The legal battle between game developer Bungie and cheat seller AimJunkies has taken a surprising turn. The AimJunkies defendants, who previously distributed 'Destiny 2 Hacks’, deny any wrongdoing and have now filed a countersuit. Turning the tables, they accuse Bungie of hacking, stealing computer data, and circumventing the DMCA.
The same accusations were also made against Phoenix Digital Group, the alleged creators of the software.
AimJunkies denied the claims and argued that cheating isn’t against the law. In addition, it refuted the copyright infringement allegations; these lacked any substance and were ungrounded because some of the referenced copyrights were registered well after the cheats were first made available.Court Dismissed Bungie’s Copyright Claims
In May, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly largely sided with AimJunkies. The original complaint didn’t provide sufficient evidence for a plausible claim that the ‘Destiny 2 Hacks’ infringed any copyrights, the judge concluded.
This was bad news for Bungie but the court did offer the company the option to file a new complaint to address these shortcomings, which it did soon after.
In an amended complaint the game developer added more copyright infringement details. Bungie also shared more information on the roles of several key people that are also allegedly involved. They include James May, who Bungie describes as a third-party cheat developer.Cheaters Countersue Bungie
The AimJunkies defendants have now responded to the amended complaint. While they don’t deny that the AimJunkies site offered ‘Destiny 2′ cheats in the past, the defendants don’t believe any laws were violated.
Instead, James May and the three managing members of Phoenix Digital have turned the tables. Their countersuit against Bungie contains several hacking allegations and also claims that the game company violated the DMCA by circumventing the cheat’s technological protection measures.
The hacking allegations come from Mr. May, who played Destiny 2 and agreed to its Limited Software License Agreement (LSLA) in the fall of 2019.
Nowadays Bungie reserves the right to access players’ computers for anti-cheat purposes. However, the older version of the LSLA didn’t allow Bungie to do that. This older copy is the one presented by Bungie as evidence.
“The LSLA in effect at all relevant times does not provide Bungie, Inc. with authorization to surreptitiously access files on Mr. May’s personal computer and/or download information from those files without the direct knowledge and express authorization of Mr. May,” the countersuit clarifies.Hacking Allegations
This didn’t stop Bungie from accessing Mr. May’s computer on several occasions between 2019 and 2021, as evidence gathered through discovery suggests. By doing so, the game company allegedly violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which can be seen as hacking.
Some of the accessed files (obtained through discovery)
The information gathered through the alleged “clandestine surveillance” of Mr. May’s computer was presumably used to gather intelligence on AimJunkies’ company Phoenix Digital and its employees.
“Upon information and belief, Bungie, Inc., after fraudulently accessing Mr. May’s personal computer, used the information obtained in order to conduct further surveillance on parties that include, but are not limited to, Phoenix Digital and its principals.”
The countersuit accuses Bungie of accessing Mr. May’s computer without permission and stealing his data. It claims that the game company willingly accessed confidential and private files with the intent to defraud.
In addition, Mr. May also argues that Bungie violated the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision as it bypassed, removed, or deactivated the computer’s security measures.DMCA Violations and Reverse Engineering
Phoenix Digital also adds several counterclaims to the mix. The company alleges that Bungie breached its terms of service. In 2020, someone using the name “Martin Zeniu” obtained a license to the Destiny 2 cheat software, agreeing to these terms.
According to AimJunkies, “Zeniu” is an alias used by an employee or agent of Bungie. The purchased software was allegedly decompiled and reverse engineered, which is a breach of contract since it violates the Terms of Service.
“Upon information and belief, Bungie, Inc., decompiled, reverse engineered and otherwise inspected the internal workings of the ‘cheat software’ product obtained from the aimjunkies website by “Martin Zeniu” on or about January 3, 2020, in breach of the Phoenix Digital Terms of Service to which Bungie, Inc., had agreed,” the countersuit reads.
Phoenix’ also accuses Bungie of violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions. According to the countersuit, the game company had to do that in order to access the loader software.
“Bungie, without the authorization of Phoenix Digital, improperly gained access to loader software used by Phoenix Digital to distribute the ‘cheat software’ at issue here to its customers. In doing so, Bungie defeated and compromised technological measures implemented by Phoenix Digital to preclude access to its loader software.”
As compensation, Mr. May and Phoenix Digital demand damages. In addition, the countersuit aims to put an end to all unauthorized computer access and DMCA violations.
By going on the offensive, AimJunkies has essentially turned the tables on Bungie. Interestingly, the cheat seller uses many of Bungie’s own allegations against the company. Whether these claims will hold up in court has yet to be seen.
A copy of the filing with the answers and counterclaims from the Aimjunkies’ defendants is available here (pdf)