Mother of Fortnite cheater claims that her 14-year-old son is being used as a scapegoat

Last month, Fortnite developer Epic sued two alleged associates of a cheating software site as part of the studio’s hard-line approach to cheaters. Makes sense; cheating is not all right, and this approach has a chance to actually shut down some cheating. Only the mother of one of the defendants has come forward protesting Epic’s actions, stating that her 14-year-old son is being made into a scapegoat and is unfairly being targeted by this legal action.

The mother’s objections include the claims that she never gave parental consent for Fortnite’s terms and conditions, that the developers claims of profit lost on a free-to-play game are impossible to substantiate, and that her son did not help develop the cheating software but simply downloaded it as a user. Furthermore, she stated that the company released her son’s name, which is illegal under Delaware law when concerning a minor. You can draw your own conclusions about how valid her complaints are, but it may well add an extra wrinkle into the ongoing legal battle against cheating software.

Source: Kotaku
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182 Comments on "Mother of Fortnite cheater claims that her 14-year-old son is being used as a scapegoat"

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Barbara van den Berg

search list of teenage hackers jailed.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

The Know did a video on this today. They still don’t really cover the full story behind this, but do a hell of a better job than that awful Kotaku article.

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Jack Pipsam

Screw him. 14 is old enough to know not to do shit like this and apparently he was even warned beforehand.
Make a statement, I hope Epic wins.

caelinus
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caelinus

I am not a lawyer, but I have been following cases like this for a while as a kind of hobby.

I think the lawyers on the side of the kid have a far better case then Epic.

As a minor any contract he enters is not enforceable, and if they needed to enforce it they would have had to verify his age via some method. But on top of that, a Terms of Service agreements or EULAs have not classically done well in court due to how often they have unenforceable clauses and how the “agreement” is reached.

In most cases the company backs off of trying their agreements in court, because they are fairly certain their arguments will fail, and they do not want to start that ball rolling.

In the case of someone older making cheating software they would have a difficult case proving that Copyright infringement was actually done, and that it cause monetary damages. In the case of the minor they have basically an impossible case, especially if he was just a user (no copyright violation that I can imagine.) Most likely the court will just say “He broke the Service agreement, so terminate service.”

Further, if they mothers lawyers are right, Epic may actually have just tried to do something illegal by even attempting to sue him in the first place, and definitely did something illegal by releasing his name. If they can prove damages there, Epic may end up paying out in a counter suit.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

It seems like you might be going by just what’s in the Kotaku article and the mother’s letter, both of which are completely ignoring the full story behind this case.

Epic’s case doesn’t just center around the EULA on their own game. The lawsuit was filed in response to his DMCA counter-claim, made through his YouTube account. That’s the only action they’re legally allowed to take, to keep YouTube from restoring his video.

There’s nothing illegal about filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against a minor, especially when that minor initiated it by filing a counter-claim. They also never released his name. He released his name 1) on his own Twitter account, and 2) when he entered it into his DMCA counter-claim. He’s also not just a user, as the video is alleged to show him bypassing a patch they’d made to stop the cheats from working, and taunting Epic while doing so. Additionally, he was actively taking donations on stream in return for providing a link to this cheat.

Again, please don’t base your opinion of the case on the Kotaku article. They didn’t do a single bit of research.

Veldan
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Veldan

Yeah. I remember what it was like to be 14 years old, I was playing online games at the time. I was perfectly capable of realizing that cheating was wrong and how it affected others, and would have never done it (even though I did have access to cheat programs because I knew people in school who had them).

Cheating is wrong and deserves punishment, repeated cheating and working around the punishments deserves a lawsuit. Regardless of age.

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Jack Pipsam

Same here, I was playing MMOs, PC FPS and Xbox LIVE at 14. Could have I cheated if I really wanted? Of course. But I didn’t because that’s a real douche thing to do.

He might be a minor, but 14 is more than old enough to know cheating is for shitheads.

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Cypher

Can you even sue a minor? I know here a minor can’t take action against someone in a civil court, surely its the same in reverse? In the UK at least…

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Schmidt.Capela

I’m not sure about the US.

Where I live you can actually sue a minor, but it would quite likely be useless; they have very little civil responsibility, which means most kinds of binding legal agreements aren’t binding to them (which is why you should always make sure the person you are dealing with is an adult, otherwise it can be impossible to recoup your loses if the kid doesn’t fulfill his part of the agreement, and the legal system here mostly treats it as justifiable loses from not doing due diligence before entering an agreement).

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Maybe the lawsuit should be changed to sue the Parents then? Or maybe there is a way to figure out some kind of criminal charges that should be filed against him instead.

