Life ban and $500 thousand fine for cheaters in Destiny 2

Bungie Studio continues its crusade against cheaters and producers of cheat software for Destiny 2. This time, the culprit received the most severe ban in the history of video games and has to pay $500 thousand in damages, writes Ars Technica.

The cheater, identified as Luca Leone, created additional accounts and publicly threatened Bungie employees. He has to pay $500,000 in compensation for copyright infringement and is also banned from purchasing, downloading, copying, reproducing, or broadcasting any Bungie games in the future.

But that’s not all: the infringer must “disable, delete, or otherwise close any social media, video, or digital messaging accounts under his control” that were dedicated to promoting or discussing his previous violations. Leone can still use his personal social media accounts, but he is warned that he is prohibited from posting any content “related to the use and distribution of fraudulent software.”

And that’s not all. Luca Leone is not permitted to come within 1,000 feet of Bungie offices or the known addresses of any Bungie employees.

In a consent judgment that was apparently agreed upon by both parties to the lawsuit, District Court Judge Richard Jones agrees with Bungie’s claim that defendant Luca Leone’s use of the fraudulent software constitutes “copyright infringement” of Destiny 2. In particular, the “graphical interface overlay” of the fraudulent software and the use of “embedded code” creates an “unauthorized derivative work” that violates federal copyright law. The judgment provides for damages in the amount of $150,000 per infringement for each of the two works (Destiny 2 and its expansion).

Leone also created new accounts to circumvent multiple ban attempts by Bungie and attempted to “opt out” of the game’s license agreement as a minor to circumvent Bungie’s bans. This made every subsequent login to Destiny 2 by Leone an unlicensed infringement of Bungie’s copyrights. According to the judge’s ruling, each of the “at least 100” such logins is subject to $2,000 in damages, or more than $200,000 in total.

Lawsuits against individual crooks are relatively rare, except in extreme circumstances, as in this case. But Bungie has had great success using copyright law as a legal stick against the code producers themselves. Since 2022, Bungie has been awarded compensation of $12 million, $13.5 million, $6.7 million, and $16.2 million in four separate copyright infringement judgments against cheaters.

Recently, Bungie won another lawsuit against a player who threatened the company’s community manager. In that case, it was about reimbursement of $400 thousand.