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14-Year Old Video Game Cheater Sued, Mom Says He's A Scapegoat [Update]

Illustration for article titled 14-Year Old Video Game Cheater Sued, Mom Says Hes A Scapegoat [Update]

Last month, Epic took the unusual step of not just banning two Fortnite players from the game for cheating, but taking them to court. It’s since been revealed that one of the accused is only 14 years old, and his mother is not happy. [Correction - 4:30pm, Nov. 30: The boy in question is yet another Fortnite player who has also been sued by Epic.]

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She has addressed the court directly through a letter, which attacks Epic’s handling of the case on a number of grounds.

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  • She says that Fortnite’s terms require parental consent for minors, and that she never gave this consent.
  • She says the case is based on a loss of profits, but argues that it’s a free-to-play video game, and that in order to prove a loss Epic would need to provide a statement certifying that Rogers’ cheating directly caused a “mass profit loss”.
  • She claims that by going after individual players, rather than the websites selling/providing the software necessary to cheat in an online game, Epic is “using a 14 year-old child as a scapegoat”.
  • She claims that her son did not, as Epic allege, help create the cheat software, but simply downloaded it as a user, and that Epic “has no capability of proving any form of modification”.
  • Finally, the mother says that by releasing her son’s name publicly in conjunction with the move that Epic has violated Delaware laws related to the release of information on minors.

There’s also the matter, as TorrentFreak point out, that you can’t actually sue a minor directly, raising the possibility that Epic didn’t know the full identity of the accused before going ahead with the case.

You can read the letter in full below:

Illustration for article titled 14-Year Old Video Game Cheater Sued, Mom Says Hes A Scapegoat [Update]
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The cases began last month, when Epic began taking action against individual users who had used (and were allegedly associates of) the site Addicted Cheats to obtain “aimbots” that would give them a competitive edge in the game.

Those cheat services aren’t free, with players paying between $5-$15 a month for them.

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Epic has decided to take the users to court, rather than just ban them, after deciding that the modification of the game’s code is against Fortnite’s End User License Agreement and the Copyright Act.

[Update - 4:30pm, Nov. 30: It’s not listed in the case specifically which cheat program the 14-year-old had been using in his videos, though his YouTube channel does mention the service unknowncheats.]

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“This particular lawsuit arose as a result of the defendant filing a DMCA counterclaim to a takedown notice on a YouTube video that exposed and promoted Fortnite Battle Royale cheats and exploits”, Epic says in a statement given to Kotaku. “Under these circumstances, the law requires that we file suit or drop the claim.

“Epic is not okay with ongoing cheating or copyright infringement from anyone at any age. As stated previously, we take cheating seriously, and we’ll pursue all available options to make sure our games are fun, fair, and competitive for players.”

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UPDATE: 9:40pm - Added more detail to mother’s complaints summary for those unable to see image clearly on mobile.

UPDATE: 10:50pm - Added statement from Epic

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Arguments are moot. Not reading a contract doesn’t mean you are not to be upheld by them. It’s not the 14 year old they are suing it’s the lying 14 year old they are suing whom, when they agreed to the terms, stated they were legal age.

Since he’s not the legal age because he lied, all that means is now it’s all on the mother. Her saying she didn’t agree to it only makes it worse, as she has proven she would equally be unaware of him hacking.

Also fuck hackers.