Riot Games’ demand to shut down a fan-run 10 year-old League of Legends build causes a community uproar

"Give me what I'm looking for and we won't sue. Refuse and we will."

    
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Riot Games is back in the news for yet another unsavory reason as the League of Legends developer has acted against a fan-made emulator of the game, and while that matter isn’t necessarily remarkable (or legally out of bounds), it’s the uncouth manner in which it’s been done that has caused some community outcry.

The whole affair circles around Chronoshift, a fan-built emulator of a 10 year-old build of LOL that was launched in March of last year. According to one of the devs of the game, they were informed by lawyers specialized in IT copyright that developing Chronoshift wasn’t illegal, however when the project was first announced, one of Riot’s devs interjected, asking players, “Please don’t do this. We have very simple and easy to read policies around developing products around Riot Games.”

Chronoshift went ahead with the launch despite the plea and ran for about a year unmolested until this past weekend, when one of the emulator’s devs was approached by someone on Discord claiming to be from Riot’s security team to make a number of demands that Chronoshift’s devs say were tantamount to extortion, commanding the devs of the project to hand over its website, source code, and all identifiable information, all while being generally belligerent and aggressive in tone.

“Give me what I’m looking for and we won’t sue. Refuse and we will. […] I’m not interested in dragging this out. If you feel you’d like to speak to legal representation you are certainly capable of doing so. I’m on the security team. I find people and things. I don’t practice law and have little/nothing to do with any legal proceedings Riot is involved in. We can come to an agreement to end this today or we can both hand this off to counsel. To be honest I don’t care either way.

“You’ve obviously put a lot of work into Chrono shift, but I assure you that the Chrono break is coming.” (emphasis theirs)

As of yesterday, legal action was taken by Riot as a studio rep confirmed that a cease-and-desist order was issued, requiring the devs to halt development, close the server, and turn over source code and modded clients. That same representative confirmed that the Discord conversation did indeed take place and that Riot would be addressing the matter internally. “[We are] disappointed with the tenor of the conversation,” the rep said.

sources: Reddit (1, 2), Imgur, PC Gamer
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David Goodman

They’ll probably win. Legally, the emulator doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and whoever told them otherwise should probably be sued themselves for fraudulently presenting themselves as a lawyer.

Ethically? There’s a reason why companies tell lawyers or marketing people to make public statements. This person should never have been in the situation they were in to make such a statement.

I’d say this would be a mark against Riot’s reputation though, but I think we all know that it’s already pretty bad and can’t get statistically much worse. Riot probably thought they could save money by not having to have a lawyer send a C&D officially and hoped that this would take care of things.

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ForsetiGod

I will never understand all the hand wringing surrounding companies shutting down projects like this. I mean, could they have been more tactful? Sure, but honestly cry me a freaking river, they have every right to protect their IP regardless of how low of an opinion you have of the company.

At the end of the day it’s a business, not your friend, not a loving caregiver, they have no responsibility to care about your “feelings” in these proceedings, this is literally just business. They are going to do whatever they can do legally to protect their interests and profits. If you’re looking to be handled with kid gloves don’t step in the ring with Mayweather. Honestly, the way the chronoshift devs tried to play this off and spin it as “extortion” really just smacks of a naked attempt to appeal to “gamers’ ” penchant for emotionally charged vitriol while sidestepping all the legality of the situation.

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Jon Wax

So…

I’m gonna speculate wildly here and guess that the year was them waiting and checking the legal fees, factor in covid and the security guy got hauled into the office and screamed at about getting this settled out. The sec guy really has no skin in the game and having been yelled at hopped on discord and just put things bluntly.

If it goes to court and the lil guy loses the damages could be staggering enough to where sec guy is basically telling em up front it’s cheaper this way

Bad scene all around

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Patric Spooner

The idea that someone on the security team listing their job description is somehow a threat is a bit ridiculous. All large companies pay millions each year to protect their IP. It’s completely unsurprising that a currently active game would not want to have their player base divided by someone stealing their IP while they shrug at let it happen. The idea that this somehow makes riot look bad is weird.

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Michael Fuchs

While the tone of the employee needs to be dealt with; boo hoo. They were emulating a game that was running — I don’t know what kind of crap lawyer they went to, but they’re stealing IP and breaking copyright.

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Sorenthaz

Not really surprising from Riot Games. They do not know how to handle stuff like this with any grace whatsoever.

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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

It’s not like this game has been cancelled. Goodness.

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Utakata

Tl,dr: “Do as we say, or we’ll come over and fart in your faces!” /sigh

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Roger Christie

Such lovely people.

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Bruno Brito

Riot would be addressing the matter internally.

Of course they will. This dogshit company doesn’t give a damn about plucking their bad weeds.

Burn in hell for all i care, Riot.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ve never played any of their games and a big part of why is how crappy they come off in every article about them. This is why I have pretty much zero interest in any MMO they make either.

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Bruno Brito

My friends are hyped for the Riot FG ( we all love Rising Thunder ), but honestly this shit makes me not wanna play it.

Why is it they always mess this shit up everytime?