Recent filings in a lawsuit brought last year by Fortnite developer Epic Games against a 14-year-old player show that the company is not backing down.
The lawsuit, which originated after Epic banned thousands of cheaters last year, accused the underage defendant, identified only as C.R., of using cheats to “unlawfully modify” the game, creating an “unauthorized derivative work” in the process. The case also alleges that C.R. “actively promotes, distributes and induces others to use cheat software” through at least two YouTube channels he operates. Epic reportedly didn’t know C.R.’s age when the suit was filed, but choose to continue its pursuit of litigation when his age was discovered, going so far as to hire a private investigator to locate and serve him.
In November 2017, C.R.’s mother wrote a letter defending her son. The letter outlined four key points that refuted Epic’s claims. She stated that Epic cannot prove that her son modified the game’s copyrighted code or that the company is entitled to certain damages, that they illegally released the name of her underage son, and that the company’s contract with C.R. through the the game’s user agreement isn’t enforceable due to a lack of parental consent. “It is my belief that due to their lack of ability to curve cheat codes and others from modifying their game, they are using a 14-year-old child as a scapegoat to make an example of him,” she wrote.
The judge interpreted the letter as a motion to dismiss, and now Epic is fighting back against both the claims by the defendant’s mother and the desired dismissal of the case. In a 20-page rebuttal filed on April 23, Epic refuted every point made by the defendant’s mother and requested the motion be denied. If the judge decides in favor of the developer, a default ruling for monetary damages could swiftly follow.