Activision Publishing filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning in the Los Angeles Superior Court this week, alleging that EngineOwning violated numerous laws by distributing and supporting cheats designed for Call of Duty games. Activision is suing the German company, its owner, and numerous other individuals on counts of trafficking in circumvention devices, intentional Interference with contractual relations, and unfair competition. They are seeking both injunctive and financial relief.
In the lawsuit, Activision named EngineOwning, as well as Valitin Rick, Leaonard Bugla, Leon Frisch, Ignacio Gayduckenko, Marc-Alexander Richts, Alexander Kleeman, and others for operating engineowning.to, a website where Activision alleges you can purchase cheats and hacks for online multiplayer games. The action follows Activision receiving a lot of backlash from press and players over the past couple of years regarding the ongoing cheating in their games.
"The COD Games are designed to be enjoyed by and fair for all players," Activision stated in the complaint. "When players use exploits like the Cheating Software, such conduct disturbs game balance and in many cases leads non-cheating players to quit matches in frustration. Widespread cheating also can lead to negative social media posts and headlines in the press, which can impact consumer confidence."
According to Activision, EngineOwning sells numerous types of cheats on a subscription basis, including aimbots, trigger bot, radar, and anti-cheat avoidance software. The company further claimed that the selling, marketing, and supporting of cheats violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, as well as the Terms of Service for their games.
"Defendants specifically and aggressively advertise and promote the Cheating Software as having been designed to circumvent Activision's anti-cheat software," the company alleged. "Product listings on the EO Website advertise that the Cheating Software offers 'Mulitple protection layers against anti-cheats.' The listing also includes certifications that cheats will bypass and avoid detection by Activision's anti-cheat software."
Activision is seeking an injunction to stop the distribution of the cheating software by EO. They also requested defendants deliver Activision "copies of materials that infringe on Activision's rights" and the source code for their cheats, likely so they can better protect against those methods in the future. They are also seeking financial damages in the case, calling the damage to their brand and reputation due to cheats 'irreparable'.
This is not the first time Activision has taken legal action to stop cheat providers. In 2021, they sent cease and desists to shut down multiple cheat providers last year, including X22 Cheats and Golden Gun, among others. They also recently launched their new RICOCHET anti-cheat engine, which is a kernel-level anti-cheat designed to permanently ban those who use hacks in their games.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.