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Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Gamers seek right to distribute free software

A group of software developers asked a federal court to permit them to distribute free computer game software.

Computer game company Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Universal, sued the group of software developers and a small ISP, claiming that creating and offering the "bnetd" free software emulator for matching players using Blizzard games violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and related copyright law.

The bnetd software allows Blizzard game purchasers online or on a local area network to chat, find other players, and start multiplayer games, emulating Blizzard's own software. A group of volunteers, including Internet Gateway ISP owner Tim Jung, developed the bnetd project for Blizzard games to offer Blizzard game owners an alternative place to play over Blizzard's service.

The case, entitled Davidson & Associates d.b.a. Blizzard Games and Vivendi Universal Games v. Internet Gateway and Tim Jung, was filed in Federal District Court in St. Louis, Missouri.

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