from the minor-problem dept
Over the past year or so, we’ve been discussing Epic’s somewhat strange ongoing legal dispute with a minor from Illinois over cheating software he developed for Fortnite. Epic initially went after a host of so-called cheaters for developing these tools, claiming that they were violating both copyright and TOS agreements for the game. It found out later that one of these targets was a minor. Instead of backing off in any respect, even after the child’s mother petitioned the court with a letter asking it to dismiss the case as the minor can’t have entered into a TOS agreement, Epic has since pressed the throttle to go after a child.
This, as I argued at the time, should have been a PR nightmare for Epic. However, after the minor retained a proper non-maternal lawyer and put in a proper motion to dismiss, Epic contends that the minor continued both cheating in Fortnite as well as promoting his cheating software through alternate channels. If that’s truly the case, it paints the teen in a much less flattering light.
While plenty of kids would be terrified facing a lawsuit like this, CBV didn’t appear to be impressed. In a YouTube video where he explained the situation last month, the 14-year-old said that he wouldn’t make Fortnite videos anymore. However, he was far from apologetic.
“Fuck epic games. I mean, at least they can’t come after my channel anymore. I’m never gonna make another video. But if they really want to come at my neck for 100 Mil then they can just fuck their brand on their own,” CBV said.
Among other things, the game publisher points out that CBV didn’t halt his cheating activities after the lawsuit was filed. On the contrary, Epic claims that the defendant made another cheating video on a separate channel and registered a new domain to sell cheats.
“Defendant continues to develop and sell cheat software specifically targeted at Epic and Fortnite. Indeed, Defendant has created a new website located at <NexusCheats.us>, a domain name Defendant registered on August 1, 2019,” Epic writes.
While that looks bad, it also doesn’t really effect the minor’s central argument, which is that the kid was a minor and couldn’t have entered into the TOS contract. Still, the courts tend not to look to fondly when the defendant is going around continuing the same activity that landed him in a lawsuit to begin with. Especially when said defendant is publicly spouting off like this.
All of that, again, is merely flavor for Epic’s argument that even as a minor the TOS agreement is valid, primarily as the minor “benefited” from agreeing to the TOS, which in this case meant accessing the game.
“His arguments that he is immune from those consequences, including his claim that this Court does not have jurisdiction over him because ‘he’s a kid,’ are without merit,” Epic tells the Court.
According to Epic, not all contracts with minors are automatically void. There are exceptions, which it believes apply here. In addition, this “infancy defense” doesn’t apply, because the alleged cheater also reaped the benefits of these agreements. According to Epic’s response brief, the defendant was well aware of the potentially illegal nature of his activities – after being sued, banned and targeted with repeated DMCA notices – but he continued nonetheless.
None of this changes the reality that Epic is pursuing full force its questionable claim that cheating violates copyright against a teenager. This should still be a situation where PR overrides any legal merit and results in Epic settling this and moving on.
But the defendant appears to be undermining that calculus by spouting off.