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.