Anyway the laws about suing minors and legalities of minors entering into contracts are old laws from a time before the Internet, video games and cheating software. He shouldn’t be able to get a pass on doing this stuff because he’s a minor, and I’ve love it if they figured out a way to file criminal charges against this turd somehow (he was involved in a lot more activity than simply cheating or even just showing others how to get the cheat, including doxxing and other things – people have lists and info here below in other comments if you want more info about it).

Laws may need updating in these situations, but all and anything that can be done legally either against him or his Mom should be heavily and whole heartedly pursued.

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Jon Wax

Typical casual gamer bs:

Can’t hang with the real players, gotta cheat.

Get caught cheating and banned?
Whine to mommy

So, so very typical

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Armsbend

So if you were a 14 year old and got sued by a company you’d keep it to yourself, hire a lawyer and take care of it? K.

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Tanek

May have been referring to before the actual lawsuit. It is possible, though, that the mother knew nothing about the youtube and twitter accounts, the livestreams, the money, the purchase of the cheat, the multiple bans, the DMCA, the counterclaim, etc. He could have done all of that on his own. If so, even if the suit is dropped, she probably has some work ahead of her.

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Armsbend

“she probably has some work ahead of her.”

She seems bright enough where she will take it on and probably be successful. From the article – I’m sure the kid is a little shit and she’ll have her hands mighty full.

Can’t wait until mine are teens! ;_;

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Utakata

Putting aside that some moms would defend their children even if they turn out to be monsters and/or mobsters, I am going to reserve judgement on this case until the legal action is concluded, either yay or nay.

If yay though, it could simply mean the game company better plug those loop holes before the next cheat software comes their way. As some families with a lot of income to throw around can make for troublesome headaches for these companies who are trying to keep their players clean.

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Stropp

Putting aside that some moms would defend their children even if they turn out to be monsters

Just ask Pamela

Pamela_Voorhees.jpg
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Utakata

Perhaps that wasn’t the best way to phrase that. As both parent are quite capable of such and likely far, far fewer than some. My bad. :(

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Stropp

Please don’t take that comment as critical. I was just referring to the very famous (fictional) case of Jason Vorhees. Just having a little fun there.

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Utakata

I wasn’t actually. But it did remind me that my pigtails may have over stepped themselves here. :(

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Mick the Barbarian

Some finer points about this lawsuit:

– The kid streamed videos of himself playing and cheating on fortnite, while promoting and demonstrating the cheat, and provided a link to donate and get the cheat program.
– The 14 year old kid was warned numerous times by Epic Games, and had videos and channels removed, and his fortnite account banned.
– This didn’t take, and the kid created numerous fake accounts to circumvent the ban, and also created new youtube channels to keep streaming, and kept providing links for the cheat and donations.
– The kid even went to the extent as to taunt and insult Epic in his videos and social media, and even doxxed the personal details of one of Epic’s legal team.
– In the US, a 14 year old child can enter into a contract and be responsible for the rights and damages within that contract (might vary state to state), so this might show that the EULA is binding.
– When suing someone in court, they must declare who they’re suing (although this probably protects minors)
– Plenty of precedence in the 80’s/90’s where a person who broke the EULA has been brought to court and successfully sued.
– This case might set a new precedent regarding underaged persons being bound by EULAs even when it comes into F2P games
– It’s not about how it affects other people playing the game, but also the employees of the developers who rely on their jobs to provide for themselves and their families.
– A letter from mom wouldn’t undo the repeated offences of the child, considering Epic did take numerous steps in order to control the situation, but were pushed to further action due to the child’s idiocy.

So yeah. No sympathy for that kid.

That’s to Choosk at Kotaku AU for distilling this list.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

His whole damn Twitter feed is about hacking CSGO with “undetected by VAC” cheats, Fortnite, other MP games and even websites. “Use this modded code to get free GCs.”

Additionally, he has donations set up for his Twitch/YouTube streamers, so he *was* potentially making money while doing all this. Oh, he’s also pushing tshirt sales during all this.

Yeah, real innocent heh.

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Zora

Oh my, what a weekend…better than an entire season of game of thrones or so I am told because I never watched that show.

The ingredients are there…the righteous developer showing no compromises agaisnt the wrongdoers, the corageous mum of the idiotic (and thus lovable) teenager that most non-gamers would generally look favourably upon even if he had been committing an armed robbery… wow!

On a whim, purely from a reputation/pubblicity stunt PoV I think Epic is going to get his snout bloodied. The mum-and-kid are playing their cards right and have a higher chance to gather sympathy from the general public, so Epic has to really hope it does not build into too big a case and spill over in a turf where they don’t have the crowd on their side.

/popcorn

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zeko_rena

Wow actual consciences for cheating in a video game for once!?
Let it continue please!

Veldan
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Veldan

Did you mean consequences?

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Tanek

I’d think so. If the kid had a conscience none of this would have happened in the first place. :P