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Imagine if for a realtime strategy game, for reaserch and some fun a tool has been made which monitors the minimap of the game and warns the user if the enemy movement is being detected.

Does selling and/or distributing such stuff have legal issues, against the game creators ToS or such (Considering its usage in multiplayer)?

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closed as not a real question by Jim G., gnat, Yannis Rizos Apr 7 '12 at 7:13

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Are you asking whether it is lawful to distribute such a tool? Or are you asking whether it is considered breaking the rules of the game? –  Justin Cave Apr 7 '12 at 1:49
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@all I really like a reason better than 'closed as not real question' THIS is a real question. –  Sean87 Apr 7 '12 at 10:13

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is quite dependent on the game's terms of use (they might forbid those tools).

A random sampling says:

Blizzard says:

You agree that you will not, under any circumstances: [...] use cheats, automation software (bots), hacks, mods or any other unauthorized third-party software designed to modify the World of Warcraft experience;

EA says:

You may violate the Terms of Service if, as determined by EA in its sole discretion, you: [...]

  • Promote, encourage or take part in any activity involving hacking, cracking, phishing, taking advantage of exploits or cheats and/or distribution of counterfeit software and/or virtual currency/items.

Zynga says:

CHEATING AND HACKING - You agree that you will not, under any circumstances:

[...]

d. Use cheats, exploits, automation software, bots, hacks, mods or any unauthorized third party software designed to modify or interfere with the Service or any Zynga game experience;

Even if the game's terms of use don't allow those tools, there's the subjective aspect: some gamers will consider those tools unethical and look down on anybody who uses them.

As stated on a comment, while in singleplayer games they'd be OK, in multiplayer games they will most likely seen as cheating.

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Such tools would be welcome for single-player games, such as RPGs / quests. In massively multiplayer environment, other players would probably consider users of such software cheaters. –  9000 Apr 7 '12 at 2:14
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However, is breaking Terms of Service illegal? As in, can you get sued for damages? –  dbkk Apr 7 '12 at 5:42
    
@dbkk I would think not unless you broke the ToS and caused deliberate harm to the game or its players (e.g. use cheating to steal game items from other people). (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer) –  Renan Apr 7 '12 at 5:51
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@dbkk, "Maybe" and "Of course". Terms of services, end-user license agreements, and such are in perpetual grey areas, legal-wise. It largely depends on what jurisdiction you're in, who gets miffed, how good everyone's lawyers is and how big their bankroll is. Remember, anyone can sue anyone for ANYTHING. Whether or not they can get a court to squeeze money out of you, or stop what you're doing is a different question. It gets really sticky. IANAL, but asking one won't get you any better answers. –  Philip Apr 9 '12 at 14:55

To add to Renan's response, deliberately violating the ToS (assuming you agree to it) is fraud.

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Is it fraud according to some specific statute, or just fraud in a sense that it constitutes cheating (unethical, but possibly legal)? –  dbkk Apr 7 '12 at 5:41

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