Good afternoon, internet.
In honor of my upcoming completely fictional cookbook “A Million Ways To Roast Twitter Users,” I have decided to put out a new column series expanding on the In Plain English brand. The series is titled “How To Avoid a Lawsuit” which you would know if you read the title of this piece. Every so often I am going to talk about ways you, the user, can avoid being hauled into court and be forced to hire me once I graduate from law school. I don’t offer family discounts.
Before we begin, I’d like to insert some disclaimers; (1) I am not yet a lawyer and as such none of this should be taken as legal advice, (2) this column is meant for edutainment purposes only and while it will lower your chances of being hauled into court, it cannot guarantee a 100% success rate. Check your local laws before applying, (3) some of the steps are based on an assumption that you have done something bad. MMO Fallout does not condone whatever these actions are, the suggestions are merely in response to you actually doing them, and (4) most of your problems can be solved by simply following step one.
For the first HTAL, I’m going to discuss Epic Games, Fortnite, and people cheating in Fortnite. Those of you who read MMO Fallout or at least keep up with our In Plain English articles will be aware that Epic has presently hauled at least a dozen Fortnite cheaters into court. None of the cases have actually gone to trial with the rest being voluntarily dismissed with the plaintiffs agreeing to permanent injunctions against the defendant and the threat of deep fines should they violate the terms of the settlement. Still, it provides an answer to every Fortnite cheater who has asked “what’s Epic going to do? Sue me?” Possibly!
So let’s go down the list of how to not get hauled into court, Fortnite Edition.
1. Don’t Cheat At Fortnite
This one is the easiest and essentially acts as patient zero for the rest of the list. You shouldn’t be cheating at competitive multiplayer games anyway because it makes you look like a pathetic rat creature, but given the history and details surrounding Epic’s Scared Straight program with cheaters, you really don’t want to cheat in Fortnite. It’s not good.
Like I said, this is basically patient zero. Epic to my knowledge has never sued anyone for not cheating at Fortnite, but they have for cheating at Fortnite. So if you don’t want to be hauled into court by a company with the kind of money to bribe just about every developer on the planet Earth, don’t cheat at Fortnite.
2. If You Get Banned, Stay Banned
One big connecting trait of Epic’s lawsuit defendants are that they kept returning to the game after being banned for cheating. It’s like insanity but for stupid people. I’m not aware of any Fortnite-related lawsuits where a person was banned once and then Epic immediately launched into court, and of the numerous dockets I have read the defendants in question were banned 20+ times and in one or two cases might have been using automated software to create a new account.
If you for one reason or another decide to cheat at Fortnite and you get caught and Epic bans your account, just take the L. Accept your ban, maybe work on being a better person, and go do something else with your time. You’ll thank me a whole lot more when you are not hauled into court.
3. Do Not Upload Your Cheat Videos To YouTube
This is another major connecting trait between Fortnite lawsuit defendants. If there is one thing that Epic hates more than people cheating in Fortnite, it’s people putting videos on Youtube of themselves cheating at Fortnite, and absolutely people using those videos to advertise where you can get those cheats. The more subscribers and views you have, the more likely these videos will show up on Epic’s radar, the more likely they will haul you into court, and odds are the more they will demand from you in damages.
See this one is actually really important because if you do get sued, this is going to affect what Epic wants out of you. Normally Epic does not actually ask for money with their lawsuits against cheaters. Instead they basically push the lawsuit into a settlement with the defendant agreeing on injunctions. Don’t use Epic products, don’t cheat at Epic products, don’t create or distribute cheats for Epic products. On the other hand, Epic has a habit of assuming that anyone advertising Fortnite cheats has a monetary investment in those Fortnite cheats, and that’s when they start making demands for monetary damages. Trust me, Epic has the resources to wring you dry if they want to, and you are not in the right.
4. Do Not Counterclaim A Copyright Strike
In order to dive into this tip, we must take a moment to talk about fair use. Fair Use allows for the use of copyrighted material in certain purposes such as education, parody, or criticism. Despite what the internet has told you, the Fair Use doctrine is not a “you can’t sue me” button. Think of Fair Use as more akin to a trap card in Yu-Gi-Oh! You have to wait for the opponent to make a move before you can use it. Fair Use comes up at the lawsuit and is actually an admission of copyright infringement. What you are saying is that while you did infringe on the entity’s copyright, the extent is legal. There are no definite measures on what is fair use, just past rulings that can be used as a metric, that is up to the court to decide on a case by case basis.
This takes us back to our discussion. With people who post Fortnite cheat videos to Youtube, Epic has predicated lawsuits by issuing copyright strikes taking down the person’s cheating videos. When the person files a counterclaim, that is when Epic sues. When you counterclaim a copyright strike, what you are essentially saying is “I am in the right, and I will see you in court.” After that, the copyright holder’s only option to further their claim is to file a lawsuit. Which is exactly what Epic has been doing.
5. Don’t Cheat At Fortnite
Don’t cheat at Fortnite. Do all of these things and you are probably guaranteed to not get hauled into court by Epic Games for cheating at Fortnite.