such as the current suits in the District of Massachusetts and the Central District of California.

What happened to RSBuddy?

Some of you may also have noticed recently that a significant former bot developer RSBuddy has both acknowledged the harm caused to RuneScape by bots but also completely renounced the further development of any bot software, taking the decision to reform into a RS fansite instead. I warmly welcome this well considered and smart development, I hope that all other bot developers will quickly see the wisdom in RS Buddy’s actions and likewise summarily shut down their own harmful operations before it’s too late. In recognition of recent events and as gesture of goodwill Jagex will draw a line under RSBuddy’s previous activity and that of their former customers provided they remain true to their pledge.

Is Jagex permanently anti-bot?

Jagex always has maintained a consistent position on botting: botting is cheating and ruins the game for legitimate players. We will continue to do whatever we legally can, in both technological and legal avenues, in order to continue removing botting and gold farming from the game. This all comes at considerable cost to Jagex including: considerable development time; high legal fees; and the significant time our dedicated staff have to spend on this.

Don’t believe everything you read on botters’ forums – or take things at face value. Both the technical and legal side of things are fiendishly complicated and subject to all sorts of confidentiality obligations and opinions, that often are seriously misunderstood even by those directly involved. Also, they all claim to be “totally undetectable”, “just like a human” and offer “no ban guarantees.” All are completely false claims; we are carefully monitoring the activities of the remaining screen scraping bots in game.

Bot Nuke Day is the culmination of a series of different measures, all designed to work together, to dramatically stamp out botting in RuneScape. The measures are all working so far; as before, we are only just getting started with a number of updates due over the next few weeks and we will continue to work hard on every front to wipe botting and gold farming out of RuneScape for good.

Again, thank you for your part in helping us wipe out the bots and gold farming from RuneScape.

Mark Gerhard

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